The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Groups for Veggie Families with Kids to Meet One Another

Posted on July 25, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group is compiling a list of veggie groups in the USA that cater specifically to families with veggie kids. Below is a list of groups we already know about. If you are familiar with any other similar organizations, we’d greatly appreciate it if you would email the information to us at

The Chicago Vegan Family Network!

Chicago VegKids in Illinois

Los Angeles Area Conscious Parents (Vegan) Group in California

Los Angeles Area Veg Kids Group in California

Our Little Vegan Sandbox – Los Angeles

New York City Vegetarian and Vegan Families

The Vegan Mob in Philadelphia, PA organize get togethers and camping trips. The group is strictly for vegans.!forum/vegan-mob

Triangle Veg Family Meetup Group in North Carolina

VSDC Children’s Playgroup (Vegetarian Society of Washington, DC Children’s Playgroup)

My Vegetarian Resource Group Internship

Posted on July 25, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Devlyn Perugini

During my senior year in high school I applied for The Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship. I was one of eight finalists. I wasn’t awarded the scholarship but a year later was offered a two month internship at The Vegetarian Resource Group in Baltimore, Maryland! I thought what an amazing opportunity this would be and arranged to get to the mainland from Hawai’i. Leading up to the internship I was very nervous. I had never done an internship before and didn’t know what to expect. Eventually my nervousness subsided and I was able to enjoy working in the office, running booths, and having great experiences.

Working in the office was nice because I followed a schedule that helped me organize all of my projects including writing a Teen FAQ, Veggie Product Reviews, and a Vegetarian Action article! I also had side projects such as writing summaries of VRG outreach booths and events, and working on restoring the Vegetarian Game for the VRG website. I never worked in an office before but I was able to adapt quickly. Everyone in the VRG office is very friendly and encouraging. Their support helped tremendously.

What I loved doing the most was staffing the VRG booths. That’s where I felt like I made the most positive impact. I really enjoyed talking to people about their vegetarianism, veganism, or interest in learning more. I was happy to be able to help people. We had booths at The Charles Village Festival in Baltimore, The Richmond VegFest in Virginia, Taking Action for Animals Conference in Washington, DC, and The Waverly Farmer’s Market in Baltimore. All of these booths were unique and taught me something new. On top of all of the work, making connections that ultimately led to friendships was amazing.

Throughout this internship I have learned so much, for which I’m thankful. I have a new found confidence in my veganism and feel completely capable of continuing to spread this good work. I realize that promoting vegetarianism and veganism is my passion. It’s what I do best. I also have a deeper understanding for animals and how truly important it is to help and love them. Admittedly, this internship has taught me how to be a better college student as well. That has always been a goal of mine and now I know what to do. This includes planning ahead, staying on task with a schedule, and organizing my time wisely. I am very excited to apply what I’ve learned to this coming school year and my life. I am so happy to have done an internship with The Vegetarian Resource Group.

For information about VRG internships, see:

Taking Action for Animals (TAFA)

Posted on July 24, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Devlyn Perugini
VRG Intern

On June 27th to 29th, The Humane Society of The United States presented Taking Action for Animals at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. About seventy vendors participated in the exhibit hall including The Big Cat Rescue, Compassion Over Killing, Farm Sanctuary, Mercy For Animals, Vegan Outreach, The Humane League, and The Vegetarian Resource Group.

Interns Devlyn and Karen patiently awaiting the arrival of TAFA attendees .

VRG college interns Karen and I, volunteer Matt, and staff member Nina ran The Vegetarian Resource Group booth. We were able to answer questions and distribute vegan information. Karen talked to a woman who is interested in starting a vegetarian outreach organization in Georgia and South Carolina. She asked for information to get started. I noticed that we had several compliments from booth visitors saying, ‘Thank you for being here!’ It was very rewarding to see how many people appreciated our work. Matt (a vegan nurse) was happy to be able to talk to booth visitors and enjoyed connecting with them. Nina was eager to answer questions and was very encouraging. She helped booth visitors feel more comfortable with a vegan lifestyle. A lot of people inquired about vegan restaurants and traveling as a vegan. We were able to refer them to our website for the restaurant guide. (See:

TAFA was great because we were able to reach and help a lot of people (many of whom were not vegetarian) and were able to connect with other organizations.


Posted on July 23, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

On their website, ZPizza says:

What are my vegan options?

Pizzas (all of these request Vegan Cheese to replace mozzarella):

Berkeley Vegan with marinara sauce
Casablanca (no ricotta or parmesan)
Greek (no feta)
Napoli (no parmesan)
Tuscan (no feta)
Mediterranean Rustica (no feta)
Moroccan Rustica (replace basil pesto)

Arugula (no cheese, no Balsamic Vinaigrette)
Greek (no cheese, no Balsamic Vinaigrette)
Pear and Gorgonzola (no cheese, no Balsamic Vinaigrette)

Mediterranean Plate (no feta)

If you’d like to build your own pizza or order a salad, below are acceptable vegan ingredients:

Pizza dough – organic flour, olive oil, yeast, sugar, salt
Gluten-free crust
Vegan cheese by Daiya Veggie
Veggie crumbles by Gardein
Tomato sauce
Marinara sauce
Mexican salsa
Roasted garlic sauce
Caramelized onions
Roasted eggplant
All fresh vegetables

What are the ingredients in the vegan cheese?
Filtered water, tapioca and/or arrowroot flours, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and/or non-GMO expeller pressed safflower oil, coconut oil, pea protein, salt, vegan natural flavors, inactive yeast, vegetable glycerin, xanthan gum, citric acid (for flavor), titanium dioxide (a naturally occurring mineral).

What are the ingredients in the veggie crumbles (meat replacement)?
Water, soy protein concentrate, wheat gluten, canola oil, malt extract, wheat starch, natural flavor (maltodextrin), yeast extract, salt, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, spices.

Why did zpizza make the switch from soy cheese to vegan cheese?
Sid’s goal had always been to offer a vegan cheese, but for a long time, there was not a product available to us that could withstand the high cooking temperature of our ovens. The soy cheese we carried had casein (an animal protein) so our vegan guests and those with dairy allergies still weren’t able to consume it. When we found Daiya, the vegan cheese in stores now, we knew we had a great product that all of our guests could enjoy. If you prefer to order soy cheese, it is available at some locations so please check with the store manager.

For more information, see:

For information about more restaurants, see:

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.


Posted on July 23, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Build Friendships Worldwide Via PAX

Would you like to have close friends in far away places?

My parents in Montana were just visited by Jen Tu, a Taiwanese college student my parents had befriended 40 years ago. Jen learned to cross country ski in our fields and in our barn he taught me and my siblings how to play ping pong. Last week, in celebration of his retirement, he brought his extended family to Montana to visit Yellowstone National Park.

Just a short while ago I sent off an email to Dalila, telling her how much we miss her. This wonderful French student lived with us last year and attended City College HS. My younger daughter, Michelle, has been iMessaging with Dalila nearly every day since she left a month ago and today Michelle said she wished Dalila could be with us here in Montana. Back in Paris, Dalila has already been visited by friends she made at City and even some of my relatives!

PAX, the Program for Academic Exchange, is looking for families who would love to develop such lasting friendships by hosting a student for this coming academic year (starting in late August of 2014 through the beginning of June of 2015). Their ages range from 15-18 years old. Host families come in all shapes and sizes and include single parents, retirees, ‘empty nesters’, young couples with small children, as well as two parent families with teenagers.

Students will attend public high schools—enrollment will be handled by me, the regional PAX Community Coordinator. Host siblings are not required to attend the same school.

I presently know of two vegetarian and one vegan student in the Baltimore area that are anxiously awaiting news of their placement with an American Family and to begin developing a relationship with their host family via the internet. If you or someone you know is interested in opening your home to one (or two) of these students, please contact me. Please See below for some information about these students.

Meredith Safford

You can find more information about PAX online at

Fun-Loving Vegan
Christina, Female (STE053)
Interests: Volleyball, Basketball, Guitar, Drawing, Painting, Skateboarding
Christina has been described by her best friend as a “creative, happy person that likes to make jokes and laugh a lot.” Although she lives in Germany, she is ethnically Greek and very proud of her background. She loves visiting Greece with her family in the summer and being able to spend time with all of her relatives. She is eager to show Americans how “warm-hearted and kind Greeks are towards strangers.”

Nahia, Spain, Female (STPE017)
Interests: Horseback Riding, Photography, Hiking,
Running Special: Vegetarian
Nahia is a pleasant student who is eager to learn, especially English.

Alisa, Germany, Female (ICX074)
Interests: Horseback Riding, Martial Arts, Gymnastics, Singing, Drawing, Painting
Special: Vegetarian-does not eat meat, fish, gelatin
Alisa is a positive, open-minded teen with high academic ability. She attends a school
where all of her classes are in French, and she also takes Japanese and English.


Posted on July 21, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

In answer to a reader’s question, VRG Research Director Jeanne Yacoubou learned:

“The enzymes in the flatbread and tortillas are microbial and plant-derived…The Doritos Locos Taco shell contains enzymes from animal origin (cow). None of the ingredients contain L-Cysteine.”

Jeanne is working on followup questions concerning other ingredients in Taco Bell’s bread products and in the cheese sauce as an online reader asked.

For more information on quick service chains, see:

To support Vegetarian Resource Group research, go to: or

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.


Posted on July 21, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Charles Stahler

Times are certainly changing. When my son started scouts, the first year at camp he had to help prepare the regular troop meals, and then prepare all his own vegetarian food. The last several years he struggled to keep up his weight at camp as he ate around the 1950’s style food still being served. This year, amazingly, each night the camp had a tray of food using a meat alternative, as well as a primitive salad bar. My son and the scoutmaster who is now eating vegan feasted and my son actually came home not losing any weight. They were the only two vegetarians in the troop, but we’re guessing there were probably a few others staff or scouts at the camp who are vegetarian. Thank you to the chef who instituted these changes, as well as the food company which made the meat analogs, the food service distributor willing to carry the vegetarian options, and everyone who has spoken up in a positive way over the years.

Also, this month we did the food for an Boy Scout Eagle ceremony, so it happened to be vegan. Thank you to Whole Foods in Baltimore, which did a great fruit platter. Their fruit is always fresh, and they are always dependable. Also, thank you to One World Café in Baltimore which made a vegan cake with the Eagle Insignia, as well as three types of vegan cupcakes. We also served hummus with crackers and carrots, juice, carbonated fruit juice beverages (not the regular soda), and other treats. Though we and the scoutmaster are the only vegans and only one other person is even close to being vegetarian, the scouts and adults enjoyed the food and several asked for the source of the cake. It was especially joyful to watch one young boy who is lactose intolerant be thrilled that this was the first time he could have a piece of the cake at an event. Again, thank you to everyone who helps make change in a positive way.

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

Posted on July 18, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

These vegan restaurants were recently added to our online restaurant guide. To find restaurants in your area, please visit:

The Veg
400 President Clinton Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

Presently the only completely vegan cafe/restaurant in the Little Rock area, The Veg provides a variety of vegan sandwich, burgers, salads, and pastry options. Don’t forget to enjoy some very highly praised Pecan Chocolate Chunk cookies.

The New Vegan
528 NE 2nd St.
Delray Beach, FL 33483

This restaurant offers great vegan options for brunch, lunch, and dinner. An American food based restaurant, they also offer raw foods and a juice bar.

The Cider Press Café
1201 Piper Blvd., Ste. 26
Naples, FL 343110

The Cider Press Cafe serves completely raw, vegan, and gluten free cuisine. There are many innovative and inspired dishes to choose from including the Pineapple Kimchi Dumplings and the Garden Lasagna. The menu also features a variety of fresh juices and smoothies. Or select from their many types of wine and sangria. Note that the menu indicates which wines are vegan. Reservations are accepted.

Nectar Café
175 Rock Rd.
Glen Rock, NJ 07452

Primarily a juice bar; however, they also serve a changing menu of vegan dishes and desserts.

Nu Asia Vegan Restaurant
4200 Central Ave SE
Albuquerque, NM 87108

This restaurant has lovely décor and an appealing ambiance. It boasts many vegan dishes including a large variety of sushi. They even offer all-you-can-eat options for both lunch and dinner. And after that you can get desserts ranging from vegan ice cream to banana chocolate spring rolls. Outdoor seating is available.

Sykamore Vegan Cuisine and Juice Bar
4029 Crutcher St.
Dallas, TX 75206

This small restaurant, run by a formally trained chef, offers both Asian and western dishes while also serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast options range from pan-fried dumplings to hash browns and biscuits. Other meals range from traditional Asian foods to vegetable wraps, all at affordable prices.

La Panthere Verte
145 Mont-Royal Ave., E.
Montreal, Quebec H2T 1N9

66 St-Viateur St.
Montreal, Quebec H2T 2K8

2153 Mackay St.
Montreal, Quebec H3G 2J2

La Panthere Verte, or The Green Panther, is a vegan and organic café with a focus on sustainability. All-star food items are the Falafel sandwich and Choco Maca smoothie. This restaurant charges a small fee for food containers so please make sure to bring your own or account for the extra cost. The Mont-Royal location is in the Plateau area. The St-Viateur location is in the Mile End. The Mackay location is downtown in Centre-Ville.


Posted on July 17, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Karen Leibowitz
VRG intern

The Vegetarian Resource Group hosted a booth at the Waverly Farmer’s Market in Baltimore. We had several meat-eaters approach us and pick up materials for their son or daughter. People had lots of questions for us because they had a family member or friend who is vegetarian. We noticed several people talk about the challenges of having food allergies, and referred them to our website for nut-free and gluten-free vegan meal plans. A local middle school teacher grabbed several coloring books and “Vegetarian Nutrition for Teenagers” brochures for her classroom. Other vendors approached our booth and thanked us for being there, because they were vegetarian and appreciated the outreach.

Hosting booths is rewarding because we have the opportunity to encourage people to explore vegetarianism/veganism by providing resources to make it easier.

If you would like to volunteer at VRG booths, contact Nina at

If you would like to intern at VRG go to

If you would like to support VRG outreach, donate at

To join VRG go to

White Castle Welcomes Vegetarians

Posted on July 14, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Karen Leibowitz

Famous for their petite square hamburgers and the restaurant’s appearance in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, White Castle is now serving veggie sliders in select New Jersey and New York locations (see list of locations below). And to a vegetarian’s relief, they are only 99 cents! A refreshing figure compared to other fast food chain veggie options. White Castle uses Dr. Praeger’s brand of veggie burgers for their sliders (see list of ingredients below). Judging by the hype from online vegetarian communities, it seems the taste has received positive reviews. If you have tried White Castle’s new veggie sliders, please comment with your thoughts.

Ingredients: Carrots, onions, string beans, oat bran, soybeans, zucchini, peas, broccoli, corn, soy flour, spinach, expeller pressed canola oil, red peppers, arrowroot, corn starch, garlic, corn meal, salt, parsley, black pepper.

Fun Fact: Kumar is a vegetarian on the set of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, the White Castle hamburgers he bit into had been replaced with veggie burgers.

Veggie sliders are available in the following locations for a limited time:

New Jersey

2995 Kennedy Blvd.
Jersey City 07306

987 U.S Highway 9
South Amboy 08879

8 LaFayette Rd.
Metuchen 08840

5151 Stelton Rd.
South Plainfield 07080

680 Somerset St.
New Brunswick 08901

New York

550 E. Fordham Rd.
Bronx 10467

213-17 Northern Blvd.
Bayside 11361

43-02 Queens Blvd.
Sunnyside 11104

175-28 Hillside Ave.
Jamaica 11432

2221 Hylan Blvd.
Staten Island 10306

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