VEGETARIAN JOURNAL

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Vegetarian Journal 2002 Issue 2

NOTE FROM THE COORDINATORS

Vegan Meringue Pie?

In our e-mail newsletters (VRG-News at www.vrg.org), we often mention new vegan products. In a recent issue, we featured Edward and Sons waffle cones, One Nest soy candles, and dairy-free cheesecake from Echo Top. In response, an activist circulated a note on the Internet that posed the question of whether or not use of these products is "decadent."

The next day we received a call from someone looking for kosher organic chicken. He said that he liked the taste of meat and didn't want to be a vegetarian. (Now there's a challenge for a vegetarian food manufacturer.) A caller soon after just had to have a recipe for vegan meringue pie because they showed such a nice one (not vegan) on Martha Stewart's show. Are these people going to be satisfied in any way other than finding or preparing vegan foods that fit their tastes?

We agree that the best foods for your health and the environment are simple items such as fresh vegetables and grains. However, realistically, the vegan products on the shelves often must mimic the non-vegan ones people are used to or they will not sell, and they must be abundant, so people feel they have choices. Then there has to be an infrastructure of companies producing vegan products in order to generate money for advertising (such as Silk from White Wave on National Public Radio), pressure on distributors and stores to carry more vegan products, influence on regulators and legislators to pass laws that favor the industry, and other economies of scale.

When we were in school, we didn't know any vegetarians. Now, it seems there's someone who is vegetarian in almost every classroom. Even so, they still feel isolated. Many of our 2001 essay contest entries were about how difficult it can be to be a vegetarian or vegan in today's world. The influences of peer pressure haven't diminished. For these kids, veggie burgers at fast food joints and convenience products like vegan doughnuts can make a world of difference.

As a nonprofit, The Vegetarian Resource Group has conflicting roles, numerous demands, and many desires. What we accomplish depends on you. We now have a website reaching over 100,000 people per month because of all Brad Scott's volunteer effort in setting this up. We have a reputation for good science because of the mammoth amount of volunteer time Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, has given. We have productive outreach booths all across the US because of volunteers like Jim Dunn; Terry Carlo, RD; Dina Aronson, RD; Nancy Berkoff, PhD, RD; and others. When The VRG receives large donations from stock gifts, bequests, or general contributions, it does enable us to take on larger programs such as working with food companies, influencing policies, research for and creation of our Food Ingredients and Fast Food Guides, and helping educate a professional organization about vegetarianism. There is unlimited work to be done. With all the headaches of everyday living, it's hard to keep your eye on the larger picture. But using the skills and resources we all have, let's work together towards a vegetarian and kinder world.

Debra Wasserman & Charles Stahler
Coordinators of The Vegetarian Resource Group



Excerpts from the 2002 Issue 2:


The Vegetarian Journal published here is not the complete issue, but these are excerpts from the published magazine. Anyone who wishes to see everything should subscribe to the magazine.

Thanks to volunteer Stephanie Schueler for converting this article to HTML.



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