The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Like No Udder Vegan Ice Cream Shop in Providence Rhode Island is having a Fundraiser for The Vegetarian Resource Group on Thursday November 10th!

Posted on November 07, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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Like No Udder (a Vegan Ice Cream Shop in Providence Rhode Island) is donating 10% of their ice cream sales to The Vegetarian Resource Group on Thursday November 10, 2016. They are located at 170 Ives Street in Providence, RI and are open 1-9 pm that day. Their ice cream is handmade mostly from organic ingredients and they offer both hard and soft serve ice cream, toppings, shakes, floats, and more. Thank you Like No Udder for your support!

For details on Like No Udder, visit their website: http://like-no-udder.com/

Vegan Snacks for a Runner

Posted on November 07, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

botines

By Christiana Rutkowski

As an athlete, it is imperative to fuel your body correctly. Athletes have often been compared to cars. For a car to run efficiently, it needs adequate fuel. And the better the fuel, the better the car runs. The same applies to athletes, especially to runners—running requires energy, focus, and consistency. If runners are not supplying themselves with adequate energy, nutrition, and fuel, they will not be able to perform to the best of their abilities. Not getting enough calories and a lack of nutritious food can result in fatigue, inability to perform, injury, sickness, and other detrimental consequences.

As a runner myself, I know that when I have not eaten enough prior to a run, I definitely feel it. I often feel lethargic, unmotivated, very sore, or experience intense fatigue when I have not consumed enough calories. There is so much to say about nutrition for athletes and runners, but to keep it simple, I will touch on a few snacks that are great not just before a run, but after as well, and throughout the day to keep you satisfied, energized, and content.

Some snack ideas that provide nutrients, calories, and keep you satiated include:
         Toast with any of the following: nut butters, avocado, fruit, jam, jelly, or hummus
         Bagels with nut butters, vegan butter, or vegan cream cheese
         Fruit smoothies with additional items like ground flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, dates, non-dairy yogurt, or vegan protein powder
         Oatmeal with fruit (fresh or frozen), maple syrup or agave, seeds, cinnamon, and nuts
         Trail mix
         Banana with peanut butter
         Whole grain cereal with almond milk (or other non-dairy milks)
         Nutritional bars such as Clif bars, Lara bars, D’s Naturals No Cow bars, and other vegan options (or homemade—check out websites like Oh She Glows and No Meat Athlete for recipes)
         Dried fruit
         Fruit (fresh or frozen) by itself
         Vegetables such as carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, celery, grape tomatoes, and broccoli with hummus
         A pita wrap with vegetables like bean sprouts, tomatoes, bell peppers, shredded carrot, broccoli slaw, spinach, mixed greens, cucumber, shredded lettuce and hummus, as well as avocado
         Juice such as orange juice, apple juice, and grape juice
         Non-dairy vegan yogurt with granola and fruit
         Dates with peanut butter
         Peanut butter and jelly/peanut butter and banana sandwich

Above are just some of many vegan snack options that can be included in an athlete’s/runner’s diet. Not only are they all incredibly tasty, but they are also very easy to pack and carry around in a bag on-the-go as well. Some snacks may require an insulated lunch bag or an ice pack to keep them cool.

Some of my personal favorite snacks to eat before running (and that make me feel best, especially if it is very early in the morning) are either ½-1 Clif bar, dates (preferably Medjool) with peanut or almond butter, fruit (usually bananas or apples), cereal with sprinkled ground flaxseed and almond milk, and/or bagels/toast with peanut butter and banana slices.
If you’re anything like me, I like to eat every 2-3 hours and I snack a lot. To make it convenient, I always bring a snack with me wherever I go. It isn’t hard to pack some trail mix, a banana, an energy bar, other fruit, dried fruit, or things like pretzels and rice cakes. Simply keep some non-perishable items in places like your backpack, your purse, your car, or anywhere else you can easily get access to some food.

The good thing about all of these snack ideas is that they take very little prep and require no fuss. They also are all, for the most part, inexpensive and very easy items to find in your grocery store. I personally am the biggest fan of Clif bars, Clif Builder bars, and D’s Naturals No Cow bars. They’re dense, tasty, and easy to take around.
Make sure to include foods in your everyday diet that provide a variety of micronutrients and macronutrients to help you feel your best and train your best.

For more information, see:
http://www.vrg.org/teen/#athletes
http://www.vrg.org/athlete/

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.

VOTE FOR VEGANISM

Posted on November 04, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

Vote for veganism. Support vegan education. Donate at www.vrg.org/donate

Patriotic American flag cake with blueberries and red currant on vintage wooden background

Vegan Options at Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes®

Posted on November 04, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

sweet-tomatoes

By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

There are many dishes labeled as vegan at Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes. The VRG asked Jim Ruggiero, Guest Relations Manager at Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes, about their definition of “vegan” and received this email response:

We define “vegan” as any menu item not containing meat, dairy, eggs or any other animal-derived product.
For further clarification, The VRG asked if honey is present in any vegan-labeled menu item. Jim replied:
We consider honey to be animal-derived so we exclude labeling anything with honey as vegan.
We also asked Jim if the sugar used in some of their vegan dishes had been filtered through cow bone char. After checking with suppliers he stated:
I heard back from our multiple sugar vendors and currently our sugar products are not processed with bone char. However, as we move forward with purchasing products that are more locally sourced/GMO-free/gluten friendly this may change.
Concerning how the vegan dishes are labeled Jim wrote:
The vegan menu items have a label of “VE” on them. This applies to any soup, salad, dressing or bread. Items such as carrots, onions, broccoli, etc. do not have that label. Our menu on the website is also labeled and we do a blog post at the beginning of each month with allergens and dietary preferences available.
All of the vegan menu items offered at Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes are listed on the chain’s nutrition page: http://www.souplantation.com/nutritionguide/
Here is a listing of vegan menu options at Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes exactly as they appear as of October 2016. Please note: This list can and does change. In fact we noticed (and included) several updates made between the September and October drafts of this article.
Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes also uses a vegetarian label for many other menu items. Some dishes which may be commonly prepared as vegan or vegetarian (such as Pumpkin Spice Soup or Curried Pineapple & Ginger under “Hot Pastas & Kitchen Favorites”) but are not at this restaurant chain are labeled specifically as “non-vegetarian” apparently to avoid customer regret if accidentally consumed.
Tossed Salads

Field of Greens: Citrus Vinaigrette
Italiano Fresco Mix
Mandarin Spinach w/ Carmelized Walnuts
Strawberry Fields with Caramelized Walnuts
Thai Peanut & Red Pepper
Thai Udon & Peanut
Prepared Salads

Arugula Citrus
Aunt Doris’ Red Pepper Slaw
Baja Bean & Cilantro
Bok Choy Citrus Slaw
Chipotle Mango Slaw
Chipotle, Lime & Cilantro Quinoa
Citrus Penne Pasta
Curtido
Dijon Potato w/ Garlic Dill Vinaigrette
Dill and Dijon Potato
Fall Harvest Quinoa Salad
Fresh Herb Thai Slaw
Hong Kong Pearl Barley & Green Bean
Italian White Bean
Kale & Harvest w/ Almonds
Lemon Linguine with Fresh Basil
Lemon Rice w/ Cashews
Mandarin Noodles w/ Broccoli
Mandarin Shells w/ Almonds
Mandarin Udon w/ Almonds & Snow Peas
Provencal Green Bean & Potato Salad
Roasted Potato w/ Chipotle Chile Vinaigrette
Spicy Southwestern Pasta
Summer Barley w/ Black Beans
Sweet & Sour Broccoli Slaw
Sweet & Tangy Asian Quinoa Toss
Sweet Marinated Vegetables
Sweet Onion & Yukon Gold Potatoes
Tabouli
Thai Citrus & Brown Rice
Three Bean Marinade
Tomato Cucumber Marinade
Dressings

Bell Pepper Blend
Calavo Guacamole
Corn Salsa
Solstice Harvest Blend
Spicy & Sweet Pepita Sunflower Seed Mix
Soups

Classical Minestrone
Creamy, Nutty Zucchini & Basil Bisque
Fiery Quinoa & Black Bean Chili
Hearty Harvest Mexican Stew
Indian Lentil
Roasted Ratatouille
Santa Fe Black Bean Chili
Seven Vegetable
Sizzling Sriracha Udon
Veggie Hot & Sour
Bakery

Flour Tortilla
Sourdough Bread
Hot Pastas & Kitchen Favorites

Cal Rose Rice
Cilantro Lime Rice
Jakarta Ginger Curry w/ GF Soy Sauce
Jakarta Ginger Curry w/ GF Tamari Soy Sauce
Sautéed Balsamic Vegetables
Sensational Sweet & Sour w/ GF Soy sauce
Sensational Sweet & Sour w/ GF Tamari Soy Sauce
Sizzling Shanghai Asparagus w/ GF Soy Sauce
Sizzling Shanghai Asparagus w/ Tamari GF Soy Sauce
Desserts

Baked Cinnamon Apples
Condiment – Cinnamon
Condiment – Cinnamon Sugar Topping
Condiment – Maple Syrup
Condiment – Powdered Sugar
Condiment – Strawberry Topping
Pound Cake – Strawberry Topping
Breakfast
Oatmeal

For information on other restaurant chains, see http://www.vrg.org/fastfoodinfo.php
For information on vegetarian restaurants, see http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php

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.

Celebrate National Sandwich Day!

Posted on November 03, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

Delicious healthy vegetarian open cole slaw and a chickpea sandwich

Today is national sandwich day. Celebrate by preparing a vegan sandwich (or a Panini or wrap) using ideas found in previous issues of Vegetarian Journal:

Fast Sandwich Spreads
Panini
Wraps

To subscribe to Vegetarian Journal, visit:
Subscribe to Vegetarian Journal

Charitable donations from your IRA could save taxes!

Posted on November 03, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

According to the Law Office of Jill A Snyder,Congress has revived a law
that lets you make charitable donations (such as to VRG) directly from
your IRA, which might provide you with some significant tax advantages.

If you a’re over the age of 70½, you’ are required to take minimum
distributions each year from your IRA, and you have to pay income tax on
those distributions. But the “charitable rollover” law lets you transfer
assets from your IRA to a charity, and whatever amount you transfer
reduces the amount you a’re required to withdraw. So if you a’re
required to withdraw $20,000 in 2016, but you instead donate $20,000 to
charity, you don’t have to withdraw any funds for yourself, and you
don’t have to pay any income tax.

You won’’t get a charitable deduction for the amount you donate in this
way. However, donating directly from an IRA may be better than taking a
distribution and then making a donation, because it results in a lower
adjusted gross income – which can help you avoid taxes on Social
Security benefits, reduce your Medicare premiums, limit the 3.8% surtax
on investment income, and qualify for other deductions and credits.

In addition, donating from an IRA is definitely to your advantage if you
otherwise wouldn’t be eligible for a charitable deduction, either
because you don’’t itemize your deductions or because you’ are subject
to the charitable deduction “phase-out” for higher-income taxpayers.

To qualify, you must contact the plan custodian and have the custodian
transfer the assets directly to the charity. If the custodian sends you
the funds and then you give them to the charity, you’’ll have to pay
income tax on the distribution.

You can donate up to $100,000 to charity each year from an IRA. A
married couple can donate up to $100,000 each, as long as each spouse
contributes from his or her separate account.

This is not legal or financial advice, which you should obtain from your
legal or financial advisor.

Taco Bell® Vegan Options

Posted on November 02, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

Taco Bell released an updated version of an online guide titled How to
Eat Vegetarian and Meatless at Taco Bell:
https://www.tacobell.com/feed/how-to-eat-veggie in August 2016.
Missy Nelson, RD of Taco Bell responded to The Vegetarian Resource Group
with more detail about how Taco Bell defines “vegetarian” and “vegan.”
She told us:

Our definitions are as follows:

Lacto-ovo vegetarianism is defined by the practice of eating
grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with the use of
dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry,
game, fish, shellfish or by-products of slaughter. Any material
taken/extracted/processed-through from animals, birds, insects, marine
animals, or slaughter by- products such as gelatin, enzymes, animal
fats, or bone char are non-vegetarian.

Ms. Nelson indicated that in addition to the lacto-ovo statement above,
vegans do not eat any animal products or byproducts such as honey or
ingredients processed from fur or feathers.

Taco Bell told us that items certified as vegetarian or vegan do not
contain sugar that has been processed through bone char. The same sugar
isn’t necessarily used for items not certified as vegan or
vegetarian.

The full certified vegetarian menu can be found here
https://www.tacobell.com/food/vegetarian; however, people can customize
to fit their specific needs.

At the bottom of their Vegetarian page Taco Bell posts this disclaimer:

Taco Bell…offers…AVA-certified vegetarian food items, which
defines vegetarian as lacto-ovo, allowing the consumption of dairy and
eggs but does not include any animal byproducts. Please note that in
some restaurants we use the same frying oil to prepare menu items that
may or may not contain meat. All vegetarian ingredients are handled by
our employees in common with meat ingredients, which may not be
acceptable to certain types of vegetarian diets. We cannot guarantee
that cross contact with meat products will not occur…

On its Ingredient Statements page Taco Bell identifies its AVA-certified
vegetarian and AVA-certified vegan ingredients.
https://www.tacobell.com/food/nutrition/ingredients

Here is a partiallisting of the AVA-certified vegan ingredients:

black beans
fire sauce (hot & mild)
express nacho chips (regional)
fire roasted salsa
flour tortilla
Gordita flatbread
green chile sauce (regional)
green tomatillo sauce (regional)
Mexican pizza sauce
pico de gallo
guacamole
Latin rice
rainforest coffee
red sauce
red strips
refried beans
salsa del sol
taco shell
tostada shell

In its updated guide linked above Taco Bell lists 11 vegetarian menu
items. Of these as presented, only one is vegan (Black Beans & Rice) but
seven others can easily be made vegan by excluding for instance cheese
or sour cream:

1. Black Bean Burrito
2. Black Beans & Rice
3. Veggie Power Menu Bowl
4. Veggie Power Menu Burrito
5. Spicy Tostada
6. 7-Layer Burrito
7. Bean Burrito
8. Pintos N Cheese

From Taco Bell’s website it is possible to customize menu options with
“Tasty Upgrades” many of which are vegan. See:
https://www.tacobell.com/food/vegetarian

Patrons also have the option to “Change What’s Included.” For example on
the Pintos N Cheese page, customers could exclude the cheese and upgrade
with guacamole. The adjusted price reflecting upgrades is calculated
automatically onsite. Deletions of any included components do not result
in a reduced final price. See:
https://www.tacobell.com/food/sides/pintos-n-cheese

The VRG asked Missy for more detail on some of the ingredients in
certain menu items and in the Tasty Upgrades. We learned that the beans,
rice and red sauce of the Black Bean Burrito are not prepared with
animal broths or stocks and all of the natural flavors in this burrito
are all-vegetable. The monoglycerides and enzymes in the flour tortilla
are also non-animal.

The Veggie Power Menu Burrito lists Mexican pizza sauce as a Tasty
Upgrade. Missy told us that its natural flavors are all-vegetable. The
“beans,” also an all-vegetable Tasty Upgrade in both ingredients and
preparation, are Taco Bell’s Refried Beans (as listed in the Ingredient
Statements.)

The Spicy Tostada is served on the tostada shell with refried beans.

Taco Bell further elaborated on their frying oil in their updated online
guide:

In some of our restaurants, we use the same frying oil to prepare
menu items that may or may not contain meat. Therefore, menu items fried
in oil like hash browns, chips, cinnamon twists, potatoes and the
Fiesta taco salad shell are not acceptable to the AVA-certified
vegetarian diet because of the potential cross contact.

There is also a nutrition calculator on Taco Bell’s website. It is
different from many in that it allows a patron to adjust portions
(doubling for example) and presents the information in a familiar
nutrition facts label format:
https://www.tacobell.com/food/nutrition/calculator
On its Allergen Info page, it is possible to filter out all of the
animal products (eggs, milk, fish and shellfish) to create an
approximate vegan filter. See:
https://www.tacobell.com/food/nutrition/allergen-info
Vegan consumers should be aware that certain listings using this filter
set include hashbrowns, chips and cinnamon twists all of which contain
no animal ingredients per se but may have been fried in oil used to
prepare meat products. Interestingly the only “Vegetarian Menu” entrée
(excluding side dishes grouped in their own category) which came up was
the Black Beans & Rice dish which means it is the only
vegan-to-begin-with entrée listed on Taco Bell’s menu. Fresco meat
dishes also appeared using this approximate vegan filter since the
allergen list does not include meat.

On its FAQ page the first food-related question and answer:
https://www.tacobell.com/faq
Q: Does Taco Bell offer vegetarian-friendly options?
A: Yes…and people love it! We sell 350 million vegetarian items a year
and about 7 percent of all items ordered at Taco Bell are either
vegetarian-friendly, or made vegetarian-friendly by some type of
substitution or removal. Some of our most popular are the classic Bean
Burrito, 7-Layer Burrito, Cantina Power Veggie Bowl…Plus, you can
customize almost any item on our menu by replacing meat with beans.

Thank you to Jeanne Yacoubou, MS for her research on Taco Bell products.

The contents of this posting, 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.

For more information on restaurant chains, see
http://www.vrg.org/fastfoodinfo.php
For information on vegetarian restaurants, see
http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php

The Vegetarian Resource Group Will Hold Their 35th Pre-Thanksgiving Vegan Potluck on Sunday, November 20, 2016 in Baltimore!

Posted on November 02, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

Fresh pumpkin soup and vegetables
VRG will be having its 35th pre-Thanksgiving vegan potluck on Sunday, November 20th at 5 pm. The event is open to the public and is being held in the Roland Park section of Baltimore City at the North Baltimore Mennonite Church, 4615 Roland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210. The cost is $4 per adult (children can attend for free) plus a vegan dish that serves 4 per adult in your party. We are also collecting canned veggie food that will be distributed to those in need. Please share the information with your friends!

Details on this event can be found here: http://www.vrg.org/VeganThanksgivingPoster2016.htm

Today is World Vegan Day — Celebrate!

Posted on November 01, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

imgres

World Vegan Day is celebrated around the world on November 1st each year. This designated day was inaugurated in 1994 by The Vegan Society in the United Kingdom.

You can celebrate this day by preparing a vegan dish and sharing it with your family and friends. The Vegetarian Resource Group offers endless vegan recipes online here: http://www.vrg.org/journal/CookingAndRecipes.htm

Don’t like to cook? We have that covered as well. Visit one of the many vegan restaurants listed on our online guide to veggie restaurants throughout the USA and Canada here: http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php

Lesson Plan: Veggie Health for Kids

Posted on October 31, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

old-school-sign

By Alicia Hückmann and Heather Francis, VRG interns

Teachers and other presenters who would like to promote a healthier lifestyle for their children can use this outline to plan a lesson about vegetarianism/veganism. It is suited for younger children in elementary school and middle school but can be adapted for high schools as well.

Motivation (5-10 minutes)

The pupils talk about their personal experiences in regard to meat-free diets and get to know the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan.

Questions to ask:
· Who can explain what a vegetarian is?
· What is the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan?
· in order to help young children understand, you can bring vegetables, fruits, and pictures of or empty packages of animal products and ask them to label them suitable for vegans, vegetarians, both, or neither.You can show comic strips that have featured vegetarians.(Look through a few week of your weekend comics.)

Discussion (20-30 minutes)
The pupils learn to understand why vegetarians choose not to eat meat. At the same time, they find reasons for being a vegetarian.

Question: Why do many people choose to become vegetarian?
· Let them work in pairs of two to three for a few minutes first, then ask them to present their results.
· If there are vegetarians/vegans in your class, encourage them to share their motivation.
· Write down key terms as soon as they come up (environment, ethics, health).
· This can be a mind map (a hierarchical diagram that structuralizes and visualizes information) the children copy into their notebooks.
· provide background information, facts and figures to each key term if necessary.

1. Environment
See http://www.vrg.org/environment/

2. Ethics
See http://www.vrg.org/animal_rights/index.php

3. Health
See http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/
(Also religion, taste, animal welfare, influence of friend and family, allergies, cost, availability)

Retain and Transfer (5-10 minutes)

The pupils elaborate on a reason that they find especially convincing. Furthermore, they think of ways in which they as well as society as a whole can move towards responsible consumption.

Questions to ask:
· Which reason is the most important one in your opinion and why?
· What can we change about our lifestyle to help animals, the environment and our own health?

Activity (up to 1 hour)

The pupils make their own healthy, vegan nice-cream. They learn that cutting out animal products and artificial sugars from a meal does not necessarily mean it is tedious, more expensive or more difficult to make.

You will need:
· Enough cut up frozen bananas (1-2 for each pupil)
· A variety of toppings
· Fruit (pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, coconut, cherries…)
· Peanut butter
· Non-dairy vegan chocolate chips
· Nuts (if no allergies)
· Sprinkles
· Reusable or recyclable dishes and cutlery
· Blender(s) or food processor(s). A Yonanas works well. See: http://yonanas.com/

Set everything up before the lesson starts or ask your pupils to help you if they are old enough. Show the pupils how they blend the bananas, then let them try for themselves.

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