VRG-NEWS: The Vegetarian Resource Group Newsletter
Editor: Jeannie McStay
Volume 10, Issue 2
February 2006


  1. Notes From The Editor
  2. Call-a-Dietitian Day
  3. Older Men and Soy
  4. How Many Young People are Vegetarian?
  5. Vegan Goodies
  6. Upcoming Events and Conferences
  7. Recipes
  8. Restaurant Offer from Vegdining.com
  9. Volunteers Needed to Hand Out Surveys
  10. Internships Available
  11. About The Vegetarian Resource Group
  12. About VRG-News

1) Notes From The Editor

No matter what the season, there's always lots of interesting things to do...especially if you're vegetarian!

Do you have a general question about vegan or vegetarian nutrition? Then, make an appointment to talk to one of our volunteer dietitians on Call-a-Dietitian Day, February 24th.

Are you planning to head off to Seattle for VegFest '06 or the Soy Symposium in Dallas? Then, you better put the finishing touches on your travel arrangements. Can't get away? You can still get busy organizing a Meatout event right there in your own community.

Perhaps you're looking for an easy recipe that adds more greens to your diet? Look to the Red Potatoes, Mustard Green & Mushroom Saute. Then for dessert, instead of the usual apple pie, try something a bit different - Pear Pie.

Sign up for a restaurant discount card through Vegdining.com and get 10% off at participating vegetarian restaurants. If your dream job is to review veggie-friendly restaurants, you can submit a mini-review and be entered in a prize drawing. See section 8 for more details.

Or maybe you're interested in helping The Vegetarian Resource Group do some research on vegetarians? One of our new projects involves distributing and collecting vegetarian surveys. Section 9 will tell you more.

2) Call-a-Dietitian Day

Call-a-Dietitian Day got off to a great start in January! We received lots of calls concerning vegan and vegetarian nutrition and plan to offer this opportunity again this month. If you have general nutrition questions, Mark Rifkin, MS, RD, LDN, will be available from 3-6 p.m. on Friday, February 24. To reserve a 15-minute time slot, please email the VRG office at vrg@vrg.org or call (410) 366-8343.

Mark Rifkin, a longtime VRG volunteer, is a Registered Dietitian and has a Master's Degree in Health Education. He has been presenting on food-related topics for more than seven years. Currently, he is starting a private practice in Baltimore, MD, that will focus on plant-based nutrition for prevention, as well as treatment of various chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, overweight/obesity, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, gout, women's health concerns, cancer, and early-stage kidney failure.

Be advised that these sessions are not individualized nutritional counseling. Such advice should only be provided through direct in-person contact with a qualified health professional.

3) Older Men and Soy

The Vegetarian Resource Group answers a variety of nutrition questions on a daily basis. Many are the typical questions vegetarians always hear--"What's a good source of protein if I don't eat meat?" "I don't drink milk, so what are some alternative sources of calcium?" "Should I supplement with a B12 vitamin?" However, we also get questions that are not so common and require further research from our staff.

Recently one of our readers asked: "When it was decided that estrogen replacement therapy was harmful, soy was recommended to help relieve some of the symptoms of menopause (i.e. hot flashes). What are the ramifications for men? Should men avoid soy?"

Reed Mangels, R.D., Ph.D., answered:

There's no evidence that men should avoid soy and there is good evidence for health benefits from using soy as part of a varied diet. I've seen one study where soy isoflavones (the part of soy that acts like estrogen) had no effect on men's reproductive ability. As I'm sure you know, replacing meat or other animal products with soy can reduce the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat in someone's diet. In addition, soy products are associated with lower blood levels of LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) and may help to reduce blood pressure.

4) How Many Young People are Vegetarian?

Every week, we get calls from the press, food services, companies, or students who want to find the latest figure for the number of vegetarians in the U.S. As a service to our members, businesses and the general public, The Vegetarian Resource Group has been conducting adult and teen polls at regular intervals since 1994. So, how many young people today are actually vegetarian? As we have done with our other polls, we posed the following statement:

Please tell us which of the following foods, if any, you never eat:

The results from our 2005 poll indicate that 3 percent of 8- to 18-year-olds were vegetarian (that is, they say they never eat meat, poultry, or fish/seafood). A whopping 11 percent of 13- to 15-year-old females said they never eat meat.

Because we use the word 'never' and name the foods, our tallies will be different from those in other polls that simply ask if one is a vegetarian. Those polls are more dependent on personal definitions.

You may view the entire article in the Vegetarian Journal Issue XXIV, No.4 or at http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2005issue4/2005_issue4_youth.php.

Results from the 2000 teen poll are available at http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2001jan/2001janteen.htm, while the results from The VRG's first youth poll in 1995 may be found at http://www.vrg.org/journal/95nov.htm#kids.

5) Vegan Goodies

There was a time not so long ago when wheat-free cakes and cookies were pretty bland. But that was before Gak Snacks hit the market. This company is the wonderful end result of a determined mother whose child has multiple food allergies. Jill Robbins wanted to ensure that her child could enjoy great tasting treats just like the other kids, and continually experimented until she came up with delicious baked goods that did not contain dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and wheat. Her company now makes great-tasting Chocolate Chip Cookies and Brownie Chip Cookies with oodles of chips. Plus, the company's Apple Coffee Cake stays moist with a scrumptious apple and cinnamon filling. Gak's Snacks -- "so good, you won't believe what's not in 'em!" Call the company toll free at (800) 552-7172 or shop online at http://www.gakssnacks.com.

Gardenburger now offers an herb-seasoned soy patty called Flame Grilled Chik'n. I often have a quick-and-easy veggie burger for lunch, but now I can prepare these chik'n patties on a regular basis. They're just as fast and contain only 2.5 grams of fat per serving. Flame Grilled Chik'n patties are especially good with tomato slices and mustard on toasted oatmeal bread. You can find these patties and other Gardenburger products at your local health food store and many supermarkets.

I love Gisella's Gourmet Pasta Sauces. Available in Tomato Basil and Spinach Florentine varieties, these fresh-tasting Italian sauces are remarkably light yet flavorful. A simpler and easier meal can't be found. Simply prepare your favorite pasta, drain, pour warmed sauce on top and serve! Or you can use these sauces for topping vegetables, baked potatoes or grilled tofu. For more information, contact Gisella's, Inc. at (812) 430-0321 or visit their website at http://www.gisellas-gourmet-food.com.

6) Upcoming Events and Conferences

Seattle, WA: Vegfest 2006 - March 11-12, 2006

The Vegetarians of Washington will hold their 5th Annual Healthy Vegetarian Food Festival on March 11-12, 2006, at Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. Attendees will be able to try over 500 food samples, view cooking demos by vegetarian chefs, and listen to vegetarian health professionals speak on vegetarian nutrition and health. This year's speakers will include: Keith Hanson, M.D., Susan Gins, M.S., C.N., Marilyn Joyce, R.D., and Michael Orlich, M.D.

Admission is $5 for adults. Children under 12 are free. For more information, visit the Vegetarians of Washington website at http://www.vegofwa.org.


The Great American Meatout - March 20, 2006

The Great American Meatout is a grassroots diet education campaign. Every spring, Meatout supporters educate their communities and ask their friends, families, and neighbors to pledge to "kick the meat habit (at least for a day) and explore a wholesome, nonviolent diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Events include lectures, public dinners, cooking demos, food samplings, leafleting, and information tables. You can find out what you can do or what's going on in your area by visiting the Meatout website at http://www.meatout.org.

If you need materials to hand out for a Meatout event, contact the Vegetarian Resource Group at vrg@vrg.org or (410) 366-8343.

If you live in Maryland and would like to sign up for the VRG's local events email newsletter, please email Jeannie at jeannie@vrg.org. This is separate from VRG News.


USB/SANA 13th Annual Soy Symposium - April 23-25, 2006

The Soyfoods Association of North America (SANA) and United Soybean Board (USB) will sponsor Innovations in the Marketplace: Reaching the Consumer Today on April 23-25, 2006, at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Dallas, TX (7 min. from airport). Presenters will share secrets on:

Ms. Kellyanne Conway, an expert on trends, politics and predictions, will be the keynote speaker. Dr. Lester Crawford, former FDA Commissioner, will share insights on bringing functional foods to the market. Other lecturers include: William Rosenweig of Brand New Brands, Mark Brawerman of Turtle Mountain, and Ron McDermott of Kellogg's. Speakers and participants include representatives from a broad array of food companies, researchers, manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and the food industry.

Please check onto http://www.soyfoods.org or e-mail Leigh Ann Edwards at leighann@soyfoods.org for more information.

7) Recipes

Red Potato, Mustard Green, and Mushroom Saute

(From Vegan Meals for One or Two by Chef Nancy Berkoff)

(Serves: 2)

2 medium red potatoes
Vegetable oil spray
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups (packed) mustard greens or kale

Steam or microwave potatoes until soft. Heat a large frying pan and spray with oil. Quarter potatoes and add with mushrooms to pan. Season with pepper. Cook and stir until potatoes are hot and mushrooms are soft, approximately 5 minutes. Add greens and cook and stir until wilted, approximately 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Total Calories Per Serving Using Mustard Greens: 88
Total Fat as % of Daily Value: 1%
Fat: 1 gm; Protein: 4 gm;
Iron: 2 mg; Carbohydrate: 18 gm
Calcium: 69 mg; Dietary fiber: 4 gm;
Sodium 20 mg

Pear Pie

(From Vegan Meals for One or Two by Chef Nancy Berkoff)

(Makes one 9-inch pie - about 6 slices)

6 ripe, but still firm Bartlett or Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and quartered
4 Tablespoons vegan dry sweetener
2 Tablespoons raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
9-inch frozen pie shell, not baked

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine pears, sweetener, raisins, vanilla, and zest. Cover and set aside for 1 hour.

Place a colander in a large frying pan. Pour the pears into the colander and allow the juice to drip into the pan. Heat the pan with the juices, bring to a fast boil, reduce heat, and simmer until syrupy, about 3 minutes. If there isn't at least 3/4 cup of juice left, add some apple juice. Set aside.

Toss pears with cornstarch and mix until cornstarch is absorbed. Pour syrupy juice over pears and toss until mixed. Pour into a 9-inch pie shell. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until juices are bubbling and fruit is tender.

Total Calories Per Serving: 255
Total Fat as % of Daily Value: 12%
Fat: 8 gm; Protein: 2 gm;
Iron: 1 mg; Carbohydrate: 48 gm
Calcium: 25 mg; Dietary Fiber: 4 gm;
Sodium: 137 mg

(To order Vegan Meals for One or Two, call 410-366-8343, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern Time, or order online.)

8) Restaurant Offer from Vegdining.com

VegDining.com is currently offering VRG-News subscribers its VegDining Card at half the regular price ($6.95 US instead of $14.95 US) until March 31, 2006. The VegDining Card provides a 10% discount on vegetarian food and non-alcoholic beverage purchases at over 100 vegetarian restaurants around the world, including the US, Canada, Mexico, England, Australia, and several other countries in Europe and Asia.

In addition, until the end of March, VRG-News subscribers submitting mini-reviews on VegDining.com about their recent visits to vegetarian restaurants will be entered into a drawing, with prizes such as restaurant dinners, subscriptions to Vegetarian Journal, and more!

To purchase a VegDining card and/or to submit a mini-review, visit: http://VegDining.com/News/VRG-Offer.cfm. Please note: Be sure to include "VRG Subscriber" in your order/submission.

9) Volunteers Needed to Hand Out Surveys

The VRG is looking for volunteers to hand out and collect 1 page surveys in locations where there is a high likelihood of reaching vegetarians. Some possible locations would include farmers' markets, natural food stores, co-ops, vegetarian gatherings or animal rights meetings. If you are willing to assist with this, please contact Sonja at vrg@vrg.org. Thanks!

10) Internships Available

Internship: VRG

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.

About The Vegetarian Resource Group

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!

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Contents of VRG-News are copyright 2006 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.

The Vegetarian Resource Group Logo � 1996- The Vegetarian Resource Group
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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.