The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Update on White Castle’s Veggie’s Sliders

Posted on September 02, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Meredith Binder

Back in July, The Vegetarian Resource Group reported on White Castle offering veggie sliders in select New York and New Jersey locations. (See original article here: VRG dug a little deeper to find out some more information on this veg-friendly fast food option. These small veggie burgers are served on a plain hamburger bun (ingredients listed below).

The sliders are served with an avocado ranch sauce (ingredients listed below), which contains eggs and milk. The burgers can be ordered without this condiment. White Castle told us that these non-meat sliders are cooked on a separate grill from their meat versions; however, they can not guarantee that this grill has not been used to cook hamburgers previously. In those instances, they ensure that their staff thoroughly clean the grill prior to cooking the veggie patties. Nutrition information on the veggie sliders including calories and total fat is also included below.

White Castle recently ran out of the veggie slider product so unfortunately, at this time, they are no longer offering it. White Castle will not release specific sales information because they are not publicly owned. However, a brand-manager there told us that the veggie sliders were positively received. That is great news for those of us that crave more animal-friendly products in restaurants like White Castle. The fast food chain is currently reviewing the sales performance and customer feedback of the veggie sliders to determine if it will offer them again and in more locations. VRG encourages interested readers to contact White Castle to tell them that you are interested in them providing veggie sliders, and animal-friendly buns, at a location near you. You can contact them via their Facebook page,, and Twitter, @ WhiteCastle.

Bun Ingredients: (Bleached Enriched Wheat Flour (Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Sugar, Soybean Oil, Contains 2% Or Less Of The Following: Yeast, Salt, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters Of Mono- And Diglycerides (DATEM), Calcium Sulfate, Enzymes, Ascorbic Acid, Potassium Iodate, L-Cysteine, Azodicarbonamide (ADA),

Veggie Slider: (Carrots, Onions, String Beans, Oat Bran, Soybeans, Zucchini, Peas, Broccoli, Corn, Soy Flour, Spinach, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Red Pepper, Arrowroot, Corn Starch, Garlic, Corn Meal, Salt, Parsley, Black Pepper). CONTAINS: WHEAT, SOY

Avocado Ranch Sauce Ingredients: (Soybean Oil, Water, Vinegar, Sugar, Egg Yolk, Buttermilk Solids, Contains less than 2% of: Salt, Monosodium Glutamate, Lime Juice, Modified Food Starch, Natural Avocado Flavor, Spices, Sodium Benzoate, Sorbic Acid and Calcium Disodium EDTA as preservatives, Garlic, Lactic Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Onion, Natural Smoke Flavor, Natural Flavor (Milk). CONTAINS: WHEAT, EGG, MILK, SOY

The contents of this article, 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.

Social Justice and Veganism poster

Posted on September 02, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Vegetarian Resource Group member JoAnn Farb has created a Social Justice and Veganism poster that you may want to share with friends. See:


Posted on August 29, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group has published a new brochure titled Vegan Nutrition for Teenagers. You can find this brochure online:

If you would like multiple copies of this brochure for outreach, please email your request to

Donations towards VRG’s outreach are greatly appreciated:

The age of Information is also the age of misinformation – Claims regarding vegetarianism and vitamin A

Posted on August 28, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Riccardo Racicot

In today’s age of information we are able to access the answer to almost any question we have within seconds. With access to the Internet and search engines at our fingertips, thanks to smartphones and laptops, any inquiry or dispute can be settled immediately. Unfortunately this is a double-edged sword. While we may have swift access to information, there is no assurance that it is accurate. This is especially true regarding nutrition information. There are countless resources on the Internet claiming to be legitimate sources, many of which have an agenda. These sources include advocacy groups promoting a particular agenda and who may posture legitimate sounding ideas as science when the background information is not there. This, I believe, perpetuates myths and poor quality information, directly resulting in stigma and misinformation towards vegetarianism.

About a month ago I happened to see a Facebook post from one such advocacy group claiming “Carrots are not a source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is found exclusively in animal foods.” While I am not a vegetarian, this type of misinformation concerns me because it may dissuade people from pursuing a healthy vegetarian lifestyle. Claims such as this are unfounded and based on a poor understanding of science and I would like to dispel some common myths surrounding vegetarianism and vitamin A here.

Claim: Vitamin A is found exclusively in animal foods

Technically this is correct. However it’s highly misleading. Vitamin A in its complete form, retinol, is only found in animal products; however, the precursors to vitamin A are found in a plethora of fruits and vegetables including carrots, mango, spinach and sweet potatoes. When we eat foods containing these precursors, such as beta-carotene, our body converts them to vitamin A. The rate of conversion from beta-carotene to retinol varies widely depending on a number of factors and ranges from a 3.8:1 to 28:1 ratio, meaning it requires somewhere between 3.8 to 28 units of retinol precursors to make a single unit of retinol.¹ Because of the variation in the conversion rate of carotenoids to retinol, daily vitamin A requirements are expressed in micrograms (mcg) of Retinol Activity Equivalents (RAE), a unit that takes into consideration the ease of absorption depending on the source of vitamin A. Many plant-based sources actually have a higher RAE than their animal-based counterparts, with the major exception being beef liver. While plant-based foods are not a source of complete vitamin A, they provide our bodies with the necessary building blocks to meet our vitamin A requirements.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2013. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page,

Claim: Vegetarians cannot obtain enough vitamin A to meet daily requirements

In the United States, vitamin A deficiency is rarely an issue, so much so the newly proposed FDA Nutrition Facts label will not require the listing of vitamin A.² This is no exception for vegetarians. For adult males the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 900 mcg RAE while for women it is 700 mcg RAE. These amounts of vitamin A are easily achievable by a few servings of yellow-orange fruits and vegetables and/ or dark leafy greens. For example a simple raw salad of spinach, Swiss chard, carrots, tomato and bell peppers is enough to fulfill the daily requirements for a woman. The salad, along with an additional whole, raw mango fulfills the requirements for a man.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2013. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page,

Other common sources of vitamin A that could help vegetarians meet their daily requirements include:

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2013. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page,

Claim: Breastfeeding infants of vegetarian parents are at risk for vitamin A deficiency

Breastfeeding infants born to mothers with poor dietary habits who lack essential nutrients are those who are at risk for deficiency. A child being breastfed by a vegetarian mother is only at risk for vitamin A deficiency if the mother is not consuming adequate vitamin A. During lactation, the RDA for vitamin A increases to 1,300 mcg RAE per day. Again, this is easily achievable with several servings of yellow-orange fruits and vegetables and/or leafy greens. Consuming plant-based food containing vitamin A precursors allows the mother to convert them to vitamin A and pass them along to the infant through breast milk. Lactating mothers with adequate intakes of vitamin A precursors will provide their infants with adequate amounts of vitamin A.³

Claim: Vegetarian children are at risk for vitamin A deficiency

According to a recent study less than 5% of all children ages 2-8 years old have a daily intake of vitamin A less than what is recommended by the USDA.⁴ Along with this a 2002 study of children ages 11-18 years old showed vegetarians consume almost 1500 more units of vitamin A on average than their non-vegetarian counterparts.⁵ There is little risk of vitamin A deficiency in vegetarian children who regularly eat yellow-orange fruits and vegetables and/or leafy greens.

Claim: Fat is required for vitamin A absorption

Vitamins are generally classed into two categories; fat soluble and water soluble. Water soluble vitamins include the B vitamins and vitamin C. As their name implies, these vitamins dissolve in water. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble vitamins and dissolve in fat. Because of this, fat needs to be consumed along with the source of vitamin A for proper absorption. However, it has been shown that the amount of fat needed to promote vitamin A absorption is minimal at only 3-5 g of fat.⁶⁷ Consumption of a fat source, such as avocado has been shown to increase absorption of beta-carotene from carrots 6.6-fold as compared to eating carrots alone.⁸ Other fat sources that could potentially increase absorption include oils such as olive oil, salad dressing, nuts, and nut butters.


Adequate vitamin A intake is readily achievable by those practicing a vegetarian diet. A vegetarian diet offers the opportunity for adults and children to meet vitamin A needs through consumption of vitamin A precursors from fruits and vegetables and for breastfeeding infants through their well-nourished mother’s milk. Consumption of fat along with vitamin A and its precursors enhances absorption, with the amount of fat required being minimal. As with all types of diets, fulfilling the requirements for essential nutrients should be considered when making meal choices.

Riccardo Racicot recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition.

1. Haskell MJ. The challenge to reach nutritional adequacy for vitamin A: ß-carotene bioavailability and conversion—evidence in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;96(5):1193S-1203S.
2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Proposed Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label. Updated 2014. Accessed 08/05, 2014.
3. The importance of [beta]-carotene as a source of vitamin A with special regards to pregnant and breastfeeding women. Eur J Nutr. 2007;46(9).
4. Berner LA., Keast DR., Bailey RL., Dwyer JT. Fortified foods are major contributors to nutrient intakes in diets of US children and adolescents. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014;114(7):1009-1022.
5. Perry CL, McGuire MT, Neumark Sztanier D, Story M. Adolescent vegetarians: How well do their dietary patterns meet the Healthy People 2010 objectives? Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156:431–437.
6. Roodenburg, AJ, Leenen R, van het Hof KH, Weststrate JA, Tijburg LB. Amount of fat in the diet affects bioavailability of lutein esters but not of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and vitamin E in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71:1187-1193.
7. Jayarajan P, Reddy V, Mohanram M. Effect of dietary fat on absorption of [beta] carotene from green leafy vegetables in children. Indian J Med Res. 2013;137(5).
8. Kopec RE, Cooperstone JL, Schweiggert RM, et al. Avocado consumption enhances human postprandial provitaminA absorption and conversion from a novel high-β-carotene tomato sauce and from carrots. J Nutr. 2014;144(8):1158-1166.

Honor Labor Day with Terrific Vegan Recipes from Vegans Know How To Party Cookbook

Posted on August 27, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Labor Day is right around the corner! Pick up a copy of Vegans Know How to Party and make your favorite festive dishes come to life! To purchase this book see:

Colorful Fruit Parfaits
Serves 6

2 cups vanilla soy yogurt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup chopped cantaloupe or Crenshaw melon
1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen, thawed strawberries
1/2 cup peeled, chopped kiwi fruit
2 Tablespoons sliced almonds

Mix yogurt and almond extract together in a small bowl. Alternate layers
of fruit and yogurt mixture in parfait glasses, beginning and ending with fruit. Top with almonds. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Note: Feel free to add even more chopped fruit on top for a pretty

Total Calories Per Serving: 114
Total Fat as % of Daily Value: 5%
Protein: 4 gm
Fat: 3 gm Carbohydrates: 18 gm
Calcium: 118 mg
Iron: 1 mg
Sodium: 31 mg
Dietary Fiber: 1 gm

Fresh Fruit Crumble
Serves 8

Vegetable oil spray
21/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup apple butter
1/4 cup applesauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, apple
butter, and sauce until crumbly.

Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with oil. Put aside 1/2 cup of
mixture and press remainder into dish.

3 cups peeled and diced fresh fruit (berries, apricots, peaches, ripe
persimmons, nectarines, and plums work well)
1/4 cup peeled, diced fresh orange (seeds removed)
1/8 cup raisins (or dried berries)
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine filling ingredients in large pot; heat over medium heat,
stirring constantly, until fruit is soft and mixture is slightly
thickened. If more sweetness is desired, add 2 teaspoons of orange juice.

Spread fruit over topping. Crumble remaining topping over fruit.
Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Total Calories Per Serving: 253
Total Fat as % of Daily Value: 2%
Protein: 5 gm
Fat: 1 gm
Carbohydrates: 58 gm
Calcium: 24 mg
Iron: 1 mg
Sodium: 4 mg
Dietary Fiber: 4 gm

Chilled Tomato Gazpacho

Serves 8

1 cup tomato paste
2 stemmed, seeded, and diced fresh chilies (you select the heat)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
7 cups tomato juice
3 cups seeded and diced fresh tomatoes
2 cups peeled, seeded, and diced cucumbers
2 cups peeled and diced fresh jicama (if jicama is not available, use 2
cups cooked, peeled, diced potatoes)
11/2 cups stemmed, seeded, and diced green bell peppers
11/2 cups stemmed, seeded, and diced red bell peppers
11/2 cups chopped green onion
1 cup each diced zucchini and diced summer squash
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro

In a blender or food processor, place the tomato paste, chilies,
vinegar, lime juice, garlic, cumin, Tabasco sauce, pepper, and 3 cups of
the tomato juice and process for 2 minutes or until smooth. Transfer the
mixture to a large glass or plastic (not metal) bowl. Add the rest of
the tomato juice and stir well to combine. Add the remaining ingredients
and stir well to combine. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before
serving in chilled bowls.

Note: Will last well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Total Calories Per Serving: 134
Total Fat as % of Daily Value: 1%
Protein: 6 gm
Fat: 1 gm
Carbohydrates: 31 gm
Calcium: 76 mg
Iron: 3 mg
Sodium: 1,074 mg
Dietary Fiber: 7 gm


Posted on August 26, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Vegan Meals for One or Two, by Chef Nancy Berkoff, is a terrific cookbook for college students living on their own. Start your day off with Breakfast Potato Burritos or Macadamia Nut Pancakes. Try one pot wonders including Kitchen Sink Minestrone, Asian Noodle Bowl, or Cauliflower Curry. Looking for some Grab-and-Go items, you may want to prepare Speedy Tostadas or Baked Beans Quesadillas. And if you have the time and want to prepare a more gourmet meal, try Almost Thai Spicy Peanut Pasta, Potato Tacos, or Quick Tofu Stroganoff. You’ll also find creative hot and cold beverages, and of course snacks and desserts.

Here’s one recipe from this cookbook:

Salsa Black Bean Salad

(Makes 2 servings)

1 cup cooked black beans (if canned, drain and rinse)
1/2 fresh orange, peeled and chopped
1/8 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup prepared salsa
1 Tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1 minced garlic clove or a teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Shredded lettuce, as desired
Tortilla chips or shredded tortillas, as desired

Mix beans, orange, onion, salsa, juice, garlic, cumin, and pepper flakes together in a medium bowl. Chill for at least 1 hour. Serve over lettuce and garnish with chips.

Vegan Meals for One or Two is published by The Vegetarian Resource Group and can be purchased online at or you can send $21 (includes postage/handling) to Vegetarian Resource Group, PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203 or call (410) 366-8343.


Posted on August 15, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

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

Café Love
3219 Old Chapel Hill Rd
Durham, NC 27707
Café Love is a 100% vegan, gluten-free and raw restaurant currently serving take-out only. When the weather is nice, find a shady spot to enjoy these delicious dishes! You can choose from a variety of healthy entrees such as Pad Thai, Manicotti or Spicy Kelp Noodles. They also offer desserts like Chocolate and Blueberry Squares and homemade juices.

Jrink Juicery
1323 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington DC 20036
It is clear Jrink Juicery is a purist as fresh, cold pressed, 100% fruit and vegetable juices is all they serve in this cozy café with exposed brick and wood floors. Start your day off with a “Fuel Me Up” with pear, kale, romaine, cucumber and lemon or “The Hulk” with spinach, kale, raw almonds, cinnamon, vanilla and agave. Located near Dupont Circle.

Loving Heart
838 W. Montrose Ave.
Chicago, IL 60613
It is clear that a little bit of love is a key ingredient in all of Loving Heart’s fresh and wholesome dishes. Fresh veggies and herbs are a staple in their salads, wraps, and noodle bowls. Try the Green Deva salad with a host of vegetables, roasted peanuts, parsley, and a special ginger pesto. If you haven’t gotten your fill, check out their selection of raw cakes!

Nourished On The Go
16 Simcoe Street South
Oshawa, ON L1H 4G2 Canada
Located right down the street from Memorial Park. Nourished on the Go focuses on serving up health-conscious vegan food. The diverse menu has a selection of soups, salads, and wraps. Be sure to check out the desserts and smoothies as well. Many gluten free options available.

One Lucky Duck
125½ E. 17th Street
New York, NY 10003
75 9th Ave.
New York, NY 10011
One Lucky Duck has two small and cozy locations in the Chelsea and Gramercy neighborhoods of NYC. At the Gramercy location they offer fresh juices, smoothies, desserts, ice cream, and made to order dishes such as zucchini and tomato lasagna and falafel with tabouli. All of these items are available at the Chelsea location. However, it is served take-out style only.

1303 Sainte-Catherine Est.
Montréal, Québec H2L 2H4
Propulsion might seem like an unusual name for a restaurant until you realize you will be dining on a table made from the wing of a plane! Enjoy the funky atmosphere over unique sandwiches, salads and desserts. Try the Mungo Mango sandwich with Chinese mung beans and fresh mango and the homemade coconut-milk creamsicle with frozen banana!

Resonance Café
5175a av. du Parc
Montréal, QC H2V 4G3
Every day of the week Resonance Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and has live music for you to enjoy! Their menu is 100% vegan and full of goodies including breakfast items, soups, salads and sandwiches. Try the breakfast sandwich with tofu scramble and cashew cheese or the Victoria Rice Bowl with marinated tofu and kimchi!

Rockin’ Raw
171 Sullivan St.
(Off of Houston Street)
Greenwich Village
New York, NY 10012
Enjoy colorful and inventive dishes and a relaxing laid back atmosphere at the 100% raw restaurant, Rockin’ Raw. You will never look at raw food the same way again. Regulars rave about the Fully Loaded Nachos appetizer, their smoothies, and extensive menu of desserts!

Three Carrots
222 E Market St,
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Three Carrots offers a cozy environment with a variety of vegan breakfast and lunch options, many of which are gluten-free. For breakfast, try the Biscuits and Gravy or Sweet Potato Hash. For lunch, don’t miss Ian’s Chili or the Tofu Rich Girl, a cornmeal crusted tofu po boy!

The Urban Buggy
308 22nd Ave S, Suite 102
Seattle WA, 98144
The Urban Buggy is not only a 100% vegan deli but also an urban farm by the same name. This restaurant serves simple, yet tasty, lunch dishes with a menu that changes daily. Try the Gyro with mock “chicken,” tzatiki sauce, tomato, lettuce, cucumber in a pita wrap or BBQ Pulled “Pork” Sandwich with BBQ’d jackfruit , red onion and coleslaw.

Do I need to take a daily multi-vitamin and mineral in order to be healthy?

Posted on August 15, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Written by Meredith Binder while doing an internship with The Vegetarian Resource Group

The simple answer to this question is no. The general consensus among experts in the field of nutrition is that it’s much better, and healthier, for us to receive our nutrients from the foods that we eat rather than from a daily vitamin. This means that a balanced diet filled with vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, whole grains, and fortified foods will supply us with enough of the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Therefore, there’s really not a need to spend money on multi-vitamins and minerals. However, for some situations, there may be a need to take supplements for one or more specific nutrients. This is discussed in more detail below as it pertains to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Foods that are fortified are those that have vitamins and minerals added to them, which are usually not found in these foods. Examples of plant-based foods that may be fortified are breads, cereals, juices, non-dairy milk beverages, and certain meat analogues. Since there are so many fortified foods available to us, there’s actually the possibility of exceeding the amount of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need when taking a multi-vitamin in addition to eating regular meals. When this happens, the money we spent on multi-vitamins goes down the toilet, literally, as our body will excrete most vitamins (the ones that are water-soluble) when it’s reached the amount that it needs. And although it is rare, the vitamins that our bodies do store (like vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin) can be harmful if you get too much of them.

All of that being said, vegetarians and vegans do need to make sure that they receive enough of certain vitamins and minerals, just as someone on a meat-based diet does. Some of these that are especially important for teenagers include iron, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.

Iron is very important during adolescence because it supports the growth spurts that occur during this period of life. Vegetarians and vegans actually need to consume more iron than omnivores because our bodies don’t absorb as much iron from plant-based sources as they do from animal sources. Many vegetarian foods are good sources of iron. Male vegetarian teens should consume about 20 mg of iron per day and female vegetarian teens should consume 27 mg of iron per day. Click here for more information on iron and plant-based sources of this nutrient:

Calcium is especially important for teenagers because not only do you grow a lot during this time but you also start accruing your peak bone mass. In fact, half of our maximum bone mass is accumulated during our teen years. Vitamin D is also important for healthy and strong bones. Teens need 1300 mg of calcium each day and 15 mcg (or 600 IU) of vitamin D each day. Click here for more information on calcium and here for more information on vitamin D

As mentioned, teens grow a significant amount during this time in their lives, and another vitamin, vitamin B12, is very important as it is needed for healthy cell division. Teens need 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 per day. Click here for more information on vitamin B12:

Although lacto-ovo vegetarians have been found to have adequate intakes of calcium and vitamin B12 through diet alone, vegans and others may want to consider taking supplements specifically for these nutrients if they are not able to meet their needs through their normal diet. Vegetarians and vegans may want to consider taking a supplement for iron and/or vitamin D if they are not receiving enough of these nutrients. If you’re concerned about receiving enough of any of these nutrients, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. Overall, you most likely do not need a daily multi-vitamin and mineral but possibly need a specific nutrient supplement.

If you feel that you’re not receiving proper nutrition through your diet for any reason, then you might want to consider taking a daily multi-vitamin or supplement. However, you should first consider talking to a nutrition expert, such as a registered dietitian, who may be able to give you advice on how to incorporate more nutrient-dense foods into your meals. Vitamin pills should never replace foods especially because they don’t contain fiber or the phytonutrients (substances found in plants) that are only present in foods. If you do end up shopping for a daily multi-vitamin and mineral, you can begin by looking for ones that say “vegetarian” or “vegan” on the packaging. Keep in mind that even if they state this on the box or bottle, you should still further investigate the packaging by looking at the “supplement facts” which is similar to a “nutrition facts” label that you find on food packages. Here are some points to keep in mind when you’re shopping for vitamins or supplements:

  • A lot of daily multi-vitamins and minerals do not have iron included in them. Always check the “supplement facts” label to see if iron is listed. Some vitamins may also promote “with iron” on their packaging which indicates that they do have iron.
  • Check the “supplement facts” label for the type of vitamin D that is used. Vitamin D-3, sometimes written on labels as cholecalciferol, is often made from lanolin, a waxy substance that comes from sheep’s wool. Though the animal is not killed for lanolin, it is considered an animal product so vegans may want to be cautious of this. Vitamin D-2, sometimes on labels as ergocalciferol, is from yeast, so it is completely vegan. I have seen multi-vitamins labeled as “vegetarian” that use the D-3 form, since lanolin would be vegetarian, though not vegan.
  • Check the actual daily percentages of the vitamins and minerals that are included, which are found on the “supplement facts” labels. Just because a package of daily multi-vitamin and minerals claims, in big bold letters, to have all of the essential vitamins and nutrients that you need does not mean that it actually does. I have seen supplements that claim this and then only contain 1% of the daily-recommended value of calcium and absolutely no iron.

The contents of this article, 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.

What is the Amount of Oxalate in Seitan?

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

By Reed Mangels, PhD, RD

VRG often gets questions about the oxalate content of vegan foods. Some people limit their dietary oxalate intake because of conditions such as kidney stones, fibromyalgia, and interstitial cystitis. There are a number of resources for people interested in knowing more about the amount of oxalate in different foods. We pointed out some in this blog post from 2011: Jack Norris, RD, a vegan dietitian, frequently writes about oxalates on his blog. One of his posts led us to a list of tables developed by the Harvard School of Public Health, which list the oxalate content of many foods. Even with all of these resources, we were stumped when we received a question from a reader about the amount of oxalate in seitan.

We contacted Michael Liebman, PhD, a professor at the University of Wyoming, who has done research on the oxalate content of foods. He agreed to analyze a sample of gluten flour which is used to make seitan. Dr. Liebman found that 100 grams of Arrowhead Mills Vital Wheat Gluten had 54 mg of total oxalate and 15.1 mg of soluble oxalate. Soluble oxalate appears to be more easily absorbed. Dr. Liebman concluded that a tablespoon of Vital Wheat Gluten (which weighs 9 grams) has 4.9 mg of total oxalate.

We took these numbers and used a recipe for seitan from Vegetarian Journal. According to this recipe, 2 cups of gluten flour yields 5 or 6 servings (4 ounces) of seitan. The gluten flour would contribute 26-31 mg of oxalate to a 4 ounce serving of seitan. The total oxalate in the seitan would be somewhat higher depending on the other ingredients which were used. Other ingredients in the seitan recipe were not included in the calculation. These ingredients include garlic powder, ground ginger, water or vegetable stock, lite tamari, Braggs liquid amino acids, or soy sauce, and optional sesame oil. The broth to cook the seitan contains tamari or soy sauce, kombu (a type of seaweed), and optional ginger. We are uncertain as to how much oxalate from the broth ingredients is present in the seitan and if some oxalate from the seitan is lost into the cooking broth so our estimate of the oxalate content of the seitan is just that, an estimate. Ginger, garlic, and soy sauce have all been identified as low in oxalates in one or more databases.

The contents of this blog, 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 August 14, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

VRG recently received information about a vegetarian camp for kids that focuses on non-violence and social justice:

I read your blog and wanted to tell you of another camp that our kids just joined this year. They said that it was the best camping experience they had ever had. The camp was called Vegetarian Ahimsa Camp (all the food was vegan, except some milk available in the morning for some children). It is an overnight camp for ages 9-13 (unless an 8-year-old has an older sibling already attending) and incorporates Youth Leadership Camps Canada counselors. It is recognized by the Toronto Vegetarian Association and the site is Ennismore Ontario near Pigeon Lake.

Fantastic – they focus on non-violence and social justice. Kids learn and talk about what veganism means in fun ways. They also do yoga in the mornings and meditation in the evenings. And then.. they have all the fun camp things too: canoeing, hiking, high and low ropes, rock climbing…

You can visit their website at:

For more camps and travel information see:

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