Veggie Bits

Earth Balance Introduces A Buttery Soy-Free Spread

Whether you're gluten-intolerant or simply looking for a vegan spread that does not contain soy, you'll want to give Earth Balance's Soy-Free Spread a try. The spread is made with a blend of palm fruit, canola, safflower, and olive oils and contains no trans fats. Use this delicious alternative for breads, vegetables, or any other food on which you would use butter.

To learn more, contact Earth Balance at 7102 LaVista Place, Suite 200, Longmont, CO 80503, or call the company at (201) 568-9300. You can also visit their website at www.earthbalancenatural.com.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

Author and former VRG staffer Davida Gypsy Breier has started Wild Leek Photography, a project specializing in portraits of sanctuary, rescued, wild, and companion animals. Vegetarian and animal organizations are welcome to use these photos, taken in cruelty-free environments. In addition, prints of all photos are available for purchase. Whenever a print is sold, the sanctuary where the photo was taken receives a donation.

To view Davida's portfolio, go to www.wildleekphotography.com. You can also contact Davida at P.O. Box 11064, Baltimore, MD 21212, or via phone at (443) 528-5340.

Short on Time?

Amy's Hot Breakfast Cereals are delicious, microwavable, and vegan! They’re also ready to eat in under five minutes. With Cream of Rice, Rolled Oats, Steel-Cut Oats, and Multi-Grain varieties, there is definitely a texture and taste for every palate. If you like a mild breakfast cereal, the Cream of Rice and Rolled Oats are delicately sweet and hearty choices. In contrast, Steel-Cut Oats and Multi-Grain have a bolder taste, with the Steel-Cut Oats having a creamier texture and more pronounced sweetness. All are a great start to your day, satisfying many tastes and appetites!To learn more, write to Amy's Kitchen, Inc., at P.O. Box 449, Petaluma, CA 94953, or call (707) 578-7270. Information is also available on their website at www.amys.com. Written by Alison Farrell, VRG Intern.

How About Snacking on Some Crunchy...Bananas?

Funky Monkey Snacks now offers a healthy alternative to help you beat the midday junk food binge. These satisfying, freeze-dried fruit snacks come in four tasty varieties: Bananamon, which sprinkles organic bananas with organic cinnamon; Carnaval Mix, containing organic banana and organic pineapple chunks as well as conventional apple, papaya, and raisins; Jivealime, which has organic pineapple with a touch of organic lime juice; and Purple Funk, made from organic bananas with organic acai.

All of the Funky Monkey snacks are the way that nature intended them—gluten-free and without added sugar, preservatives, colorings, or flavorings. For more information on these products, write to Funky Monkey Snacks at 11650 Olio Road, Suite 1000, Fishers, IN 46037, or visit www.funkymonkeysnacks.com. Written by Kristen Lambert, VRG Intern.

Raw Cuisine Delivered Directly to Your Door

If you are often too busy to prepare a healthy meal, you should look into the services that Pure Market Express provide. Just place your order online, and they will deliver a fresh raw meal directly to your home. All of their products are vegan and made without refined sugar or preservatives. Also, the company has many offerings, such as breakfasts, dinners, desserts, smoothies, and snacks made with primarily organic ingredients.

The VRG staff tried several products and enjoyed each one very much. The Pad Thai, which looked like noodles, was actually made from zucchini and was crisp and novel. The tasty fake ‘bacon’ in the Jalapeño Poppers was surprisingly made from eggplant. Also, their Chocolate Cheesecake and Banana Cream Pie were just amazing! I could not believe that the pie, which was quite sweet, was made without sugar or maple syrup.

Good food has gentle flavors and creates a natural harmony, though each ingredient keeps its original flavor. These dishes will remind you of what food is supposed to be. Check out Pure Market Express’ website at and be sure to try their products. Written by Yuko Tamura, VRG Intern.

Perfect for Valentine's Day!

Looking for an environmentally conscious alternative to flowers, cards, or a huge box of chocolates? Soy Spacasso’s Element Mist Massage Oil fits the bill. The ‘Wind’ fragrance is gender-neutral and relaxation-inducing. 'Earth' has the light scent of sandalwood, while 'Fire' exudes the essence of cinnamon. Enriched with soya, shea, and essential oils, each formula is quick absorbing, yet a perfect medium for giving a romantic massage. These moisturizing body fragrances leave your skin moisturized without feeling oily or greasy—and as an earth-friendly product, it doesn’t leave any 'residue' on your conscience, either!

Contact Soy Spacasso at 2814 High Street, Des Moines, IA 50312, or via phone at (877) 493-6891. You may purchase these oils for $8.00 from www.spacasso.com. Written by Alison Farrell, VRG Intern.

Vitamin D From Mushrooms

We usually think of vitamin D as coming from fortified soymilk or cow's milk or from sunlight exposure. However, there’s a new source—mushrooms! When mushrooms are exposed to a special light, they produce vitamin D. Mushrooms that have been treated this way have 100 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin D in four or five mushrooms. The process does not use additives, supplements, or chemicals. Furthermore, the mushrooms do not look or taste different from typical untreated mushrooms. Vitamin D Enriched Mushrooms™ have been developed by Monterey Mushrooms and are carried by many supermarkets. For more information, you can write to Monterey Mushrooms, Inc., at 260 Westgate Drive, Watsonville, CA 95076, or call the company at (800) 333-6874. Visit their website at www.montereymushrooms.com. Written by Reed Mangels, PhD, RD.

Kudos to the USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recently unveiled its new, colorful, one-page handout called Ten Tips for Vegetarians. Pointers on this handout include "Bone up on sources of calcium," "Nuts make great snacks," and "Choose fats wisely." The handout is highly positive and supportive of vegetarian diets. Download your own copy at www.mypyramid.gov/downloads/TenTips/VegetarianTipsheet.pdf.

Fresh Indian Flavor Without the Fuss

If you love Indian food but don't have the time or the talent to make those mouth-watering sauces from scratch, you don’t have to miss out on home-cooked curry. Maya Kaimal produces a line of all-natural simmer sauces that can bring Indian flavor into any dish. The sauces are preservative-free and refrigerated, maintaining that fresh-from-the-kitchen taste.

Vegetarian Resource Group staff members taste-tested the Tamarind Curry and the Coconut Curry, both of which are vegan. Preparation was easy; we just simmered the sauces with vegetables and served with rice for a filling, delicious meal. The staff split on which sauce was better, but both were well-enjoyed.

For more information on Maya Kaimal Fine Indian Foods, call (845) 876-8200, visit their website at , or write to Maya Kaimal Fine Indian Foods, P.O. Box 700, Rhinebeck, NY 12572. Written by Rachael Prokop, VRG Intern.

Newman's Own Organics: The Second Generation

This title might seem like a parody to a science fiction television series, but I assure you that it’s all science and no fiction. The science of Newman's Own Organics is that of chocolate making, and with attractive new packaging to showcase richer, USDA-certified organic vegan chocolate bars, you would be well-advised to try these confections. The flavors for the new bars, with their decadent levels of cocoa, include Dark (54 percent), Espresso Dark (54 percent), Orange Dark (54 percent), Super Dark (70 percent), and more. So, the next time you need to get a cocoa craving under control, remember that Newman's Own Organics has a delicious, newly revamped chocolate line, and proceeds from their sales contribute to great charitable causes.

Write to Newman's Own Organics, at P.O. Box 2098, Aptos, CA 95001, or contact them through their website at www.newmansownorganics.com. Written by Kristen Lambert, VRG Intern.