VEGETARIANISM IN A NUTSHELL

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Online Resources for Vegetarians

By Bobbi Pasternak
Updated by Dar Veverka, Davida Gypsy Breier, and Jason Brackins

Quick Guide to Helpful Websites

While vegetarians are no longer regarded with the same suspicion as in the past, it is not unusual for us to find ourselves still feeling isolated. We may be the only vegetarian in our family, in the community, at school, or at work.  I was the only vegetarian I knew for seven years. Then I discovered cyberspace, a place where you can communicate with others via your computer. To participate, all you need is access to a computer, a modem, a telephone line, and the appropriate software.

There are abundant resources available online for vegetarians. This article provides a sampling of those currently available. The areas discussed will be commercial online services, the Internet, and electronic mail.

Please bear in mind that things change quickly in the online world. Electronic mailing lists come and go. Resources change addresses. If you have a problem accessing a resource listed in this article, please let us know so that we can update you on its status or check the link and make a correction in the next revision. On the World Wide Web (WWW), the latest version of this article is always available at http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/online.htm.


Getting Online

There are an ever- growing number of methods for getting on the Internet. These include a home computer, Web-TV, and cell phones. Cyber-cafés and some public libraries provide computers for surfing the web, as do most public schools and universities.

The most common road to the web is the home computer. The most common vehicle is the combination of modem, phone line, and Internet Service Provider (ISP). There are other options, including cable modems that use your cable TV line, ISDN lines, and Dedicated Server Lines (DSLs). Available services vary regionally. Check the yellow pages for ISP or Internet Services. Ask your cable company about cable modems.

Of the available options an ISP is probably the cheapest, but it is also slower than the others. However, this usually is not a problem for home use.  The most well- known ISP is probably America On Line (AOL). AOL provides a CD-ROM with a quick and easy setup program. You can find them at www.aol.com.

In deciding which service is right for you, consider how much time you will be online, what features of the service you will use, and your comfort level with the service's interface. The best way to determine all of this is to take advantage of the free trial memberships offered by some ISPs.


www.vrg.org

The Vegetarian Resource Group website has a wide variety of useful information for your own use and for helping others learn more about vegetarianism.

VRG’s website contains excerpts from Vegetarian Journal dating back to the July/August 1993 issue. If you would like to view back issues, visit http://www.vrg.org/journal/. You can also access back issues of VRG's monthly e-mail newsletter at http://www.vrg.org/vrgnews.

In 1997, VRG’s Vegetarian Journal published a series of special inserts geared toward raising vegetarian families. You can find most of them on our website at http://www.vrg.org/family/. The articles cover vegan pregnancy, a list of young people’s books with vegetarian and or animal rights themes, recipes for kids, advice for parents, and helpful ideas for traveling with vegan children.

If you have questions about vegetarianism, a great place to start is the Frequently Asked Questions section at http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/faq.htm. There you will find answers to specific questions as well as food ingredient information.

If you are seeking vegetarian and vegan nutrition information online you may want to look at http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/.

Do you need vegetarian recipes? If so, visit http://www.vrg.org/recipes/.

If you want to purchase terrific vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, you can do so at http://www.vrg.org/catalog/.

If you are looking for vegetarian products, organizations, restaurants, non-leather shoes, or vacation spots, try looking through the links listed at http://www.vrg.org/links.

For information about food service, including recipes, advice, cookbooks, and our quarterly newsletter, Foodservice Update, try http://www.vrg.org/fsupdate/.

If you are going to be traveling, take a look at our travel section at http://www.vrg.org/travel/. There you will find City Guides, resources, books, and advice.

Finally, be sure to check out our various Bulletin Boards for general feedback, food service, and travel. You'll find links to them at:

General: http://www.vrg.org/feedback/

Foodservice: http://www.vrg.org/fsupdate/

Travel: http://www.vrg.org/travel/


The Internet

The World Wide Web (WWW) is a huge repository of information. Various sites (web pages) are accessed by typing a web address, or URL, such as http://www.vrg.org into the "Location" window of your web browser. A web browser is a program such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer, or Netscape's Navigator, that allows you to access web pages. A web browser is generally part of the software offered by your Internet Service Provider. Note that URLs do not have any spaces between the characters, and do not end with a period. The following is a list of URLs and short descriptions for some popular vegetarian websites.

Animal Rights Resources Site
http://www.animalconcerns.org/
Extensive database of vegetarian and animal rights groups and much more.

International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
http://www.ivu.org
A great site for those of you looking for recipes from around the world as well as travel information and a cross-section of what is happening with vegetarianism on a global scale.

North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS)
http://www.navs-online.org/
Founded in 1974, The North American Vegetarian Society is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to promoting the vegetarian way of life.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
http://www.peta-online.org/
Founded in 1980, PETA is dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals.

Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
http://www.pcrm.org/
This pro-vegan non-profit organization promotes alternatives to animal testing and encourages ethical medical research and treatment.

Vegan Outreach
http://www.veganoutreach.org
All sorts of vegan information, including the brochure Why Vegan?

The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom
http://www.vegsoc.org
Founded in 1847, The Vegetarian Society (VSUK) is the oldest known vegetarian association in the world. They have fact sheets about all sorts of vegetarian-related issues.

Veggies Unite!
http://www.vegweb.com/
Among its many fine features, this site offers a huge searchable database of vegetarian recipes.

VegSource
http://www.vegsource.com/
This site has bulletin boards, chats, links, recipes, and hosts over a dozen satellite sites.

The VivaVeggie Society
http://www.vivavegie.org
New York-based group. This website includes 101 Reasons I'm A Vegetarian.

The World Animal Network
http://worldanimal.net/
Formerly the World Animals' Directory, this site contains thousands of listings for animal-friendly groups and vegetarian groups all over the world.


Search Engines

Web sites come and go all the time. The best way to keep up is to use search engines. Search engines such as those listed below use keywords of your choice to search the WWW for websites that may be relevant. Click the "Search" icon at the top of your web browser's page to see a list of search engines. Type in a keyword such as "vegetarian" or "vegan". The more specific your keywords (vegetarian recipes, soy foods, etc.), the fewer responses you will have to sift through. On the other hand, a general search sometimes leads to topics you may have missed by being specific. The following are some of the more popular search engines.

AltaVista (www.altavista.com)
Ask Jeeves (www.askjeeves.com)
Copernic (www.copernic.com)
Excite (www.excite.com)
Google (www.google.com)
HotBot (www.hotbot.com)
Lycos (www.lycos.com)
NorthernLight (www.northernlight.com)
Yahoo (www.yahoo.com)


Mailing Lists

Whether you're on the Internet or on a commercial service, you will have access to electronic mail (e-mail). There are also services that provide e-mail capability without allowing access to other features of the Internet. The cost involved in sending and receiving e-mail will vary, as will the ease with which you can manage your mail.

The most popular e-mail means of sharing information with other vegetarians is the electronic mailing list. A list is much like a message board except that it comes to you via e-mail and its use is restricted to its subscribers. Subscribers post messages, sending them to a central computer which then distributes the messages to all subscribers. Upon receiving a message, you can read it and reply if you like. Usually, each message is sent to each subscriber as it is received at the central computer, but this can become overwhelming on a busy list with 50 or more messages daily. An easier option is the Digest. When you subscribe to the digest format of a list, you receive one mailing per day which contains the previous day's posts. I highly recommend the digest format for those first subscribing to a list.

Some e-mail lists may be moderated, which means that messages are screened by an administrator before being posted to the list. While some people feel this restricts discussion on e-mail lists, it does have the advantage of keeping people from "flaming" (launching personal attacks) each other. It also keeps the list on topic. More than one vegetarian e-mail list has dissolved in the wake of infighting and flaming.

E-mail newsletters are also available. The content of a newsletter is determined by its owner or editor and subscribers do not post messages to this kind of list. The mechanism for subscribing is the same as for a mailing list.

For some lists, you will receive an e-mail asking you to confirm your subscription to the list by replying to the e-mail in a specific manner. Other lists subscribe you upon receipt of your original command. Once you have subscribed to a list, you will get one or more e-mails containing information about using the list and guidelines for posting to the list. Read them carefully and save them. They contain very important information, such as how to receive the digest form of the list and how to sign off the list.

Listed below are some of the vegetarian e-mail lists currently available. Where you see (first and last name), you should substitute your first and last name without the parentheses.

VEGLIFE
Veglife is for general vegetarian discussion. To subscribe, address e-mail to: listserv@listserv.vt.edu. The message should read: sub veglife (your first and last name)

VEGAN-L
Vegan -L is a list for vegans and aspiring vegans. To subscribe, address e-mail to: listproc@envirolink.org The message should read: sub vegan-l (your first and last name). Add this second line to subscribe to the digest form of the list: set vegan-l digest

VEGAN
A second mailing list for vegans and vegans-to-be, VEGAN, can be subscribed to by sending an e-mail to: listserv@maelstrom.stjohns.edu with the message: subscribe vegan (first and last name). To get the digest version of VEGAN, send the message: set vegan digest

VEG-NEWS
Veg-News provides a mechanism for the exchange of news and information pertaining to the issues of vegetarianism, and may be considered to be a public news wire. This list is also available in digest form. To subscribe, send e-mail to: listproc@envirolink.org. The body of the e-mail should read: subscribe veg-news (first and last name)

VRG-NEWS
VRG-News is a monthly newsletter distributed by The Vegetarian Resource Group. The newsletter serves as a supplement to the Vegetarian Journal, a print magazine that is a benefit of VRG membership. To subscribe to VRG-News, send e-mail to listserv@listserv.aol.com (Note: Include the full address even if you are sending the e-mail from an AOL e-mail address.) The body of the message should read: SUB VRG-NEWS (first and last name)

VEG-PARENT
Veg-Parent is for parents of vegetarian and vegan children. To subscribe, send an e-mail to: list@vegetarian.org with the message: subscribe veg-parent list (your e-mail address)

Vegetarian Baby and Toddler
This site has a newsletter you can sign up for at: http://www.vegetarianbaby.com/. There are also many lists for parents available through the OneList and eGroups websites. See below for more information.

VEG-TEEN
Veg-Teen is an e-mail list for vegetarian teens. To subscribe, send an e-mail to: list@vegetarian.org. The body of the message should read: subscribe veg-teen (first and last name)

eGroups
eGroups is a free e-mail group service that allows you to easily create and join e-mail groups. There are many existing groups for vegetarians. Some are very small groups of people with specialized interests, while others have a few hundred subscribers. Go to: http://www.egroups.com/ and search for "vegetarian" or "vegan" and you will discover many groups to investigate. If you don't find one to your liking, you can start your own. Among the lists that were active in the spring of 2000 were "VeggieKids," "Veg-Teen Talk," "Diabetic Vegetarians," and "Support for New Vegetarians."

Regional Veg
Numerous regional e-mail lists operate off the same server. To explore these lists, go to: http://www.waste.org/regveg/. You can subscribe online by sending a message to waste@waste.org with one of the following commands in the message body, depending on how you wish to receive your messages. To receive the messages as they are posted: subscribe veg-[region] . To receive the digest version: subscribe veg-[region]-digest

All list names begin with VEG- and are followed by an abbreviation that indicates a region of the world. Select one of the following choices and insert it in the "veg-[region]" portion of the commands listed above. For instance, the command: subscribe Veg-NL would add your e-mail address to the Netherlands regional list.

Veg-NL - The Netherlands
Veg-ATL - Atlantic Canada
Veg-NYC - New York City
Veg-BC - British Columbia
Veg-OH - Ohio
Veg-Boston - Boston
Veg-OK - Oklahoma
Veg-CT - Connecticut
Veg-ONT - Ontario, Canada
Veg-DC - Washington, DC
Veg-PA - Greater Philadelphia
Veg-FL - Florida
Veg-PNW - Pacific Northwest
Veg-GA - Georgia
Veg-Portland - Portland, Oregon.
Veg-HI - Hawai'i
Veg-Quebec - Quebec (bilingual)
Veg-IN - Indiana
Veg-SC - South Carolina
Veg-LA - Los Angeles
Veg-SDC - San Diego County
Veg-Malaysia - Malaysia
Veg-MB - Manitoba
Veg-SF - San Francisco
Veg-MI - Michigan
Veg-STL - Greater St. Louis
Veg-MN - Minnesota
Veg-Sweden - Kingdom of Sweden
Veg-NC - North Carolina
Veg-Wisc - Wisconsin
Veg-NE - New England
Veg-WNY - Western NY
Veg-NJ - New Jersey
Veg-WV - West Virginia

VEG-REL
Veg-Rel is a list for vegetarian discussion on religion. All Veg-Rel postings must be respectful, or intended in a respectful way. Send e-mail to: list@vegetarian.org with the message: subscribe veg-rel (your e-mail address)

VEG-SENIOR
Veg-Senior is a list intended for vegetarians age 50 and over. The topics vary, but all relate to vegetarianism and veganism. To subscribe, send an e-mail to: waste@waste.org. The body of the message should read: subscribe veg-senior (your e-mail address). The digest version is available by sending the message subscribe veg-senior-digest (your e-mail address).

Animal Rights
Three e-mail lists are available for those interested in discussion or information about animal rights issues. AR-VIEWS is a discussion list, AR-NEWS is a news and information list, and AR-Wire is an events announcement list. (With AR-NEWS, you receive the e-mail but cannot contribute posts to the list.) To subscribe to AR-VIEWS, send e-mail to: listproc@envirolink.org. The message should read: subscribe AR-Views (first and last name) For AR-NEWS, follow the same directions, but substitute "news" for "views". Digest versions are available by sending the message: set AR-Views (or News) MAIL DIGEST
For AR-Wire, send e-mail to: waste@waste.org with the message: subscribe ar-wire. The digest version is available by sending the message: subscribe ar-wire-digest


File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

File transfer protocol (FTP) allows you to electronically visit another computer and retrieve files. You can use FTP with a dedicated FTP client or through your web browser. Some examples of FTP sites with vegetarian documents, and the subdirectories in which the documents are found, are listed below.

ftp://ftp.demon.co.uk:/pub/food/vegsocuk offers among its resources, a complete collection of Info Sheets from the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom (VegSocUK).

ftp://ftp.fatfree.com contains the recipe archives from the FatFree e-mail list. The site contains thousands of very low fat vegetarian and vegan recipes.


Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

On the Internet, real-time chat occurs by International Relay Chat or IRC. The hundreds of channels are each devoted to a particular topic. One evening I found myself on channel #veggies, teaching a woman in the midwest how to make the perfect pot of brown rice. Look for channel #vegan as well. More than 100,000 people are online chatting at any given hour, 24 hours a day. Each user has a nickname (handle) and converses with other users either in private or on a channel (chat room).

You will find chat rooms online at:
http://www.veggiedate.com/
http://www.ivu.org/global/forum/
http://www.vegsource.com/chat.htm
http://vegetarian.about.com/food/vegetarian/mpchat.htm


USENET

The Internet's answer to message boards is USENET, consisting of thousands of special interest newsgroups where participants can read and post messages.

To access the USENET you will need a USENET reader, often referred to as just a 'news reader'. There are many cheap or free news readers available on the web. Netscape comes with a news reader, as does Microsoft Outlook. One or both of these is usually available from your ISP.

Visit www.deja.com and search under vegetarian or vegan and you will find several forums. You can also go straight to: http://www.deja.com/usenet/vegetarian where you can search for these bulletin boards: alt.animals.ethics.vegetarian and alt.food.vegan

Of interest to vegetarians are rec.food.veg and its spin-off rec.food.veg.cooking. The latter is restricted to discussion of cooking only, but the former is open to any topic related to vegetarianism and discussion there is often heated. You can read the messages, but to post you will have to join.

Vegetarian topics are frequently addressed in sci.med.nutrition, the general nutrition newsgroup as well. For discussions about animal rights, check the newsgroup talk.politics.animals.

USENET newsgroups can often be accessed via private Bulletin Board Services (BBS) and are also available through most commercial services. In addition, many of the larger vegetarian websites offer their own bulletin and chat boards.


Vegetarian Kids & Teens Online

Vegetarian teens and preteens are often encountered online, generally in the same places as vegetarian adults. There are, however, some resources offered specifically for kids and teens. Here are a few websites for them:

Vegetarian Youth Network
http://www.geocities.com/Rainforest/Vines/4482
The Vegetarian Youth Network is a grassroots, web-based organization run entirely by and for youth.

How On Earth
http://www.howonearth.org/
This is the web version of How On Earth! Magazine, a national print magazine published for and by youth from 1992-2011.

International Vegetarian Youth Pages
http://www.ivu.org/youth/
News, links, articles, and much more from The International Vegetarian Union. They also offer an e-mail discussion list.

Vegetarian Society of the UK Youth Pages
http://www.vegsoc.org/youth/index.html
Resources, contacts, educational materials, and nutrition information for teens and college students.

NAHEE Teenscene
http://www.nahee.org/teenscene
The National Association for Humane and Environmental Education (NAHEE) is the youth education division of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). NAHEE is a national resource for classroom teachers and educators affiliated with local humane agencies.

The Vegetarian Resource Group
The VRG site offers a section on Raising a Vegetarian Family at: http://www.vrg.org/family/.
Our guide to Teen Nutrition can be found here: http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/teen_veg.pdf.
We also have poll information on young vegetarians at: http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/faq.htm#poll.


Online Etiquette

No matter what method you use for telecommunications, there are some basic rules of behavior to keep in mind. When they are followed, cyberspace is a more pleasant place. Every commercial service, BBS, and dial-up Internet provider has terms of service governing online behavior. Mailing lists will send you rules for posting. Read them and abide by them. It's best to read a message board, list, or newsgroup for a while prior to posting your first message. This will help prevent potentially embarrassing situations. Remember, your words are all others will see of you. There is no body language and no vocal intonation to help explain your meaning. If you are unsure about posting something, don't do it. Never post anything you would mind seeing come back at you next week or in the next millennium. Do not publicly post private e-mail you have received without the author's permission. Do treat others with respect and be non-judgmental. When you disagree with someone, be sure to respond in a manner that does not attack the person.

If you're presenting something as fact rather than your opinion, have the resources to support your statements. There are those online who seem to exist only to annoy everyone else -- they are best ignored. Fortunately, most people online exhibit behavior consistent with these suggestions.


Resources

To learn more about the Internet, The Whole Internet User's Guide and Catalog, by Ed Krol, published by Wadsworth Pub. Co., 1996 (ISBN: 0534506747) is recommended. You can also check your local library for recent publications and "Internet Yellow Pages," which are becoming increasingly popular guides. If you are a novice computer user, check with your local library about classes they might offer. Universities also often offer non-credit computer-related short courses.

If you are online and having a problem finding your way around, we'd be glad to help you or send you to someone else who can. You can contact us via e-mail at the following address: vrg@vrg.org

Quick Guide to Helpful Websites

Nutrition Information:
VRG:
www.vrg.org/nutrition
American Dietetic Association: www.eatright.org/dpg/dpg14.html

Recipes:
VRG: www.vrg.org/recipes and www.vrg.org/journal/index.htm#Recipes
FatFree.com: www.fatfree.com
International Vegetarian Union (IVU): www.ivu.org/recipes
Veggies Unite: www.vegweb.com

Products and Mail Order:
VRG: www.vrg.org/links/products.htm

New Vegetarians:
VRG: www.vrg.org/nutshell/faq.htm
and www.vrg.org/nutshell/nutshell.htm

Animal Rights and Welfare:
Animal Rights Resource Site (ARRS): www.animalconcerns.org
Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM): www.farmusa.org
Farm Sanctuary: www.farmsanctuary.org
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA): www.peta-online.org

Vegetarian Organizations:
VRG: www.vrg.org
IVU: www.ivu.org
North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS): www.navs-online.org
Vegetarian Society of the UK (VSUK): www.vegsoc.org

Children and Parents:
VRG: www.vrg.org/family
Vegetarian Baby: www.vegetarianbaby.com

Food Ingredients and Nutritional Content:
VRG: www.vrg.org/nutshell/faqingredients.htm
US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA): www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/cgi-bin/nut_search.pl

This article is published by The Vegetarian Resource Group and may be freely distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided it is not altered and all contact information is given.


WHAT IS THE VEGETARIAN RESOURCE GROUP?

Our health professionals, activists, and educators work with businesses and individuals to bring about healthy dietary 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. For further information visit us online at www.vrg.org.

The Vegetarian Resource Group
P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203
Phone: (410) 366-8343
Fax: (410) 366-8804
E-mail: vrg@vrg.org

Bobbi Pasternak is a registered nurse who has been active in online vegetarian outreach since 1993. She volunteers online (and occasionally in person) for VRG, and has been involved in establishing vegetarian forums on several of the major online services. She also works part-time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of a community hospital. She is currently pursuing a degree in computer science in anticipation of a possible career change. Her website is located at: http://nursebobbi.home.mindspring.com/

Dar Veverka was formerly Catalog Manager for The Vegetarian Resource Group. She is currently a Network Administrator for an environmental engineering firm in Baltimore.

Davida Gypsy Breier is the Consumer Research Manager for The Vegetarian Resource Group. She responds to e-mail requests and questions, and maintains the VRG website.

Jason Brackins is Electronic Infrastructure Manager for The Vegetarian Resource Group. He maintains our Computer Network.

HTML by Stephanie Schueler



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Last Updated
September 14, 2000

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