The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Spring is in the air and so is the smell of veggie dogs!

Posted on May 21, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Priscilla Broadwater

Two brands of veggie hot dogs I’ve tried are: Tofurky and Lightlife. Both brands are excellent; however there are differences between the two. The following information may be helpful to you as of what brand to choose depending on your preference.

Lightlife: This was the first brand of vegetarian hot dogs I tried. These veggie dogs are relatively soft. This means that when you’re grilling you must keep an eye on them because they will cook very quickly. The first time I ate one was on a hot dog bun with a little bit of ketchup and yellow mustard. The second time I wanted to try something different, so I cut up two veggie dogs into little chucks which I dipped into brown mustard. Yum!! I personally liked eating them that way better.

Tofurky: For those who prefer a firmer veggie dog with a chewier consistency; Tofurky may be your best bet. My favorite way of eating a Tofurky veggie dog is on a bun with vegan mayonnaise and ketchup. Plus I added a couple of kosher pickles and some corn chips.

So, invite some friends over and get grilling!! Vegan hot dogs are delicious and they are for everyone to enjoy.

Though a little old, readers may be interested in this article: http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2008issue2/vj2008issue2veggieburgers.htm
Here are some picnic ideas: http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2002issue2/2002issue2picnic.htm

Priscilla grew up in Costa Rica and is doing volunteer work with The Vegetarian Resource Group.

HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP

Posted on May 19, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Jeanne Yacoubou
VRG Research Director

Also known as: HFCS, glucose-fructose, glucose-fructose syrup, fructose-glucose syrup

Commercial source: corn

Used in: soft drinks, juice, bread, cereal, granola bars, yogurt, soup, condiments, confections, desserts, ice cream, pharmaceuticals

Used as: sweetener, texturizer, anti-crystallization agent
Definition: A mixture of simple sugars glucose and fructose, HFCS is produced by microbial enzymes that convert some glucose to fructose. The major types of HFCS contain roughly equal amounts of glucose and fructose.

Manufacturers:

http://www.adm.com/en-US/products/food/sweeteners/Pages/default.aspx

According to ADM, their high fructose corn syrups “…do not contain, and are not processed, with any animal products, by-products, or any animal derived products.”

http://www.tateandlyle.com/ingredientsandservices/chooseaningredientorservice/americas/pages/liquidcornsweeteners.aspx

According to Tate & Lyle, their high fructose corn syrups: “…do not contain any ingredient of animal origin. The processing aid used to produce these products is not derived from animal origins.”

http://sw.ingredion.us/Ingredients/sweeteners/Pages/Nutritive.aspx

According to Ingredion, “We do not create product from cane sugar or animal-derived processes.”

Classification: Vegan

Entry added: May 2014

For information on more ingredients, see http://www.vrg.org/ingredients/index.php

To support VRG research, donate at www.vrg.org/donate
To join The Vegetarian Resource Group, go to http://www.vrg.org/member/2013sv.php

NOTES FROM FORMER VRG SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS

Posted on May 19, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Amory Fischer
VRG 2013 Scholarship winner

I am writing to report a successful year of college that could not have happened without your scholarship support. Please accept my thanks again. Here is an update of my work.

Academically, my current college GPA is 3.94 and I am on the path toward graduating a year early. I took my major’s introductory course, Environmental Policy and Planning, and found it to be a perfect fit for my interests.

During the spring semester, I successfully conducted a campaign to encourage Virginia Tech Dining Services to provide more vegan and vegetarian options. Options have flourished in the past decade, including an entire buffet devoted to vegetarian food, so instead of a confrontational demand for better choices, I decided on a thank you letter reading “Thank you for improving Vegetarian and Vegan options! Please keep up the good work!”

I worked with the newly forming Animal Rights @VT club (I am the vice president), the Environmental Coalition, and Peta2, the college branch of the PETA. We gathered 782 signatures via text message for the Director of Dining Services, Mr. Ted Faulkner. During Earth Week @VT, we gathered signatures and Vegetarian Starter Kits on the school’s “Food Day.”

2013 VRG scholarship winner, Amory Fischer tabling on Earth Day

After this, I met with Mr. Faulkner on April 29th to give him the letter. During this meeting I gave him a gift of Vegan in Volume, a cookbook published by the Vegetarian Resource Group and donated for the cause by Peta2.

Mr. Faulkner was very appreciative of the gift and the thank you letter. He said, “Sometimes people in my department look at how we strive to get better and at how we’ve improved and say, ‘We’ve achieved good, we’re done.’ I will take this letter to them as a reason to keep working.” He also asked and I accepted to be the point person for student volunteers on a panel for testing new vegan and vegetarian options in the upcoming year.

Other bits of work: Along with this campaign, I am helping form an Animal Rights @VT club, who did a screening of the movie BlackFish on May 5th. We plan on continuing the campaign for vegetarian options as well as starting to work with animal shelters in the fall. I am the rising Vice President of the Soil and Water Conservation Society @VT. This year the group attended educational forums about sustainable agriculture and built no-till soil displays. I wrote, submitted, and gained approval for a “Green Request for Proposal” of $27,000 to install water bottle refilling stations around campus to reduce plastic bottle use. This was through the VT Office of Energy and Sustainability, for which I will be an intern next school year. I am also actively involved with Ballroom Dance @VT, Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, and the Environmental Coalition (I was a State Lead organizer for Power Shift 2013). This summer I will be working as the Lead Organizer for the Solar Schools Initiative, a program to install solar power on all of Albemarle County schools. Best wishes! – Amory Fischer, Environmental Policy and Planning, Virginia Tech class of 2016, VRG 2013 Scholarship winner

VRG also received this note from Nora Allen RD,a previous VRG scholarship winner. She recently volunteered to exhibit for us at the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Dietetic Association. Nora said said,

Thank you for the opportunity to represent an organization I am passionate about! And of course, being a great source of evidence based information for my patients and fellow practitioners. I would not be a dietitian without your help!

For information about the next college scholarship contest, please see
http://www.vrg.org/student/scholar.htm

Donations towards VRG scholarships and internships can be made at www.vrg.org/donate

NABAH SEEDS

Posted on May 16, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

We received this inquiry:
I just received some “Nabah” seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds or RareSeeds.com and I am looking forward to planting them in my garden. The only problem is, once they start growing, how do I cook them? I have done an internet search which led me to some interesting Indian and Egyptian cuisine websites but no specific recipes for Nabah. I understand that these need to be soaked to leach out the bitterness, but what do I do after that? Would anyone in your community have any recipes?

According to http://www.rareseeds.com/nabah-from-cairo/ nabah is a variety of lupines.

Francesca Del Vecchio, RD answers:
Being from an Italian family we eat lupines often. You actually eat the seed not the flower, but you can grow them if you want. This link is to exactly what we do to prepare:
http://www.greenprophet.com/2013/04/lupines-traditional-middle-eastern-snack-food-recipe/
Here is another I found: http://www.christinascucina.com/2012/12/lupini-beans-and-olives-italian.html

In order to make lupini beans edible, they have to be soaked in a brine solution to draw out the alkaloids. Typically, the beans are washed first and then soaked in a brine which is changed until the brine no longer tastes bitter. It can take as much as five days with twice daily changes of the brine. When properly soaked, these beans have a great flavor, and are high in protein, making them a good choice for vegans and vegetarians.

Remember the beans have a thick, tough skin. The skin makes the beans fun to eat because you pop the bean out by squeezing the skin. Hope this helps!

For other bean recipes, see:
http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2013issue1/2013_issue1_quick_and_easy_beans.php
http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2001jan/2001janbean.htm
https://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2011issue3/2011_issue3_Fava.php

EXECUTIVE VEGAN CHEF JOB OPENING IN FLORIDA

Posted on May 16, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

Job opening for executive chef at Sublime in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. We are located 10 minutes from the beach and downtown. This vegan restaurant has received countless accolades for decor, food, and service. Locals, celebrities, and politicians dine at Sublime. Sublime’s rooftop garden is one of two gardens supplying some ingredients. Salary commensurate with ability. Send resume to resumes@sublimerestaurant.com

Vegan Orthopedic-Style Shoes

Posted on May 14, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

Are you looking for vegan orthopedic-style shoes? If so, here are two options:

Arcopedico Shoes: They offer several vegan styles. Please note these shoes have arch support; however, they don’t have the extra padding at the bottom that orthopedic shoes typically have.
See: www.arcopedicoshoes.com classic/index.html

Drew Shoes: You need to call the company at 1-800-837-3739 to find out which styles are specifically vegan. Presently they have three options for women. See: www.drewshoe.com

April 2014 Outreach

Posted on May 14, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

Spring is a particularly busy time for groups engaging in educational outreach such as The Vegetarian Resource Group. Thankfully, we have had an amazing team of volunteers eager to represent VRG at various events during the month of April!

We started the month off exhibiting at Worcester VegFest in Worcester, MA on April 6th. Our amazing volunteers, Eric Sharer, MPH, RD, Reed Mangels, Ph.D., R.D and Arnie Alper, MD engaged with a steady stream of visitors about the many benefits of vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, offered a variety of vegan cookbooks for sale and handed out tons of great educational materials to vegetarians and omnivores alike!

Volunteer Eric Sharer at Worcester VegFest

Later in the month, on April 24th, we switched gears and exhibited at the PA Academy of Dietetics Annual Meeting in Bethlehem, PA. Our wonderful volunteer and registered dietitian, Nora Allen, RD, LDN, took full responsibility for representing VRG at this professional conference, and acted as a wonderful advocate for healthy and nutritional vegetarian/vegan diets.

April 26th was a particularly busy day for VRG as we exhibited at two events in Baltimore: the Spring Into Good Health Festival in Pigtown, MD as well as Greenwork’s EcoFest in Druid Hill. The Spring Into Good Health Festival was sponsored by Paul’s Place, a community outreach center in Southwest Baltimore, and aimed to promote strategies for health and wellness for local residents. VRG was the only vegetarian group on site and many patrons took interest in decreasing the amount of animal products in their diets. This booth was particularly special because it allowed volunteer, Matt Baker, RN and staff member Nina Casalena, to better reach those from low-income backgrounds, who may have limited access to information about plant-based eating and the vegan lifestyle.

Volunteer Matt Baker at the Spring Into Good Health Festival

At Greenwork’s EcoFest, volunteers Mark Rifkin, MS, RD, LDN and Chris Dietrich engaged with environmentally conscious patrons about how vegetarian and veganism can be an important aspect of sustainable living. Mark even brought his own visual display on the impact of animal agriculture on the environment and global climate change.

April was a wonderful month for booths and I anticipate the rest of the season will bring many more amazing opportunities for veg outreach. I would just like to thank all of our incredible volunteers again for all of their patience and hard work! Everyone here at VRG feels extremely lucky to have each and every one of them on our team.

To volunteer at VRG outreach booths, please contact Nina at vrg@vrg.org
To support VRG outreach, please donate at www.vrg.org/donate
To join The Vegetarian Resource Group, please go to
http://www.vrg.org/member/2013sv.php

ISABELLA PEZZULO IS A $5,000 VRG COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP WINNER FROM FLORIDA

Posted on May 12, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

Isabella became a vegan in eighth grade after being exposed to information concerning the treatment of animals and the environmental impact behind producing animal products. Following are excerpts that she wrote about her outreach activities.

I worked with Food Not Bombs during the beginning of high school. I would help serve fresh, homemade vegetarian meals to the homeless prepared by members along with day-old pastries and breads donated by The Panera Bread Company. We would bring food to two separate locations on the intercoastal where the homeless know they can get a hot meal. For our school Environmental and Cosmos meetings, I contribute by preparing large dishes so everyone can enjoy a healthy lunch. My most popular dishes are quinoa salad, homemade hummus, vegan samosas with homemade mango chutney, guacamole, black bean and corn salsa, pasta salads, vegan chocolate chip rosemary cookies, and pumpkin banana bread. It is my way of proving to my peers that vegan food isn’t bland.

Since sophomore year I’ve sold my vegan granola everywhere at school: at my locker, during lunch, and between classes. It has happened more than once that a friend has interrupted my teacher during one of my classes to buy some of my granola (most of my teachers don’t mind, since they enjoy my granola as well.)

My experience with my school garden has been the true delight of my high school career. Currently, there are plans to erect a greenhouse at my school using the money we received when I wrote a grant request to the Whole Foods Garden Grant. Through my journey of cooking for others and showing them the wonder of plants in the garden and through my art, I hope to extend the joy I have received from living life compassionately.

This summer Izzy will be coordinating vegetarian food for her job leading volunteers on the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts.

For information on the 2015 scholarship and to see past winners, go to http://www.vrg.org/student/scholar.htm

For information on our video contest, see http://www.vrg.org/videoscholarship.php

To support VRG scholarships and internships, donate at www.vrg.org/donate

DIETETIC ASSOCIATION BOOTH

Posted on May 12, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

Thank you to Nora Allen for volunteering to do a VRG booth at the annual
meeting of the Pennsylvania Dietetic Association. Nora reported,

I had about 150 or so visitors to the table. The My Vegan Plate handouts went over great, as well as some of the general information.

Nora was a previous VRG scholarship winner. See
http://www.vrg.org/student/2007winners.htm
http://www.vrg.org/student/scholar.htm

Nora, thank you for continuing to do vegetarian education!

If you would like to contribute to VRG scholarships and outreach, you
can donate
at https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565
You can join The Vegetarian Resource Group at
http://www.vrg.org/member/2013sv.php

If you would like to volunteer for booths, contact Nina at vrg@vrg.org

Here are some materials available.
http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/
http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/MyVeganPlate.pdf

Celebrate Mother’s Day Vegan-Style

Posted on May 07, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

Here are some terrific recipes to prepare for your mom and other guests on Mother’s Day:

Citrus and Greens Salad (From Vegans Know How to Party, by Chef Nancy Berkoff)
Serves 10

Salad:
8 cups mixed green salad (make a colorful combination of fresh baby lettuces, spinach, romaine, etc.)
2½ cups diced pink grapefruit and/or tangerine sections
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
½ cup raisins or dried cranberries

Dressing:
½ cup peeled and seeded fresh tangerine sections
1½ cups peeled and seeded fresh orange sections
½ cup peeled and seeded sliced lemon
3 Tablespoons lime juice
¼ cup minced sweet onion
½ cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon orange juice concentrate
1 Tablespoon black pepper

Combine all salad ingredients in a large glass or plastic bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor canister and process until just smooth. Place dressing in a glass or plastic container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Toss the chilled salad with the dressing right before serving.

Note: If fresh tangerines are not available, more oranges can be used.

Fruit Pizza (from Conveniently Vegan, by Debra Wasserman)
(Serves 4)

One 12-inch wide pita bread
1 cup unsweetened apple butter
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
6 large strawberries, sliced
1 apple or pear – peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Spread apple butter over pita bread. Arrange slices of fruit on top of apple butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve as is, or heat pizza in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes and serve warm.

Note: You can substitute several small pita pockets for the large pita bread.


Festive Cashew Cookies
(From Simply Vegan, by Debra Wasserman and Reed Mangels)
Makes 2 dozen

2 cups raw cashews
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup maple syrup
½ cup water
¼ cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Small jar fruit-only jam

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grind the raw cashews and rolled oats together in a food processor for a few minutes. Pour mixture into a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients, except the jam. Mix well.
Form 24 round balls and place them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. With your thumb, form a small well in the center of each ball of cookie dough. Place a small amount of jam in each well.
Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Allow cookies to cool before removing them from the cookie sheet.

Conveniently Vegan, Simply Vegan, and Vegans Know How to Party are published by The Vegetarian Resource Group and can be purchased online here: http://www.vrg.org/catalog/

Honor your mom by giving her a gift subscription to Vegetarian Journal: http://www.vrg.org/member/

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