The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog


Posted on November 01, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

VRG’s Nutrition Advisor Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, was interviewed on the topic of Healthy Vegan Pregnancy Tips. See:


Posted on October 31, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Acsah Melgares stated, “Hello, my name is Acsah and I’ve been a vegetarian almost 2 years now. My switch to vegetarianism came as a surprise for everyone around me because I grew up in a culture where meat is served at every party. Although that may throw people off, I think that vegetarianism does not exclude any group. Anyone can be a vegetarian, so long as they want to. I decided to switch over to a vegetarian diet because of my love for animals. As a child, I would always point out animal cruelty-in the circus, food, etc. Along with not wanting to support animal cruelty, I decided to become a vegetarian because of my health. Many diseases, like high blood pressure, run in my family, so I want to prevent it while saving the animals. I don’t see a difference between torturing a dog and torturing a chicken–they are both god’s wonderful creation. Therefore, I want to look out for animals that “belong” to the meat industry in hopes that one day, I can make a difference. I hope that my video has shown a brief explanation to why I am a vegetarian. I enjoyed making it and I hope you enjoyed watching! Thank you for your time.”


The deadline for the next video contest is July 15, 2018

For information about VRG’s College Scholarship Contest, see:

To support The Vegetarian Resource Group scholarships and internships, donate at: Donate to VRG


Posted on October 30, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

NJ VegFest 2017

Thank you to Heather Francis, Emily Klesitz, Rebecca Lordon, and Tina Urban, who volunteered at The Vegetarian Resource Group booth at New Jersey VegFest. Heather reported: A lot of the people who stopped by were individuals who were transitioning and needed advice. Other individuals were teachers who wanted resources/were looking for resources. The Vegetarian Resource Group My Vegan Plate handout was the most popular and many people seemed to enjoy it. A lot of people loved that we had materials available. One guy in particular liked us because we weren’t a business trying to make a profit, rather handing out free resources to those who wanted information. There were questions about the Vegan Pregnancy book by our Nutrition Advisor Reed Mangels, RD.

If you would like to volunteer at VRG booths, email

To support VRG outreach, join at

Autumn is here and it’s the season for apples and pears!

Posted on October 27, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

apples and pears
Are you looking for some new ideas to prepare dishes featuring apples and/or pears? If so, we are sharing recipes from previous articles in Vegetarian Journal.

Perfect Pears
Debra Daniels-Zeller offers these pear recipes:

Reisling-Braised Kale and Pears With Basmati Rice
Sweet And Spicy Yams And Pears With Toasted Pecans
Maple-Sautéed Pears
Creamy Rosemary, Acorn Squash, and Pear Soup
Coconut-Cranberry-Pear Sauce
Hazelnut-Orange Asian Pear and Beet Salad
Pear Crisp With Cranberries
Pear-Walnut Bread
Berry-Poached Pears

Fabulous Apple Desserts
Jacqueline Dunnington provides these apple-based recipes:

Poached Apples
Raw Fruit Slices with Spiced Apple Syrup
Baked Apples in Maple Syrup
Swiss-Style Apple Dessert
Apple Fantasy
Apple and Apricot “Soup”

To subscribe to Vegetarian Journal, visit:
Subscribe to Vegetarian Journal

Tres Latin Foods: Notice of Voluntary Recall of Select Vegan Pupusas that May Contain Dairy

Posted on October 26, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group received this message:

Dear Friends,

We wanted to let you know that we are voluntarily recalling three batches of our product (Kale & Pinto Bean with “Best By” date of 062018 and 062718 and UPC number 8-54430-00247-5, and Black Bean & Sweet Corn with the “Best By” date of 061918 and UPC number 8-54430-00237-6). Please see carton examples below.

This voluntary recall is due to the possibility that some cartons within these batches of Vegan pupusas may have been mispackaged and could contain another pupusa flavor that contains cheese. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to dairy should not consume these products. Although we understand the problem is not extensive within these batches, we are recalling the full batches to ensure the safety of our consumers who have dairy concerns.

We are offering full replacements or refunds for these products. Please contact us at or call (720) 613-TRES 9-5pm Monday -Friday MST with replacement & refund requests or with any additional questions.

We will continue to partner with our co-manufacturer to uphold our standards for safe and quality products.

You can find out more here:

The Tres Latin Foods Team

A New Vegan Cookbook is Available: Vegan for One

Posted on October 26, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

VEGAN FOR ONE_front cover_lo-res
Whether you’re a vegan living alone or the only vegan in your family, Vegan for One by Ellen Jaffe Jones with Beverly Lynn Bennett is meant for you. Helpful tips are provided along with delicious vegan recipes. For breakfast try Buttermilk Pancakes, Breakfast Potato-and-Veggie Skillet, or Maple, Apple, and Pecan Waffles. Next, move on to snacks such as Sweet Cinnamon Baked Tortilla Chips and Sauces and Gravies including Spicy Peanut Sauce and Cashew Cheese Sauce.

Delicious salad options are offered including Creamy Ranch-Dressed Potato Salad, Taco Salad, and Sesame Slaw. And you can serve one of these salads with a soup such as Miso Noodle Soup or Roasted Butternut Bisque.

For lunch try Seitan Street Tacos, Classic BLT, or Tofu and Slaw Spring Rolls. For dinner, start with a delicious side dish such as Roasted Cauliflower, Sesame Noodles, Indian-Style Millet, or Candied-Ginger Baby Carrots. Main dish options include Curried Lentils with Spinach, Mac-n-Cheese, Barbecue Tofu or Tempeh, and Deconstructed Veggie Lasagna. Finally, end your meal with one of these outstanding desserts: Rich and Chewy Brownies, Silken Berry Pudding, or Caramel-Almond Blondies. Dining solo never has to be boring again!

You can order this book today from The Vegetarian Resource Group here:
Vegan for One

The Vegetarian Resource Group offers a wide range of vegan books in their book catalog including: Vegan Brunch, Vegan Soul Kitchen, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, The Indian Vegan Kitchen, Teff Love, Food Allergy Survival Guide, Artisan Vegan Cheese, plus many other titles.

Visit VRG’s entire book catalog here:
VRG Book Catalog

Did You know that Loma Linda University School of Public Health is arranging the 7th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition on Monday Feb 26 to Wednesday Feb 28, 2018?

Posted on October 25, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

loma linda
This Congress takes place every five years. It is the premiere scientific conference on plant based diets.

Theme this time: Plantfoods for the health of people, populations and the planet.

Place: Loma Linda University Campus in Southern California.



Posted on October 24, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Logan Mason stated, “I am very interested in getting the best out of my body and vegetarianism has the benefits I am looking for. Studies have shown that human bodies are better meant for a herbivore diet, and vegetarians are some of the healthiest people around.


The deadline for the next video contest is July 15, 2018. See:

For information about VRG’s College Scholarship Contest, see:

To support The Vegetarian Resource Group scholarships and internships,
donate at:

Please Show Your Support for all the Good Work The Vegetarian Resource Group Does Year-Round by Donating to VRG Through CFC, Your State Campaign, or Directly to Us!

Posted on October 23, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group just celebrated its 35th Anniversary and 2017 has been a very productive year. Support through Combined Federal Charity (CFC) or your Local/State Campaign is greatly appreciated! You can also donate directly to VRG at

Here’s a sampling of some of our recent accomplishments and outreach:
– VRG started a new Parents/Kids Facebook Group. To join see:

-VRG’s Food Service Advisor, Nancy Berkoff, did a presentation in Fargo, North Dakota at a regional meeting of the National Association of College and University Food Services. Nancy also consulted for a company in Russia who is looking to increase the availability of plant-based milks in Moscow.

-We continue to work with numerous High School and College interns in our Baltimore office including future vegan Registered Dietitians. VRG Nutrition Advisor Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, mentors those interns who are interested in pursuing a career in nutrition. VRG staff also works with students that are majoring in Journalism, Business, etc. Among their tasks are staffing VRG booths throughout the USA, preparing vegan meals for homeless individuals, reviewing new vegan products (someone has to do that tough job!), writing up entries for our online restaurant guide, reviewing scientific studies on vegan diets, plus so much more. These students are the future of the vegan movement and we should all be excited about what they will bring to the cause once they graduate.

-VRG assisted media (print, web, radio, tv, etc.). The Associated Press interviewed VRG’s Nutrition Advisor, Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, on vegan babies; Reed also updated information on veggie pregnancies on Reed was quoted in an Issue of Consumer Reports in an article titled, “Healthy Shopping Strategies for Vegans.” A reporter from NACS Magazine interviewed VRG Co-Director Debra Wasserman for a trends column about how convenience stores can respond to the growth of consumers who are vegetarian and vegan. A Wall Street Journal writer contacted VRG for data on veganism/vegetarianism in the USA and how it compares to 20 years ago.

– The Vegetarian Resource Group has done numerous outreach booths this year including Leg Up Farmers Market in York, PA; Farm Animal Rights Conference in VA; Charlottesville and Richmond, VA VegFests; Vegan SoulFest in Baltimore, MD; DC GreenFest; Veggie Pride Parade in NYC; DC VegFest; Ashville, NC VegFest; New England VegFest in Worcester, MA; Baltimore VegFest; Jain Conference in Edison, NJ; Western NY VegFest in Buffalo, NY; World VegFest in San Francisco, CA; New Jersey VegFest in Secaucus, NJ; and Central Pa VegFest in Lancaster, PA. We will soon be at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Chicago, IL; Everett Community College Food Day in WA; and more locations.

-The Vegetarian Resource Group provided vegan handouts free-of-charge for outreach in a wide variety of locations including 500 Save Our Water and 500 My Vegan Plates to Charleston Veggies & Vegans for outreach; 200 Vegan Diets in a Nutshell, 200 Vegan Teen brochures, 200 Vegan Pregnancy brochures, and 200 My Vegan Plates to Columbia, SC for an Affordable Vegan Foods Workshop; sent 300 My Vegan Plates, 300 Vegan Diets in a Nutshell, and 100 Spanish brochures to Kalamazoo Vegans for tabling; sent 200 handouts to Nutrition Services @ St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital; Sent to Vegan Society of PEACE for tabling in Katy, TX: 600 Vegan Diet in a Nutshell, 300 Save our Water, 300 Vegan Nutrition for Teens, 600 Vegetarian Journals; sent 200 My Vegan Plates to Food Not Bombs DE; sent 200 My Vegan Plates, 74 Vegan Diets in a Nutshell and another 150 handouts to be handed out at The Gayton Kirk Church in Richmond, VA, etc.

Your support is greatly appreciated! You can donate directly to VRG at

You can also mail donations to The Vegetarian Resource Group, PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203 or call in your donation to (410) 366-8343 Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm EST.

Olive Garden’s® Breadsticks Are Vegan

Posted on October 20, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Jeanne Yacoubo, MS

A long-time VRG vegan supporter called us to report a verbal exchange with a Whittier, CA Olive Garden employee that had left her confused about the breadsticks. She asked us to look into it.

Our member told us that she often asks ingredient questions when dining out even after searching through restaurant websites for ingredient information and ingredient lists. She referred to Olive Garden’s vegan list which contains the breadsticks in the top spot.

Our supporter found her Olive Garden server to be “courteous and helpful.” She was surprised that, even without asking for it, her server volunteered the information that “the breadsticks have butter but can be ordered without it.”
The VRG sent Olive Garden a message about this apparent contradiction on behalf of our member through the chain’s website contact form. This is what we asked in August 2017:


I was at an Olive Garden restaurant and the server told me that the breadsticks had been cooked with butter.

I see breadsticks listed on your vegetarian/vegan list as “vegan.”

Do you use margarine to cook the breadsticks? Does the margarine have dairy in it (including whey)?

Can I get just plain breadsticks without butter or margarine used to cook them?

A Guest Relations Representative informed us during a phone call:
“It was the server’s mistake. There is no butter in the breadsticks. They are not cooked with butter or margarine. Margarine and garlic salt are added later. Diners can request that it not be added. Butter is never served with breadsticks.”

We asked if any dairy ingredient such as whey or sodium caseinate were in the margarine. We also asked if there were any sugar in either the breadsticks or margarine. Lastly, we wanted to confirm that L-cysteine, a common dough conditioner that is often derived from human hair or poultry feathers, was not in the breadsticks.

After their researching, we were told in an email: “In regards to our breadsticks, they do not contain whey, sodium caseinate, or sugar.”

We were told in another phone call that “The breadsticks do not contain L-cysteine.”

Additionally, we were told in emails that:
“Margarine that’s brushed on top of the bread sticks does NOT contain dairy ingredients, whey, sodium caseinate, or any other form of caseinate such as potassium caseinate.”

“Margarine brushed on top of bread sticks does not contain sugar ingredient.”

Interested vegetarians and vegans may be interested to read other relevant information that Olive Garden has arranged on a page especially devoted to answering common vegetarian and vegan questions:

To support The Vegetarian Resource Group research, donate at

Join The Vegetarian Resource Group at

More information on chain restaurants can be found at

Vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the USA and Canada can be found at

The contents of this posting, our website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

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