VRG-NEWS: The Vegetarian Resource Group Newsletter
Volume 18, Issue 1

January 2014




The National Restaurant Association's annual What’s Hot culinary forecast predicts menu trends for the year ahead by surveying nearly 1,300 professional chefs – members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) – and the results for 2014 are in.

For appetizers, the second top trend was “vegetarian appetizers.” Fourth was ethnic such as hummus, tabbouleh, baba ganoush, and tzatziki.

Under the top 209 trends in general, locally grown produce is number 2, vegetarian appetizers are number 35, dark greens are number 38, meatless/vegetarian items are 57, vegan entrees are 77, and meat alternatives (tofu/tempeh/seitan) are 160.

To see more information on the survey, go to
http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/News/What-s-Hot-in-2014-culinary-forecast-confirms-sour ]

For more information on vegetarian surveys, go to
http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/faq.htm#poll ]




Dine at Great Sage restaurant in Clarksville, Maryland, on January 19, 2014.

Ten percent of sales will be donated to The Vegetarian Resource Group. Support our outreach while socializing and enjoying great vegan food. This is not a group gathering, but if you come during brunch, meet our new volunteer coordinator Nina Casalena.

Brunch is 10am-3pm with specialty pancakes, biscuits and gravy, tofu quiche and much more. Lite fare is 3-5pm. Dinner is 5-9 pm. Reservations for parties of 5 or more~ 443.535.9400

For more information on Great Sage, see
http://greatsage.com/ ]



By Kitty Jones, VRG intern

A common misconception about being vegan is that it is expensive. Some vegan diets can be pricey, just as some omnivorous diets can be expensive. One could easily be vegan on a low-income and may even find it cheaper than buying animal products. There are many ways to save money and maintain a healthy vegan diet. The key to saving money is to buy in bulk. Some stores like Fred Meyers, Safeway, Costco, and Whole Foods have bulk bins. Bulk bins are big containers of food that allow you to open them up and fill up bags with the specific amount of food that you want. However, you can also order products directly from companies and get discounts for buying in bulk. If you order direct, you also avoid the additional mark-up prices at the store. Find out if there is a food cooperative (co-op) or health food store near you. They most likely have bulk bins and you can often ask to order products through them. Though be wary that bulk bins are not always less expensive.

Co-ops are also great businesses to support! For example, every few months I order a large 25-pound bag of oatmeal from my local food co-op. By doing so I save 20% off what it would cost to buy oatmeal in their bulk bins, and I would guess about 50-60% off what it would cost to buy boxes of those single-serving oatmeal packets. You can do the same with rice, flour, raisins, beans, granola, chickpeas, and other staples that you use a lot of. These items store very well and will last a long time.

Shopping at the farmers market can also be cheaper than shopping at the store. A study found that organic or not, produce from the farmers market was often cheaper than conventional produce at the grocery store. Though this is not true everywhere. Farmers markets often accept food stamps, as well.

For vegan milks, there are powdered soymilk and rice milk. I like Better Than Milk (btmsoymilk.com). They make both rice and soy. All you need to do is mix the powder with water. There are directions on the package. It is very cost-effective to buy powdered soymilk as compared to buying ready-to-drink cartons of it. If you’re feeling adventurous, I highly recommend making your own alternative milks too. Buy a jar of almond butter and mix ¼ cup of it with six cups of water in a blender cup. Add sugar to taste and blend. This milk should last about 10 days in the fridge, and if you add a little bit of sugar and a little bit of salt, it will last longer. Note that if you mix your own milk, you won't have the same fortification as store bought items.

The cost of eating out can add up. It's not only cheaper, but can also be really fun to cook your food from scratch. Cooking for yourself doesn't have to be time-consuming, and it helps to prepare in advance. For example, if you want to make chili tonight or tomorrow, start soaking the beans now. Oh, here’s another suggestion: buy dry, bulk beans, not canned ones because canned ones are more expensive! I suggest cooking large batches of whatever it is you're making and saving portions of it for lunch for the next few days. You might save time by using appliances like a rice cooker, slow cooker, or blender for some things (and there are plenty of used and cheap ones on craigslist.org). I cook so much of my own food that I often invite my friends to cook with me. We frequently have vegan potlucks where everyone cooks something to share. With potlucks you have fun cooking and also learn other peoples' recipes.

There are several books and blogs about being vegan and on a budget. One very popular book is Eat Vegan on $4 a Day by Ellen Jones. There’s also Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson.

I’m on a very limited income. This is what I ate last week. Some of the items included free food given to me. I vary my food according to what is available. For low income individuals, free food may include food pantries, Food Not Bombs, food to be discarded, and other alternative networks.

  • steel-cut oatmeal
  • 5 apples
  • 5 chard wraps (with sweet potato, miso, arugula, and garlic)
  • brown rice bowl (with soy sauce, sweet potato, plantain)
  • 3 slices of whole wheat bread
  • huge salad
  • steel-cut oatmeal
  • homemade onion rings
  • 3 apples
  • 2 bananas
  • huge salad
  • 2 whole wheat tortilla wraps (brown rice, black beans, cashew cheese, and lettuce)
  • sweet potato soup (with kale, brown rice, and garbanzo beans)
  • huge salad *free from garden
  • Homemade pancakes
  • Chick pea saag
  • chips and salsa
  • red bean chili
  • Homemade pancakes
  • roasted garbanzo beans
  • 16-ounce kale/banana smoothie
  • veggie stir-fry (tofu, cabbage, onion, and kale)
  • 1 watermelon
  • 1 honey dew melon
  • hummus and kale sandwich
  • 2 bowls white bean chili
  • 3 slices whole wheat bread
  • 2 bowls Mesa Sunrise cereal
  • 1 orange
  • 2 apples
  • 16-ounce kale/banana smoothie
  • 4 bowls white bean chili
  • baked/breaded tofu
  • about 100 strawberries
  • hummus and kale sandwich
  • salad (with figs and pistachios)
  • whole wheat cabbage dumplings
  • 3 apples
  • 2 bowls Mesa Sunrise cereal
  • steel-cut oatmeal

A little chocolate some days and Nutritional yeast. I eat about 1 Tablespoon to ¼ cup each day.

Note: These menus are not necessarily perfect nutrition, but based on the reality of access for one low income person.

The contents of this article AND our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical or nutrition 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.

More meal plans can be found at:

For information about VRG internships, see
http://www.vrg.org/student/ ]

For information on economical meal planning, see
http://www.dailyfinance.com/2014/01/18/7-foods-to-buy-when-you-are-broke/?icid=maing-grid7 ]



For information, see:
http://vi-testing.com/clients/bmorevegan/Costa-Rica-Brochure-Full.pdf ]



By Brenna Robinson

Every soccer mom knows what that last minute crunch feels like. Your alarm clock startles you awake at 6 a.m. Groggy headed, you think, “It’s Saturday - why is my alarm clock ringing?” Then you realize your 6 year old has a soccer game this morning! And… what‘s worse, you remember that it is your day for snacks! At this point you are asking yourself, “Why today, of all days, did I choose to bring snacks?” You throw on your yoga pants, sneakers and your baseball cap to cover your bedhead all the while wondering, “What am I going to do?”

We all know this feeling, the feeling of dread and regret of choosing today of all days for snacks. The responsibility of bringing a half-time and post-game snack can be daunting even for the most organized parent. Let’s face it, you don’t have a lot of free time for making snacks.

Creating a snack for a soccer team does not have to be difficult; some of the healthiest snacks are simple and vegetarian. Half-time snacks should be items the players can quickly grab and eat and that give them that needed burst of energy for the rest of the game. Fruits such as sliced oranges, apples, or bananas are a great snack at this time because they can be precut into small pieces and are ready-to-go. If you are running short on time, pick up a bag of oranges or apples from the grocery store and slice them during the first half of the game.

A soccer team half-time favorite is halved oranges, which provides nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium and carbohydrates to keep your players moving throughout the rest of the game. Provide water as well so the players stay hydrated. Frozen grapes are another good alternative and a hit with most kids, even picky eaters. These tasty frozen treats are especially good for a boost on a hot day. Many kids will ask for sports drinks at half-time but remind them that they should be getting all their nutrients from food and not from sugary drinks. Water is sufficient to combat dehydration. If you do have some fussy players who do not like water, fruit flavored water is a good alternative without the added sugar. This chart may be of interest. http://www.hocounsweetened.org/

A post- game snack can be a little different to give the players carbohydrates to refuel them plus protein if possible. Some ideas are healthy granola bars, trail-mix, peanut butter and celery sticks, hummus and pita chips and smoothies made with fruit and soy milk. Be sure to take a cooler with you for post-game snacks that need to remain cold such as smoothies

It is important to remember that kids can help with picking out game snacks too. Remind them that it is important to prepare snacks that provide the energy they need to help them win the game. When kids understand how food affects their game they are more likely to make healthy choices. Give them alternatives such as dried fruit instead of candy or frozen grapes instead of popsicles. Many grocery stores have healthier alternatives of snack foods. Taking your child with you on this outing to explore healthy options can be a good way of easing into the idea of buying healthy food for the game. Your child may become an advocate of healthy snacks to the rest of the team.

Providing snacks for a team of hungry players does not have to be the daunting task we make it.



By Gina Hansen

As a vegetarian, I am always looking for places in my community where I can enjoy my food and the atmosphere. Most of the nearby places are either homey with not so good food, or they are chain restaurants that do not have that “mom and pop” shop type of feel to them but try to cater to everyone. I rarely find a place near me that caters to vegetarians and has a good atmosphere. Most restaurants will have vegetarian options, but the options are not because of philosophical reasons – they just happen to be on the menu. EMU on the other hand has numerous restaurants that are very health- and diet-conscious and they go the extra mile to make it easy. One way they do this is through a system of color- and letter-coded symbols that was recently upgraded to include soy-free, egg-free, and dairy-free options; these have been added to the already existing vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free symbols. As a senior at Eastern Michigan University, I have had the chance to eat at most of the restaurants on campus; for those that I hadn’t visited before, I went and did a little research. The one thing that I noticed, as I trekked through the campus, was that the staff at all of the restaurants was very knowledgeable about what was in their foods and there were at least a few people that knew the answers to all of my questions. They were also willing to be flexible and will go to the effort of finding a solution for your request, whether it is vegan or vegetarian.

The Commons is a buffet-style restaurant. They offer vegetarian pasta dishes; stir-fry that includes a variety of fresh vegetables, brown rice, and vegetarian noodles; vegan and vegetarian soups; and both a fruit and salad bar that includes apples, oranges, bananas, numerous types of lettuce, olives, tomatoes, broccoli, onion, and more.

The Eastern Eateries Food Court has Sunset Strips, E-Street Grill, Freshens, The Upper Crust, GreenMarket To Go, Wrap It Up, The Skillet, and QuickFixx. The first thing that you see when you walk into the food court is a big board that shows the vegetarian daily specials. E-Street offers a vegan hoagie on Friday and Upper Crust has a vegan sausage pizza on Wednesday. Those were the only items that were specified as vegan. While all of the restaurants in the Food Court aren’t vegan-friendly, they all do offer vegan and vegetarian options (which I discuss below), some far better than others. All the restaurants here celebrate Meatless Mondays; however, they are not vegan Mondays so be careful. GreenMarket To Go and Wrap It Up are the best options for vegans but Sunset Strips (only French fries and Mac ‘n’ Cheese are meatless but not free of animal byproduct) and E-Street Grill are far more meat-friendly (they do have a vegetarian garden burger and a vegan hoagie on Friday).

Freshens and The Upper Crust are less vegan-friendly but they aren’t too bad for vegetarians. Freshens is a frozen yogurt and smoothie bar. They have smoothies that can be made vegan and the boosters that they offer in their smoothies are all safe except for the protein booster which has milk. For a vegan smoothie make sure you request that it be vegan or just order off the “lite” menu since they use water instead of milk or yogurt. The lite menu has a mango, a peach, and a tropical blend smoothie. The Upper Crust offers a few Italian foods and subs that are adaptable for vegans; make sure to tell them to hold the cheese. The Skillet offers hot breakfasts in the morning and noodle stir-fry bowls in the afternoon. They have mostly fried foods so most of their foods will be cooked in a fryer or on a grill. Green Market To Go offers other vegan items like cereal, oatmeal and breakfast breads all day. The Skillet does offer pancakes and fried potatoes; however unless requested the animal and vegetable foods are cooked on and in the same surfaces. I have never made it here for breakfast because they stop serving at 9:30 am but their noodle bowls are delicious. There are vegan and vegetarian adaptations as well since you build your own bowl using a variety of fresh veggies, and have the option of animal or vegetarian meats; you can also request a clean pan if you want so that your food will be free of meat byproducts. QuickFixx is like an oversized convenience store that offers everything from groceries to greeting cards. Any of the products made by Eastern, like their soups and prepackaged salads, will have symbols on it letting you know if it is vegan or vegetarian.

The CrossRoads Marketplace is located in the same building as the Public Safety Building and it contains an Einstein Bros. Bagel Shop and the CrossRoads Marketplace. CrossRoads Marketplace has a little bit of everything including inedible products like DVDs and school supplies; almost like a small grocery store. They also offer fresh fruit, rotating soup options, a salad bar, buffet-style hot meals with some veggie options like potatoes and rolls. Many times the veggies will already be in butter, so be careful. They also offer many other food options including vegan and vegetarian options that are sold at all of the other shops and cafes and a decent variety of prepackaged, brand name, frozen meals. They also offer items for making simple meals like sandwiches but unfortunately there is no produce section.

The Student Center Food Court is my favorite of all the food places on campus. There is a Starbuck’s, Subway, Wendy’s, GreenMarket Bistro, International Kitchen, Salsa Grille, and The Lobby Shop. The Salsa Grille is a Mexican restaurant that offers fresh Mexican-style food that is built in front of you allowing you to have a vegan dish without worry that there are hidden ingredients. Unfortunately the foods are not labeled vegan or vegetarian but the refried beans and other fried items are fried in canola oil, and the guacamole has no dairy. My complaint here is that this is very Americanized Mexican food and not one Mexican person works there. The International Kitchen has a rotating menu that includes American-style foods such as cornbread and mac’ n’ cheese; Indian like basmati rice, Indian veggies and naan (note that in many restaurants naan is not vegan); Mediterranean includes rice pilaf and pita bread; and other foods such as mashed red potatoes and green beans. The International Kitchen also offers Asian food daily. This is a hit or miss restaurant. Of course there is rice from the Asian food but most of the foods offered aren’t vegan friendly. The Lobby Shop is another convenience store, much like QuickFixx and CrossRoads. My favorite restaurant, the GreenMarket Bistro, is in the middle of the Student Center Food Court. It is connected to a salad bar and a pasta and pizza station. GreenMarket Bistro is strictly meatless and offers a stir-fry station and a meatless deli-like station. The menu there rotates with sandwiches, wraps, pizzas, (this week’s special was lasagna) and all of the food is vegetarian. They also have vegan appetizers and vegan desserts. Vegan items include hummus, pita chips, fresh fruits and vegetables, some soups, cookies, and brownies.

Everything made by EMU is labeled vegan or vegetarian in some way so it is fairly easy to tell what is vegan and what is vegetarian. The cost is generally the same wherever you go and food from home is usually going to be cheaper. Another idea is to go to one of the Eagle Cafes; there are 5 on the main campus and another one in the College of Business building that is just off campus. They offer mostly convenience foods but the dining services at EMU also prepare vegan and vegetarian soups, salads, snacks, and dinners using the color- and letter-coded system they have just upgraded so that vegan and other options are identified. One of the vegan options is a 3-bean salad that includes green beans, black beans, corn, red bell pepper, and chickpeas, or you could pick up the quinoa cup that is offered.

EMU has adopted a system that was recently upgraded to allow those of us with special dietary needs a more relaxed and convenient dining experience. There are eight symbols that include vegan and vegetarian options, gluten-, dairy-, egg-, soy-, nut- and fish-free foods. They are also color-coded to make it that much easier to quickly and easily read what ingredients are or are not included in a particular food. Of course the symbols only apply to the foods that are prepared on campus. EMU has the ingredients list for products with symbols and some of the nutrition facts as well, in case one wants to double check EMU’s standards. Another factor I appreciate is that if they find a mistake they will put a notice up. For instance, a meatless Caesar salad was labeled as vegetarian but most Caesar dressings have anchovies. When they realized the mistake, they had a notice put up on the fridge door letting people know that it was not vegetarian. One of the reasons that I decided to go to EMU was the fact that they are so aware of the dietary needs of all of their students and they are so very flexible about it. It may not yet be a perfect system but this is one of the best that I have found anywhere

Foods and procedures change, so always ask questions if you are concerned.



A dating site geared towards “zen” minded people, who often practice yoga and a healthy lifestyle.
http://www.omsingles.com/ ]



If you have a whole-life or universal-life insurance policy that you no longer need, you might want to consider donating it to charity (such as The Vegetarian Resource Group) rather than cashing it in.

There are two ways to make a donation.

  1. Name the charity as the policy’s beneficiary. The key advantage to this method is that you retain control of the policy.
  2. Make the charity the owner of the policy. If you make the charity the owner of the policy, you can no longer change your mind.

This is not personal legal or financial advice, which you should obtain from your legal or financial advisors



Jyoti Natural Foods has been producing pre-packaged vegetarian Indian cuisine since 1979. Recently, their madras sambar (a popular vegan dish) was featured on Food Network's "Food Factory" show. The following video is a 5 minute clip describing what exactly makes the quality of Jyoti's food so good. Take a look at this video.
https://www.youtube.com/user/JyotiFoods ]

Jyoti wrote us: You are probably not aware of our ‘Organic Beans” in pouches. The attachment shows beans in pouches vis-à-vis in cans.

In the attachment we talk about our bean cleaning technology, please find time and look at the video linked below. You will be happy to see how our beans are cleaned and how some very large processors are using our technology.

SHRI Technology video, showing our Bean cleaning technology (SHRI Technology) pilot plant, and initial testing of a scale up (5000+ lb/hr) machine built for Hormel Foods:
http://youtu.be/0cxNOwW_s1c ]



The Global Youth Village, a residential, international leadership camp in Virginia's Blue Ridge foothills, is seeking seasonal food service staff in their vegetarian kitchen. Eighty youths and staff enjoy their meat-free meals family style. Housing, meals and salary provided. July 1 - August 15, 2014. Seeking both experienced cooks and those who want to learn!

To learn more and apply: [ http://www.globalyouthvillage.org ] .

Or contact Leila Baz, Global Youth Village, 1020 Legacy Drive, Bedford, VA 24523; phone 540-297-5982; email: staff@legacyintl.org
http://www.bitlifesciences.com/wcnh2014/ ]



I decided to intern with VRG not only to learn more about the organization and express my gratitude for the college scholarship I received from them last year, but (as someone whose main focus is animal rights and environmental protection) to learn more about the nutritional aspects of veganism. I hopped outside my comfort zone and flew to Baltimore, Maryland all the way from Berkeley, California to begin my internship in May. And I'm really glad I did.

I had never done office work like this before so it was entirely different for me. I worked on Teen FAQ articles for the website, reviews for the restaurant guide, public tabling, writing press releases, preparing mail, and writing product reviews for the Vegetarian Journal. I enjoyed doing the Teen FAQ's because I was able to write from personal experience and share what I've learned from my own activism. My favorite task was tabling. At local farmers markets Karen, another intern, and I would set up a table with lots of free fliers and helpful information on nutrition and veg-friendly restaurants for anyone that wanted it. We also displayed some of the many books we sell here at VRG. Tabling is my favorite way to get the word out about the organization and I enjoy directly talking to people about veganism and encouraging them to try vegan food. I even had the opportunity to table at the National Animal Rights Conference. I had never been to the conference before and had always hoped to attend it. The conference was incredibly fun and people gobbled up the Vegetarian Journals I was handing out.

I remember when I first came into the office and got to meet all the wonderful people that make VRG what it is. Charles gifted me several vegan cookbooks published by VRG, which I was sure I couldn't fit in my backpack to fly home with. He suggested I ship the books home or to friends; what a good idea. I asked some friends if they would appreciate a cookbook and I was able to gift some of my friends a few of VRG's fabulous cookbooks. I'm really thrilled that I got to come here, meet all these dedicated people and do this internship. It's not what I expected and I've certainly grown from it.

If you are interested in a Vegetarian Resource Group internship, visit:
http://www.vrg.org/student/ ]



"Taste of Tuscany", a vegan cooking retreat and tour will be held on the hills of Florence in July 2014. For details, see
http://www.tuscanywithme.com/ ]



Great Sage Benefit Day
Clarksville, MD - Sunday, 1/19
http://www.vrg.org/local/index.php#greatsage ]
Valley VegFest
Florence, MA - Saturday, 3/29
http://www.valleyveg.org/vegfest/ ]
Worcester VegFest
Worcester, MA, Sunday April 6, 2014 [ http://worcestervegfest.com/ ]
PA Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Meeting & Exhibition
Bethlehem, PA Thursday April 24, 2014 (If you are a dietitian, please come by our booth.)

If you would like to volunteer at any of these events, contact Nina at vrg@vrg.org. If you would like to donate towards our veggie outreach, donate at:
http://www.vrg.org/donate ]


Donations can also be sent to The Vegetarian Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203. Or call: (410) 366-8343.



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 ]
Like us on Facebook: [ http://www.facebook.com/thevegetarianresourcegroup ]
Follow us on Twitter: [ http://twitter.com/VegResourceGrp ]
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.



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!

To subscribe, unsubscribe, or otherwise manage your subscription to VRG-NEWS, visit
http://lists.vrg.org/mailman/listinfo/vrg-news_lists.vrg.org ]

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

Contents of VRG-NEWS are copyright 2014 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