The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

PLANT POWERED PLANET PROTECTORS

Posted on March 20, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

climatemarch

April 29, 20107 will be the People’s Climate March in Washington, DC. Participating will be the Plant-Powered Planet Protectors. They say:

A WorldWatch report estimates that 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide are emitted by livestock production each year, while the U.S. EPA implicates animal agriculture as the largest emitter of methane, a much more powerful greenhouse gas.

For information see:
https://www.facebook.com/events/611460152388369

Vegan Options at P.F. Chang’s® China Bistro

Posted on March 17, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

On P.F. Chang’s website https://www.pfchangs.com/menu/main/main-entres–vegetarian there is a vegetarian section listing the following entrées each designated by a vegetarian icon consisting of a young green plant with two leaves and a small stem:

• Ma Po Tofu
• Buddha’s Feast
• Stir-Fried Eggplant
• Coconut Curry Vegetables

There are other dishes tagged with the same undefined vegetarian icon appearing on several different pages of the main menu: https://www.pfchangs.com/menu/main/street-fare
• Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps
• Edamame
• Chili-Garlic Green Beans
• Sichuan-Style Asparagus
• Wok’d Spinach with Garlic
• Gluten-Free Wok’d Spinach with Garlic
• Gluten-Free Coconut-Curry Vegetables

Nothing is described as “vegan” on P.F. Chang’s website.

To find out more information about what the menu’s vegetarian icon means, The Vegetarian Resource Group spoke with and corresponded by email on several occasions from September 2016 through February 2017 with Kelly Pascal Gould of Pascal Public Relations, who responded for P.F. Chang’s after we first contacted the chain. She told us after relaying some information: “Since several different people answered your questions, please attribute all quotes and information to ‘P.F. Chang’s spokesperson.’”

In response to our question concerning the meaning of the vegetarian icon, P.F. Chang’s spokesperson said that “vegetarian menu items contain no animal products as ingredients and are prepared using designated vegetarian (clean) oil and/or water.”

When The VRG followed up by inquiring whether dairy and eggs are included in the term “animal products” P.F. Chang’s spokesperson responded: “’No animal products’ does include no dairy and eggs.”

When we asked if P.F Chang’s served any vegan entrées, P.F. Chang’s spokesperson told us:
“We don’t officially claim anything to be vegan on our menu because definitions for ‘vegan’ vary. Many of our vegetarian dishes qualify as vegan to some — but not others because in cases where a bit of sugar is called for in a sauce, for example. We use regular sugar, not vegan sugar.

However, the two dishes that are considered vegan by most are Buddha’s Feast and Coconut Curry Vegetables.
…[T]here is just a bit of sugar in both of the[se] vegan dishes…”

Later, upon our request, the chain sent us the ingredient statements for Buddha’s Feast and Coconut Curry Vegetables:
Buddha’s Feast Steamed:
Ingredients: broccoli, sugar snap peas, five-spice baked tofu (soy beans, water, soy sauce (water, soybeans, wheat flour, salt), soy oil, calcium sulfate), asparagus, carrots, shiitake mushrooms.
Coconut Curry Vegetables:
Ingredients: coconut milk (coconut extract, water, citric acid (as antioxidant), sodium metabisulfite (as preservative), tofu, broccoli, sugar snap peas, carrots, gluten-free soy sauce (water, organic soybeans, salt, organic alcohol (to preserve freshness)), rice vinegar (diluted with water to 4.2% acidity), bok choy, bamboo shoots strips (bamboo shoots, water), white mushrooms, tomatoes, peanuts, brown sugar, white onion, green onion, red peppers, shiitake mushrooms, soybean oil w/ citric acid added as a preservative, water, curry powder, cornstarch, chili paste (chili, salt, distilled vinegar, potassium sorbate and sodium bisulfite as preservative and xanthan gum), garlic, ginger root, sesame oil.

The word “Steamed” did not appear on the menu for Buddha’s Feast when we last checked in March 2017 (although it is listed on the Nutrition and Allergen Information page https://www.pfchangs.com/menu/nutrition/main/). Given the list of Buddha’s Feast ingredients on the website menu (five-spice tofu, savory sauce, asparagus, shiitakes, broccoli, carrots), and given other information from the chain regarding sugar (see above), The VRG inferred that the savory sauce in the stir-fried Buddha’s Feast must contain sugar. Prepared without the sauce, the steamed version of Buddha’s Feast appears vegan. We sought confirmation from P.F. Chang’s spokesperson about Buddha’s Feast and received this reply:

“Our menu may have changed slightly, but Buddha’s Feast can be ordered steamed or stir-fried. Since some vegans are opposed to the granulated sugar in the vegetarian sauce, I don’t usually list the Buddha’s Feast (stir-fried) as an option. The steamed version has no sauce and therefore no sugar.”

On the website allergen chart several vegetables such as steamed edamame and crispy green beans (but not the chili-garlic green beans) have egg indicated:
https://www.pfchangs.com/menu/nutrition/main/?allergy=true The VRG asked P.F. Chang’s if the vegetables had been coated with an egg wash and was informed:
“…the allergy listing on our website is for our guests with food allergies, so we take ingredients and potential cross contamination into consideration when we are determining which allergens to mark…The steamed edamame is marked for the egg allergen because it is steamed in the same piece of equipment as menu items that contain egg, but there is not any egg in the recipe…The crispy green beans are coated in a batter that contains egg as an ingredient, so the recipe cannot be altered…We do not use an egg wash on any of our other vegetables.”
[VRG Note: There are other vegetables on the Allergen Information page https://www.pfchangs.com/menu/nutrition/main/?allergy=true that are listed as containing egg and/or milk. They include:

• Cauliflower Tempura
• Orange Ginger Edamame
• Vegetable Spring Rolls
• Sriracha Hot Potatoes (select locations only)
• Wok-Charred Brussels Sprouts

P.F. Chang’s also specified that they use a “non-sugared soy sauce.”
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.

The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Annual Essay Contest for Kids

Posted on March 16, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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Each year the Vegetarian Resource Group sponsors an essay contest for kids. Winners receive a $50 prize. Entrants should submit a 2-3 page essay on any aspect of vegetarianism/veganism. Vegetarianism is not eating meat, fish, and birds (for example, chicken or duck). Vegans avoid all animal products. Among the many reasons for being a vegetarian/vegan are beliefs about ethics, culture, health, aesthetics, religion, world peace, economics, world hunger, and the environment.

Entrants should base their paper on interviewing, research, and/or personal opinion. You need not be a vegetarian to enter. All essays become the property of The Vegetarian Resource Group. Deadline for the contest is May 1, 2017!

Details on the contest, as well as previous winning essays, can be found here:
http://www.vrg.org/essay/

PIZZA PIZZA IN CANADA

Posted on March 16, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Pizza-Pizza-stacked

Pizza Pizza in Canada has launched a vegan cheese, a new dairy-free menu option that allows their customers to customize their pizzas with a cheese-like product that respects the vegan diet.

They say: “Our Classic and Whole Grain Dough do not contain any animal by-products. Any Mono or Di Glycerides or Enzymes are not derived from animals. However, our Gluten Free Crust does contain Kosher Beef Gelatin. We are continuing to evaluate options as to how we can transition this to a vegan and vegetarian friendly option. All of the enzymes (Lipase, Rennet) that are in our cheese offerings are derived from non-animal, microbial sources. No, we do not use any sugar refined through the use of animal bone char.” They also indicate: “Our dough, tomato sauce and cheese do not contain any egg product.”

See:
http://www.pizzapizza.ca/

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.

BAREBURGER CHAIN OFFERS VEGAN BURGER

Posted on March 15, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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The Bareburger chain says they now have a vegan burger made by http://www.littlegreenfoods.com/

For more information on Bareburger, see https://bareburger.com/

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.

Review of NuVegan Café in Maryland/Washington D.C.

Posted on March 14, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Laneece Hurd
 
NuVegan Café (formerly known as Woodlands Vegan Bistro), is an eclectic, 100% vegan, fast-casual restaurant specializing in serving up modern vegan takes on traditional dishes. They can be visited at two different locations: one on Baltimore Ave. in College Park, MD and the other off of Georgia Avenue in Washington, D.C. Their motto is “where nutrition meets compassion” and they thoroughly uphold this standard by making delicious plant-based meals that are sure to satisfy vegans and non-vegans alike. A large portion of the menu items are rich comfort foods and decadent desserts, but they also offer lighter options such as fresh salads, juices, and smoothies. On Sundays from 10AM-3PM, you can even grab a warm and hearty brunch, including pancakes, waffles, and French toast.
 
The location I visited in College Park, MD, closely neighbors the University of Maryland and frequently welcomes college students and millennials who are interested in meat-free cuisine. This is reflected through the ambiance, which is hip and trendy as soulful jazz music gently plays through the sound system while you enjoy your meal. The décor is fresh and relaxing, colored with earthy tones of forest greens and woodsy browns.
 
NuVegan interior of restaurant
 
At NuVegan Café, you can order special made-to-order items off the menu, such as burgers and sandwiches, or you can build your own meal by choosing from the number of entrées and hot/cold sides available on display. The sides typically remain the same, but the entrées change daily so be sure to check back often for different options!
 
NuVegan food display
 
One of the many reasons I love NuVegan Café is because you get to “try before you buy.” They offer each of their customers a maximum of three samples of any of the entrées and sides off the menu. Even after sampling, it still may be a bit difficult to make a decision because NuVegan Café offers such a large variety of delicious dishes. I highly recommend going with a group so that you can experience as many of them as possible without getting full…or just go multiples times, which I highly recommend as well! After ordering and purchasing your meal at the counter, you are given the option to seat yourself and dine in or have it packaged up and take it to-go.
 
As my entrée, I ordered the Barbeque Tofu with Rice. This dish has thick, meaty, pieces of tofu that are tossed in a sweet and spicy barbeque sauce and served over brown rice. To round out the meal, I chose two sides: sautéed Brussel sprouts and macaroni and cheese, which is perhaps some of the best vegan mac and cheese I’ve ever had. We also enjoyed the Beef and Broccoli, which had sweet bell peppers and onions tossed in a savory sauce and served over brown rice. Both of the entrées were bursting with flavor and so filling, but somehow still felt light and fresh at the same time.
 
NuVegan entree
 
Now for the star of the show, we ordered the Vegan Fried “Chick’n” Sandwich. Unsure of what to expect, and a little bit skeptical, we were in for a surprise. These sandwiches are made to order so it took a little while to prepare, but it was certainly well worth the wait. This showstopper consisted of a thick and juicy crispy “chick’n” filet on warm and toasty house made bread, topped with vegan cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, and vegan mayonnaise. As full as we were, we had to try some of the mouthwatering desserts. I decided on a giant cinnamon roll that was very close to the size of my head and the Chocolate Cream shake, which is made with carob powder and molasses. Not surprisingly, the desserts were unbelievably delicious and solely worth a trip to NuVegan Café.
 
NuVegan sandwich
 
Aside from the incredible food, there are a number of other aspects of NuVegan Café that make it a near perfect dining experience.The staff was friendly and greeted us with smiles when we walked in. The service was fast and the restaurant was clean. Just in case you need any more reasons as to why you should head there now, they even offer senior, military, and student discounts, as well as a rewards program for frequent diners. Overall, NuVegan Café is a great place for vegans, vegetarians, and anyone just curious about plant-based eating as it gives them the opportunity to enjoy good vegan food in a great environment.
 
For more information on NuVegan Café, visit www.nuvegancafe.com
 
For more information on other vegetarian/vegan restaurants in the USA and Canada, visit http://www.vrg.org/restaurant

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th with this Vegan Soda Bread Recipe!

Posted on March 13, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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The recipe below previously appeared in Vegetarian Journal. Enjoy!

DOUBLE CRANBERRY SODA BREAD, by Debra Daniels-Zeller
(Makes 1 loaf; 6 servings)

This version of soda bread is a bit sweeter than the traditional Irish soda bread. I like to serve it for brunch or at a get-together with friends.

Juice and zest of 1 orange
Vanilla rice milk or soymilk to make 1 cup (when added to orange juice)
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unrefined organic sugar
1 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup lightly toasted, chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Combine juice and zest of orange with the soy or rice milk to make 1 cup. Add oil and whisk together with a fork. Set aside.

Blend flours and baking soda together, stirring to make sure there are no small lumps of soda. Mix in sugar, fresh and dried cranberries, and walnuts, if desired. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring until a stiff dough is formed. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead a few turns. Shape into a round loaf and place on the prepared baking sheet. With a sharp knife cut an X across the top about ½-inch deep (to allow for dough expansion when baking). Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is browned.

Remove to cooling rack. Cool 10 to 15 minutes before slicing—if you can wait that long!

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

Read a Summary of Recent Scientific Papers Related to Veggie Diets

Posted on March 10, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

In each issue of Vegetarian Journal you’ll find a column called Scientific Updates. Reed Mangels, PhD, RD reviews recent scientific papers related to veggie diets. In the latest issue of Vegetarian Journal, learn about the following:

-Motivations and Attitudes of Vegans
-New Ruling by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Expands the Use of Vitamin D2
-What Does “Moderation” Mean, Anyway?
-Canadian Diabetes Association Recommends Use of Plant-based Diet to Manage Type 2 Diabetes
-Performance of Vegetarian Athletes

The article can be read here:
http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2017issue1/2017_issue1_scientific_update.php

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

Consider Giving a Friend or Family Member a Vegan Cookbook from The Vegetarian Resource Group Book Catalog!

Posted on March 09, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Whether your friend or family member is vegan or perhaps just interested in adding more vegan cuisine to their diet, consider purchasing a book from the VRG online book catalog. The Vegetarian Resource Group Book Catalog offers a wide range of vegan books including:

Simply Vegan
Grills Gone Vegan
Vegan Meals for One or Two
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
Gluten-Free Tips and Tricks for Vegans
Vegan Soul Kitchen
Vegan Brunch
Artisan Vegan Cheese
The Joy of Vegan Baking
Vegans Know How to Party
The Lowfat Jewish Vegetarian Cookbook
Teff Love
More Fabulous Beans
Soups On!
Nona’s Italian Kitchen
Food Allergy Survival Guide
The Natural Vegan Kitchen
Asian Fusion
The Indian Vegan Kitchen
The 4-Ingredient Vegan
The Almond Milk Cookbook
Vegan for the Holidays
The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book
And so many more….

FREE media mail shipping for orders over $30 in the United States only! Inquire about shipping costs outside the USA before placing your order.

Visit http://www.vrg.org/catalog/ to order books online and support VRG’s outreach at the same time!

Pears: Types, Dish Ideas, and Which Wine to Serve with Specific Kinds of Pears

Posted on March 08, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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Chef Nancy Berkoff shares information on pears in her recent Vegan Cooking Tips column that regularly appears in Vegetarian Journal. Are you looking for ideas on how to prepare dishes with pears? Nancy states:

“When you’ve got a blender handy, purée overripe pears with your favorite juice and/or yogurt for a fast morning meal. Leftovers can be frozen for your very own signature pear sherbet. Pears can be oh-so-thinly sliced and put on cold sandwiches or diced and added to cooked rice, couscous, or pasta. If you’re in a chocolate mood (who isn’t?!), melt vegan chocolate chips in the microwave and dip fresh pear pieces for a pear fondue. Leftovers, if there are any, can be refrigerated for a cold snack.

If you have time, rather than baked apples, you can create baked pears. Cut several pears in half and scoop out the seeds. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking dish with vegetable spray. Place pears in baking dish, cut side down. Combine equal parts of apple juice or pear nectar and maple syrup, sprinkle over pears, cover, and bake until soft (or the texture you like). Serve as a dessert, with sorbet or vegan yogurt and some berries, or have for breakfast with some granola, chopped nuts, or vegan yogurt… or keep in the refrigerator for a fast snack. When you have a grill on, cut fresh pears in half lengthwise, spray with a bit of vegetable oil, and grill, cut side down, until the texture you like is attained. You can sprinkle grilled pears with chili powder, garlic, and onion for a savory side dish or with cinnamon, vanilla, and ginger for a sweet one.

Finally, if you can stop yourself from eating pears straight from the fruit bowl, think about adding chopped pears to green salads, yogurt, smoothies, rice dishes, cooked vegetable dishes (as a garnish), or on your morning cereal.”

You’ll also learn about different types of pears, as well as which wine goes with specific types of pears.

The complete article can be read here: Quick and Easy Ideas for Preparing Dishes with Pears

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

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