Vegetarian Journal 2006 Issue 4

Vegetarian Journal’s

      Essay Contest Winner


By Rebecca Sams, 17 yrs
Bedford, TX

IT WAS A DAY I had looked forward to. The advanced English classes were taking a trip to the Dallas Museum of Art to view the exhibits on Greek and Roman mythology. Afterward, we would proceed to the Spaghetti Warehouse for a meal. The excursion was an all-day affair.

After a few hours at the museum, we proceed to the eatery. Already an hour past our usual lunch time, we were famished. But as we walked through the doors to the restaurant, a teacher informed us that, for ease, the faculty had placed our orders of spaghetti with meat sauce prior to our arrival.

My first reaction was to forget the eight dollars I had paid for the meal. The plight of a vegetarian on such excursions is often starvation. And I hate to cause a scene. But as I looked around the group of 50 students, I noticed six friends in the same predicament. That is, more than 10 percent of the group that would endure the remaining day empty-stomached if we allowed their arbitrary and presumptuous meal dictations.

Granted, in most groups of 50, there would be decidedly fewer vegetarians/vegans. But in a group of advanced English students, there are bound to be more thinkers. I thought it odd that the teachers would not recognize that. I almost decided to ignore the situation again until I saw the stricken face of Alexandra.

Until recently, Alexandra lived in New Orleans. She came to our school after her own school was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. She was a quiet girl, smart and studious. I had heard her once gleeful over the decision by the Dallas Aquarium to take in stranded sea creatures until they could be returned to their habitat in New Orleans, but apart from that she was mainly silent.

This was the most violent reaction I had seen out of her in the months I had known her. She was shaking her head and looking disgusted. I suspected the problem, but I asked anyway. She confirmed my suspicions that, though she was starving, she simply could not bear to eat the spaghetti with meat sauce.

That was my decision point. Trying not to make a scene but aware that everyone in earshot could hear me, I approached my English teacher, then went to the manager. They exchanged our meals for salads, and I learned that some people are accommodating when it comes to standing by your convictions.


To enter VRG’s annual essay contest, just write a 2-3 page essay on any aspect of vegetarianism or veganism. There are three entry categories: ages 14 to 18, ages 9 to 13, and ages 8 and younger. A $50 savings bond will be awarded in each category.

All entries must be postmarked by May 1, 2007, for the year 2007 contest. Entrants should base their entries on interviews, personal experience, research, and/or personal opinion. You need not be vegetarian to enter. All essays become property of The Vegetarian Resource Group. Only winners will be notified.

   Send entries to:
   The Vegetarian Resource Group,
   P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203

Please make sure to include your name, age, address, phone number, school, and teacher’s name.

Excerpts from the 2006 Issue 4:
Vegan Tamales
Cecilia Peterson makes this popular Latin American party food.
How Many Adults Are Vegetarian?
Charles Stahler considers the results of The VRG’s 2006 national poll.
Gluten-Free Cuisine
Avoiding gluten is easier with tips from Nancy Berkoff, RD, EdD, CCE.
2006 College Scholarship Winners
Meet the two young women who received this year’s awards.
VJ’s Essay Contest Winner
Rebecca Sams shares a story of conviction and camaraderie.
Review: Attitudes, Practices, and Beliefs
of Individuals Consuming a Raw Foods Diet
Dietetic student Vrinda Walker examines the views and habits of leaders in the American raw foods community.
Nutrition Hotline
Is there any truth to those claims that garlic is good for your health?
Note from the Coordinators
Notes from the VRG Scientific Department
Veggie Bits
Vegan Cooking Tips
One-Pot Wonders, by Chef Nancy Berkoff.
Scientific Update
Book Reviews
Vegetarian Action
Plenty’s Programs Bring Soy Production
to Underdeveloped Countries, by Cecilia Peterson.

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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PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203
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Last Updated
Nov. 21, 2006

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