The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

My Opinion about Activism Through Social Media

Posted on July 07, 2015 by Nina Casalena

by Navaal Mahdi

Ever since the widespread use of social media began a few years ago, varying online communities have formed on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and reddit, to name a few. One of these emerging communities is that of the social activists, who have made it their duty to spread awareness about the different injustices around the world. Posts on the aforementioned websites have allowed for young people especially to have more of a general sense of knowledge about the world they live in.
Moreover, websites like have enabled those who feel passionately about certain causes to petition either for or against them. Because these websites can pretty much be used by anyone with uncontrolled Internet access regardless of where they are in the world, change can be made by anyone who wants to facilitate it just by signing their name. However, though signing petitions and spreading awareness seem like an easy solution to the problem of ignorance, sometimes these forms of communication are not enough to generate real, tangible change.

In his essay “Small Change” that was published in The New Yorker, author Malcolm Gladwell explains that “social networks are effective at increasing participation—by lessening the level of motivation that participation requires.” This means that people are so quick to supposedly “help” a cause by signing petitions and instantaneously sharing videos and blog posts on Facebook because of the lack of energy and time required to do so. Gladwell highlights that in order to use social media effectively to get a group of people to do something, you need to “not ask much of them.”

The fact is, people really do want to make a change, but with the dozens of posts that they come across on these social media sites per day, they don’t have the means to genuinely support each one with their full attention. Thus, if you’re trying to get someone to help you pass out pamphlets or organize an informational booth about your cause at a festival, you probably won’t have much luck finding them on crowded Facebook pages or under heavily tweeted hashtags. These are the places where you can spread information about the topics you are most passionate about, but if you want to people to double-take and really notice the work you are doing, you’re going to need a physical movement that you can create with the people in your schools, workplaces, or community centers.

This year in Baltimore, people used social media to teach the world about what happened to Freddie Gray. In order to make the media, and thus, the country, really care for more than a few minutes though–and larger than that, in order to get what they believed was real justice for him and for his family–people knew they would have to get together to protest in real life, not just virtually. Using social media is helpful, but it is essential to also create a physical movement if you really want to help a cause that you’re passionate about.

See Malcolm Gladwell’s essay:

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: Working for change both virtually online and in person, does involve complexities with many opinions, and can result in both positive and negative results, as can be seen in Baltimore and around the world. Thank you to all those that care, that struggle to see all sides of an issue, go beyond simple answers, respect those that disagree with you, and work for a better world for all in a positive way using methods appropriate to your circumstances.


Posted on July 07, 2015 by Nina Casalena

Everybody who joins IGIVE shopping to support VRG and tries the iGive Button through 10/15/15 means a $5 donation for The Vegetarian Resource Group. Go to:

Vegan Restaurants Added to The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Online Guide to Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in the USA

Posted on July 03, 2015 by Nina Casalena

The Vegetarian Resource Group maintains an online Guide to Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in the USA and Canada. Below are some recent additions. The entire guide can be found here:

Allie’s Vegan Pizzeria and Café
4803 N Nevada St.
Spokane, WA 99207

An all vegan pizzeria with several unique and interesting pizza varieties to choose from such as Spinach Artichoke or Buffalo “Chicken”. Also available are organic juices, tea, desserts, and an extensive selection of vegan beer and wine.

Apiecalypse Now – Pizza & Snack Bar
735 Bloor St.
Toronto, ON M6G 1L5 Canada

Apiecalypse Now, an award winning bakery located in West Toronto, has opened this vegan pizzeria and snack bar. In addition to pizza they offer vegan fast food, junk food, and comfort food such as corn dogs and doughnuts.

Cafe Venosa
4433 Rue St. Denis
Montreal, QC H2J 2L2 Canada

Cafe Venosa is a combination art gallery, cat shelter, and vegan cafe. A variety of light café-fare is available including muffins, parfaits, quiches, salad and sandwiches. Try the vegan Caprese with tofu mozzarella and finish with one of their amazing cupcakes.

Choice Juicery
430 Carlsbad Village Dr.
Carlsbad, CA 92008

This juice bar offers many varieties of fresh juice, smoothies, and organic healthy food. The café features handmade wooden tables and an outdoor seating area. Try the “Coffee Buzz”, a smoothie with Almond milk, Cold Pressed Coffee, date, banana, and Cinnamon. All menu items are gluten-free, dairy-free, and plant based.

Daily Juice
205 W. 3rd St., Austin, TX 78701
3300 Bee Cave Rd. Ste. 245, Austin, TX 78746
6401 Woodway Dr., Ste. 175, Houston, TX 77057
700 Old Hickory Blvd., Ste. 203, Brentwood, TN 37027

Daily Juice specializes in fresh juices, smoothies, and salads. Their ingredients are organic and local, when possible. Try the Green Party Juice with pressed kale, spinach, parsley, cilantro, celery and cucumber, or a customer favorite; the Subliminator smoothie with apple, banana, blueberry, cherry, flax seed oil, rice protein, spirulina, and peanut butter.

Farm Spirit
1414 SE Morrison St.
Portland, OR 97202

Dinner is by reservation only! This restaurant is one of a kind. Tickets for seats must be purchased months in advance in order to dine at their once an evening meals, 4/7 days a week. This exclusive kind of restaurant supports wild kinds of produce that even the most plant savvy vegan will be awed by. The foods are beautifully plated and interestingly concocted. The decor is light and semi rustic, donned with a huge bar. All of their products are locally purchased and thoughtfully used. It’s located on the corner of SE Morrison St. and SE 14th Ave.

Glory Doughnuts
244 E. Church St.
Frederick, MD 21701

Head over to Glory Doughnuts for a vegan confection heaven located in downtown Frederick. All doughnuts are hand forged in small batches and all menu items are made-to-order. The variety of doughnuts changes daily and is first come, first served, so call in advance for inquiries of selection. Pair a savory BBQ Tofu Club with a doughnut and a coffee for a complete breakfast experience.

ionie Raw Food Café
1241 Fruitville Rd.
Sarasota, FL 34236

ionie Raw Food Cafe features an organic menu including juices, smoothies, shakes and raw food entrées and desserts.

Be sure to let us know if any new veggie restaurants open in your neighborhood!


Posted on July 03, 2015 by Nina Casalena


Announcing the Lisa Shapiro Award for Unsung Vegan Heroes. This is your chance to recognize all those amazing behind-the-scenes superstars who are dedicating their lives to animals. The Award from @thepollinationproject includes a cash prize and other vegan surprises. Nominations open on July 12.

Read more:

Summer Recipes

Posted on July 02, 2015 by Nina Casalena

By Lily Donofrio

Summer is in full swing and may I say, it is scorching. Living in Florida, I wake up to 80 degree heat, with it reaching high 90′s by lunch time. I love the heat and am ready to enjoy the rest of this summer. Although I’m all for vegan chili and hot cocoa any time of year, it’s good to pair the season with awesome, appropriate foods. Here are a couple heat-friendly recipes, all good for trips to the beach, lake, camp, or wherever this summer takes you:

Cool Cucumber Salad

6 cucumbers
5 Tomatoes
1 onion
Vegan Italian dressing

Wash all of the veggies. Skin cucumber, if preferred. Cut cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion into chunks. Put all of the veggies into a bowl, and mix around with spoon. Drizzle veggies with vegan Italian dressing. Serve cold.

Watermelon Gazpacho

5 cups of cubed watermelon
1½ cups of peeled and chopped cucumber
1/3 cup diced red onion
½ cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon grated jalapeño
Juice of one lime
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Purée watermelon in blender. Pour into serving bowl. Mix in other ingredients with a spoon. Serve chilled.

Spinach and Artichoke Flatbread

1 cup flour
½ cup full fat coconut milk

¼ cup olive oil
3 diced artichoke hearts
1 cup spinach
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, Mix flatbread ingredients thoroughly. Pour about ½ cup of batter into a greased or non-stick frying pan and cook until the batter is fluffy. Mix topping ingredients, and sprinkle onto your flatbread. Bake flatbread for 5-10 minutes, until your flatbread is golden brown. Cut and serve.

Fruity Coconut Water

Can be any frozen fruit of your choice. Frozen fruit works better, because it produces more juice. I prefer a few:

11-ounce carton coconut water

Cut strawberries. Pour coconut water into a pitcher and mix in fruit. Serve iced.

Mexican Bean Burgers

1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
½ cup salsa
1 cup vegan bread crumbs
½ onion, chopped
¼ cup vegetable oil or preferred frying oil.

Optional toppings: avocado, ketchup, vegan mayonnaise, mustard, vegan cheese

Mash beans in a bowl, mix in salsa and bread crumbs. Add onion to mixture. Form batter into patties. Fry patties in vegetable oil over medium heat. Serve on a vegan bun with preferred toppings.

Fruit Kabobs

Carton of strawberries
Wooden skewers

Cut as much fruit as wanted into disks measuring 1/3-inch in height. Place in preferred pattern on wooden skewers. Serve cold.

Apple Bake

6 large, honey crisp apples
¼ cup water
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1½ teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger powder
2 Tablespoons maple syrup

2 cups oats
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
¼ cup melted vegan margarine
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel apples, if preferred, and chop into chunks. Mix water, orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and 2 Tablespoons maple syrup in with the chopped apples. Place in an 8×8 baking pan. Mix together topping ingredients; sprinkle evenly over filling. Bake for 20 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.


Posted on July 02, 2015 by Nina Casalena


My name is Emaline Delapaix and I am a Berlin based Australian singer songwriter​ who is vegan and​ eating as much raw and organic food as possible.

A few pieces of information about me:

I am completely independent, booking my own shows and have played concerts in Canada, USA, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Poland, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Slovenia including lots of vegan/veggie events in Germany and Austria.

I began playing music full time in late 2010 after packing in a crappy job in Toronto and moved to a caravan in rural Eastern Germany at the beginning of a very cold winter where I taught myself to play piano, acoustic guitar, and baby Celtic harp.

I write about love just like most songwriters do but I also try to write about the darker sides of life like depression (which I suffered from terribly until I changed my life and became a full time musician/vegan​, then it got a lot better), as well as travel, nature, animal rights, and a lot more.

I live with my Canadian rescued cat Reece who is big and red and resembles Garfield and we’ve been together for 10 years living in Canada and Germany.

I have a small indoor/window garden. This past year I have planted 3 types of tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, swiss chard, strawberries, raspberries, cucumbers and also mushrooms.

My CD’s are handmade and self recorded using recycled card and eco friendly inks.

I began foraging a lot this year and made my own syrups out of dandelion and red clover and collect a lot of nettle and dandelion leaves for salads, stews and stir-fry. I also make my own raw almond milk and apple sauce from local apple trees.

I travel a lot and being vegan can be tough on the road but it’s possible. I am living proof! I also give a small % of CD sales to local animal charities via online sales and concerts.

If you’re interested you can listen to my music at:

Find out more at:​

The Vegetarian Resource Group at Vegetarian Festival

Posted on July 01, 2015 by Nina Casalena

By Anne Custer

The Vegetarian Resource Group was represented at the Vegetarian Festival in Richmond, Virginia this past weekend. The thirteenth-annual festival held in Bryant Park sparked quite a crowd. VRG interns Ivy Grob and Anne Custer held down the booth with long time volunteer Elsa Spencer, PhD. Our table was situated towards the entrance under a shady tree so we attracted a lot of visitors on the hot, sunny day.

We had the pleasure of speaking to various attendees, answering questions about our group and our resources and engaging in conversation about different topics such as gluten-free diets, vegan seafood, and scholarships we offer. Many visitors picked up a copy of our journal and signed up for our newsletter. We handed out coloring books to children, educating future generations about veganism and animal rights. It was a rewarding experience being able to talk with fellow vegans and vegetarians in different walks of life. One woman told us she was vegan until she went abroad and couldn’t find anything to eat. When she returned to America, she didn’t go back to eating vegan, but was now looking to transition back into veganism. We were able to direct her to our website for the resources we provide on eating vegan while traveling. (

Intern Ivy and I had an awesome time at the festival not only talking to people, but indulging in delicious vegan food from local vendors. Ivy had lentil salad with white bean soup and a vanilla coffee cupcake for dessert while I ate a quinoa bowl with black beans, cabbage, and avocado from Goatocado and an Oreo cupcake! We also tried vegan clam chowder from a cooking demonstration that was perfectly seasoned and hearty. For more information on vegetarian restaurants in Richmond, visit:

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:
If you are attending the Animal Rights Conference in Washington, DC July 31st- August 2nd , please stop by the Vegetarian Resource Group booth.

The Vegetarian Resource Group Exhibited at the Richmond VegFest

Posted on July 01, 2015 by Nina Casalena

By Ivy Grob

On June 20th, 2015, my fellow intern Anne Custer and I hit the road for Richmond, Virginia for my third outreach booth and her first. We were headed for Richmond VegFest, an all vegetarian annual festival that features speakers, vendors, food, and non-profits like The VRG. We started this journey a bit shakily by hitting traffic on the way down, but we eventually reached our destination and got to work right away unpacking the books and pamphlets we brought with us to give out and sell. I was happy and excited to see a large crowd already enjoying the festival, and I was hoping for the chance to make some meaningful contacts with the festival goers. We soon met a young college student that attends the same school as Anne, and I was able to pass on information about the internships that The Vegetarian Resource Group offers, both in the office in Baltimore and long distance. We had many other interesting conversations throughout the day. One man came up to the booth and inquired about our internships and then transitioned into a lengthy query about living gluten-free and how this relates to vegetarianism and veganism. Many books were sold and many more pamphlets and Vegetarian Journals were distributed. Several attendees were impressed with the Simply Vegan and Conveniently Vegan cookbooks, and expressed their appreciation for making veganism more accessible and easy, which is at the heart of The VRG’s mission.

VRG Interns, Anne Custer (left) and Ivy Grobb (right) exhibit at Richmond VegFest.

VRG Interns, Anne Custer (left) and Ivy Grob (right) exhibit at Richmond VegFest.

I was so pleased that our information was receptive to this audience. This was expected from a festival catering to vegetarian activism but it made the experience so much more carefree. There is still work to be done, however, and the information needs to be given to those who are not aware of the consequences of their diets and lifestyles. I look forward to contributing to this cause throughout the rest of my internship.

Overall, it was a productive and enjoyable day. Delicious vegan food was sampled from the vendors and I was happy that I was able to spend time getting to know fellow VRG intern Anne during the festival and in the car ride to and from Baltimore. At the end of the day, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of community from the people of Richmond and I’m grateful I was able to experience a VegFest during my time with The Vegetarian Resource Group.

If you would like to volunteer at VRG booths, contact Nina at
For information about Vegetarian Resource Group internships, see:
To support VRG outreach, donate at:

The Vegetarian Resource Group Video Contest — Deadline to enter this year is July 15, 2015

Posted on July 01, 2015 by Nina Casalena

The Vegetarian Resource Group is once again holding a video contest and we will be awarding monetary prizes. Create and submit a video relating what you want to tell others about veganism. Some possible topics: food, nutrition, your feelings about veganism, water usage and vegetarianism, vegetarianism and animal rights, or other vegetarian topics which appeal to you. Humor and feelings are appreciated. All videos should be positive, not be critical of anyone, and not include any footage of animal cruelty. You may submit a video you have already made.

Aspects of judging include accuracy and judges wanting to share the video with others.

Entrants give permission to The Vegetarian Resource Group to post and share the video, to link to and from the video, and share the video with the media.

For details see:

Blue Bunny Dairy Free Ice Cream Being Tested in Select Cities

Posted on June 30, 2015 by Nina Casalena

By Anne Custer

Do you live in Dallas, Houston, Denver, Des Moines, or Omaha? You’re in luck! Blue Bunny has come out with a dairy free ice cream line and it is being tested in Kroger stores in select cities. The line features four flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Mint Chip, and Mocha Fudge. The packaging does not claim to be vegan, but the ingredients look to be free of animal products. The source of sugar is not labeled. We have reached out to Blue Bunny asking if it is vegan and what exactly is in the “natural flavors.” Their response was: “Blue Bunny Dairy Free Ice Cream is not certified Vegan. The ingredients of the natural flavors are proprietary to our suppliers.” Whether or not this ice cream meets your needs, hopefully other companies will follow suit with their own dairy free ice cream. According to the Huffington Post, Ben & Jerry’s are currently in the works of their own product, but it won’t hit shelves until spring 2016. Here is the list of ingredients for Blue Bunny Dairy Free Ice Cream.

INGREDIENTS: Almond Milk (Water, Almonds), Sugar, Corn Syrup, Coconut Oil, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Inulin, Isolated Soy Protein, Contains 1% or less of Natural Flavors, Calcium Carbonate, Carob Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Soy Lecithin.

INGREDIENTS: Almond Milk (Water, Almonds), Water, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Coconut Oil, Inulin, Isolated Soy Protein, Vanilla Extract, Contains 1% or less of Calcium Carbonate, Carob Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Soy Lecithin.

Mint Chip:
INGREDIENTS: Almond Milk (Water, Almonds), Sugar, Corn Syrup, Coconut Oil, Unsweetened Chocolate, Inulin, Isolated Soy Protein, Contains 1% or less of Natural Flavors, Calcium Carbonate, Carob Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Soy Lecithin, Dextrose, Spirulina Extract for Color, Turmeric for Color.

Mocha Fudge:
INGREDIENTS: Almond Milk (Water, Almonds), Sugar, Chocolate Ribbon (Sugar, Water, Cocoa, Chocolate Liquor, Food Starch, Carrageenan, Vanilla Extract), Corn Syrup, Coconut Oil, Inulin, Isolated Soy Protein, Contains 1% or less of Natural Flavors, Coffee, Calcium Carbonate, Carob Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Soy Lecithin, Caramel Color.

Information on inulin is here:

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. If you are concerned, you may want to only eat at vegetarian or vegan restaurants.

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