The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog


Posted on September 03, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

On Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 6 pm, The Vegetarian Resource Group will host a dinner gathering in Nashville, TN at Sitar Indian Cuisine.

Network with Vegetarian Resource Group staff, volunteers, and other dietitians from around the country during the annual meeting of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dietitians, VRG members, students, and the public are invited. Location is near the Lowes Vanderbilt, a FNCE (conference) hotel.

Samosa (potato and pea turnover)
Papadum (thin and crispy lentil crackers)
Roti (whole wheat bread)
Rice, Tea
Yellow Dal (lentils)
Chana Masala (chickpeas)
Baingan Bhurtha (eggplant)
Bhindi Masala (okra)
Vegetable Patia (fresh vegetables with sweet and sour mangoes)

Payment before September 5, 2015: $25
Payment after September 5, 2015: $30

Refunds only made if we can replace your seat.

To pay, send to The Vegetarian Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203, call (410) 366-8343 Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, or go to and write in the comments Nashville Indian dinner and names of attendees.

The Versatile Vegan Cauliflower

Posted on September 02, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor


Look no further for creative dishes highlighting cauliflower. Dina Gharib’s article in the latest issue of Vegetarian Journal provides recipes for Pineapple Cauliflower Fried “Rice,” Cauliflower Crust Pizza, and Creamy Cauliflower Soup.

The entire article can be found here:

To subscribe to Vegetarian Journal go to:


Posted on September 02, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

Support The Vegetarian Resource Group while enjoying your favorite vegan dishes from Great Sage! On September 27, Great Sage in Clarksville, MD will be generously donating 10% of the day’s proceeds to VRG.

You can check out Great Sage’s amazing all-vegan menu here:

Great Sage’s Decadent Cinnamon Role. Photo courtesy of

Great Sage is located at:
5809 Clarksville Square Drive, Clarksville, MD 21029 and open from 10am-9pm on Sunday.

Although this will not be a formal group gathering, our Outreach Coordinator, Nina, and other VRG volunteers will be available during brunch hours (10am-3pm) to answer any questions you may have or to just chat! We will also have copies of the Vegetarian Journal and literature available for you to take home. We look forward to seeing you and thank you in advance for your support!

For more information see:

Calcium Stearate

Posted on September 01, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

Alternate Names: calcium octadecanoate; octadecanoic acid, calcium salt; stearic acid, calcium salt; calcium distearate; E470a

Commercial Source: mineral-plant

Used in: dry mixes, spices, salt, snack foods, confections, pastries, chewing gum, yeast, dietary supplements

Used as: anti-caking agent, binder, emulsifier, lubricant, release agent, flavoring additive, stabilizer, thickener

Definition: Calcium stearate formed from a reaction between a calcium-containing compound and either a stearate-containing compound or stearic acid is often used as an anti-caking agent in food or as a release agent or lubricant in pharmaceuticals and confections. Many non-food industries such as personal care, construction and paper also use calcium stearate.


Email reply: “Our vegetable-based calcium…stearate is made from palm oil.” Phone response: Food grade vegetable-based calcium stearate is “typically the industry standard” today.

(vegetable source listed by clicking on number to the left of chemical name under list titled “Stearate Products”)

Silver Fern told The VRG on the phone that “…the standard today is vegetable-based [stearates] especially for food use.”

A Seidler Chemical employee told The VRG that “in all of the pharmaceutical industry no one wants tallow-based calcium stearate…I haven’t received a call for [tallow-based calcium stearate] in years for pharmaceuticals or food.”

Looking at sales data from 2007 to the present, a Brenntag Specialties employee said that “almost all” or “a big majority” of all calcium stearate sold was vegetable-based although they do carry a food grade, tallow-based calcium stearate.

A Brenntag NE employee told The VRG that a food-grade, tallow-based calcium stearate “is not sold anymore…” (enter “calcium stearate”; click on Dietary Statement PDF in the bottom right corner for a vegan declaration)

An employee emailed The VRG that their calcium stearate has “no animal involved.”

An employee emailed The VRG that “…our food grade calcium stearate is from plant fat, not animal fat.”

This Indian company sells food grade calcium stearate derived from “edible tallow.”

Additional Information:

(paragraph 12 in section titled Description and throughout section titled Materials and Methods)

Classification: Vegan* Although it is possible to derive calcium stearate from animal fats, it is not standard practice today in the food industry and no examples of tallow-derived calcium stearate in foods or pharmaceuticals are known.

Entry Updated: August 2015

For information about more ingredients, see

To support The Vegetarian Resource Group research, donate at

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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 judgement about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

Looking for Vegan Gymnastics Grips

Posted on September 01, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group received the note below and was wondering if anyone has suggestions. If you know about the existence of vegan gymnastic grips, please send the information to

Hello! I’ve seen numerous posts with an inquiry about vegan gymnastics grips and was wondering if you ever found a solution? We’re a vegan family with two daughters in gymnastics with
the same concerns as you. Any insights would be GREATLY appreciated!
Thank you, Jean Davis

Vegan Restaurants Added to The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Online Guide to Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in the USA

Posted on August 28, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

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:

3 Brothers Vegan Café
1038 Montauk Hwy.
Copiague, NY 11726

Features appetizers, pastas, entrees, and wood fired pizzas including Buffalo Cauliflower, Polenta Fries, Fried Mac n’ Cheese Balls, Kale Caesar Salad, Baked Ziti, Manicotti, Seitan Parmesan, BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Pizza, and so much more, They make all of their cheeses such as fresh cashew mozzarella, cashew milk cheddar, cashew parmesan, macadamia feta, cashew tofu ricotta, cashew bleu cheese, and more! They also make their own desserts.

3001 Charlotte Ave.
OneC1TY (Suite 200)
Nashville, TN 37209

Despite its name, AVO isn’t just for avocado lovers; it’s perfect for anyone looking for a nutritious, and more importantly, delicious meal in Nashville! This organic restaurant features a wide a variety of vegan menu options including salads, cocktails, warm entrees, and even their popular pizza made with a sprouted crust topped with hemp seeds! Also, enjoy terrific desserts! At AVO, your appetite will be satiated.

Bar Bombón
133 S. 18th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103

This small Latin-cuisine bar serves side dishes including Rellenos, Yuca, Empanadas, Platanos, Salsa, and Guacamole. Their tacos can be made with vegan chick’n, tofu, chorizo, and other items. You can also enjoy soups, burritos, enchiladas, and more.

185 Bleecker St.
New York, NY 10012

Located in the West Village section of NYC and near New York University and Washington Square, by CHLOE serves up wide variety of vegan dishes including Daily Pancake, Mom’s Cinnamon Roll, Quinoa Hash Browns, Spicy Thai Salad, Quinoa Taco Salad, Whiskey Barbecue Burger, The Guac Burger, Air Baked French Fries, Mac n’ Cheese, Avocado Pesto Pasta, vegan ice cream, cold-pressed juices, and a variety of baked goods.

1358 Vine St.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Want some Latin spice in your life? Skip Taco Bell and come to Chavela! This plant based restaurant goes beyond just tacos and burritos. Here you will find vegan spins on classic South American favorites such as their quinoa and fresh corn polenta, mole verde enchilada, gluten-free chipotle mac-n cheese, and cauliflower steak. This restaurant is known for their exotic drink menu. Fun fact, the restaurant is named after “Chavelas,” Peruvian style sangrias!

155 E Morse Blvd.
Winter Park, FL 32789

Enjoy a wide variety of vegan cuisine including dishes such as Beet and Apple Salad, Stuffed Shells, Raw Lasagna, Walnut Crusted Seitan, Key Lime Tart, and more. They make their own vegan cheese and seitan as well.

Fruits & Roots
724 S. Colorado Ave.
Stuart, FL 34994

With a focus on organic and locally produced plant foods, you can enjoy dining on cold press juices, vegan milks, smoothies, bagel sandwiches, oat bowls, flatbreads, sandwiches, salads, and more. They also offer a kid’s menu.

The Garden Juicery
Scotch Pines Village
2601 South Lemay Ave. Ste. 9
Fort Collins, CO 80525

Enjoy cold press juices, smoothies, nut milks, and raw food items such as Kale Chips, Garden Crackers, Super Greens, The Garden Caesar, and Call Me Cheesecake.

Greens and Grains
1600 New Rd.
Northfield, NJ 08225
7307 Ventnor Ave.
Ventnor, NJ 08406

Founded by the loving duo, Nicole and Lambros, that believe in the importance of a plant-based lifestyle, Greens and Grains banishes the misconception that no meat means no flavor. Their menu features a variety of vegan style favorites like meatless meatballs, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, nutritious smoothies, and so much more!

Sandy’s Raw Food Juice Bar
3602 W Rogers Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21215

Enjoy fresh juices, smoothies, and raw dishes such as lasagna, pizza, burgers, nut meatball sub, kale chips, frozen banana whip, and more.

148 Weaverville Rd.
Asheville, NC 28804

They offer both delivery and take-out service. Menu varies; however, items have included Vegan Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Dish, Stuffed Peppers, Enchiladas, burgers, Fried Rice, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, Cinnamon Rolls, and more.

Warm Weather Salads for Upcoming Labor Day Gatherings

Posted on August 28, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

Friends, family, and your neighbors will enjoy warm weather salad recipes from Debra Daniels-Zeller in the most recent issue of Vegetarian Journal including Shiitake Mushroom Quinoa and Greens with Toasted Cashews, Greens with New Potatoes and Kidney Beans, Spinach and Bean Salad with Mustard Croutons, Lime-Infused Black Bean, Corn, and Tomato Salad, 3-Bean Salad with Sweet Onions and Arugula, Soba Noodles with Marinated Tofu and Baby Kale, and Grilled Vegetable Salad with Lemon-Cashew Dressing. Garnish suggestions are also included!

The complete article can be found here:

To subscribe to Vegetarian Journal visit:

Vegan Chinese Food

Posted on August 27, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

By Emily Li

Growing up in a Chinese family in America, I always felt a certain degree of embarrassment regarding my Chinese heritage. I hated celebrating Chinese holidays, eating Chinese food and, most of all, speaking Chinese. I wanted to Americanize as much as I could of myself and distance my identity from my ancestors. It wasn’t until I moved to China when I realized just how silly I was. Only when I started to accept my background as a part of me had I truly begun to understand the roots of my culture and appreciate the richness and diversity of it.

As with any culture, food is an essential aspect in China. One of my favorite staples, besides rice, is mantou or steamed bun. Mantou, similar to Western bread but lighter and airier, is a staple in northern China, whereas rice is the staple of southern China. Mantou is made of just flour, water and yeast and steamed until it is big and fluffy. It is served alongside vegetable dishes, dipped in soup or even eaten plain! My favorite variation of mantou is adding in a bit of fresh pumpkin, which adds a hint of sweetness as well as a beautiful tinge of orange.

Youtiao, deep fried dough, drenched in doujiang, soymilk, was a childhood pastime for me. With a similar texture as a cruller, youtiao is a golden crunchy stick, but the dough typically does not contain any milk or eggs. It may sometimes be fried in animal fat, so be sure to ask what kind of oil they use. While this isn’t the most nutritious way to start off your morning, this combination is typically eaten as a quick breakfast meal.

In China, holidays are usually synonymous with lots of food. During Chinese New Year, large family reunions are a must. Whether celebrating the holidays at home or at a restaurant, there will always be a table full of food. A favorite dessert of mine is Tangyuan, small glutinous rice balls filled with sesame paste in a sweet soup. Eaten on the Lantern Festival, the last day of Chinese New Year, Tangyuan symbolizes the reunion of families, happiness and good fortune. The white balls bear some resemblance to a full moon, hence why it is eaten on the first full moon of the year. While Tangyuan is traditionally filled with black sesame seeds, you can easily find or replace the fillings with ones of your choice, such as red bean paste, peanut sauce, or even plain sugar. In some restaurants and pre-packaged tangyuan, they may use animal lard in the filling, so always double-check the ingredients before indulging.

Another one of my absolute favorite sweet treats is Zongzi, eaten on Duanwu Festival, also known as Dragon Boat Festival. When opening the triangular shaped Zongzi, which is wrapped in a bamboo leaf packet, you’ll find a dense layer of sticky glutinous rice covering the inner filling. The fillings vary from sweet to savory depending on where you are in China. In Beijing, jujube dates and red bean paste are traditionally used. Traditionally, no animal products will be used when making this dish.

My last favorite is another sweet dish: lotus root stuffed with glutinous rice and guihua (osmanthus) syrup. When served, the lotus root is sliced into thick slices with small rounds of sweet sticky rice and drizzles of guihua syrup. Since guihua syrup is not that common, some restaurants may use honey instead, so don’t be afraid to ask the restaurant to leave out the honey. This dish is truly delectable, and is a must-try when in China.

Emily Li is a Vegetarian Resource Group volunteer living in China.

My Internship with The Vegetarian Resource Group

Posted on August 27, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

By Anne Custer

My two month internship with the Vegetarian Resource Group has been a rewarding, educational experience. My first day on the job, I was generously given many books and pieces of literature all about veganism and educated on the definition and objective of a non-profit organization. This truly set the tone of my internship and I was anxious to get started and learn all I could.

I appreciate the freedom and consideration given here in the office. When I told Charles my short and long term goals, he gave me assignments based on my interests, skills, and what I want to do. I want to volunteer abroad through the Peace Corps and I was able to interview a past intern on her experience eating vegan while volunteering in China, Nepal, and Egypt, just to name a few. I want to spend part of a summer working on a vegetable farm so I was given another previous intern’s contact information who worked in Hawaii through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF). After interviewing both Yasmin and Devlyn, I was able to write articles about these topics.

I posted on the blog about vegan options at SaladWorks, reviewed restaurants such as Ipanema Café in Richmond, VA and Liquid Earth Café in Baltimore, MD, and wrote answers to Teen FAQs based on my own experiences. My other projects included working on our retention survey with fellow intern, Ivy, reviewing new vegan products for the Veggie Bit section of the Vegetarian Journal, and creating questions for our online vegetarian game. As a future dietitian, I was given the opportunity to interview Molly McBride, RD for Veggie Action which spawned a new piece on “How to Become a Corporate Dietitian.” I even got to translate an article about Raw Southwestern Cuisine into Spanish due to my interest and background in the language. The main project I worked on was compiling nutrition information about different faux meats on the market and analyzing the data to come up with product charts for each type and brand of vegan meat. I wrote a comprehensive article about these substitutes including the nutrition and ingredient information as well as helpful comparison to meat.

While not in the office, I worked booths at the Richmond Vegetarian Festival and the Animal Rights Conference. This is where I could connect with fellow vegans, activists, and attendees answering questions, providing resources, and chatting about our shared experiences. These outreach experiences provided the opportunity to expand my knowledge of veganism and the interrelated issues of environment and animal rights.

I cannot thank the dedicated staff here at VRG enough. The work they are doing for the movement is truly incredible and I am grateful to be a small part of it. I was assigned tasks that directly related to my future career and life goals which is an irreplaceable opportunity. Seeing my work published online and in the Vegetarian Journal and being able to provide those resource to others is truly rewarding. I encourage any one who is interested in doing an internship to email stating your information and interest and apply! You will be met with welcome arms and people who want you to succeed.

For more information on internship and volunteer opportunities, visit:

How do you respond to “You know you aren’t going to change anything, right?”

Posted on August 26, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

By Anne Custer

Shortly after my transition into veganism, I was eating lunch with some
girls from my English class. Unexpectedly, one of them turned to me and
said, “You know you aren’t going to change anything right?” The uncalled
for comment made my head spin, but as a meek high schooler, I just
sighed to myself and went back to eating my hummus.

Now that I’ve had a tad more life experience (2 years) I can say that I
feel bad for that girl. She has little to no belief in herself or her
capability to enact social change as a human being. I know I will not
convert everyone I meet to being/becoming a vegan, but knowing that I
am not contributing to the cruelty and suffering animals endure for
unnecessary means is enough for me. Animals are innocent creatures and
we tirelessly abuse them for food, clothing, and entertainment, which
are all things we can and should get elsewhere. They don’t have a voice
to speak out to the cruelty being done against them, so someone has to
advocate for them.

My feeling is if everyone thought they couldn’t change anything, nothing
would ever get done. If you aren’t passionate or you don’t care about
anything, then you likely aren’t going to go out of your way to change
something. Too many things need changing in this world for anyone to be
an apathetic bystander. If I could go back to that moment, I would say,
“No, I don’t know that I am not going to change anything, because I am.”
The way she phrased the question was almost a trap for me to fall into.
She didn’t give me the option to say what I was doing to make change or
explain myself. She put that lie into my head that I wasn’t capable of
changing anything. It left me feeling defeated, but then I did some
research. Raising livestock is one of the leading contributors to global
warming. By not eating meat for five years, I have reduced my carbon
footprint and expanded my knowledge about the environment and respect
for our Earth. I have spared countless animals from being consumed,
become more aware about animal rights, and even inspired people to give
veganism a try.

My passion for justice for humans and animals drives me to be an
advocate and desire to see and enact change. One of my favorite quotes
says, “I alone cannot change the world but I can cast a stone across the
waters to create many ripples.” Don’t let small-minded, apathetic people
steal your passion; find something you care about and run with it. Find
people that are fighting the same fight and do something! Don’t be
afraid to talk to others about it either. Your efforts could just be the
stone that sets off a chain reaction.

For more resources on how to be an advocate, go to:

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