The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Quick and Easy Ways to Prepare Quinoa Dishes

Posted on May 25, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

The latest issue of Vegetarian Journal features our Vegan Cooking Tips column on Quinoa Dishes. Chef Nancy Berkoff, EdD, RD, shares numerous ideas on how you can prepare quinoa-based dishes easily.

Some of her ideas include the following:
“Quinoa stands well on its own or works as a team player. If you have some half-containers of Israeli (also called “pearl”) couscous, yellow split peas, lentils, and quinoa, you can mix them together to make your own grain blend — colorful and tasty. Prepare it just as you would any grain, by steaming with a small amount of liquid, or if you have the time and would like a little more flavor and texture, toast quinoa in a frying pan before steaming. You can do this in a dry pan, or use a small amount of vegetable oil spray. Toast and stir until the quinoa kernels seem to separate (no more than a minute or two). Some of the kernels may even pop! Quinoa cooks quickly, depending on the amount, in about 15 minutes or less. Some package directions tell you to turn off the heat once the liquid boils and you’ve stirred in the quinoa. You will know when the quinoa is done because it will look like it has popped, with the inner germ exposed; and of course there is the taste-test. If it is as tender as you like, it’s done! To remove the guesswork, try preparing your quinoa with a rice cooker, using the same directions as you would brown rice. Once cooked, fluff up the cooked quinoa to separate the grains and provide a soft texture.”

Other suggestions include:
“It’s a good idea to “over prepare” quinoa, as your “leftover” cooked quinoa can be stirred into muffin or pancake batter, cake batter (think: carrot, banana or zucchini-quinoa bread) or cookie dough, mashed potatoes, steamed rice, cooked corn or simply reheated, with maple syrup and raisins for breakfast or with chopped onions and garlic for dinner. You can also create a quinoa lasagna, shepherd’s pie, or tamale pie by layering quinoa with your ingredients of choice and then baking until heated. One of our friends, “on purpose,” over-ordered some Chinese food, and created a layered casserole with the leftover layers of stir-fried veggies, quinoa, fried rice, shredded cabbage, and crunchy noodles. Another of her creations was “quinoa tamale pie” with layers of quinoa, chopped tomatoes, chopped peppers and chilies, cooked corn, and shredded tortillas.

Quinoa is not just for hot, but also for cold dishes. Try quinoa salad instead of macaroni salad. You can also add quinoa to green or other grain salads or combine quinoa and fresh green beans or snap peas. You can even purée cooked quinoa as a base for salad dressings or quinoa “hummus.””

Read the entire article here:
Vegan Cooking Tips: Quinoa Dishes

Subscribe to Vegetarian Journal by visiting:
Subscribe to Vegetarian Journal

Review of Recent Scientific Studies Related to Veggie Diets and Lifestyle

Posted on May 24, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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Each issue of Vegetarian Journal features a column written by Reed Mangels, PhD, RD called Scientific Update. Reed summarizes recent scientific studies related to Vegan/Vegetarian diets and lifestyle. In our latest Journal, Reed reviewed studies on these topics:

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) New Position on Vegetarian Diets
Fruits and Vegetables and Depression
Vegetarian Athletes
Alternative Plant Milks
Fruits and Vegetables Don’t Overcome Red Meat
Whole Grain Benefits

To read the entire article, go to:
Scientific Update

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

MY VEGETARIAN RESOURCE GROUP INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE

Posted on May 24, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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By Julia Mathew

I originally came across the intern position at The Vegetarian Resource Group after an exhaustive online search to find an internship suitable for credit towards my Environmental & Sustainable Studies minor. I read some of the previous interns’ experiences working at The VRG and knew that it would be a good fit for me due to its diversity of responsibilities and projects, as well as its general goal of educating the public about veganism. I was also particularly interested in learning about how small businesses and non-profits work.

I interned at The VRG during the Spring 2017 semester of my senior year at Loyola University Maryland. I worked on many articles during my internship about subjects that related to my personal interests, such as traveling. I wrote various vegan city guides and reflections of my experiences as a vegan in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, and Reykjavik, as well as a restaurant review of Hiltl in Zürich. I also wrote an article about some of my mother’s South Indian recipes and conducted an interview with a vegan chef to be published in the Vegetarian Journal.

I also helped write product reviews for various brands such as Laughing Giraffe Organics, Good Karma Foods, Munk Pack, Hodo Soy, Breyers, and Talenti. First, I contacted companies requesting samples on behalf of The VRG for the Veggie Bits section in Vegetarian Journal. Then I and others sampled the food and wrote a brief review for the successful products. I sampled many delicious vegan products such as flax milk yogurt, gyro slices, almond milk ice cream, and oatmeal squeeze packs.

Another weekly task I had was to assist in updating VRG’s online restaurant guide by researching vegan-friendly establishments within the United States and Canada. I also participated in The VRG college scholarship review process by assessing applicants’ essays, as well as reviewed video submissions for VRG’s video contest. I was given the opportunity to represent The VRG at various events through outreach booths at Leg Up Farmers Market in York, Pennsylvania, Green Festival in D.C., and Harford County Earth Day Festival in Aberdeen, Maryland.

I really enjoyed my VRG internship and learned a lot about the vegan movement both in and out of the office. I made many valuable connections with fellow vegans and activists. I turned in a portfolio for credit to my minor advisor that included most of my work for The VRG. Much to my surprise, it ended up being over 30 pages long! I never realized how much I wrote for the VRG because I was so interested in and excited to do my projects. Subsequent to my internship, I will continue to volunteer at The VRG for future events such as Central PA VegFest, the Animal Rights Conference in VA, and DC VegFest. To intern for The Vegetarian Resource Group, see:
http://www.vrg.org/student/index.php

To support The Vegetarian Resource Group internships, donate at:
www.vrg.org/donate

Or join The Vegetarian Resource Group at:
http://www.vrg.org/member/cabdacae.php

Aquafabulous — Baking with Chickpea Liquid

Posted on May 23, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Perhaps you’ve heard about Aquafaba. The liquid you’ve been draining from your beans all these years is actually surprisingly similar to raw egg whites and can be used for baking in much the same way. The liquid can be baked, whipped to make meringue, turned into marshmallows, or used to create uncanny cheese substitutes.

Laura McGuiness shares her experience baking with aquafaba in the recent issue of Vegetarian Journal. She explains, “Aquafaba is still largely a mystery, even to scientists. The proteins and starches in the bean juice appear to mimic the proteins in egg whites, but the exact science leaves something to be desired. What we do know from an analysis by The Norwegian Food Research Institute is that aquafaba is mainly composed of starch and proteins. Because of the high starch content, aquafaba is able to form stable gels, which may aid in its ability to emulate egg whites.”

You’ll find the following recipes in this article along with photos of some of the baked items:
Basic Meringue Cookies
Baked Alaska
Lemon Apocalypse Pie
Chocolate Mousse
Walnut Fudge
Lemon Dacquoise

The article can be found here:
Aquafabulous

To subscribe to Vegetarian Journal, visit:
http://www.vrg.org/member/2013sv.phpPicture1

Nutrition Hotline: Eating Less Sugar

Posted on May 22, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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I heard that Americans should be eating less sugar. In practical terms, what does this mean?

The Nutrition Hotline column in the latest issue of Vegetarian Journal answers the question: I heard that Americans should be eating less sugar. In practical terms, what does this mean? Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, begins her response by stating: “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 calls for an upper limit of 10% of calories from added sugar. This limit was developed because diets high in added sugars are often associated with an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and colon/rectal cancer.” She also states: “In addition, sugars, even the ones we think of as “natural,” like maple syrup and agave, are worth little or nothing from a nutrition standpoint. Eating a high-sugar diet means that other more nutritious foods are being neglected.”

The entire article can be read here:
Nutrition Hotline
To subscribe to Vegetarian Journal, visit:
http://www.vrg.org/member/2013sv.php

Baltimore Vegfest

Posted on May 22, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Baltimore VegFest_ Casey Brown, Marissa Thobe, Michaela Sadlowski, and Nicole Turner

By Nicole Turner

I volunteered with The Vegetarian Resource Group on May 6th, 2017, at the Baltimore VegFest and had a blast. Though the weather wasn’t the nicest, it didn’t stop people from coming out to enjoy the cruelty-free festivities. This is an annual event that is organized by The Humane League, an organization whose mission is to reduce suffering by inspiring change at all levels. Baltimore VegFest is a wonderful event that celebrates healthy, sustainable, and compassionate eating and the benefits of a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle. The event is free and includes various speakers, a wide variety of food, local veg restaurants, vegan cooking demonstrations, and free gift bags! My favorite part about the festival was having an abundance of food choices. My favorites were the vegan pizza, the mac and cheese, and Vegan Treat’s donuts and brownies! The event took place at the University of Maryland Baltimore County College Campus, so there were many students that came out to the event as well. It was great to see such a variety of ages attending the festival, from young kids to older adults. This was my first time attending Baltimore’s VegFest, and I look forward to returning next spring.

Throughout the day, I made great connections with visitors and many were interested in learning more about The VRG. I had conversations with many individuals who had health conditions and were using a plant-based diet to address their health concerns. I also had an interesting conversation with representatives from Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary, a 400-acre non-profit refuge in Poolesville, Maryland for farm animals and wildlife. She told me about the events they have throughout the year and the importance of spreading awareness about animal cruelty. It was exciting to be around many organizations that share a similar message as The VRG.

Some of the most popular resources people gravitated towards were VRG’s “Baltimore Dining Guides”, “Veganism in A Nutshell” pamphlets, kids coloring books, and of course, the Vegetarian Journal. The local dining guides were extremely popular since a majority of the people attending the festival were from the area, and they were interested in learning more about veg-friendly restaurants in Baltimore. Many people were interested in taking a free copy of the Vegetarian Journal, which is filled with product reviews, delicious vegan recipes, health information, and more. People were also eager to take home our materials to give to friends or family that were interested in transitioning to a vegan or vegetarian diet. Many parents stopped by to learn more about how to assist their children during the transition, and we provided them with copies of our “Vegan Nutrition for Teenagers” and “Vegan Nutrition in Pregnancy” brochures.

There is something special about Baltimore VegFest. It is a tight community and so much compassion radiated from the event. It was great to share the Vegetarian Journal with so many people and tell them about The VRG and our mission. The interest level was very high, and I felt proud to be spreading awareness about such important issues. I am looking forward to next year’s event and our I hope to see you there too!
To volunteer to help at VRG booths, contact Brigette at vrg@vrg.org

To support The Vegetarian Resource Group outreach, please donate at www.vrg.org/donate
Or join at http://www.vrg.org/member/2013sv.php

New Restaurants Have Been Added to The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Online Guide to Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in the USA and Canada

Posted on May 19, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor
Conscious Fork Photo by Hannah Maxwell

Conscious Fork Photo by Hannah Maxwell

The Vegetarian Resource Group maintains an online Guide to Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in the USA and Canada. Below are some recent additions. The entire guide can be found here: http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php

To support the updating of this online restaurant guide, please donate at:
www.vrg.org/donate

Conscious Fork
14 Railroad Ave.
Warwick, NY 10990
And
97 Baker St., Ste. 4
Maplewood, NJ 07040
Conscious Fork has different menus at each location, so be sure to check their website for the correct menu. They serve breakfast, lunch, and juices. There is a “build your bowl” option. Everything, except bread and croutons, is gluten-free. Almost all ingredients are organic and non-GMO.

Doe Donuts
8201 SE Powell
Portland, OR 97226
Doe is an all vegan donut shop that serves creative flavors including French Toast, Passionflower, and Thai Tea Fritter.

J. Selby’s
169 N. Victoria St.
St. Paul, MN 55104
Serving breakfast, lunch/dinner, and dessert, this new eatery is perfect for those wanting a nice sit-down meal. Try the falafel platter consisting of house-made falafel with lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber & tzatziki sauce with pickles, fresh pita, and sprinkle of feta paired with a GuS natural soda, and a chocolate chip cookie with “soft serve n’ice cream” on top for dessert.

JaJaJa
162 E. Broadway
New York, NY 10002
JaJaJa’s “Fish” Tacos are highly recommended by yelp and Facebook reviewers. Many folks also enjoy the Empanadas.

Kahiau’s Bakery & Café
3712 S. Plaza Trail #101
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Kahiau’s Bakery & Cafe serves Hawaiian style treats. The menu changes weekly. Gluten-free and raw options are available. You can order specialty and custom cakes. There are individual or family sized options for menu items.

Morels Café
619 Baxter Ave.
Louisville, KY 40204
Morels Cafe serves vegan deli foods that are made without using tofu or eggplant. Many patrons enjoy the Philly “Cheese Steak.” All “cheeses” are cashew based. Local Kentucky kombucha is available on tap. Be sure to get a hand made “pop-tart” for dessert!

Pancho’s Kitchen
5201 W. Charleston Blvd., Ste. 120-130
Las Vegas, NV 89146
Start your day with some chilaquiles with vegan cheese and sour cream or nosh on the huevos rancheros. If you’re more of a lunch/dinner Mexican-food junkie, head there later for your fix in the form of tacos, tamales, burritos, enchiladas, nachos and much more. There’s even vegan Horchata.

Seed to Sprout
1405 Wickapecko Dr.
Wanamassa, NJ 07712
Selections of pastries, cookies, and cakes are featured daily. Seed to Sprout serves baked goods, toast, lattes and other specialty drinks. They also offer custom cakes and cooking classes.

Tassili’s Raw Reality
1059 Ralph D Abernathy Blvd.
Atlanta, GA 30310
This raw eatery has a health-conscious menu with a lot of spice options available. Wraps can be selected to include a variety of spices and sauces. Comfort food options also sneak their way onto the menu. Choices include the Curried Plantains wrap or the Sprouted Tofu Delight. Be sure to check out the sweets and drink selection as well.

The GruB Factory
1210 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
The GruB Factory’s motto is “Whatever you like, we can do it vegan!” In a relaxed atmosphere, they offer cashew cream smoothies, vegan chicken boxes, French toast, tacos, and more! They are located near the University of Baltimore.

The Juice Pharm
208 E. 1st St.
Duluth, NM 55802
In addition to juices, The Juice Pharm offers vegan food. They serve bowls, toast, and tacos.

Universal Love
4622 N. Main St.
Columbia, SC 29203
Universal Love serves vegan cafe food. Couple your meal with a delicious juice or smoothie. Menu items include BBQ “chicken” and vegan tacos!

Vibe Organic Kitchen and Juice
1000 Bristol St. North
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Vibe Organic Kitchen and Juice serves juices, smoothies, breakfast, bowls, burgers, and sides. All menu items are gluten-free. Vibe also has a kids menu.

Vicecream
6550 Comanche Trail #109
Austin, TX 78732
Vicecream serves six ice cream flavors, soft serve, sundaes, shakes, and splits! There is a large selection of vegan toppings, including cookies and brownies, to pair with your ice cream.

Animal Rights Activism in a College Cafeteria

Posted on May 18, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Anna Lam

Animal rights activism can sometimes seem intimidating and even counterproductive. It can be especially intimidating to those who aren’t necessarily outgoing (like me), and counterproductive because of exposure to fringe groups who are keen on employing shock value tactics to get people’s attention without starting substantive dialogues (which I think we’ve all been exposed to). While everyone who is an animal rights activist is ultimately oriented towards the goal of making the world a better place for animals, there are certainly better and worse ways to be an activist. Put simply, it comes down to making oneself approachable and likeable. At least that’s what I learned when I set up a table in my school’s dining hall to distribute leaflets containing vegetarian information.

Specifically, I learned that it’s better to be an engaged activist rather than a disengaged one. You might feel like you’re intruding unasked in people’s lives; however, people also rarely see the need or importance of what you have to offer, only you do. So the best way to at least get the information into people’s hands is to actively engage them. My friends and I experimented with just sitting down at the table, the leaflets displayed for all to see, and waited to see if anyone would approach out of interest. We got some interested side glances, but nothing more. After little success, we started to smile at passersby and say “Good morning,” which also resulted in little success. We eventually decided on a more forward approach to at least get the information from the table to the students. After passing out hundreds of flyers, I felt like I had gotten the routine down to a science: stand up; smile; lean forward; making good eye contact; hold the leaflet at approximately stomach level so it’s easy to take as they pass by; and ask politely if the person would like information on health, the environment, or vegetarianism. The person should definitely not feel reproached, confronted, or attacked for their way of life. It’s best to stay away from any kind of shaming language, as that’s a sure turn-off. I found that people were most responsive when focusing on the ways that vegetarianism is helpful for one’s health and the environment.

It’s easy to confine oneself to the company of like-minded people. It’s encouraging and motivating, and there’s nothing like being a part of a community of those who share the same values as yourself. But it’s also a good exercise to connect with those around you who may not be vegetarian. It’s useful, if not an imperative, to be able to associate with unlike-minded people, because we inevitably have to interact with them on a daily basis. While it’s fine to outwardly express your thoughts on animal rights around people who agree with you, those unfamiliar with the issue may be turned off by the “holier than thou” effect that we vegans can sometimes have, especially on the ethical stance.

That’s why awareness is so important. Because unawareness can lead to being complicit in something that one is actually morally opposed to. And, really, most people are against animal cruelty if you were to ask them. No one likes to see animals in pain. So getting the information out there is a crucial first step towards more informed, cruelty-free purchases. Our money really does have a tremendous impact and, as consumers, it’s our most powerful asset. And as an activist, your most important asset if your voice, and by using your voice for those that are unable, you’re making a tremendous impact in helping people, the environment, and animals alike prosper.

For information on other activist ideas, see http://www.vrg.org/teen/#activism

New Vegan Restaurant Opens in Baltimore!

Posted on May 18, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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The Grub Factory, 1210 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21201; (443) 602-7018

Enjoy Vegan Soul food at this new restaurant. The GruB Factory’s motto is “Whatever you like, we can do it vegan!” In a relaxed atmosphere, they offer cashew cream smoothies, vegan chicken boxes, French toast, tacos, and more! They are located near the University of Baltimore.

Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and early dinner. Counter service, vegan options, take-out,
VISA/MC/AMEX/DISC, $

HOST FOR VEGETARIAN EXCHANGE STUDENT NEEDED

Posted on May 17, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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My name is Laura, and I am the Special Services Director for OCEAN (Organization for Cultural Exchange Among Nations), which is a non-profit organization that sponsors foreign exchange students, ages 15-18, and places them in volunteer host families and high schools throughout the U.S. for a semester or academic year. We are currently seeking a volunteer host family for a young man from Spain who is a vegetarian and would like to live with a host family who follows similar dietary practices. We are therefore seeking a host family for him who would be able to accommodate his request. This can be anywhere in the United States.

Student’s Name: ALEX
Age upon Arrival in the U.S.: 16
Home Country: SPAIN
Grade of Enrollment: 12th
Interests: Soccer, basketball. He is interested in learning to play American football.
Please feel free to visit our website at www.ocean-intl.org for more information. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail (info@ocean-intl.org) or by phone at 1-888-996-2326, Ext. 5. Thank you for your time.
Sincerely,
Laura
Special Services Director

OCEAN
2101 E. Broadway Road, Suite 6
Tempe, AZ 85282-1735
Phone: (480) 907-7285 Fax: (480) 907-7526
Toll-Free: 1-888-996-2326
Website: www.ocean-intl.org
E-mail: LStahl@ocean-intl.org

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