The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

&Pizza in Washington DC/MD/VA Area Clearly Labels Vegan Items on Menu

Posted on February 10, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group recently received the following note:

We live in Springfield, VA. The Springfield Town Center has reopened recently and has a new place called & Pizza. It works on the order of Chipotle. You go through a line and pick out any and everything you want on your pizza. It’s the same price no matter how many items. The menu clearly labels every vegan item on the menu (Diaya cheese included). Here’s there website where you can view the menu: The staff at our location was very knowledgeable about the vegetarian and vegan items.
– Sally & Larry

Mellow Mushroom Releases New Vegan Menu

Posted on February 06, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers has introduced a new Vegan Favorites menu featuring Daiya dairy-free vegan cheese and a gluten-free crust made with ancient grains. The new selections will be available alongside Mellow Mushroom’s original-style vegan crust and both crusts will be available with the signature Mega-Veggie Pizza, Thai Dye Pizza, and Gluten-Free Veg Out Pizza.

Featured vegan offerings also include vegan pretzels, hummus, greek salad, spinach salad, the house calzone, and three types of hoagies. Beginning February, The Vegan Favorites menu will be available at over 170 Mellow Mushroom locations nationwide.
New menu items include:

Pretzels – Fresh Mellow dough twisted into pretzels – ask for no butter or Parmesan.

Hummus – Creamy hummus garnished with paprika, basil and olive oil. Served with veggies.

Greek Salad – Romaine and iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, red cabbage, onions, cucumbers, green peppers, mushrooms, Kalamata olives, Roma tomatoes, pepperoncini and banana peppers. Ask for no feta.

Enlightened Spinach Salad – Fresh spinach topped with dried cherries, apples and homemade candied pecans. Ask for no feta.

Mega–Veggie Pizza – Red sauce base, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives, Roma tomatoes, broccoli, banana peppers, artichoke hearts and tofu. Ask for no feta.

Thai Dye Pizza – Olive oil and garlic base, Roma tomatoes, onions. Topped with fresh basil, cucumbers, curry tofu and a sweet swirl of Thai chili sauce.

Gluten Free Veg Out Pizza – Red sauce base, spinach, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives and tomatoes.

House Calzone – Spinach, mushrooms and Roma tomatoes.

Avocado Hoagie – Seasoned avocado, onions, lettuce and Roma tomatoes, topped with sprouts. Served on a vegan hoagie, ask for no mayo and substitute Daiya for provolone.

Tofu Hoagie – Grilled onions, mushrooms and green peppers with teriyaki-marinated tofu topped with sprouts. Served with lettuce and tomato. Served on a vegan hoagie, ask for no mayo and substitute Daiya for provolone.

Tempeh Hoagie – Marinated tempeh, grilled onions, mushrooms, green peppers, topped with sprouts. Served on a vegan hoagie, ask for no mayo and substitute Daiya for provolone.
“Build Your Own Pizza” options are also available where vegan diners can choose any base and build a vegan pie, choosing from a wide array of vegetables, vegan proteins and fruits. Daiya vegan cheese can now also be substituted within any of the regular Mellow Mushroom menu items.

For previous information on Mellow Mushroom that The Vegetarian Resource Group reported on see:


Posted on February 06, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Below is a note we received from a vegan personal chef in California. For a list of Catering, Personal Chef Services and Meal Delivery Services in other parts of the USA see:

Hello there. My name is Jesse Miner, and I am a vegan personal chef in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have been in business for the past 8 years. I just came across your listing of “Catering, Personal Chef Services and Meal Delivery Services” and I would love to be added to your list if at all possible.

Jesse Miner – Vegan Personal chef
San Francisco Bay Area, California

Thank you for your consideration! Keep up your wonderful veg advocacy!

Jesse Miner


Posted on February 04, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

If you’re wondering where you can find a special vegan meal in the USA on Valentine’s Day, take a look at the list below for some ideas. Happy Dining!

Lovin Spoonfuls
Tucson, Arizona

Sanctuary Bistro
Berkeley, California

Crossroads Kitchen
Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California

Mendocino, California

Millennium Restaurant
San Francisco, California

Ethos Vegan Kitchen
Winter Park, Florida

Greens and Vines
Honolulu, Hawaii

Great Sage
Clarksville, Maryland

Red Lentil
Watertown, Massachusetts

New York City, New York

New York City, New York

New York City, New York

Ashville, North Carolina

Aspinwall and Saxonburg, Pennsylvania

Café Flora
Seattle, Washington

Dietary Reference Intakes Calculator for Health Professionals

Posted on February 04, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The Dietary Reference Intakes Calculator for Health Professionals is a recently released free app from the USDA. This handy calculator is available in both Apple and Android versions and as a web-based tool. While targeted at health professionals, especially registered dietitians, this calculator can be easily used by anyone. You put in height, weight, age, sex and an estimate of activity level and the calculator instantly reports BMI, calorie recommendations, and recommendations for protein, fat, carbohydrates, water, vitamins and minerals. If you have questions about any of the nutrients, you can tap the screen for additional information. Most of the vitamins and minerals are linked to the National Institutes of Health’s excellent fact sheets. The app also allows users to read about the Dietary Reference Intakes which are what daily nutrient recommendations are based on. Nutrition education resources for diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, weight management, and other conditions are easily accessed from this app. This app does not tell you whether or not your diet meets recommendations – for that you can use USDA’s SuperTracker, vegan RD Jack Norris’ Peacounter, or other software. I’ve recommended the web-based version of this calculator for several years; I’m happy to recommend this app.

Reed Mangels, PhD, RD

For more information about this app, visit:


Posted on February 03, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor


According to Acosta Sales and Marketing, the U.S.D.A. predicts that red
meat will drop one percent in per capita consumption between 2014 and
2015, with broiler chicken consumption expected to increase 1.6%.

In their survey, Acosta found that sixty-eight percent of shoppers who
are buying less meat cite cost as the primary reason, followed by health
and wellness at 39%. More than 31% of all shoppers and fifty percent of
18-34 year olds indicated that they purchased meat alternatives over the
past year. Twenty one percent of all U.S. shopper purchased tofu,
twelve percent textured vegetable protein, ten percent tempeh, eight
percent quorn, and six percent seitan.

Reasons given that influenced those to consider a vegan, vegetarian, or
flexitarian diet were:

61% personal health concerns
45% cost
41% GMO, preservatives, animal diseases, etc.
33% environmental impacts of meat products
32% curiosity
21% personal or ethical beliefs

Sixty percent of 18-34 year olds said you could achieve the necessary
daily amount of protein without meat. Fifty percent of 50-64 year olds
indicated the same.

Acosta is an outsourced sales and marketing agency serving consumer
packaged goods companies and retailers across the United States and Canada.


According to an Acosta Sales and Marketing Survey, 47% of Hispanics say
they eat healthy foods even though it’s more expensive, while 40% of
U.S. shoppers in general will buy the more expensive healthy item.
In describing their shopping habits, buying organic/natural products was
answered by 20% of total U.S. Shoppers, while this answer was given
by 26% of U.S. Hispanic shoppers.

Acosta is an outsourced sales and marketing agency serving consumer
packaged goods companies and retailers across the United States and Canada.

For more poll and survey information from The Vegetarian Resource Group,


Posted on February 03, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The VRG College Scholarships for one $10,000 and two $5,000 awards
was mentioned in a Fastweb email sent out to students around the country
seeking scholarships. Fastweb is one of the major scholarship search
engines. In the email, we were mentioned with Veterans of
Foreign Wars, Boy Scout, and Optimist International scholarships.
It’s nice that vegetarianism is now “normal” and listed with these
“All American Apple Pie” groups.

To apply for the VRG vegetarian scholarship, go to:

To donate towards VRG college scholarships or internships,
go to:

Heinz® Australia Apple Juice Clarified with Gelatin But Not in North America

Posted on January 30, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

A food industry newsletter reported that Heinz Australia uses beef gelatin to clarify (i.e., make clear) its apple juice:

Background on Juice Clarification
Many juices need to be clarified (fined) in order to eliminate a variety of suspended particles that make juice cloudy. Animal-derived clarifying agents include gelatin, isinglass (fish-derived), casein (a milk protein) or albumen (egg-derived).

Interested readers may learn more about the clarification process and find a list of common clarifying agents in the Introduction of the following article:

Read here about the clarifying agent classification cited in the previous article:

More information on clarification methods can be found here:

Heinz Australia Apple Juice
We emailed Heinz Australia several times to confirm the report that their apple juice was clarified with beef gelatin but received no response. The juice appeared to be the Golden Circle brand.

Then we contacted the Vegetarian/Vegan Society of Queensland to confirm that this information was accurate. Group member Maureen replied by email that it was correct and directed us to another report in an Australian newspaper:

Heinz North America: Initial Calls
The VRG wanted to know if Heinz North America also clarified their apple juice with gelatin. We first called the Heinz consumer service line in September 2014. We were told that “juice is not clarified with gelatin.” When we asked how it was clarified we were told that it was “proprietary information” and to call corporate headquarters for more information.

The VRG’s initial call to Heinz’ main office led to our leaving several voicemail messages to corporate employees. Our web searches suggested that Heinz North America manufactured juice only in Canada so we called the customer service line at Heinz Canada in an attempt to get more information.

Heinz North America: Follow Up Calls
After some conflicting information over a several month period, The VRG received a call back in a timely manner from a manager at the Heinz Canada consumer call center and was informed that “ascorbic acid is listed on the label and used to prevent the juice from turning brown.” In response The VRG agreed that ascorbic acid keeps the juice from turning brown while it is on the shelf or in the refrigerator after opening but wanted to know if some other substance was used during the manufacturing process to remove any initial cloudiness. The manager took our questions and said she’d ask another department and get back to us.

The next day we received a call from the same manager stating that she had contacted the “R&D Department” and was told that

“gelatin is not used” to clarify the juice. She said that the R&D Department had told her “there is a filtration step through a mesh screen to help clarify the juice.”

While doing follow-up, we received this information from a Heinz Canada Quality Technologist:

“Heinz Apple Juice is only distributed and sold in Canada… We only sell the 4.5 oz. Heinz Apple Juice and 1Liter Heinz Apple Juice in Canada. Heinz does not sell any other apple juices in Canada.”

The Senior Technologist mentioned that Heinz produces a 1L pear juice that is also gelatin-free. She said,

“The 1L apple and pear juices are manufactured and sold only in Canada…The 4.5 oz. apple juice is manufactured in the USA and sold only in Canada…”

We asked if the American and Canadian manufacturing processes were identical and gelatin-free. The VRG received this response:

“Our Regulatory Team has advised that the apple juice concentrate used in our apple juices uses pectinase and amylase as processing aids. These items have been reviewed against our internal Heinz Vegetarian Policy, and determined that these are vegetarian…Neither [the American nor the Canadian] plant uses pectinase and amylase. These enzymes are used in the vendor process to make the apple juice concentrate, which is an ingredient in the Heinz Apple Juice. The same apple juice concentrate is used in the Heinz Apple Juice products (4.5 oz. and 1L) made by both plants…There are in-line screens in batching at the co-packers making the finished products.”

Heinz’ Arthur’s Smoothies

After hearing some conflicting statements, we received this information from the Canadian Senior Technologist about Heinz’ Arthur Smoothies, which contain apple juice:

“I have confirmed with Marketing that Arthur’s Smoothies are NOT available in the US currently…the apple juice used in the Arthur’s Smoothies is not filtered and does not use enzymes or gelatin…Arthur’s does not sell a product called Arthur’s Apple Juice. We only sell apple juice under the Heinz brand, not the Arthur’s brand…All our Arthur’s Smoothies products contain apple juice…All Arthur’s Smoothies are Heinz products (i.e. all Arthur’s Smoothies bear the Arthur’s brand, but these are all owned by Heinz; we have no Smoothies on the market that bear a Heinz logo). We make the following smoothies in various sizes:

•Arthur’s Carrot Energizer
•Arthur’s Grape Wildberry
•Arthur’s Green Energy
•Arthur’s Mango
•Arthur’s Pineapple Coconut
•Arthur’s Strawberry Banana
•Arthur’s Strawberry Rainforest
•Arthur’s Very Berry

The apple juice used in Arthur’s Smoothies is not filtered by the vendor. The Arthur’s Smoothies do pass through an in-line screen at the co-packer during batching.”

The Heinz Canada Senior Technologist summarized all of this information for The VRG in the following table:


Heinz Vinegar Clarification
Regarding the clarification of Heinz Vinegar a Heinz Senior Manager in the United States told us that “diatomaceous earth is used for vinegar.”

For more ingredient information, see:

To support The Vegetarian Resource Group research, donate at:
or join 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 judgement about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

VRG Benefit at Great Sage in Clarksvillle, MD on 2/22

Posted on January 30, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

great sage bizcuts

Support The Vegetarian Resource Group while enjoying your favorite vegan dishes from Great Sage! On February 22nd, Great Sage in Clarksville, MD will be generously donating 10% of the day’s proceeds to VRG. Get Sage’s Famous Artichoke Spinach Dip or their Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes, “topped with soy whip and served with a caramel glaze,” or both! (It’s all for a good cause!)

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

Great Sage is located at:
5809 Clarksville Square Drive, Clarksville, MD 21029
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!


Posted on January 29, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

A note from Nancy from Harp for Animals:

After becoming vegan this past July, I understand how important it is to speak up and help educate others. The Vegetarian Resource Group organization is amazing, and I am very grateful for the resource. I have included as a source for additional information, on the last page of the our vegan brochure.

The brochure is free and I encourage everyone to pass it along in any way they wish to. It’s available at

Peace. Compassion. Justice.
Harp for Animals

For a complete list of tabling materials from The Vegetarian Resource Group, see:

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