VRG-NEWS: The Vegetarian Resource Group Newsletter
Editor: John L. Cunningham
Volume 7, Issue 3
June 2003


  1. Notes from the Editor
  2. How Many Vegetarians Are There? 2003 VRG Poll
  3. New American Dietetic Association Position on Vegetarian Diets
  4. "Healthy School Lunch" Resolution Passes in California
  5. Program Teaches Elementary School Students to Care
  6. Recipe: Quinoa and Eggplant
  7. Upcoming Vegetarian Events and Conferences
  8. Internships Available
  9. About The Vegetarian Resource Group
  10. About VRG-NEWS


As part of our effort to continue to promote vegetarian food in restaurants, volunteer Jim Dunn organized and staffed our busy booth at the National Restaurant Association trade show in Chicago last month. This event is attended by over 75,000 people in the food service and restaurant industry. We'd like to thank Jim, along with Dina Aronson, RD, Maggie Dunn, Hester Kohl, Lisa Martin, Jeff Olichwier, and Stephanie Schueler for making the event such a success!

Youth vegetarianism continues to be a hot topic in the media. VRG Nutrition advisor Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, was recently interviewed by the Dayton Daily News, Boston Parents Magazine, the Boston Globe, and had a letter to the editor printed in Baltimore's Child magazine on the subject.

This month, Chef Nancy Berkoff, RD, hosted a VRG booth at the Sony Picture Studios Health Fair in Culver City, California for the second year in a row.


A look at the increased number of vegetarian products now available is evidence that the interest in vegetarian foods has exploded in the last few years. Some fast food restaurants now offer vegetable burgers. Most supermarkets carry soymilk and veggie alternatives to meats. We've even seen vegetarian "turkeys" in some stores.

By looking at various figures, VRG estimates that 30-40 percent of the country's consumers are a good market for meatless items. From 4-10 percent call themselves vegetarians. But how many people are actually vegetarian? To find out the answer to this question, VRG over the years has asked in national polls: Please tell me which of the following foods, if any, you NEVER EAT: Meat, Poultry, Fish/Seafood, Dairy Products, Eggs, Honey.

To read the whole article, visit our website:


"It is the position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. . . ."

"A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat, fish, or fowl. . . ."

"Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. . . . "

The above statements are quotes from the new American Dietetic Association Position Paper, co-authored by Virginia Messina, MPH, RD, Vesanto Melina, MS, RD, and VRG Nutrition Advisor, Reed Mangels, PhD, RD. The paper, which was published in the latest Journal of the American Dietetic Association (JADA), has been completely updated from the 1997 version to reflect new recommendations for protein, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. It has the latest information about vegetarian diets and chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and renal disease. It has more than five times as many references as the earlier paper.

The same issue of the JADA features a new food guide for North American vegetarians. The guide can be used by lacto-ovo vegetarians or vegans. It features a wide variety of foods, and shows that calcium can be obtained from nondairy sources. (If the food guide is no longer accessible on-line, ask ADA to send you a hard copy of the position paper--see instructions on their website.)

Both of these documents are excellent resources for vegetarians, as well as helpful tools to educate non-vegetarians, such as health care providers and family members who may be skeptical about the safety of vegetarian and vegan diets. To read the position paper for yourself, visit the ADA website and click on "Position Papers," "Public Health," and then "Vegetarian Diets."


By passing ACR16, otherwise known as the "Healthy School Lunch" resolution, the California state legislature has taken a first step toward bringing vegetarian food to California public schools. Sponsored by Project Healthy Beginnings and introduced by Assemblyman Joe Nation, the resolution was passed by the California State Assembly on April 21, and by the California State Senate on July 16, by large majorities in both bodies.

ACR16 urges the Department of Health Services, the Department of Food & Agriculture, the Department of Education, and the California School Food Service Association to "develop nutritionally sound menu plans that will provide daily optional plant-centered vegetarian school lunches (prepared without meat or dairy products) in such a way that all students will be assured nutritionally balanced diets. . . ." This is a resolution, not a law, and therefore does not legally compel these departments to comply with the legislation, it does serve as an official endorsement by the state legislature. Nevertheless, such an endorsement can be a great help to citizens who are trying to change the menus in their school cafeterias.

For information, visit Project Healthy Beginnings or Soy Happy's Information page.


Individuals can help elementary-school children learn about respect for animals and the environment through the Adopt-a-Classroom program of the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education (NAHEE). When one "adopts" a K-6 classroom for $30, the teacher is provided with materials to incorporate humane education--the teaching of kindness toward animals, people and the earth--into his or her curriculum for a school year. A bundle of 32 copies of KIND (Kids In Nature's Defense) News will arrive to the classroom each month, September through May, with a teacher's guide. The classroom newspaper teaches humane lessons through articles, short stories, activities, and projects that focus on animals and nature. Teachers receive KIND Teacher which is a resource book of worksheets, calendar pages, KIND I.D. cards for students, and a classroom poster at the beginning of the year.

To adopt a classroom, visit the NAHEE website or contact NAHEE, P.O. Box 362, East Haddam, CT 06423, phone (860) 434-8666, e-mail nahee@nahee.org. You can specify the classroom or school and grade you would like to sponsor; KIND News is published for three different reading levels: grades K-2, 3-4, and 5-6.

6) RECIPE: Quinoa and Eggplant

(The following recipe appears in Conveniently Vegan by Debra Wasserman.)

Serves 5

12-ounce box quinoa (2 cups)
4 cups water
1 pound eggplant, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
Small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons oil
8 ounces tomato sauce

Cook quinoa in water in a medium-size covered pot over medium heat for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté eggplant, onion, and seasonings in oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Add tomato sauce and cooked quinoa and saute 5 minutes longer. Serve warm.

Total calories per serving: 315
Fat: 6 g
Total Fat as % of Daily Value: 9%
Protein: 11 g
Iron: 7 mg
Carbohydrates: 57 g
Calcium: 57 g
Dietary fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 313 mg




On June 27 through July 2 in Washington D.C., and August 1 through 6 in Los Angeles, CA, the Animal Rights 2003 program will feature 120 presenters from the Animal Rights movement. They will present at ten Plenary Sessions, 100 Workshops, 50 Campaign Reports, and 16 Rap Sessions. Other functions will include Exhibits, Videos, Newcomer Orientation, Welcome Reception, Evening Receptions, Awards Banquet, US Animal Rights Hall of Fame, Planning Meetings, Group Workouts, Employment Clearinghouse, and a March on Washington. The speakers will include Carol Adams, Neal Barnard, Robert Cohen, Karen Davis, Alex Hershaft, Howard Lyman, Bill Mahr and over 100 more. VRG will have a booth, too. Stop by and say hello!

For more information, visit http://www.animalrights2002.org.



Juneteenth Commemoration, which is cosponsored by the Baltimore Chapter of EarthSave, will hold its 9th annual fair at Carroll Park on June 28 and 29, from 10am - 7pm at 1500 Washington Blvd., at Monroe St. in Baltimore. This year's theme will be "Families is Where Our Nation Finds Hope." The event marks the date of the Emancipation Proclamation, and celebrates unity and the spiritual strength that brought Africans out of slavery. Healthier eating and holistic health information will be one of the fair's highlights. There will also be a "Healthy Soul Food" cooking contest, with a $500 first prize, $250 second, and a $50 third prize. The health tent will also feature a lecture by John Chissell, MD, the author of Pyramids of Power, a book about ancient African wisdom in nutrition and health. On Sunday, attendees will have a chance to see a food preparation demo and talk by Donna Klein, the author of Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen. And EarthSave's Baltimore Chapter Director, Don Robertson, will speak on "Healthy Food Choices for a Healthy Planet." Vending space is still available. This outdoor, under tent event is free to the public.

For more information, call EarthSave Baltimore at 410-252-3043, or baltimore@earthsave.org.



On August 2 and 3, Farm Sanctuary will hold their annual Country Hoe Down Camp & Conference. Join Farm Sanctuary co-founders Gene and Lorri Bauston and an array of animal rights speakers, including Bruce Friedrich, PETA's director of Vegan Outreach; Miyun Park, president of Compassion Over Killing; and David Wolfson, author of Beyond the Law, for a weekend of entertainment and education. The New York Hoe Down reveals the latest news on farm animal issues and campaigns. The Hoe Down conference fee is $75 per person for the full conference and includes Saturday and Sunday lunches, Saturday dinner, and Saturday night barn dance with complimentary snacks and beverages. Please note: Seating is limited and this conference does sell out every year. Early reservations are recommended.

For information on the Hoe Down and to register online, visit http://www.farmsanctuary.org/visit/Newyork_hoedown.htm or call 607-583-2011 ext. 221.



On August 6-10 the North American Vegetarian Society will host Vegetarian Summerfest 2003. The Summerfest offers educational sessions covering such topics as health and nutrition, lifestyle issues, animal rights and compassionate living, and Earth stewardship; opportunities to meet others of like mind, and natural foods vegan meals. Speakers will include: author Carol J. Adams, author Brenda Davis, Dr. Michael Gregor, Club Veg founder Amie Hamlin, VRG Nutrition Aadvisor Suzanne Havala Hobbs, FARM founder Alex Hershaft, "Mad Cowboy" Howard Lyman, and many more.

For more information, visit http://www.navs-online.org/ or call (518) 568-7970.



On Saturday, August 16th the Third Annual Soyfoods Cooking Contest will be held at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. All Maryland residents are eligible to enter. Three divisions (Youth, Adult, and Vegan) will be judged in five categories (Appetizer/Snack, Side Dish, Entree, Bread, Dessert). Recipes must be original.

For complete information and entry forms visit: http://www.mcagfair.com, or contact Cyndi Reeser at (301) 946-7550, or by e-mail: cyndireeser@erols.com.



On September 12-14 2003, the Toronto Vegetarian Association will host the 19th Annual Vegetarian Food Fair at the York Quay Centre at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. The event will feature: cooking demonstrations, a vegetarian trade show, free vegetarian food samples, workshops and seminars, and children's musical entertainment. Speakers will include: workshop leader Nimisha Raha, Pat Venditti and Holly Penfound of Greenpeace, humane educator Rae Sikora, author Carol J. Adams, and many more. All venues are wheelchair accessible. Admission is free.

For more information visit http://www.veg.ca/foodfair, e-mail foodfair@veg.ca, or call (416) 544-8891.



On Saturday, September 27, Voices for Animals will hold the 7th Annual Charlottesville Vegetarian Festival in Lee Park. Attendees will encounter restaurant booths; free vegan food samples; healthy living exhibitors; and vegetarian, animal rights, environmental, and peace organizations. Activities will include: a "Fun-Raiser" for the Spay/Neuter Project of Voices of Animals, dog and cat adoption fair, activities for children, and live music. Admission is free.

For more information visit http://www.avenue.org/vegfest/, e-mail cvillevegfest@aol.org, or call (434) 823-2011.




Responsibilities depend on background, major if in college, and interest of applicant. Tasks may include research, writing, and/or community outreach. Internships are helpful for students working toward journalism, English, and nutrition degrees. Business majors can obtain experience related to the business aspects of a non-profit organization. Activists can learn new skills and gain a broader knowledge, as well as share their expertise. Positions open throughout the year for all ages (including high school students living in Baltimore). Internships are unpaid. Send resume and cover letter to The Vegetarian Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203; vrg@vrg.org.


Our health professionals, activists, and educators work with businesses and individuals to bring about healthful 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, donations, and book sales. The Vegetarian Journal, a print magazine, is a benefit of membership in The VRG. (For more information, please see the Vegetarian Journal online.)

If you would like to make a donation, become a member, volunteer, or find out more about The VRG, contact us at:

The Vegetarian Resource Group
P.O. Box 1463
Baltimore, MD 21203
Phone: (410) 366-8343
Fax: (410) 366-8804
E-mail: vrg@vrg.org
Website: http://www.vrg.org
Donate: https://www.givedirect.org/donate/?Action=GC&CID=1561

The contents of this newsletter, and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.


VRG-NEWS is the monthly e-mail newsletter of The Vegetarian Resource Group. This is an announcement list, so subscriber messages are not accepted by the list. If you have a technical question about the list, please contact the list manager, Bobbi Pasternak, at bobbi@vrg.org. If you have any suggestions, ideas, or corrections to VRG-NEWS, direct them to vrg@vrg.org. Thanks!

If you are a new subscriber, you might enjoy reading past issues of VRG News online at http://www.vrg.org/vrgnews/index.htm.

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Contents of VRG-NEWS are copyright 2003 by The Vegetarian Resource Group. The newsletter may be freely distributed in electronic or print form provided its contents are not altered and credit is given to The Vegetarian Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.

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
July 7, 2003

The contents of this website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

Web site questions or comments? Please email vrg@vrg.org.