VRG-NEWS: The Vegetarian Resource Group Newsletter
Volume 15, Issue 6
June 2011

CONTENTS

  1. VRG'S GUIDE TO VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN FOOD INGREDIENTS NOW AVAILABLE ON IPHONE, IPOD TOUCH, AND IPAD!
  2. INTERVIEW REQUEST FOR UPCOMING ARTICLE ABOUT BEING VEGAN IN COLLEGE
  3. OXALIC ACID
  4. VRG SUMMER INTERN MENTIONED IN US NEWS AND WORLD REPORTS ARTICLE ON VEGETARIAN-FRIENDLY COLLEGES
  5. VRG OUTREACH BOOTH
  6. ECOFAIR 2011...A DAY OF VEGGIECATION
  7. ONLY VEGETARIAN AT THE SOCCER BANQUET
  8. TRAVELING TO WASHINGTON, DC WITH YOUR CLASS
  9. INTERVIEW REQUEST FOR PEOPLE WITH VEGAN CATS
  10. OMEGA-3'S IN FLAX
  11. VEGAN RESTAURANTS AROUND THE U.S.
  12. THANKS TO SCHOLARSHIP CONTEST VOLUNTEERS
  13. $5000 VEGETARIAN SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED TO MASSACHUSETTS AND ILLINOIS TEENS
  14. UMD DIETETIC INTERNS VISIT VRG
  15. FAQS ABOUT VRG'S NEW VISA PLATINUM REWARDS CARD
  16. VRG'S FOOD INGREDIENT GUIDE NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON KINDLE
  17. UPCOMING EVENTS
  18. DISSERTATION SURVEY PARTICIPATION REQUEST
  19. WENDY'S NATURAL-CUT FRENCH FRIES
  20. VEGAN COOKING TIPS: MASHED AND STUFFED POTATOES
  21. About The Vegetarian Resource Group
  22. About VRG-NEWS

1) VRG'S GUIDE TO VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN FOOD INGREDIENTS NOW AVAILABLE ON IPHONE, IPOD TOUCH, AND IPAD!

Our Guide to Food Ingredients [ http://www.vrg.org/ingredients/index.php ] is now available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (iOS 4.0 or later)! And it's free!

Click here to download the app:http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/guidetoveganandvegetarianfoodingredients/id443466136?mt=8 ]

You can also search for keywords 'vegan ingredients' or 'vegetarian ingredients' in the Apple Store.

Perfect for deciphering ingredient labels while you are on the go, the Guide lists the uses, sources, and definitions of 200 common food ingredients. It also states whether the commercial source of the ingredient is vegan, typically vegan, vegetarian, typically vegetarian, typically non-vegetarian, or non-vegetarian.

Many thanks to Catch Productions [ http://www.catchproductions.net/services.php?utm_source=vrg&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=Ingredients_iphone ] who did such a great job developing the app!

Print copies of the Guide are available here. [ http://www.vrg.org/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=8 ]

Editor's note: The purpose of our food ingredient research is intended to educate people to enable them to make informed decisions about the foods that they choose to eat. Vegetarians and vegans will draw their own lines at what they will or won't eat. Do what you feel is appropriate for your circumstances. The guide should not be used to criticize others or feel overwhelmed. We live in an imperfect world and do the best we can.

The contents of this newsletter, 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 best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.


2) INTERVIEW REQUEST FOR UPCOMING ARTICLE ABOUT BEING VEGAN IN COLLEGE

Two of our summer interns are working on an article about being a vegan student in college, and they have some questions that they would like to ask current students. If you or someone you know is a vegan student in college who is interested in contributing to the article, please e-mail Lindsey or Jessica at vrg@vrg.org Thank you so much!


3) OXALIC ACID

A reader was told by his doctor to reduce his intake of oxalic acid and asked about oxalic acid content in foods. This is what VRG Nutrition Advisor Reed Mangels, PhD, RD had to say:

Some soy products are high in oxalic acid. Others have lower levels. Generally, for people who avoid oxalic acid due to kidney stones, a food containing 10 milligrams or less of oxalic acid per serving is considered acceptable in limited amounts. Researchers in Iowa looked at how much oxalic acid was in a serving of tofu and found that the following brands had less than 10 milligrams of oxalic acid in a 3-ounce serving:

  • Pete's
  • Mori-Nu
  • Hinoichi
  • PacSoy
  • Soy Deli fried tofu
  • White Wave
  • Azumaya
  • Nasoya
  • Small Planet
Of all the brands they tested, only Soy Deli firm tofu had more than 10 milligrams of oxalic acid per serving.

They also found that 1 cup of Pacific Soy and WestSoy Soymilk (the only brands they tested) had less than 10 milligrams of oxalic acid. Soy sauce was also found to be low in oxalic acid. General recommendations that I've seen for a low oxalic acid diet call for 2-3 servings daily of foods that have 2-10 milligrams of oxalic acid per serving. Foods falling into this category would be 3 ounces of tofu, 1 cup of Pacific Soy soymilk, 1 cup of WestSoy soymilk, 1 tablespoon of roasted soynuts, and 2 Tablespoons of soy nut butter (not low carb soy nut butter).

Soy foods that are too high in oxalic acid for many low oxalate diets are edamame, textured soy protein, and tempeh.

Speak with your doctor and dietitian concerning your upper limit of oxalic acid.

The reference for the study on oxalic acid in soy products is:

Al-Wahsh IA, Horner HT, Palmer RG, Reddy MB, Massey LK.
Oxalate and phytate of soy foods.
J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Jul 13; 53 ( 14 ): 5670-4 .

The USDA has published a table of the oxalic acid content of vegetables at: [ http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/Other/oxalic.html ]

This scientific article also has information about oxalic acid in some foods: [ http://www.nature.com/ki/journal/v57/n4/pdf/4491506a.pdf ]

The Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria foundation has published tables of oxalates in foods.
See: [ http://www.ohf.org/docs/Oxalate2008.pdf ]

The contents of this newsletter, 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 best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

To Support VRG research and education, please donate at:
https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565 ]


4) VRG SUMMER INTERN MENTIONED IN US NEWS AND WORLD REPORTS ARTICLE ON VEGETARIAN-FRIENDLY COLLEGES

By Lindsey Siferd, VRG Summer Intern

Recently, I was interviewed by Katy Hopkins, reporter for the US News and World Reports, for an article on vegetarian-friendly colleges. After the VRG Director sent me her request for information on schools that go above-and-beyond to cater to vegetarians and vegans, I decided to nominate my college, St. Mary's College of Maryland.

Katy chose to focus on my school's on-campus farm, something started by and run by students, and a place where some professors take students in courses such as Books that Cook and Biology of the Garden. I was proud and excited to see my school featured in an online slideshow of eight notable vegetarian-friendly schools. Katy also mentioned my school twice in her full-length article, "Colleges that Offer Courses, Choices for Vegetarians." Our farm was highlighted again, and she also mentioned positive changes that our food provider, Bon Appetit, made after students asked for higher quality dining options, including more vegetarian options.

Here is the selection from her article in which I am mentioned:

Change is afoot at St. Mary's College of Maryland, which student vegetarian Lindsey Siferd says has been culinarily revitalized over the past year. After students pushed for higher quality dining options--including more vegetarian offerings--she says the school's food provider, Bon Appetit Management Company, responded positively. After a campaign on Facebook, a protest against Chick-fil-A, and student meetings with Bon Appetit, requests for a greater variety of healthy food on campus were met.

It was exciting to promote my school and appear in a news article. I hope that Katy's article will help prospective vegetarian students make a more informed college decision, and I am glad that my summer internship allowed me such an opportunity!

Katy's article, "Colleges that Offer Courses, Choices for Vegetarians": [ http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/06/07/colleges-that-offer-courses-choices-for-vegetarians?PageNr=1 ]

Slideshow titled "Colleges Catering to Vegetarians": [ http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/slideshows/colleges-catering-to-vegetarians ]


5) VRG OUTREACH BOOTH

by Lindsey Siferd, VRG intern

As a summer intern at The Vegetarian Resource Group, I have already been exposed to so many new experiences, and learned new skills, all in my first three weeks. One of the most interesting experiences that I have had so far was to help set up and participate in tabling for a VRG booth at the Federal Hill Jazz and Blues Festival in Baltimore, Maryland.

Before the festival, I worked with Mary, one of VRG's staff members, to pack books and materials for the table. I learned that a lot goes into the planning and packing for one of these events, and how important it is to bring a variety of literature for people to peruse and take with them. The VRG has such a wealth of pamphlets and books, and they even have coloring books for children (and adults).

The day of the festival, I met Mary in the morning on a block in Federal Hill to set up our booth. It was an exciting festival to be working at, as there were several food, craft, and jewelry vendors, as well as live music all day. There were not many non-profits present, so it was important for us to be there. It was kind of surprising and ironic though, when we saw that they gave our table a spot right across from the pit beef and BBQ vendors. This did not daunt us, however, and we proceeded to set up our table with a brightly colored tablecloth and all of the information we had packed.

Working the table turned out to be a great experience. It was fun to connect with so many people who were vegetarian, vegan, or interested in learning more. Everyone who approached us was friendly, and many had their own stories to tell. Several people came up and said, "Oh, my sister is a vegan" or "My son wants to go vegetarian" and got a copy of the Vegetarian Journal [ http://www.vrg.org/journal/ ] for them or signed them up for the mailing list. It was nice to see so many people looking out for each other. We also met a few dietitians, some of whom already knew about the VRG and were interested in learning more to tell their clients.

Many people brought their children, so we gave away many coloring books. My favorite part was talking to the people who said they had always wanted to try to go vegetarian, but didn't know how to start. Luckily, we had lots of great resources on hand, such as "Vegetarianism in a Nutshell" and a thorough ADA position paper full of information about nutrition.

Another VRG volunteer named Dorothy came later in the day to help Mary and I table. She is a vegan, and was really enthusiastic about talking to people, and I learned a lot from her. It was good to have a volunteer, a staff member, and an intern all working one booth, because we all brought different experiences to the table (no pun intended).

The VRG does booths across the country, and at all different kinds of events, and I think it was important to work this particular festival to reach out to people who might not normally have access to information about vegetarianism or even know that the resources are out there. It was great to work with Mary and Dorothy, and get out in the community to speak directly with people. I hope to be able to work more events like this in the future!

If you are interested in volunteering at a booth like the one above, please e-mail vrg@vrg.org. For a list of other ways to volunteer and get involved with the VRG, please visit [ http://www.vrg.org/getinvolved.php ].

Donations from individuals like you help the VRG continue to sponsor outreach booths like the one mentioned above in your community. To donate, please go to [ https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565 ].


6) ECOFAIR 2011...A DAY OF VEGGIECATION

by Jessica Friend, VRG Intern

My name is Jessica Friend and last week I started my summer internship with The Vegetarian Resource Group. One of my first assignments was to attend a community event that VRG participated in to advocate vegetarianism.

Mary Hebranson, the Community Outreach Director at VRG, asked me if I would be interested in attending EcoFair [ http://www.ecobikeride.org/ecofair.php ] in Reisterstown, MD. The fair was only about 15 minutes from my home in Owings Mills, so of course I would go.

Driving on to the grounds for EcoFair, I had no idea what to expect but I had lots of questions. Would it rain? Would there be lots of people? How would the VRG booth look? Turning the corner, I was pleasantly surprised. Kayam Farm, where the fair was held, sits on several acres of green pastureland. I could see a big pavilion in the center of the grounds. Underneath, various vendors were set up on picnic tables.

As I approached the pavilion I spotted the VRG table pretty quickly because it was definitely one of the more colorful booths there. An array of pamphlets showcased fruits and vegetables from every color of the rainbow. Red tomatoes, orange squash, yellow bananas, green peppers, blue blueberries and purple eggplants. Displayed on the left side of the table were several of the books that VRG publishes including Meatless Meals for Working People and Simply Vegan. On the right side of the table there was a display dedicated to educating people on the effects of eating meat on the environment.

I walked around the table and introduced myself to Mark Rifkin. Mark is one of the dietitians that work with The Vegetarian Resource Group. He would be overseeing the booth that afternoon.

Right away, Mark informed me that one of the most important rules of tabling is ... "Don't be afraid to speak to the people!" Mark noted that most people who approach a table won't ask any questions without a little prompting. So a nicely placed "Do you have any questions?" is an icebreaker. Throughout the afternoon, I put Mark's insightful tip into practice.

Some of the visitors to the VRG table included; a woman who inquired about tips for feeding a picky vegetarian baby, Mark suggested she try different textures of tofu; and a man who approached the table looking for recipes, explaining that he had just gone vegetarian several months ago. I handed him a pamphlet of four easy to make vegan recipes that Mark had brought and a copy of the restaurant guide that VRG publishes. Some people were just interested in receiving literature on vegetarianism or copies of the Vegetarian Journal [ http://www.vrg.org/journal ].

To volunteer at VRG booths around the country, e-mail vrg@vrg.org. To support VRG outreach, you can make contributions at [ https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565 ]


7) ONLY VEGETARIAN AT THE SOCCER BANQUET

by Sarah Alper, a VRG volunteer and lifelong vegan (For other Teen FAQs, visit: [ http://www.vrg.org/teen/ ])

Q: I'm going to a banquet for the soccer team and I'm the only vegetarian on the team. How do I let the caterer know that I'll need something different to eat?

A: The earlier you contact the catering company, the more likely it is that they'll be able to work with you. You can call or email them. Start by explaining what you do and don't eat, in case they have a different idea of what "vegetarian" means than you do. Next, ask what they're planning to serve to the rest of the team. How could the caterer adapt the meal to fit your diet? On pasta, maybe they could replace the meat sauce with marinara, or if they're serving hamburgers, perhaps you could get a veggie burger instead. As back-up, have a few simple vegetarian meals in mind: a hummus wrap, bean burrito, or vegetable and tofu stir-fry, for example. When you get to the banquet, introduce yourself to the caterer and remind him or her about what you've arranged. Lastly, remember to be polite and gracious throughout your communication. Not only is the catering company (hopefully) going out of their way to accommodate your food choices, but also, if they have a positive experience with you, they'll be happy to work with other vegetarians in the future.


8) TRAVELING TO WASHINGTON, DC WITH YOUR CLASS

by Sarah Alper, a VRG volunteer and lifelong vegan (For other Teen FAQs, visit: [ http://www.vrg.org/teen/ ])

Q: I'm traveling to Washington DC with my class. I'm not sure how the food thing will work.

A: Luckily, in a city like DC, you'll probably have a lot of options, and most people will be familiar with vegetarianism and veganism. If you start by asking a trip leader what the food plan is for the rest of the class, you'll be able to plan ahead for any alternatives you might need. Will the class be stopping for fast food on the way there? Check out VRG's Vegetarian Menu Items at Restaurant and Quick Service Chains (you can see excerpts here [ http://www.vrg.org/fastfoodinfo.htm ] ), or try an online guide such as Vegan Eating Out. Will you be packing meals for the day? See if a vegetarian option such as peanut butter and jelly, hummus wraps, or vegetarian deli slices can be available. Will you eat at any restaurants once you're in Washington? Maybe you can suggest a few veg-friendly places to your trip leader-try VRG's restaurant guide [ http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/ ]. Happy Cow is another popular guide. Many metropolitan areas, including Washington DC have vegetarian organizations (The Vegetarian Society of DC [ http://www.vsdc.org/ ]). If the restaurants have already been chosen and you're worried about your options, look at the menus ahead of time and contact the restaurants with your questions. Will your class be going to any catered events? See if you can discuss your situation with the caterer before you leave. Lastly, it can't hurt to pack a few snacks in case something doesn't work out. Try bringing trail mix, peanut butter crackers, granola bars, or prepared microwavable meals. If you find out as much as you can ahead of time and have a plan, the food thing shouldn't be much of a problem at all.


9) INTERVIEW REQUEST FOR PEOPLE WITH VEGAN CATS

Thanks to those who contacted Terri in response to a recent interview request we posted [ http://www.vrg.org/blog/2011/04/21/interview-request-from-freelancer-for-people-with-vegan-pets/ ] on her behalf regarding peoples' experiences with vegan pets.

Terri could still use input from people with vegan cats.

Terri is a vegan freelance writer and the information is for a vegan pet food company's newsletter.

If you can help, please contact Terri at: terriannsnutritionsolutions@gmail.com.


10) OMEGA-3'S IN FLAX

A reader asked about an article she read that said "Not all omega-3's are created equal. Those from flax (called ALA) don't have all the benefits (such as helping with heart health) when compared with the omega-3's derived from fatty fish such as salmon and tuna (called DHA and EPA)."

Reed Mangels, PhD, RD responded:

Thanks for your note. The article that you read wasn't quite the whole picture. While the kind of omega-3 fatty acid found in flax (alpha-linolenic acid) does not have the same effect in terms of lowering triglyceride levels as EPA and DHA do, it has other benefits that are similar to those of DHA and EPA. Higher intakes of alpha-linolenic acid are associated with a reduced risk of heart attacks and fatal heart disease.

Our bodies are able to make some DHA and EPA from alpha-linolenic acid. The rates of production of DHA and EPA are quite low, however, so some people who do not have dietary sources of DHA and EPA choose to take supplements of these fatty acids. Vegan DHA and EPA supplements are available from vegan stores like: The Vegetarian Site [ http://www.thevegetariansite.com ], Vegan Essentials [ http://www.veganessentials.com ], and Pangea [ http://www.veganstore.com ]. The supplements are made from microalgae.

The jury is still out as to whether or not vegans need to use supplements of DHA and EPA. One expert has said, "It is important to note the absence of reported adverse health effects in this population [vegans] that consumes no fish." Vegetarians, including vegans already have very low rates of death from heart disease.

You may also be interested in these articles from Vegetarian Journal.

http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2005issue3/vj2005issue3hotline.htm ] [ http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2001sep/2001sepomega3.htm ] [ http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2007issue1/vj2007issue1.pdf ] [ http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2009issue2/2009_issue2_nutrition_hotline.php ]

To join The Vegetarian Resource Group and subscribe to Vegetarian Journal, go to: [ http://www.vrg.org/catalog/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=3 ]


11) VEGAN RESTAURANTS AROUND THE U.S.

These vegan restaurants were recently added to The Vegetarian Resource Group online restaurant guide. To find restaurants in your area, visit: [ http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php ]

Cinnaholic
2132 Oxford St., Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 647-8684
http://www.cinnaholic-berkeley.com/ ]
Vegan/bakery. Cinnaholic offers over 30 flavors of gourmet cinnamon rolls -- and they are all vegan! Some include Almond, Blackberry, Butterscotch, Caramel, Cream Soda, Key Lime, Root Beer, & Pomegranate. Toppings range from Cookie Dough Chunks to Shredded Coconut and everything in between. They offer other sweet treats including cookies, brownies, muffins, specialty pie rolls, and baby buns (mini cinnamon rolls). If your sweet tooth has still not been sated, have a Frosting Shot! Cinnaholic is located directly across from the UC Berkeley campus & close to the downtown Berkeley BART.
Open Tuesday through Sunday. Closed Monday. Counter service, take-out, catering, VISA/MC, $-$$.

Minty Wellness
1961 Church Rd., Darien Center, NY 14040
(585) 591-3939
http://www.mintywellness.com/restaurant ]
Vegan/raw foods/organic. Minty Wellness is a hotel and spa with an all-vegan restaurant that is open to the public. The menu is predominately raw foods but some cooked meals are offered. Located between Buffalo and Rochester, Minty Wellness is hidden in the midst of 100 acres of natural woodland. All spa products and toiletries are vegan, organic, and ethically-sourced. Open Thursday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.
Open Sunday for brunch. Closed Monday through Wednesday. Full service, VISA/MC, $$.

Thanks Jordan Vegan Café
928 S. State St., Lockport, IL 60441
(815) 557-9868
http://www.thanksjordan.org/vegan-cafe/ ]
Vegan/raw foods. Thanks Jordan Vegan Café is completely run by volunteers. All proceeds go to Hope Children's Hospital in Oak Lawn to benefit children with life-threatening illnesses. Enjoy raw food items including soups, salads, and wraps at the Vegan Café. Live music is featured on Fridays and Saturdays.
Open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Closed Sunday and Monday. Full service, take-out, fresh juices, smoothies, VISA/MC, $$.

If you would like to volunteer with maintaining and updating The Vegetarian Resource Group restaurant guide, e-mail Sonja at vrg@vrg.org.


12) THANKS TO SCHOLARSHIP CONTEST VOLUNTEERS

Thank you to these volunteers for helping The Vegetarian Resource Group with our college scholarship contest:

  • Ryan Andrews
  • Julia Hart
  • Lisa Martin
  • Shannon Merck
  • Susan Petrie
  • Jenny Saccenti
  • Linda Tyler
  • Amy Vaughn
  • Kristi Watson

For information about VRG's scholarship contest, see [ http://www.vrg.org/student/scholar.htm ]

If you would like to volunteer to respond to scholarship entrants next January through March, please e-mail Sonja at vrg@vrg.org.

If you would like to make a donation towards our scholarship contest, please go to [ https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565 ]

Please indicate if the donation is towards a college scholarship, a needs based internship, or assisting with publicity, reporting, and administering the contest.

Thanks!


13) $5000 VEGETARIAN SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED TO MASSACHUSETTS AND ILLINOIS TEENS

The Vegetarian Resource Group is proud to present Rachel Sandalow-Ash, from Brookline, Massachusetts with a $5,000 college scholarship for her work in promoting a vegetarian lifestyle in her high school.

Rachel was president of her school's Environmental Action Club (EAC), a position she had held since her sophomore year of high school. Through the EAC, Rachel helped implement a 'Meatless Mondays' program at her school's cafeteria. The menu for Mondays includes such delicious options as vegetarian chili and burgers, baked ziti, hummus, and baba ganoush. 'Meatless Mondays' also helped increase the number of vegetarian options on other days of the week. In addition, education and publicity components are included, something which illustrates Rachel's commitment to increasing awareness.

Rachel also helped promote vegetarianism through her work with her school's Student Action for Justice and Education club (SAJE). With SAJE, Rachel helped coordinate the yearly Hunger Banquet, which highlights economic disparity and access to healthy food. Rachel describes this event as very 'pro-vegetarian,' as it emphasized vegetarianism as one of the most healthy lifestyles for people. Her work with this event shows Rachel's commitment to social and food justice-- something she hopes to continue with in college, saying, "I am passionate about environmental and food justice issues, and if I worked in those fields in the future, I would be able to promote vegetarianism nearly every day."

Rachel's commitment to a vegetarian lifestyle is also apparent in her work to restore a dilapidated greenhouse at her high school. In addition, she had an all-vegetarian menu and gave a speech about the importance of caring for the earth at her bat mitzvah. A vegetarian since the age of eight, Rachel says, "I knew that my own individual actions would not be enough to stop the entire industry...[but] if each person takes positive individual actions, then the world will slowly but surely become a better place. For me, vegetarianism was and is a personal choice with positive societal consequences."

The Vegetarian Resource Group is also proud to present Nicole (Niki) Gianni of Chicago, Illinois with a $5,000 college scholarship for her outstanding work in combating animal cruelty and her lifestyle as a dedicated vegan. Niki was the co-president of the Lane Tech Vegetarian-Animals Rights Club at her high school.

Niki became a vegetarian when she was twelve years old, and switched to a vegan lifestyle a few months later. She became committed to activism soon after, beginning to volunteer with Mercy for Animals, an animal rights non-profit that promotes vegetarianism. Niki helped organize events such as hosting 'feed-ins,' allowing people to sample vegan foods for free. She has also participated in over a hundred demonstrations and protests against inhumane treatment of animals. Kenny Torella, the Chicago campaign coordinator for Mercy for Animals says, "In my years of activism I've yet to meet someone so mature, dedicated and passionate for their age as Niki is. As long as there are activists like Niki, there is hope for animals."

Niki's work as co-president of the Lane Tech Vegetarian-Animal Rights Club also shows her dedication and commitment to activism and veganism. The club hosts speakers and screens documentaries, working hard to educate the school and community about animal rights. Niki also fosters several animals such as chickens and rabbits.

Niki tries to reach out and educate as many people as possible about the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle, efforts which have included speaking at a local high school to about a hundred students about a vegetarian diet. As she says, "I try to promote vegetarianism in my day-to-day life with a personal goal of speaking to one person a day, minimum, about why they should consider going veg."

Niki plans to continue her activism into college, where she would like to study to be a veterinary technician in order to further help animals.

The VRG sponsors two annual $5,000 scholarships for graduating high school seniors who have promoted vegetarianism in their communities. Applicants are judged on having shown compassion, courage, and a strong commitment to promoting a peaceful world through a vegetarian diet/lifestyle. Entries should be sent in a student's senior year before February 20th. Early submission is encouraged. For more information visit [ http://www.vrg.org/student/scholar.htm ].

If you would like to volunteer to respond to scholarship entrants next January through March, please e-mail Sonja at vrg@vrg.org.

If you would like to make a donation towards our scholarship contest, please go to [ https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565 ]

Please indicate if the donation is towards a college scholarship, a needs based internship, or assisting with publicity, reporting, and administering the contest.


14) UMD DIETETIC INTERNS VISIT VRG

Recently VRG was visited by dietetic interns from the University of Maryland Dietetic Internship Program. Below is one student's report about the day. Thanks for visiting with us -- we enjoyed having you all here at the office!

The Vegetarian Resource Group [ http://umdieteticinternship.posterous.com/vegetarian-resource-group ] By: Kait Fortunato

I sit here tonight with my grilled veggie burger and home made sweet potato fries reflecting on the great day my fellow interns and I had at The Vegetarian Resource Group [ http://www.vrg.org ]. While I am not vegetarian, I do try to eat a plant based diet and participate in Meatless Monday [ http://www.meatlessmonday.com/ ]. Not only did we receive a wealth of printed materials and educational brochures to gain knowledge of a vegetarian diet to share with our clients, we also took park in intriguing discussions regarding ethical concerns in dietetics. As a follow up to the recent release of the Dietary Guidelines we split into groups to create meal plans for vegan clients based on certain calorie limits. It was fun to come up with "dairy", protein, and grain sources while adding variety and considering all age groups. We also had fun taste testing various vegan items including Justin's maple almond butter, BBQ flavored Pirates Booty, rice chips, carrot ginger soup, and vegan granola and animal crackers. The Vegetarian Resource Group has an excellent website that includes recipes, a blog, a guide for eating out, handouts and resources, and list serves to discuss various topics with people having the same questions and concerns as you are. The group works closely with 3 Registered Dietitians who help create resources and publications and assist with list serve questions. This group is great for new vegetarians seeking guidance, parents of vegetarian children, and even experienced vegetarians/vegans looking for new recipes and information. All in all it was a great experience with a kind staff and I am grateful to have learned so much to share with clients in the future!

If you would like to support Vegetarian Resource Group projects, such as education of dietetic interns, please donate at [ https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565 ].


15) FAQS ABOUT VRG'S NEW VISA PLATINUM REWARDS CARD

Click here [ http://www.vrg.org/credit_faqs.php ] to view FAQs about VRG's new Visa® Platinum Rewards Card such as: Is there an annual fee? What is the APR on the card? What can I redeem for with my points earned?

VRG's new affinity Visa® Platinum Rewards credit card is now available! When a cardholder activates the card, VRG receives $50. Then for the life of the program, VRG will receive a portion of every dollar that each cardholder charges. The VRG Visa® Platinum Rewards card offers qualified cardholders exceptional benefits including no annual fee, a low APR and reward points for shopping at participating merchants. Add your support with every purchase when you use the The Vegetarian Resource Group Visa® Platinum Rewards card. To apply, see: [ http://www.cardpartner.com/app/vrg ]


16) VRG'S FOOD INGREDIENT GUIDE NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON KINDLE

Vegetarian Journal's Guide to Food Ingredients is now available on Amazon Kindle! [ http://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-Journals-Guide-Ingredients-ebook/dp/B004TNIK06/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1308058968&sr=1-1 ]

The Guide to Food Ingredients is indispensable in deciphering ingredient labels. It lists the uses, sources, and definitions of over 200 common food ingredients. This easy-to-read list of ingredients commonly found in many foods and beverages indicates whether they are vegetarian, vegan, typically vegetarian, typically vegan, may be non-vegetarian, or non-vegetarian. The emphasis is on commercial sources of ingredients most commonly used today. Each entry lists commercial sources, alternative names (if any), foods or beverages containing the ingredient, and in some cases manufacturer's information about current supply sourcing.

Print copies of Vegetarian Journal's Guide to Food Ingredients are available for $6 from our online catalog [ http://www.vrg.org/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=8 ] and can also be ordered by calling us at (410) 366-8343, M-F, 9-5.


17) UPCOMING EVENTS -- COME VISIT VRG'S BOOTH AT THESE EVENTS!


18) DISSERTATION SURVEY PARTICIPATION REQUEST

The following study participation request is from a doctoral student at Walden University. This research is part of a doctoral dissertation examining the health status of vegans vs vegetarians as measured by BMI (Body Mass Index).

Please click on the following link to access the survey: [ https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FJVXJGC ]


19) WENDY'S NATURAL-CUT FRENCH FRIES

by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

Wendy's now offers skin-on French fries made from whole Russet potatoes and seasoned with sea salt. Ingredient information posted on their website indicates that the "natural flavors" used in these fries are vegetable-derived. All other ingredients appear to be all-vegetable or synthetic.

The VRG called Wendy's in May 2011 to find out more information about this new side menu item. We spoke with a consumer relations specialist. When we asked if the Natural-Cut French Fries were all-vegetable, she replied "I can read off the ingredients from the list to you; that's all I can say."

She stated that there is no designated fryer for French fries at Wendy's. In fact, the fries are cooked in the same oil as Wendy's fish and chicken products. The consumer rep. also said that "even if there were designated fryers, cross-contamination [with meat products] would still be possible because the cooking oil used in all the fryers would be filtered at the same time."

Wendy's Natural-Cut French Fries are available at all participating Wendy's restaurants nationwide.


20) VEGAN COOKING TIPS: MASHED AND STUFFED POTATOES

VEGAN COOKING TIPS
Mashed and Stuffed Potatoes
By Chef Nancy Berkoff, RD, EdD, CCE

This article originally appeared in Vegetarian Journal Issue 4 2010 [ http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2010issue4/index.php ].


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, bequests, 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/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565 ]

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.


ABOUT VRG-NEWS

VRG-NEWS is the 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 us at vrg@vrg.org. If you have any suggestions, ideas, or corrections to VRG-NEWS, please 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/ ].

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Contents of VRG-NEWS are copyright 2011 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.