The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

New Vegan Restaurants in U.S. & Canada Added to our Restaurant Guide

Posted on February 21, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

Check out these vegan restaurants that were just added to our online restaurant guide. Interested in finding restaurants in your area? See our complete Restaurant Guide at vrg.org/restaurant

3 Potato 4
Website
2727 S. Broad Ave., New Orleans, LA 70125
(504) 298-7761

Vegan/organic/fast food. 3 Potato 4 is a small franchise offering potato-based (only organic potatoes are used) fast food. Choose your potato (russet, redskin, or sweet), pick your size, add a sauce (like bbq or curry ketchup), and then, if you’d like, add an extra such as vegan bacon bits. Their fries are baked not fried or cooked in oil, and they only use sea salt. They also offer soups, chili, chocolate frozen bananas, natural drinks, and organic coffee. 3 Potato 4 New Orleans is completely vegan, including the sauces. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Counter service, take-out, VISA/MC/DISC, $.

Echo
Website
255 W. Washington St., Athens, GA 30601
(706) 548-2266

Vegan/natural foods/bar. Echo is a vegan restaurant and bar in downtown Athens. Enjoy delicious foods like their Chickpea & Sweet Potato Burger, Macaroni & No Cheese, Lentil Loaf, or BBQ Plate (marinated jackfruit). Don’t miss their terrific daily specials listed on the blackboard. Live music is featured frequently and their outdoor patio is cozy with white lights strung above the tables. Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Open Sunday for brunch. Full service, take-out, catering, espresso/cappuccino, beer/wine/alcohol, VISA/MC/AMEX/DISC, $-$$.

Healthy Junk
Website
201 W. Center Street Promenade, Unit B, Anaheim, CA 92805
(714) 772-5865

Vegan/fast food. Healthy Junk offers an all-vegan menu of burgers, flat bread pizzas, salads, and snacks. All “meats” referenced on the menu are vegan, and they have their own non-dairy cheese called chez. Try the Anaheim Chili Burger, Philly Chez Stake, No Fish ‘N Chips, or Curly Yam Fries. They offer a small selection of freshly squeezed juices as well. The eatery is located in the Good Food Hall food court within Center Street Promenade. Outdoor seating is available. Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Closed Sunday. Counter service, take-out, catering, fresh juices, VISA/MC, $.

Indigo Food Café
Website
2589 W16 Ave., Vancouver, BC V6K 3B9
(604) 537-7288

Vegan/raw foods/organic. Indigo Food Café serves gourmet vegan raw foods that are wheat- and sugar-free. Tasty menu items include Carrot-Curry Soup, Ukrainian Perogies, Raw Pizza, Collard Roll-ups, and Russian Borscht. They offer many raw foods cooking classes along with catering services. Indigo features live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights, which is why they suggest reservations for those evenings. Outdoor seating is available. Open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Closed Sunday and Monday. Full service, take-out, delivery, catering, fresh juices, smoothies, special beverages, VISA/MC, $-$$.

Raw
Website
131 N. Clinton St., Ste. 7, Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 831-2729
51 W. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 664-2729

Vegan/raw foods/organic. If you’re looking for a cutting-edge vegan raw foods menu with an array of spreads, salads, and entrées to entertain your taste buds, you will love Raw! Featuring all organic ingredients, creative selections include mock egg salad (made with coconut meat), collard burrito, sweet potato pancake, and chili croquettes. Additionally, Raw offers raw food prep classes along with a small retail section. Please note that Raw on Clinton is for take-out only as they are a food vendor located at the Chicago French Market. The location on Huron does offer limited seating and is open daily for three meals. Open Monday through Saturday for three meals. Closed Sunday. Counter service, take-out, delivery, catering, fresh juices, smoothies, VISA/MC/AMEX/DISC, $-$$.

FARM’s Annual Meatout – March 20, 2014

Posted on February 21, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

Since 1985, Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) has hosted an internationally celebrated Meatout each Spring. On March 20th, activists host a variety of outreach events to educate the public about the many benefits of a vegan lifestyle and encourage people to pledge to go vegan for one day, one day per week, or everyday.

This year, organizing an event in honor of Meatout is easier than ever with an outreach grant from VegFund. VegFund supports vegan advocates “by funding pre-approved vegan food samples, serving supplies, educational literature, and booth fees for suitable events” (“Food Sampling“). Better yet, VegFund recently partnered with Beyond Meat to bring activists tasty new products to distribute!

Please join FARM and vegan advocates around the world on March 20, 2014 for the annual Meatout! The last date to submit an application for a VegFund grant to support your Meatout event is March 17, 2014.

Courtesy of meatout.org

To learn more about FARM’s 2014 Meatout visit meatout.org
If you would like to apply for a VegFund grant please visit vegfund.org

Introducing Veggie Burgers at Youth Sports Tournaments

Posted on February 19, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

My sons’ rugby club hosted an annual multi-county tournament.
The club was responsible for providing food and drinks at a concession
stand. As a vegetarian parent, I suggested to their coach that veggie
burgers would be a healthy alternative to the typical hamburgers and hot
dogs that my own sons wouldn’t eat. He agreed.

Not knowing how well veggie burgers would sell at a rugby tournament, I
supplied twenty-four patties. Twenty sold the first day. The second day
when the teenagers played, all sold within the first two hours. We’ll
know to have more on hand next time!

As a parent volunteer working the cash box, I acknowledged each person
who purchased a veggie burger and expressed thanks for their support.
Several people were relieved that finally the vegetarian in their family
truly felt accommodated at an event where typically only meat products
are on the menu. A few stated health reasons for their selection and one
person just wanted a change from meat. I encountered absolutely no
hostility, dislike nor sarcasm from anyone regarding the non-meat menu
listing.

I encourage vegetarian parents to suggest vegetarian or vegan
alternatives at similar events. You will probably be happily surprised
by the results. Now on to my children’s lacrosse and soccer events!

To support The Vegetarian Resource Group research and outreach, donate at
https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565

Tropical Smoothie Café Offers Beyond Meat®

Posted on February 17, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

Since Spring 2013 Tropical Smoothie Café (TSC) offers all-vegetable Beyond Meat®, a plant protein made primarily of pea and soy protein in any food item including wraps, sandwiches, flatbreads, and salads. TSC has over 300 locations in 36 states. According to Beyond Meat® founder Ethan Brown, TSC is the first national chain of its size to offer Beyond Meat®.

The VRG asked TSC in July through December 2013 to tell us more about the ingredients in several menu offerings where Beyond Meat® could be served. TSC’s nutritional consultant told us via TSC’s public relations firm that she had used our Guide to Food Ingredients to classify TSC ingredients. The public relations firm supplied us with the following information about three menu items.

In the Turkey Guacamole™ the guacamole is all-vegetable. The nine-grain bread contains honey and is “manufactured in a facility that uses milk and eggs.”

The flatbread in the Chicken Pesto™ contains no egg, dairy, honey or other animal ingredients. The pesto contains dairy. The cheeses may be left off of this menu option when ordering. The VRG was informed that “[There is] no animal rennet in the cheese [at TSC].”

Vegetarians and vegans may be interested in ordering TSC’s Hummus Veggie™. The hummus in the Hummus Veggie™ “is completely vegan; no animal products used.” The garlic herb tortilla does not contain any egg, dairy, honey, or other animal ingredients. The pepper Jack cheese is not made with animal rennet. This wrap can be ordered without cheese when requested. The rice may contain dairy depending on the supplier. The rice, like any ingredient at TSC, may be left off of a menu item when requested before ordering. The black beans do not contain animal flavors or animal ingredients. The salsa appears to be all-vegetable although The VRG did not receive confirmation from TSC on the salsa so concerned diners may wish to confirm this before ordering.

We were informed by the public relations firm that the nutritional consultant at TSC “…is working on defining all of the ingredients in all of the menu items…I am sure [TSC] will eventually make this information available for anyone who asks about something when they are ordering, so…patrons will get what they want.”

According to the Tropical Smoothie nutritional consultant: “For clarification, on the TSC menu all items categorized as vegan are completely animal free, no animal byproducts. Menu items categorized as vegetarian may contain honey, milk, eggs, or yeast and if they do contain these items, they will be indicated as such.”

The VRG also learned that the bagel and ciabatta served at TSC contain no dairy, egg, or honey.

In response to our question about TSC smoothies, The VRG was informed through TSC’s public relations firm that “…ingredients in the recipe (i.e. soy, whey, or turbinado) can be removed in any of our smoothies upon customer request. A full list of ingredients for our smoothies is available at each Café to help consumers determine the best option for their dietary needs.”

Readers interested in learning more about Beyond Meat® may visit their website: http://beyondmeat.com
A Tropical Smoothie Café store locator may be found here: https://order.tropicalsmoothie.com/#content=/Restaurant/Search

The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including The 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 employees or company statements. Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.

For more information on fast food and quick casual restaurant chains
visit The VRG website: http://www.vrg.org/fastfoodinfo.php

For updates on all kinds of vegetarian- and vegan-related topics, please
subscribe to our free e-newsletter: http://www.vrg.org/vrgnews/

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Updated 2014 Edition of Vegan Guide to Leather Alternatives is now available!

Posted on February 12, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

Have you ever wondered where to buy vegan “leather” gloves or handbags? How about speed skates or guitar straps? Maybe you just can’t seem to find the perfect hiking boots. No matter what vegan “leather” product you are looking for, VRG’s updated Vegan Guide to Leather Alternatives has got you covered!

This helpful guide produced by The Vegetarian Resource Group lists both stores and online businesses offering just about any non-leather item you could possibly think of! The guide includes casual and dress shoes, hiking boots, work boots, ballet shoes, rock climbing shoes, speed skates, laptop and iPad carrying bags, iPod and cell phone holders, hand drums, guitar straps, tool belts, musical instrument cases, motorcycle gear, camera straps, briefcases, and much more. Better yet, all of this information is available to you free of cost on our website! Check out the 2014 Edition of VRG’s Vegan Guide to Leather Alternatives at http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/leather.php and be sure to support the all-vegan companies!

We are also offering a physical copy of the updated Vegan Guide to Leather Alternatives for $6 in our online catalog.

Issue 4 2013 of The Vegetarian Journal is now posted!

Posted on February 12, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

From Chipotle-Citrus Tofu to Tangerine Dream Cake- VRG has 10 new ways for you to use citrus in your kitchen! You can find the article Citrus Magic as well as Dietitians and Vegetarianism, Thanksgiving Gone Deliciously Vegan and a write-up on The Vegetarian Resource Group’s 2013 scholarship winners, plus much more in the newest posted issue of The Vegetarian Journal.


veg journal image

If you would like to see other archived issues of The Vegetarian Journal, please go to http://www.vrg.org/journal/

VRG’s 2014 College Scholarship Application Deadline: February 20, 2014

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

Each year, VRG awards two $5,000 college scholarships to young vegetarian/vegan activists. The deadline for VRG’s 2014 College Scholarships is February 20, 2014. High School Seniors that have been promoting the veggie lifestyle in their neighborhood and/or school on an ongoing basis are encouraged to apply.

If you are a young veggie activist, this is an opportunity that you don’t not want to miss!

For more information and application see: http://www.vrg.org/student/scholar.htm

If you would like to learn more about our past scholarship winners, check out these articles from The Vegetarian Journal:
Greta Lorenz – 2013
Amory Fischer - 2013

Food-Grade Calcium Phosphates: “Mineral Source” State Major Manufacturers and Distributors

Posted on January 27, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

An online reader emailed The VRG that he had seen an article on the Internet stating that tricalcium phosphate could be derived from cow bone char. Another source we found made the same point. The reader asked if our Guide to Food Ingredients’ vegan classification for this compound needed to be revised in light of this information.

Food-Grade Calcium Phosphates
“Calcium phosphate” is the general name for a class of compounds containing one or more calcium and phosphate ions.

The form with three calcium ions (tricalcium phosphate or tribasic calcium phosphate) is commonly used as an anti-caking agent or nutritional supplement.

The form with one hydrogen ion attached in the phosphate group (dicalcium phosphate or dibasic calcium phosphate) is often used as a dough conditioner. It is frequently used in growth media (for fermentation-derived ingredients) and nutritional supplements.

The form with two hydrogen ions attached in the phosphate group (monocalcium phosphate or monobasic calcium phosphate) is often used as a leavening agent, dough conditioner, or firming agent. It may also frequently be used in growth media (for fermentation-derived ingredients) and nutritional supplements.

Phosphate Manufacturers and Distributors
The VRG contacted major manufacturers and several distributors of calcium phosphate compounds in December 2013 and January 2014.

A Technical Services employee of major manufacturer Prayon wrote to us that: “Our phosphate salts are produced using raw materials of mineral origin. They are suitable for vegan products.”

In a follow up email from Prayon Technical Services we learned that: “All of Prayon raw materials are of mineral origin. Tricalcium phosphate rock is mined from the earth. The rock is crushed and purified to form phosphoric acid, which may be reacted with alkali salts to produce purified phosphate salts.”

Prayon only manufactures phosphate salts for food/pet food use, pharmaceutical excipients, and industrial and horticulture applications.

Suqian Modern Chemical Co., Ltd. in China also manufactures phosphates of various types. The VRG was informed by emails from a Suqian sales manager that: “We can supply both calcium phosphates from bone ash and calcium phosphates from mineral rock… There is no calcium phosphate from bone [that is] food grade; only feed grade. We sell calcium phosphate mineral food grade…”

UK-based Fertecon Ltd. a leader in the global fertilizer industry states on its website that “Phosphate rock is the basic raw material of the phosphate fertilizer industry…” http://fertecon.agra-net.com/home/phosphate

The VRG also contacted the multinational chemical distribution company Brenntag. A long-time employee told us by phone that “all of the major manufacturers that we distribute for use phosphate rock…for human food- and for animal feed-grade.”

Prinova, another global chemical distribution company, told us by email that “Ours are all sourced from phosphate rock” when The VRG asked if they distributed any from bone ash.

California-based chemical distributor Wintersun Chemical confirmed that all of their phosphates are mineral-derived.

Freeda Vitamins told us by phone that “According to the information we have from the company we buy the calcium phosphate powder from, the source is natural minerals.”

Calcium Source in Calcium Phosphates
The VRG asked Prayon and Suqian Modern Chemical about their sources of
the calcium in all of their calcium phosphate products.A Technical
Services employee at Prayon told us by phone that “Our calcium
phosphates are manufactured using calcium oxide (lime) as a raw
material.” An employee of Suqian wrote to us that their calcium source
“…is all from long-ago mineralized plant and animal material that we now
call ‘rock.’”

We asked Prayon and Suqian if their calcium source could ever be derived from cow’s milk or oyster shell. (The latter may be used as a source for calcium carbonate which could be involved in chemical reactions to form the calcium phosphates.) Both companies told us that cow’s milk or oyster shell could never be used as their calcium source.

Historical Endnote
Sources of Phosphates Information on the discovery of phosphorus from urine and how it was obtained for commercial purposes over time can be found in Weeks’ The Discovery of the Elements. Using this and other sources, Peter Childs in his article titled “Phosphorus: Fire from Urine” elaborates on the animal sources of phosphorus:

Bone ash became the major source of phosphorus until the 1840s. Phosphate rock, a mineral containing calcium phosphate, was first used in 1850 and following the introduction of the electric arc furnace in 1890 this became the only source of phosphorus. Phosphorus, phosphates and phosphoric acid are still obtained from phosphate rock.

Another website providing information about the historical sources of phosphorus is located at: http://www.phosphatesfacts.org/faqs.asp

The writer observed during research for this article that bone ash-derived calcium triphosphate is available for purchase on eBay: It is described there as a lab chemical that can be used to make ceramics, as plant food or as fertilizer.

The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including the 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 employees or company statements.Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.

For more information on vitamins, sweeteners, and other food ingredients as well as the processing methods used to make them, visit http://www.vrg.org/ingredients/index.php. You can also purchase a print version for $6.

Sarku Japan® Menu Options for Vegetarians and Vegans

Posted on January 23, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

Since 1987 with over 250 locations in 37 states, Sarku Japan® is the largest quick service Japanese restaurant chain in the United States. It was the first to offer made-to-order Japanese dishes known as Teppanyaki in shopping mall food courts and similar locations. In 2003 the chain opened its first traditional Japanese-style sushi bars most often as kiosks and known as Sarku Japan® Sushi Bar. Since 2008, Sarku Japan® opened store-front restaurants called Sarku Japan Teriyaki and Sushi Express® that also offer a catering menu. Other Sarku Japan® family brands include Ming Tree® (Chinese) and Kato’s Cajun® (Cajun-Asian).

The VRG spoke in August 2013 with two members of the Sarku Japan® staff headquartered in Ontario, Canada. We learned that a signature entrée still listed on the website menu as “Vegetarian D’Lite” has been renamed as “Vegetable D’Lite.” It contains carrots, broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms and steamed white rice. The steamed rice has not been prepared with meat products. The teriyaki sauce served with this dish “is cooked with chicken bones” according to a staff member at Sarku Japan®. Vegetable D’Lite may be ordered without the sauce. Vegetable D’Lite is offered at Sarku Japan® food court locations.

In approximately 10-15 locations Vegetable D’Lite may be offered as “Vegetable & Tofu Teriyaki” which is made with the same sauce used in the Vegetable D’Lite dish. Vegetable & Tofu Teriyaki may also be ordered without the sauce. Patrons may ask if there is an all-vegetable sauce available; a few locations may be able to accommodate those who request it. Vegetable & Tofu Teriyaki may be ordered with steamed rice, fried rice, or noodles. The fried rice contains meat. The noodles contain egg.

Tofu in the Vegetable & Tofu Teriyaki is deep-fried. Staff members told us that meat products are not prepared along with vegetable ingredients although some contact may occur. Because of the possible contact between meat and non-meat ingredients, the staff emphasized that no dish at any Sarku Japan® should be considered vegan. The VRG was informed that there is a sign posted at all locations stating that patrons with any “dietary concerns” should request more information about specific menu items from restaurant staff before ordering.

“Vegetarian Soba” offered at Sarku Japan® food court locations is made with egg noodles according to staff members at the restaurant chain.

The Sarku Japan® Sushi Bar menu offers a “Vegetarian Zen” plate consisting of sushi rolls made to order. A Zen roll is made of a tofu skin and sushi (i.e., steamed) rice on the inside. Vegetable rolls offered include cucumber and/or avocado. They may be prepared with other vegetables and/or rice. Since the rolls are made to order, patrons may communicate directly with the chef regarding how the rolls are prepared and what they contain.

The Sarku Japan Teriyaki and Sushi Express® offers dumplings which contain chicken.

More information on the menu items at all Sarku Japan’s® locations may be viewed at: http://www.sarkujapan.com/. A restaurant locator is available on the website.

The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including the 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 employees or company statements.Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.

For updates on menu items and ingredients at fast food and quick service chains, view The VRG’s website here: http://www.vrg.org/fastfoodinfo.php

VRG Benefit at Great Sage in Clarksvillle, MD on 1/19

Posted on January 08, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

On January 19, 2014, Great Sage restaurant in Clarksville, Maryland, will be donating 10% of sales to us! Support our outreach while socializing and enjoying great vegan food.

Brunch is 10am-3pm with specialty pancakes, biscuits and gravy, tofu quiche and much more. Lite fare is 3-5pm. Dinner is 5-9 pm.

Reservations for parties of 5 or more can be made by calling Great Sage at (443) 535-9400.

This is not a group gathering, but if you come during brunch, please do stop by and say hi to our new volunteer coordinator Nina Casalena.

For more information on Great Sage, see http://greatsage.com/.

Hope to see you there!

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