Vegetarian Journal

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Vegetarian Journal Mar/Apr 1998

Note from the Coordinators

Who are the Radical Vegetarians?


Debra Wasserman
Charles Stahler
All too often when we think of radical vegetarians, animal rights activists, or environmentalists, in our mind we picture individuals chained to a veal crate, protestors marching partially nude to demonstrate against the fur industry, or naturalists blocking timber companies from tearing down trees in our forests. These activities appear across our television screen or throughout printed media, and at the very least spark lively debate. But, have you ever stopped and wondered exactly who are the real radicals or pioneers in the vegetarian movement?

Just recently we were visiting a great-aunt whose age we won't reveal (she's s nearing the century mark) and she remarked that someone had taken three copies of Vegetarian Journal that she had sitting on her dresser top in the nursing home where she resides. She then chuckled and said, "Hopefully they'll read the magazines and become vegetarian." And even better, she stated, " Perhaps the nursing home will start to serve better vegetarian food." This woman has been vegetarian since her early eighties, and purely by example has been pushing for more vegetarian options in her senior citizen setting. At times, she's even wished for a separate vegetarian dining area so she wouldn't have to smell the meat others are eating. And she's only one of many senior citizens we know paving the way for those of us who will be elderly vegetarians down the line. One of our life members lives in a senior retirement village and calls our office each time she's persuaded the foodservice management to add just one other vegetarian or vegan option to their menu. Often, she's frustrated at the slow pace change seems to occur, but she fights on.

When The Vegetarian Resource Group first gave out information at the annual meetings of The American Dietetic Association, American Public Health Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, and The American Heart Association, others in the movement thought we were crazy and that health professionals weren't interested in vegetarian diets. However, our booths have always been mobbed. In fact, many health professionals including physicians, dietitians, nurses, dentists, osteopaths, and chiropractors are members of this organization.

Do you know a youngster who continues to request vegetarian options in his or her school cafeteria? Or, have you and your fellow vegetarian workers complained about the lack of vegetarian food in your employee cafeteria and then met with the staff offering suggestions as to what they can serve? When you attend a local environmental or animal rights meeting, do you encourage the organization to promote vegetarianism and then offer to provide vegetarian handouts or give a talk? Although these actions might seem natural to you, they are about making major changes in society. The next time you hear friends or co-workers talking about those radicals, remember it could really be you they're talking about. Simply smile, and know you don't have to scream or be mean to people to make radical change.

On a different note, many readers enjoyed our two-part series on vegetarian/vegan options in restaurant chains. Some of you have contacted the customer service number for restaurants and received conflicting information. We double-checked, and indeed, the facts we shared with our readers are more up-to-date than the information being offered by a few customer service lines. This demonstrates how difficult it is to keep track of changes. However, VRG tries to update the material regularly.

Debra Wasserman & Charles Stahler

Coordinators of The Vegetarian Resource Group


Excerpts from the Mar/Apr Issue:


The Vegetarian Journal published here is not the complete issue, but these are excerpts from the published magazine. Anyone wanting to see everything should subscribe to the magazine.

This article was converted to HTML by Jeanie Freeman



VRG Home | About VRG | Vegetarian Journal | Books | Vegetarian Nutrition
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March 6, 1998

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