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VRG-NEWS: The Vegetarian Resource Group Newsletter
Editor: John L. Cunningham
Volume 7, Issue 1
January 2003


  1. Notes from the Editor
  2. Impact of New Organic Labeling Laws - A Survey
  3. Animal Place Urges Welfare Groups to Adopt Animal Friendly Menus
  4. Meatout 2003 is Coming!
  5. Sysco Will Provide Tempeh To Food Services
  6. Recipe Of The Month: Broccoli And Tofu Saut�
  7. Question Of The Month: Soft Vegan Food?
  8. Upcoming Vegetarian Events And Conferences
  9. Job Opportunities and Internships Available
  10. About The Vegetarian Resource Group
  11. About VRG-NEWS


VRG Nutrition Advisor, Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, has been working with a University of Massachusetts graduate student on a thesis involving vegetarian options at quick-service chains. In January and February, VRG is hosting an intern from Bennington College. A Dietetic Intern at Yale-New Haven Hospital will do her special rotation at VRG later this spring. We are thrilled to be able to provide opportunities like these. It is a win-win situation for all involved. Not only do we help these people advance their careers, but as they go out into the world, they spread what they have learned about a healthy vegetarian lifestyle. If you are interested in pursuing an internship at VRG, see item 9 below. If you live in the Baltimore area, please consider supporting our interns by volunteering to provide a place to stay.

On February 1, VRG volunteer Phil Becker will be staffing our booth at the Bay Area Veg Fair in Santa Clara, CA. From February 14-16, VRG friend Ken Ziff will be handing our literature from the Vegetarian Dining Club booth at the Los Angeles Conscious Living Expo at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton and Skycenter. Many thanks to Phil and Ken!

I should also remind all high school students and friends of students that the deadline for applications for this year's VRG scholarship is February 20th, so hurry up and submit that application if you haven't already.

Correction: Eric Borgstrom of Opportunities & Options kindly e-mailed to let us know that our review of the Fantastic Foods Simmer Soups was incorrect. The product should be simmered for 20 minutes before serving--hence the name. Thanks for the help, Eric!


Recently I (VRG's Co-Director, Debra Wasserman) visited a local mainstream supermarket and noticed that more organic produce is being offered. At first I was very excited; however, I soon realized that most of the organic items were wrapped in cellophane wrap over Styrofoam trays. Ten years earlier this same supermarket (then under a different owner) had used the same packaging. Of course, few people purchased the organic produce. People buying organic products do so because they care about the environment and their health. Excess packaging discouraged these individuals from buying the organic produce.

The current supermarket produce manager told me he had to switch suppliers in order to be able to meet the requirements of the new Federal organic labeling laws and regulations. He said this new supplier was wrapping all its products to avoid cross contamination from non-organic produce and to avoid fines if cross-contamination occurred. The produce manager also informed me that organic greens could not be sprayed with tap water (other greens are sprayed this way in many markets today) and therefore are now bagged as well. He also told me that they were proud to offer locally grown organic apples during the autumn. However, he now realizes that they will not be able to get apples from these relatively small local suppliers because they do not own the equipment necessary to put barcoded labels on their apples. This is necessary due to self-checkout counters where everything must be scanned.

As a result of this experience, we'd like readers to share some information with us concerning the availability of organic produce in their local supermarkets today. If possible, please answer these questions concerning your local neighborhood store(s). You can email this to vrg@vrg.org

  1. Does your local mainstream supermarket offer organic produce?
  2. How is it displayed?
    1. simply placed on shelves
    2. packaged with cellophane or other wrapping
  3. Since the new organic laws went into effect, have you seen an increase or decrease in the amount of organic produce sold? Is it marketed differently?
  4. If you have a natural foods supermarket in your area, how are they displaying their organic produce? Have there been any changes recently?
  5. State and city/town were you reside
  6. Name of supermarket(s)

Thanks so much for your help!


Animal Place, a sanctuary for "farm" animals in Vacaville, CA, has launched the FOOD FOR THOUGHT - Adopting an Animal Friendly Menu - campaign and needs your help. Food for Thought is a national campaign promoting the adoption of a vegetarian policy for SPCA and humane society sponsored events. The campaign asks two questions of those who run animal shelters: What animals do we protect - and - Do we serve those animals at our events? Not intended to coerce individuals to make personal dietary changes or to change what we feed the animals in our care, the campaign asks only for consistency in shelter-sponsored events. To see how you can help, visit http://www.animalplace.org and click on Food For Thought.


The 19th Annual Great American Meatout is poised for March 20, 2003. This national campaign is coordinated by Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM), a national pubic-interest, non-profit organization. Individual events are planned and conducted by local consumer, environmental, and animal protection groups. Across the country there will be public dinners, cooking demonstrations, a congressional reception, and information tables set up at supermarkets, schools, and libraries.

If you are planning on attending or organizing an event, don't forget that VRG has brochures and books in quantity. Go to our materials list to see the variety of information available. We offer special activist prices for the books. If you are interested please email Jeannie at jeannie@vrg.org with your name, address, and the name of your group.

For more information about Meatout visit http://www.meatout.org or call 1-888-FARM USA


Good news from the food service industry! Sysco, a major food distributor that services restaurants and cafeterias throughout North America, will soon offer tempeh to their customers. Sysco has made an agreement with Turtle Island Foods to provide tempeh in bulk for food service kitchens. VRG was pleased to provide quantity recipes to help kitchens that are unfamiliar with the product. If you patronize a restaurant or cafeteria that uses Sysco, please let them know that you would like to try the tempeh!

6) RECIPE OF THE MONTH: Broccoli and Tofu Saut�

(The following recipe appears in SIMPLY VEGAN by Debra Wasserman and Reed Mangels, PhD, RD.)

Serves 4

Saut� all the ingredients, except tofu, until broccoli is tender. Add tofu and stir-fry 5 minutes longer. Serve with brown rice.

7) QUESTION OF THE MONTH: Soft Vegan Foods?

Whether it be due to an accident or as a result of oral surgery, we occasionally receive requests for help from vegetarians who cannot eat solid food. Nutritional drinks such as Westsoy's non-dairy Vigoraid can be helpful, but for people who aren't restricted to a liquid diet, there are many other options. In the following excerpt from VEGAN IN VOLUME, Chef Nancy Berkoff, RD,. provides some tasty ideas:

Creating soft foods is easy. Making them attractive and interesting is a little more difficult. If you have a large quantity kitchen and an equipment wish list, wish for a Hobart (also called a buffalo) chopper, a vertical chopper, an institutional-size blender, and a hopper attachment (with several blades) for your kitchen. For smaller kitchens, food processors (with several blades) and commercial blenders should do the trick.

Try to select ingredients that lend themselves to being "soft." For example, root veggies (carrots, turnips, beets, etc.), hard-shelled squash, all potatoes, grains, and most fruits tolerate being mashed or pur�ed. On the other hand, summer squash (like zucchini) or leafy greens (like spinach or collards) are a disaster when altered. Use them as combination ingredients, not stand-alones.

For creamy, soft, pleasant textures, tofu and avocados are a vegan dream. Since both are neutral they can be used to "texture" sweet or savory dishes. Avocados are higher in fat, but it is mostly unsaturated fat with decent amounts of vitamin A and potassium. Many patients eating modified diets may need the extra calories. You can select the fat content of the tofu you use in your kitchen. Tofu can be used for a binding, a soft thickener, and even a moisturizer in casseroles that are combinations of cooked grains and vegetables.

Make a light dinner entr�e (or a heavy dessert) by layering pur�ed (or chopped) peaches, sweetened tofu (buy it already sweetened or mix in orange or apple juice concentrate), and avocado pur�e (small cubes) into a parfait glass. Garnish with a spoonful of jelly or preserves. Along the same lines, a breakfast "swirl" of cooked cereal, pur�ed fruit, and avocado cubes is attractive and packed with nutrition while being easy to swallow.

Bananas, berries, peaches, apricots, apples, and pears can be cooked or mashed into flavorful sauces. Pur�e some fresh strawberries, sweeten with orange juice concentrate, and use as a sauce for puddings or cakes. Freeze this blend and have a cool, smooth sorbet.

Pur�ed vegetables, such as carrots or peas, and beans can be cooked or pur�ed into a smooth, creamy consistency, perfect for soups and sauces. Pur�e cooked black beans, season with onions and cilantro, heat, and swirl in soft tofu, and you have soup that everyone will like! Potage crecy is a fancy way of saying pur�ed carrot soup. Pur�e cooked carrots with rice or rice cereal, dill, and parsley; mix in some soft tofu, and you will have a soup that is pretty to look at and great to taste.

How do gingered white beans with butternut squash sound? How about citrus oats or frozen apricot frappe? All can be made for textured diets. The beans are cooked, tossed with cooked squash squares and some mirin.[*] Cook it soft for the mechanicals[**] and serve over rice pilaf, or pur�e it and serve over seasoned mashed potatoes. Rolled oats (not quick) can be soaked overnight in soy milk with orange and lemon zest, cinnamon, and soft fruit. It can be served, uncooked, for mechanical soft diets and cooked for pur�ed. Combine canned, drained apricots, soy milk, fresh ginger, and ice cubes in a blender for the frappe; this item can be used for everybody!

The sky is the limit with texturized menus. You may find that you are preparing the same menu items for the whole house!

[*]Mirin is a sweet rice wine used for cooking, and is available in Asian markets.
[**]A mechanical diet (also called a "dental soft" diet) means foods are chopped into bite-size or smaller pieces.




On February 1, 2003, VegNews will host the second annual Bay Area Veg Fair, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Northern California. An all-day affair with speakers including Howard Lyman and Dr. John McDougall, cooking demonstrations, an international food court, free food samples, door prizes, and a bookstore, this year's event is expected to be attended by 6,000+ people. It is a 100% vegan fair coordinated by a volunteer team. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit http://www.vegfair.org, e-mail info@vegfair.org, or call (408) 249-3683.



On February 21-23, The National Student Animal Rights Conference presents "Liberation Now!" at the University of California - Berkeley. "Liberation Now!" is dedicated to bringing together students and youth in the struggle for animal rights. Join hundreds of other young animal advocates and dozens of the leading authors, speakers, and organizers of the animal rights movement for the second national student animal rights conference. Speakers will include Carol Adams, author of "The Sexual Politics of Meat"; Dr. Neal Barnard, President and founder of PCRM; Andrew Knight, Education Director of American Anti-Vivisection Society; Ingrid Newkirk, founder and President of PETA; Jack Norris, co-founder of Vegan Outreach; Paul Shapiro, founder and Campaigns Director of Compassion Over Killing; and many more.

There is a $10 early registration fee. Free and low-cost meals and lodging, and travel grants are available. For more information, visit http://www.LiberationNow.com or call (212) 696-7911.



On March 22-23, 2003, the Vegetarians of Washington present their second annual VegFest at the Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion. Attendees will be able to sample food from over 80 vendors, view cooking demos by vegetarian chefs, and listen to vegetarian health professionals speak on vegetarian nutrition and health.

Admission is $5 for adults. Children under 12 are free. For more information, visit http://www.vegfest2003.org or call (206) 706-2011.



On May 27-30, 2003, the Eurasian Vegetarian Society in cooperation with the Soklniki Culture and Exhibition Center will host Vegetarian World. Among the goals of Vegetarian World are: to form an ideological and moral approach to problems of vegetarianism in Russia as a part of the global vegetarian movement; to favor the development of business cooperation of vegetarian food manufacturers, trade companies, and suppliers of equipment and source materials; and to assist the formation of public and governmental policy aimed at promoting healthy modes of life in 21st century Russia. Topics of presentations, round table discussions, and seminars will include: technology and machinery for the processing and production of vegetarian foods, soy foods, diabetic diets, vegetarianism and ecology, and vegetarianism and economics.

For more information, visit http://www.vegworld.ru or e-mail evs-ru@bk.ru.




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 towards 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; or vrg@vrg.org.


Summer staff needed for vegetarian kitchen in international teen camp. The Global Youth Village, a residential, international leadership camp in the Blue Ridge foothills, is seeking seasonal food service staff in their vegetarian kitchen. Sixty youths and thirty staff enjoy their meat-free meals family style. The camp season is June 19 - July 23, 2003. Housing, meals, and salary are provided. Seeking both experienced cooks and those who want to learn!

For more information, please visit Legacy International's website at http://www.globalyouthvillage.org. Or contact Leila Baz, Global Youth Village, 1020 Legacy Dr., Bedford, VA 24523. Phone (540) 297-5982, email: staff@legacyintl.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 judgement 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.

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