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A sampling of columns and articles from the November/December 1995 issue of Vegetarian Journal, published by The Vegetarian Resource Group.



By Jacqueline Dunnington

Cabbage, including some of its European cousins such as cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts, originally grew wild. A related variety is popularly called Chinese cabbage. It is cultivated throughout the Orient. Technically all these vegetables are members of the mustard family, and the western name probably came from the Latin word "caput," or head.

(Serves 4)

An exotic cabbage dish from India.

1 cup brown rice
3 cups water left from soaking rice
1/4 cup peeled ginger root
2 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Salt or salt substitute and freshly-ground pepper to taste
1 large onion
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup chopped nuts or fresh shredded coconut
1/2 cup raisins

Soak rice 1 hour or even overnight. Do NOT discard 3 cups of soaking water. At time of preparation, in a food processor (or with traditional mortar and pestle) make a paste of all spices (spices are reduced to a soft mass). In a deep pot with tight lid, cook onion in broth until clear. Add cabbage, rice, soaking water, and spice paste. Stir well, cover pot, reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with nuts or shredded coconut, and raisins for garnish.

Total calories per serving: 379, Fat: 12 grams

(Serves 4)

A low-salt and lowfat recipe that is far from bland or boring.

4 cups raw Savoy cabbage, shredded
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into very thin strips
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into very thin strips
1 medium red onion, slivered
1 Tablespoon celery and/or poppy seeds
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Steam all vegetables to desired tenderness, making sure any accumulated water is drained. Stir in seasonings and serve at once.

Total calories per serving: 92; Fat: 1 gram

(Serves 5)

As Irish as a jig or a shamrock.

2 pounds boiling potatoes (reserve some potato water)
1/2 cup onion, finely minced
1/2 to 1 cup soy milk
1/2 pound fresh cabbage, shredded
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, shredded
Salt or salt substitute and freshly-ground pepper to taste
Chopped fresh chives for garnish

Peel and boil potatoes and onions together until tender. Mash with soy milk to desired consistency, then set aside in large flame-proof pot. In 1/2 cup potato water, steam cabbage and spinach in a covered pot until very soft. Chop finely and add to mashed potatoes and onions. Season with salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients well and serve piping hot topped with chives.

Total calories per serving: 193; Fat: less than 1 gram

(Serves 6-8 as a side dish)

Colorful, crunchy, and vitamin-packed.

1-1/2 cups raw red cabbage, shredded
1-1/2 cups raw green cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup raw spinach leaves, shredded
1/2 cup raw carrots, shredded

1/2 cup fat-free vinaigrette-style dressing
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds or celery seeds
1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Trim all leaves well from vegetables and remove coarse veins and stems before shredding. Toss all vegetables in a very large salad bowl. Mix dressing with seeds, mustard, and pepper very well and pour over vegetables. Serve as a side dish.

Total calories per main dish serving: 27; Fat: less than 1 gram

(Serves 6-8)

Enjoy this hearty main dish!

3-pound head of green cabbage
1 Tablespoon oil
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3 medium raw carrots, finely grated
2 cups mashed potatoes
1/4 cup freshly minced parsley
Salt or salt substitute and freshly-ground pepper to taste
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup raisins

Remove core from cabbage and plunge the head into a large pot of boiling salted water. Cover, then remove pot from heat after a rolling boil has been reached. Let cabbage head soak in covered pot for 15-20 minutes or until leaves are wilted. Drain and allow leaves to cool until comfortable to touch. Remove 12 to 16 leaves. Remove coarse ribs and set aside. Heat oil in a skillet and saut‚ onions with the garlic until clear but not browned. Scrape onions into large bowl; add carrots, mashed potatoes, and seasonings. Combine well. Spoon a bit of mix into center of each leaf, fold 2 sides of leaf inwards, and roll up napkin-style. Set stuffed cabbage leaves in bottom of large, heavy, flame-proof dish. Pour tomatoes over stuffed cabbage and add raisins. Cover and simmer over lowest heat for 35-45 minutes before serving.

Total calories per serving: 260; Fat: 3 grams

(Serves 4)

Cabbage at its most elegant.

2 cups shredded bok choy (Chinese cabbage)
1/2-3/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup red onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable broth
12 ounces spinach pasta (rotelle or ribbon noodles)
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
Salt or salt substitute and freshly-ground pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Saut‚ cabbage, red pepper, and onions in oil and broth until wilted. Remove from heat, cover at once, and set aside. Prepare pasta according to directions on package, making sure not to overcook. Toss all ingredients together until well-mixed. Red pepper flakes add more zest to this dish. Serve piping hot.

Total calories per serving: 402; Fat: 5 grams

Jacqueline Dunnington is a freelance writer from New Mexico.


Recent Findings on Bone Density, Osteoporosis, and the Vegetarian Diet
By Michael Meyer, M.D. and Enette Larson, M.S., R.D.

Calcium's role in osteoporosis raises a question that is difficult to answer. How much calcium do we need? Despite years of research, the optimal intake of calcium is not known. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for essential nutrients, including calcium, is defined as the level of intake adequate to meet the known nutrient needs of practically all healthy persons. Is it fair to compare the calcium needs of individuals consuming a Western diet characterized by high protein, animal protein, and sodium content, to the needs of individuals eating a vegetarian diet? We will review recent findings in an attempt to provide an answer.

Although calcium intake is important, it is not the only factor affecting bone health. Hip fractures and other fractures associated with osteoporosis are actually more common in countries with relatively high calcium intakes (U.S., Great Britain, Sweden) than in other countries. Calcium balance (the difference between calcium intake and calcium excretion) is another important factor. Positive calcium balance means that more dietary calcium is being retained by the body than is being excreted. Retained calcium is used for bone growth and maintenance. A positive calcium balance is desirable throughout life, especially during periods of growth. A negative calcium balance occurs if more calcium is lost from the body than is absorbed from the diet. Calcium is lost mainly from bone, where approximately 99% of the body's calcium is saved. If negative calcium balance exists over many years, bones will become less dense and more prone to fracture, with minimal trauma.

Calcium Intake and Absorption

Calcium absorption is related to several factors, including both dietary intake and vitamin D status. Many plant-based foods are excellent, well- absorbed sources of calcium. Among the best are dark green vegetables, green soybeans, and tofu processed with calcium sulfate. Other sources are listed in the accompanying chart (see page 13). Studies have shown that the calcium in kale, bok choy, and broccoli, as well as the calcium in other leafy greens, soybeans, and calcium-set tofu, is absorbed at a rate equal to or slightly greater than calcium in cow's milk. Some plant foods, including spinach and rhubarb, are high in calcium but also contain oxalates, which can interfere with calcium absorption. Common beans (pinto, red, and white) contain both phytates and oxalates, which appear to interfere with calcium absorption. (Absorption of calcium from these beans is about half that of kale.) Calcium absorption also appears to be inhibited by wheat fiber, iron, and zinc, which may be a potential problem for individuals taking iron or zinc supplements.

Vitamin D, initially produced in the skin in response to sunlight exposure (UV radiation), stimulates absorption of calcium in the intestines. A recent comparison of Dutch women living in the Netherlands (51-53 degrees N latitude) and Curacao, a tropical island in the Caribbean sea (12 degrees N latitude) found consistently higher blood levels of Vitamin D in the women living in the Caribbean. The increased vitamin D production is due to greater sunlight exposure. X-rays of the spines of the Caribbean Dutch women did not show the fractures commonly seen in women living in the Netherlands or other countries at higher latitude. This study suggests that sun-light exposure, leading to increased vitamin D synthesis, reduces the risk of certain fractures. The daily calcium intake of the women in Curacao was less than the women in the Netherlands, 700 vs. 1000 mg, respectively. The message is to get adequate sunlight exposure, 10-15 minutes 2-3 times a week. If you live at higher latitudes or spend minimal time in the sun, consumption of vitamin D-fortified foods or a vitamin D supplement may be necessary. This may be particularly important during winter months in northern latitudes where the sunlight is not intense enough to produce vitamin D. Faithful application of lotion with a sun protection factor greater than 8 has been shown to interfere with vitamin D production.

It appears that the body can absorb calcium more efficiently when calcium intake is low (assuming vitamin D status is adequate). This adaptation may not entirely compensate for very low calcium intakes, especially during periods of growth. A study of Chinese school children accustomed to a very low-calcium diet found that they absorbed a high proportion of calcium. Despite this high rate of absorption, supplemental calcium improved bone density. This improved bone density has also been seen in American children given calcium supplements before puberty. Additional studies are needed to determine whether or not a higher bone mass attained in childhood would be maintained and would reduce risk of osteoporosis.

Calcium Loss

The other half of the balance equation is calcium loss or excretion. Many studies have shown that diets high in sodium and protein, particularly protein from meat, increase calcium excretion by the kidneys. While it is argued that these effects are small, experimental evidence suggests that the combined effect of a diet high in both animal protein and sodium has a more pronounced effect on calcium excretion. Sodium and protein intakes typical of the American diet (2 g protein/kg body weight, 7100 mg of sodium) were found to almost double daily calcium excretion (152 vs. 257 mg/day) compared to a diet lower in both nutrients (1 g protein/kg, 3200 mg of sodium). The latter diet's protein content is more consistent with a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. These numbers are impressive when you consider that only 20-40% of calcium in the diet is absorbed. (E.g., an excess intake of 263-525 mg would be needed to replace the added 105 mg lost on the former compared to the latter diet.)

It is thought that the acids created by metabolism of animal proteins are buffered or neutralized by phosphate from resorbed bone. The majority of plant-based proteins create an alkaline or basic residue when metabolized and therefore would not require buffering by phosphate from bone resorption. Although there is not a lot of evidence to support this hypothesis, a cross-cultural analysis found that countries with higher animal protein consumption had higher incidence rates of hip fracture. In a clinical trial, administration of bicarbonate, a buffering agent, improved calcium and phosphate balance, reduced bone resorption, and increased bone formation.

Caffeine consumption is also thought to affect bone health by increasing calcium excretion by the kidneys. Although caffeine intake is less studied, its association with reduced bone mineral density has been documented in epidemiological studies. The effect of lifetime caffeine intake, however, seems to be weak; 10 cups of coffee every day for 30 years was associated with only a 1.1% reduction in bone mass. However, in studies in post-menopausal women not on estrogen therapy, as little as two cups of coffee was found to accelerate bone loss in women with low calcium intakes.

Estrogen Deficiency and Exercise

Estrogen deficiency is perhaps the strongest factor involved in bone loss. Estrogen deficiency exists at menopause, in severe eating disorders, and in the highly trained female athletes who do not have regular menstrual cycles. At menopause, or in other estrogen-deficient states, the amount of bone formed is substantially less than the amount of bone broken down to maintain blood calcium levels. This leads to accelerated loss of calcium from bones, with a reduction in bone strength. Estrogen replacement therapy remains controversial. In postmenopausal women, estrogen replacement therapy slows the rate of bone loss and reduces the risk of heart disease, but may also increase the risk of breast cancer.

Weight-bearing activity and strength training programs stimulate bone maintenance. Inactivity, on the other hand, promotes bone resorption. In April of this year, The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) released a Position Stand on Osteoporosis and Exercise. The position stand recognizes the essential role of weight-bearing physical activity on normal skeletal development and notes the possible benefit of strength-training activities. A brochure on exercise and osteoporosis can be obtained from the ACSM National Center: PO Box 1440, Indianapolis, IN 46206; (317) 637-9200.

Calcium Needs of Vegetarians

Several investigators have hypothesized that vegetarian diets may be calcium-conserving, which would translate into lower calcium requirements. This, however, is yet to be determined. Numerous studies have compared bone mineral density between lacto-ovo vegetarians and omnivores, and found similar or slightly higher values in vegetarians. There are no studies to date of the bone status of long-term vegans. Although no direct evidence exists, it seems logical to assume that a physically- active vegan lifestyle would result in healthy bone status, providing the diet contained a variety of calcium-rich or fortified plant sources. In a study of Chinese women from five counties with longstanding varying calcium intakes, greater bone mineral density was found at all ages in counties with greater calcium consumption and in individuals from all counties that had higher calcium intakes. People in counties with lower overall calcium intake consumed primarily plant-based diets; their calcium intakes (230-360 mg/day) were substantially below current recommended levels. Thus, a primarily plant-based diet does not necessarily promote bone health if calcium intake is very low. Interestingly, the difference in bone density was apparent by the age of peak bone mass, age 30-35, and remained across the age spectrum. In other words, the rate of bone loss was similar despite differences in peak bone mass. This study underscores the importance of obtaining adequate calcium intake during childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood.


Osteoporosis is dependent on peak bone mass reached in early adulthood and the rate of bone loss in later years. One of the most effective ways to prevent osteoporosis is to maximize potential peak bone mass, which is reached around age 30-35. This can be accomplished by eating three or more servings of foods high in calcium during adolescence and early adulthood in combination with regular exercise. As reviewed above, encouraging higher calcium intakes in children may have a beneficial influence on bone den-sity. In later years, adequate calcium intake and an active lifestyle continue to be critical.

Everyday Calcium-Rich Recipes

Plant sources of calcium may offer a nutritional advantage over animal sources, in that these foods are also rich in antioxidants, folic acid, complex carbohydrates, iron, and other vitamins and minerals. Obtaining adequate calcium intake from plant sources alone is easily achieved, but may initially take some planning and creativity. Fresh greens, for example, can be cleaned, chopped, and either steamed or tossed into a salad in a matter of minutes. Blackstrap molasses, kept on the pantry shelf, can be added to bakery products or a pot of beans with little effort. Calcium-fortified products such as soy milk or juice can also be easily incorporated into daily menus. To get you started - or add to recipes you have already collected - we have included a few recipe ideas.

Michael Meyer is a family practitioner and Enette Larson is a doctoral student in nutrition. The two reside in Birmingham, Alabama.

(6 servings)

Try this salad with different greens. The sweet dressing nicely complements the slightly bitter greens.

1 Tablespoon tahini
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
10 ounces soft tofu
1-2 teaspoons sugar
1 large clove garlic minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 bunch dandelion greens (about 4 cups)
1 bunch rapini (about 3 cups)
1 bunch chicory (curly endive) (about 4-5 cups)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

In a blender, combine the first 7 ingredients; chill for several hours to develop flavors. Wash and dry greens. Coarsely tear greens; toss into a big bowl with sliced onions and sesame seeds. Serve with dressing on the side.

Total calories per serving: 130; Fat: 4 grams
Calcium: 166 or 223 mg (higher value for calcium-precipitated tofu)

(serves 8)

A great year-round baked bean recipe.

3/4 cup dry soybeans
1 cup dry pinto beans
1 cup chopped onion
10 Tablespoons apple juice(or 1/2 cup dark beer plus 2 Tablespoons apple juice)
1/3 cup catsup
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup black strap molasses

Soak beans overnight in separate containers; soybeans fare better if soaked in the refrigerator. Drain soybeans, cover with fresh water, and simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Add drained pinto beans and additional water and continue simmering for 45 minutes or until beans are tender but not mushy; add additional water if necessary. Combine with remaining ingredients in a covered baking dish. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. (If time allows, bake 2-3 hours at 250 degrees to enhance flavor.) On a chilly day, serve with hot brown bread and steamed cabbage. In picnic weather, serve with tofu dogs and vegetable salad. Leftovers are great over toasted wheat bread.

Total calories per serving: 184
Fat: 3 grams
Calcium: 194 mg

(4 servings)

Great with or without the added soy "sour cream."

1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
6 cups shredded greens (collard, kale, mustard, etc.)
1/4 cup soy "sour cream" (optional)

Briefly saut‚ garlic and onion over low heat in broth and olive oil. Stir in mustard, horseradish, and raw shredded greens. Cover and cook over low heat until wilted. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Makes a great accompaniment for veggie burgers or cooked beans.

Total calories: 51
Fat: 2 grams
Calcium: 189 mg (all figures obtained using collard greens in recipe)

(6 hearty servings)

Delicious served with French bread and fresh fruit.

4 medium potatoes
4 cups tomato sauce
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
20 ounces of firm tofu
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 teaspoons dried oregano
4 teaspoons dried basil
3 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 cups fresh shredded collard greens
1 cup shredded soy cheese

Boil, bake, or microwave potatoes and cool for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix tomato sauce with Italian seasoning. With a fork, whip tofu, lemon juice, oregano, basil, and garlic until smooth. To assemble lasagna, cover the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan with about 1/3 of the tomato sauce. Cover with 2 potatoes, thinly sliced. Layer with 1/2 of the tofu mixture, the fresh collard greens, 1/3 of the tomato sauce. Finish with another layer of potatoes, and the remaining tofu mixture and tomato sauce. Top with soy cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Total calories per serving: 252
Fat: 8 grams
Calcium: 201 or 317 mg (higher value for calcium-precipitated tofu)

(4 servings)

Bok choy and broccoli provide two good sources of calcium in this recipe.

1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and shaved
1/4 cup apple juice concentrate
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cooking wine or vegetable broth
3 carrots
1-1/2 pounds bok choy
4 cups broccoli florets
1/4 cup toasted, slivered almonds
1/4 cup roasted cashew halves

Peel and slice carrots like match sticks. Coarsely chop leaves of bok choy. Cut stalks into thin slices. Heat sesame oil in a large wok or electric skillet. Briefly saut‚ garlic. Stir in ginger, apple juice, soy sauce, and wine. Cook for several seconds. Add carrots, bok choy, and broccoli. Cover and "steam" for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally to cover vegetables with cooking liquid. Toss in nuts and serve immediately over brown rice or whole grain Kashi. (Note: Sauce will be somewhat runny; thicken with 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch during the last few minutes of cooking, if desired.)

Total calories per serving: 216
Fat: 10 grams
Calcium: 232 mg

(3 servings)

Start your day with this healthy shake.

10 ounces soft tofu
3 over-ripe bananas
2 cups orange juice
1 cup soy milk
1/3 cup wheat germ
6 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender; whirl until smooth. Experiment with combinations of other over-ripe fruit such as peaches, apple, strawberries, kiwi, and pineapple.

Total calories per serving: 342
Fat: 8 grams
Calcium: 104 or 292 mg (higher value for calcium-precipitated tofu and calcium-fortified soymilk)

(4 1/2-cup servings)

Delicious at breakfast or dessert.

10 ounces soft tofu
2 mangos, ripe
Sugar to taste

Blend mangos with tofu and sugar until smooth. Pour into serving cups. Chill for 1-2 hours. Before serving, top with fresh sliced fruit such as kiwi or berries.

Total calories per serving: 133
Fat: 3 grams
Calcium: 50 or 163 mg (higher value for calcium-precipitated tofu)


	FOOD                                         AMOUNT                   CALCIUM (mg)	
	Acorn Squash, cooked	1 cup	  		90	
	Arugula, raw	3.5 oz *			309
	Bok Choy, raw	3.5 oz *			104
	Broccoli, cooked	1 cup			178
	Chicory (curly endive), raw	3.5 oz *	100
	Collard Greens, raw	3.5 oz *		117
	Dandelion Greens, raw	3.5 oz *		187
	Kale, raw	3.5 oz *			135	
	Mustard Greens, raw	3.5 oz *		103		
	Turnip Greens, raw	3.5 oz *		190
	Legumes, general, cooked	1/2 cup		14-49	
	Soybeans, green, cooked	1/2 cup			130
	Soybeans, mature, cooked	1/2 cup		102
	Soy milk, calcium-fortified	1 cup		200-400
	Tofu, firm, calcium set	4 oz			250-765
	Tofu, regular, calcium set	4 oz		120-390
	White Beans	1/2 cup	  			68

	Nuts and seeds
	Almonds, toasted, unblanched	1 oz	  	80
	Sesame seeds, whole roasted,	1 oz		281
	Sesame butter (tahini)	1 oz (2 Tbsp)		121

	Molasses, blackstrap	2 Tbsp			275
	Orange Juice, fortified	1 cup			260
	Milk, skim	1 cup				302
	Yogurt, nonfat, plain	1 cup			452
The calcium content of plant foods is variable. Most vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit contain some calcium. Listed are selected significant sources of well-absorbed calcium.

*3.5 ounces raw = 2-3 cups

To obtain a list of references used for this article, send a SASE to: The Vegetarian Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.



VRG Nutrition Advisor Suzanne Havala was invited to give two presentations in Framingham, Massachusetts, at a USDA regional conference for 200 school food-service personnel and state agency and Federal staff members. The focus of the conference was on helping food-service personnel implement the new school meals regulations, which require school meals to be in compliance with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Sue's presentations centered on the role that vegetarian meals can play in helping to improve the nutritional profile of school meals. Foodservice personnel expressed a keen desire for practical information about how to incorporate more vegetarian dishes into school menus.


Sue also addressed 100 members of the New Hampshire Dietetic Association, WIC nutritionists, EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program) Educators, and Cooperative Family Development Educators in Manchester, New Hampshire, at a conference sponsored by the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. The event was devoted to updating attendees on the topic of vegetarian diets.

VRG's Scientific Department has been very busy lately. Sue gave presentations on the health and nutrition aspects of vegetarian diets to approximately 50 members of the Northeast Vegetarian Association in New Jersey and to 400 attendees of the New England Vegetarian Conference held in Portland, Maine. Both sessions drew interested dietitians from the area who received continuing education credits from the American Dietetic Association for attending Sue's presentations.

Sue also appeared twice on Dr. Michael Klaper's radio program, Sounds of Healing, which airs on FM 89.3 WPFW on Fridays from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm in the Washington, DC, area. Sue and Michael discussed the role of diet in high blood pressure and issues relating to dietary calcium and health.


On June 13, 1995, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its final ruling on school meals. For anyone who is interested in reading the new regulations in detail, they can be found in the Federal Register, Volume 60, Number 113. The final rule is the culmination of two years of public comment and debate among USDA and other interested organizations regarding two earlier USDA proposals to overhaul the guidelines for the federal school meals programs. The new rule also incorporates features of the 1994 Healthy Meals for Healthy Americans Act.

Briefly, the new regulations provide for changes to the school meals program that include, most notably, updating the nutrition standards for school meals by requiring schools to comply with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The regulations also provide schools with menu planning alternatives, including the option of using a nutrient-based menu planning system in lieu of the old food-component-based system, which required meals to include specified numbers of servings from various food groups.

The Vegetarian Resource Group played an active role in the revision of these regulations, presenting testimony at public hearings and USDA roundtable discussions over the past two years, as well as drafting written comments, which were submitted to USDA, and consulting with USDA personnel. Members who have been following VRG's efforts will be interested in the following details of USDA's final rule:


by Suzanne Havala, M.S., R.D.

QUESTION: Attached is a paragraph from the book, Smart Nutrients, by Dr. Abram Hoffer and Dr. Morton Walker. Is TVP really made like this? Obviously soy has to undergo some changes to become TVP, but this sounds really drastic. I would sure appreciate knowing if these chemicals are used in all TVP processing. L.F., Washington

ANSWER: The paragraph forwarded to VRG reads, in part: "The protein is removed from ground soybean with petroleum solvent, alcohol, and hydrochloric acid. The refined protein is dissolved in alkali, which is then precipitated into an acid bath as filaments. These filament threads are soaked in artificial binders, flavor and colors. The cemented fibers are mixed with fat and a few minerals and vitamins to simulate the natural meats."

We turned to Steve Buckheim of Protein Specialties Division, Archer Daniels Midland Company, maker of Harvest Burger vegetarian burgers. According to Steve:

"Soybeans are improved by some processing. To make TVP, soybeans must be washed, shelled, crushed, ground, and texturized. The crushing step is the one in which soy oil is removed. As with all oil seeds, to include corn, canola, peanut, sunflower, etc., hexane* is used to extract the oil.

"The texturizing process involves adding water, heat, and pressure to the crushed, ground flour, then cutting and baking the extruded protein. At this point, TVP may be further processed by being colored or flavored, as with products such as bacon bits, or it may be fortified with vitamins to meet the federal government's requirements for the National School Lunch Program.

"Some commercial soy-based products also add back vegetable oil or use binders. However, TVP, as such, does not include fat, oil, flavoring, coloring, or added vitamins."

Stephanie Lynch, R.D., Staff Nutritionist for ADM, notes that alcohol and acids are not used in processing TVP, but they are used to create a soy concentrate, a product that is more processed than TVP. To make soy concentrate, the alcohol and acid may be used to extract carbohydrates, ash, peptides, flavors, and phytic acid from the soy flour.

The Vegetarian Resource Group recommends making fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains the basis of the diet. Processed foods, such as vegetarian burgers and meat analogues made from TVP are okay to eat occasionally.

However, like most processed foods, many products made with TVP are high in sodium and low in fiber. If you use them, make them once-in-a-while foods; be sure to keep the majority of your meals centered on whole foods.

Dietetic intern Angela Davies helped compile information for this column.

*Hexane is derived from the fractional distillation of petroleum and is used as a solvent.



Moshe & Ali's World Famous Gourmet Foods consist of a line of olive oils, filled olives, sundried tomatoes, and sprat‚s (sort of a cross between a spread and a pat‚) manufactured by The PeaceWorks, Inc. PeaceWorks' intent is to foster cross-cultural economic and business relationships. The company features an Arab/Jewish integrated staff and management and grows, processes, and bottles its raw materials in the Mideast. Five percent of Peaceworks' profit is used for workshops on developing tolerance among personnel. The fictional characters depicted on the jars, Moshe Pupik and Ali Mishmukin symbolize people from different back-grounds who have set aside their differences in the interest of economic interdependence. The Peace Works, Inc., P.O. Box 1273, New York, NY 10028-0009; (212) 794-7441.


Tropical Source chocolate bars are organic, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. Tropical Source chocolates are blended with tofu instead of milk, and are made with unrefined cane juice. The bars are available in 11 flavors: toasted almond, red raspberry crush, mint candy crunch, maple almond granola, wild rice crisp, sundried jungle banana, hazelnut espresso crunch, java roast, hazelnut, green tea, and California raisins and currants. Cloud Nine, the maker of Tropical Source, donates 10% of its profits to assist local communities, tribes, and organizations to produce ecologically sustainable tropical food products. Cloud Nine Inc., 300 Observer Highway, 3rd Floor, Hoboken, NJ 07030; (201) 216-0382.


Taco Bell has added a new line of low-fat dishes, and there are some differences from the regular menu. On the original menu, both the corn tortillas (hard tacos) and wheat tortillas (soft tacos) are vegan. The heat-pressed flour tortillas used for burritos do contain non-fat dry milk. On the low-fat menu, the corn and wheat tortillas are vegan, as well as the light, heat-pressed tortillas used for the low-fat burritos. Corn or soy oil is used in all frying processes. Both the regular and low-fat refried beans are vegan. The spiced rice served as a side dish and used on the Seven-Layer Burrito contains no animal products, according to Taco Bell's main offices. Taco Bell's guacamole contains sour cream.

In another fast-food development, some Subway sandwich shops are now offering the Gardenburger sub, a 3.1 ounce oval-shaped version of the original Gardenburger specially developed to fit sandwich-style bread. The Gardenburger (made by Wholesome and Hearty Foods) sandwich is currently available in 11 states. Each individual Subway store has the option to serve the Gardenburger Sub, so if patrons ask for the sandwich and create a demand for the product, availability will become more widespread. You may want to suggest that they offer a vegan version, too.

Subway shops in other states are evaluating the product and the Gardenburger may be available in more states soon. (Researched by Michael Keevican)


Animalearn is offering its Sowing Seeds National Humane Education Conference at Asilomar Conference Center in Monterey, CA. The conference will be held over President's Day weekend, beginning Sunday at 1 p.m. and ending Tuesday at 1 p.m., February 18-20, 1996. Sowing Seeds trains teachers and animal and environmental activists to become humane educators. Workshops teach participants how to offer presentations on wildlife and the environment, animal agriculture, animal experimentation and animal rights in a thought-provoking, stimulating, and exciting way. Cost for the conference, meals, accommodations, and workshop materials: $165 before October 15; $180 by January 5. Conference numbers are limited, so register early. For more information or to register, contact Zoe Weil or Rae Sikora at (215) 887-0816.


By Reed Mangels, Ph.D., R.D.


Soybeans and soy products have been identified as important sources of isoflavones, substances which may have a role in cancer prevention or treatment. Are some soy products better sources than others? Researchers from the University of Minnesota investigated the effect of fermentation on the availability of isoflavones.

Healthy men were fed diets containing either tempeh or soybean pieces for nine days. Although fermentation of soybeans to produce tempeh lead to a loss of isoflavones, isoflavones from tempeh appeared to be more available to humans than did isoflavones from unfermented soybeans. This suggests that smaller amounts of fermented soy products like tempeh would need to be eaten to provide the same amount of isoflavones as unfermented soy products. Research on the optimal level of soy products continues.

Hutchins AM, Slavin JL, Lampe JW. Urinary isoflavonoid phytoestrogen and lignan excretion after consumption of fermented and unfermented soy products. J Am Diet Assoc 1995; 95: 545-551.


The American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetes Association have revised the exchange lists which are used to help people with diabetes plan their diets. Exchange lists are foods divided into groups, with foods listed together because they have about the same amount of protein, fat, carbohydrate, and calories. The new exchange lists feature 3 main groups: Carbohydrates (which includes bread and other starches, fruit, milk, and vegetables), the unfortunately-titled Meat and Meat Substitutes Group, and Fats.

Changes which may make life easier for vegetarians with diabetes are the inclusion of dried beans, peas, and lentils in the Meat and Meat Substitutes group (1/2 cup cooked dried beans = 1 starch and 1 meat), and the addition of some vegetarian foods such as rice milk, soy milk, and tempeh. Many foods eaten by vegetarians such as veggie burgers, soy cheese, seitan, and TVP are still not listed. The Dietary Exchange Lists featured in Vegetarian Journal Jan/Feb 1994 include many more foods and can be used with the new exchange lists. (Send a SASE to Vegetarian Journal, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203 to receive a copy of these lists.)

Individuals with questions about a diabetic diet and the new exchange lists are encouraged to contact a registered dietitian, the American Dietetic Association Hot Line (800) 366-2011, or the American Diabetes Association (800) 232-3472.


The Vegetarian Resource Group presented two poster sessions at the Annual Meeting of The American Dietetic Association.

The first session, titled "Creating Vegetarian Nutrition Education Materials in Conjunction with a Supermarket Chain: A Unique Collaboration," highlighted the vegetarian nutrition brochure which was co-produced by the VRG along with Wegmans' supermarket chain.

The second session was entitled "Vegetarian Nutrition Online," and it focused on the VRG's continuing efforts to provide information on vegetarianism on the Internet.

The ADA's Annual meeting took place in Chicago from October 30th through November 2nd, 1995.


Chef Frank Long has catered to vegetarian campers for the past 32 summers during which he has managed the kitchen at Camp Regis - Apple Jack. From a handful of campers and ordinary dishes like macaroni and cheese and PB & J sandwiches in the 1960s, Chef Frank has found that close to one-seventh of the camp population now opt for his vegetarian meals, which include innovative stir-fries, hearty bean stews, and veggie-filled pastas. One of the vegetarian campers' favorite dishes is Chef Frank's falafel (prepared identically to the Vegetarian Resource Group's Quantity Recipe for Garbanzo Bean Burgers, except that Chef Frank sneaks in a little cumin). To accompany the falafel, Chef Frank makes hummus with a twist. Instead of basing the dish with tahini, he uses peanut butter, with the result that even non-vegetarian campers clamor for a taste.

Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian campers enjoy Chef Frank's healthful orientation to general meal planning. There is always fresh fruit or juice and an unsweetened hot or cold cereal at breakfast; homemade soup at lunch (including a vegetarian option); and fresh-baked bread accompanied by a tossed salad composed of eight different vegetables - iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce or fresh spinach, red cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes - for dinner. Thursday night cookouts include veggie-burgers and tofu hot dogs for the grill, while the Saturday afternoon picnic boasts a carved watermelon adorned with fresh apples, oranges, nectarines, red and green grapes, and bananas.

Located in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York near Lake Placid, Camp Regis - Apple Jack was founded fifty years ago this summer by Pauline Humes and her late husband, Earl. The Humes believed that there should be diversity in the backgrounds of both campers and staff. That first summer of 1946, campers included two contessas from Italy and three children who survived the Nazi concentration camps, while staff counselors came from the United States, France, England, and Bermuda. Over the next few years, the camp welcomed its first Muslim campers and staff from Africa and Japan. Today, son Michael Humes runs the camp in the same tradition as his parents, and he welcomed a diverse group from the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, and Europe for the camp's fiftieth summer. Just as the Humes family has enjoyed introducing generations of campers from all over the world to the unique opportunity to build lasting friendships that only a sleep-over camp located in a rural setting can provide, so has Chef Frank always been willing to accommodate campers' different eating styles - tastefully.


The Vegetarian Resource Group conducted a Roper poll of 8- to 17-year- olds to find out the number of young vegetarians in the United States. There were a few surprises, with some of the numbers being higher than would be expected.

For comparison purposes, we asked the same question as in our adult poll (See Vegetarian Journal July/August, 1994.) "Please call off the items on this list, if any, that you never eat: Meat. Poultry. Fish/Seafood. Dairy Products. Eggs. Honey." Note that in most polls, respondents are asked if they consider themselves vegetarian. We used the word never which should give us a lower but more accurate figure.

A whopping 11% of girls 13 -17 said they don't eat meat. This compares to 7% of adult females. This may be a trend. However, generally teenage females answer food questions differently from adults because of greater interest in their weight and appearance. Based on information we received over the Internet, our American figures here correspond with British figures. A 1993 Trent survey of children in England aged 11 to 16 indicated 12% of girls claimed to be vegetarian. Also in Great Britain, in The Daily Telegraph Gallup Poll in May 1993, 11% of 15 to 19 years olds described themselves as vegetarian.

Back to the United States, about 5% of male teenagers don't eat meat, exactly the same as adult men. What's fascinating is that the opposite figures appeared for 8-12 year olds. Eleven percent of boys say they don't eat meat, while only 6% of girls don't eat meat. Is this an inaccurate glitch in the figures or a sign of something to come? Is the meat industry being successful in their campaigns aimed towards males and bringing boys back into the fold? We'll be very curious to see the figures next time we conduct this poll.

Overall, 7% of youngsters say they don't eat poultry, with only 3% of adults abstaining. Gender doesn't affect the figures that much. Not eating fish or seafood is the most surprising finding, with 18% of kids saying they don't eat it. The children's age and gender don't have great impact. Only 4% of adults say they don't eat fish.

The high number of children and teens who do not eat fish can be explained only by postulating. We would have expected many children to at least eat tuna or fish sticks. Are parents no longer serving this? Do the kids not realize they are fish products? Do children just not like fish? This possible trend will also be fascinating to watch the next time The Vegetarian Resource Group does a poll. Most other figures are in line with our adult poll. As to vegetarians, almost two percent of 8- to 12-year-olds say they don't eat meat, fish, or fowl. This is consistent with the adult poll, which came up with 1%, although more females than males are vegetarian among adults. A little over one percent of teens are vegetarian. Our adult figures are close to those reported by the National Livestock and Meat Board from research conducted by MRCA Information Services.

Because we are dealing with a small percentage of the population, it's hard to be sure that we have an accurate picture of vegans. But it appears that, as with adults (disregarding the use of honey), 1/3 to 1/2 of the teen vegetarians are vegan. We wouldn't have predicted this before doing the adult poll, but it makes sense. Many polls give the number of vegetarians as 6 to 10 percent. These are people who call themselves vegetarian. This is closer to our figure for people who don't eat meat. Of course many in this 6 to 10 percent figure probably eat meat sometimes. It seems that once a person "truly" becomes vegetarian, that is they don't eat meat, fish, or fowl, they probably continue towards veganism and thus don't consume dairy and eggs. The implication for marketing is that if you are producing a product for vegetarians, you might as well make it vegan (no animal products).

Another confusing result to us is that 4% of teens in the northeast don't eat meat, while the highest number of abstainers from meat are in the central part of the country, with 11%. The west is an average of 8%. As far as vegetarians, the highest number also came out of the midwest, though with the small numbers we may want to avoid making conclusions too quickly. Racial status doesn't affect the numbers. Percent of vegetarians are somewhat lower among the upper class than in middle or lower economic situations. Parents having attended college pushes figures up a little, but not too much. Other factors, such as households owning a personal computer or parents working don't have much of an impact.

One thousand and twenty-three children and teens ages 8 to 17 participated in this poll, which was conducted by interviewing youths at their homes. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4%. Because of the uncertainty inherent in doing all polls and because we are gathering data about a subset of the population, conclusions have to be put in perspective with other information, trends, and past and future surveys.

		8-12		13-17		13-17 FEMALE	ADULTS
		year olds	year olds


MEAT		8%		8%		11%		6%

POULTRY		8%		6%		6%		3%

FISH/SEAFOOD	19%		17%		18%		4%

EAT NONE OF THE	1.9%		1.4%		1.6%		1% 

DAIRY PRODUCTS	4%		3%		3%		3%

EGGS		9%		8%		9%		4%

About the Vegetarian Journal and the VRG

These articles originally appeared in the November/December, 1995 issue of the Vegetarian Journal published by:
The Vegetarian Resource Group
P.O. Box 1463
Baltimore, MD 21203
(410) 366-8343

Our health professionals, activists, and educators work with businesses and individuals to bring about healthy changes in your school, workplace, and community. Registered dietitians and physicians aid in the development of nutrition-related publications and answer member and media questions about vegetarian diets. The Vegetarian Resource Group is a non-profit organization. Financial support comes primarily from memberships, contributions, and book sales.

The contents of this article, as with all The Vegetarian Resource Group publications, is not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional.

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