By Christine Kasum Sexton, MPH
Linda Valley Villa is an independent living facility for seniors located in Loma Linda, California. The Villa was originally started by a Seventh-day Adventist seeking to provide a suitable vegetarian living facility for older members of the large local Seventh-day Adventist community. Since that time, Linda Valley Villa has been purchased by a different company, but the lacto-ovo vegetarian meals that they offer
Currently, about 100 seniors live in the Villa. Eva Ortiz, the dietary supervisor, and her staff, prepare three meals each day for all of the residents. Eva has worked at the Villa for 23 years, and says that she has never really encountered any problems with providing vegetarian meals. It has not been difficult for her to find vendors for vegetarian foods. These days, according to Ortiz, larger vendors like Sysco are offering more and more vegetarian or vegan prepared foods and ingredients. While all residents must agree to follow a vegetarian diet, most are drawn to the facility specifically because it offers vegetarian foods. Currently, four residents follow vegan diets, which Eva and her staff cater to by substituting ingredients such as oats, other grains, or nuts for dairy items when necessary. Both vegetarian and vegan items can also be adapted for those needing special diets, including low-sodium and diabetic diets.
Some of the residents favorite dishes include Oriental Noodles, which are cold fried noodles mixed with stir-fried tofu and a variety of vegetables, “Chicken” with Dressing, which is fried mock chicken with a vegetarian gravy dressing, and enchiladas, made with either cheese or textured vegetable protein. Eva has come up with some of her own recipes that the residents particularly enjoy, including asparagus patties and mushroom patties. Other entrees that the Villa serves include vegetable casseroles, mock chicken patties or nuggets, pizza, “chicken” loaves, and herbed vegetable loaves. Also always available are vegetable side dishes, a salad bar, beans, sandwiches, and both fresh and canned fruits. The facility offers dairy, soy, and almond milks.
Eva keeps her menus fresh and her residents happy by meeting with them once a month to discuss which menu items they particularly like, and any suggestions they might have for changes or additions to the menu.
For more information about Linda Valley Villa, you can contact them at (909) 796-7501.
Linda Valley Villa
11075 Benton Street
Loma Linda, CA 92354
By Eric Sharer
GreenFest was held inside the iconic Navy Pier of Chicago, which is located jetting right outside of the heart of the city, providing an amazing view of the skyline and waterfront. The event itself was held in the large festival hall. This is a large space giving plenty of room for all the vendors, presenters, and visitors comfortably. Per the GreenFest webpage, the total weekend welcomed over 24,000 participants. This was very large venue, so it never seemed excessively busy or overwhelming and I would encourage anyone interested to visit the event in 2013! The crowd was quite a melting pot of all ages, demographics, beliefs, and cultures. It was a very fascinating mix of people. I would say the two most common age groups were people in their 20’s – 30’s and people in their late 40’s early 50’s.
A large majority of the crowd was familiar with the overall concept of vegetarianism/veganism, but many had questions about the reasons why one would pursue this or how to do so. Major topics of interest include the environmental impact of the livestock industry, vegan children, eating healthy on a budget, and gluten free nutrition. Many people were shocked to learn of the impact that eating animal protein, poultry, or dairy has on the environment and the earth’s supply of fresh water. People were surprised to learn that the largest user of fresh water is the livestock industry, since water is directly needed for drinking and cleaning of animals.
There were many conversations about all sorts of topics related to vegetarianism/ veganism. I had great talks with a few nurses, counselors, and teachers who wanted to spread the word on the benefits of vegetarianism/veganism to their students/clients/patients. Several school teachers who came to the booth were excited to share the Vegetarian Journal and coloring books with their students.
The Vegan Nutrition For Pregnancy and Childhood brochure was very popular for the many mothers or expecting mothers that I met who were interested in raising their children vegan, but were just looking for more information on how to do so correctly. Vegan Diets in a Nutshell really helped many people who were nervous making the transition to a vegan diet, much more achievable, since it clearly outlines all the important foods to eat while being vegan.
Outside of my participation during the event, volunteering for The VRG’s booth I was part of the opening ceremony, with The Earth Balance Plant Based Panel. This was a
panel of both local and national experts, specializing in various arenas such as nutrition, GMO, raw foods, media, etc. This was a very exciting panel which drummed up a very interesting and informative discussion related to vegetarianism. It was a special moment being able to represent myself as well as VRG at GreenFest Chicago! Video of this panel as well as the panel from other cities is available at the earthbalance website.
The VRG would like to extend our gratitude towards Eric Sharer, Chicago Volunteer Coordinator and his crew of volunteers who made our participation possible at GreenFest in Chicago on May 5th and 6th of 2012.
If you are interested in volunteering at a booth like this, please e-mail email@example.com.
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 VRG continue to sponsor outreach booths like
the one mentioned above. To donate, please go to http://www.vrg.org/donate.
For more information about GreenFest, visit: www.greenfestivals.org/
Vegetarian/Vegan volunteers needed for outpatient research study of freeze-dried broccoli sprouts (Baltimore)
Healthy Vegetarian/Vegan Volunteers May Join an Outpatient Research Study of Freeze-dried Broccoli Sprouts.
This study involves drinking a liquid dose of freeze-dried broccoli sprouts and collecting urine. Please call 410-955-1578 for more information. Participants will be paid for participation. Study subjects will be required to come to Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) at least twice during the study.
After a bit of conversation on this blog’s Facebook page about the best veggie burgers in Nashville, I decided I should try (and review) each and every one of them. This is actually a more daunting challenge than one might think due to a reasonably large selection of house-made veggie burgers at restaurants around the area. This is a good problem to have!
My first review was of the veggie burger I have generally thought of (as in, before starting this process) as my favorite: The Pied Piper Eatery. Distinct advantages it has are:
- beets that simulates the look of a beef burger (without tasting beet-y)
- the option to make it into any of the specialty burgers on their menu and
- it tastes great.
But when I mentioned it was my favorite, friends and fans chimed in with their own favorites. And thus, the veggie burger review idea was born.
For my second review, on the recommendation of fellow Bites contributor and author, Chris Chamberlain, I tried the veggie burger at PM. Like the Pied Piper burger, it is a housemade patty comprised of a number of vegetables, legumes, and grains. And, apparently, dairy and/or egg as it was not noted to be “vegan” on the menu. It was my first time to have the burger as I always get the peanut sauce fondue. I love that in a way that’s illegal in most of the south. Anyhoo.
Also, like the Pied Piper burger, the PM veggie burger comes on a luxurious kaiser roll. But unique to it is the topping of a sweet chili sauce. It’s a perfect complement to the burger, which I didn’t feel needed any other toppings. I used the wasabi mayo that comes with it to dip my sweet potato “fries.” The mayo is fantastic, but the sweet potato “fries” are notsomuch. They’re actually discs of sweet potato that are deep fried like chips. Except they’re well over 1/4 inch thick (too thick to be chips), so the result just tastes like roasted sweet potatoes. Which is fine, if that’s what you want. But I wanted crispy fries. But this is about the burger and it’s delicious. Just order the wonton chips as a side instead.
Next up, I finally got down to the Fat Mo’s in LaVergne to try their housemade veggie burger. I’ve heard about it for a while, but the Fat Mo’s near me is a franchise and drive-through only, so it does not have the veggie burger on the menu.
The Fat Mo’s veggie burger is made from primarily lentils, fava beans, and chickpeas, along with cheese and eggs, so it is also not vegan. But it is amazing. And huge. I estimate somewhere around six inches in diameter and at least an inch thick. It’s got a bit of a falafel-ly thing going, but is more deeply satisfying. There’s a hint of Middle Eastern spice in it, but not so much that it would turn anyone off. As I looked at my burger and the generous amount of fries I got (man, I love spicy fries), I thought, “I’ll never be able to finish this.” But in about 30 minutes, it was all gone. But I sure as hell did not eat dinner that night.
According to the helpful girl who waited on me, the Fat Mo’s locations in Rutherford county (LaVergne, Smyrna, Murfreesboro) serve the veggie burger and according to my friend Kelly, the one on Franklin Pike in Melrose does as well. Check with your local Fat Mo’s and if they don’t serve it, I can tell you it’s worth a special trip to one that does. I think it’s probably good for my waistline and my wallet that the Fat Mo’s near me does not serve this burger.
So, that’s just three veggie burgers down and several more to go. I’ve got trips planned for Burger Up and Bobbie’s Dairy Dip in the near future, so look for those reviews coming soon. At some point, I’ve also got to get to Germantown Cafe, J. Alexander’s and back to The Pharmacy (twice!). Oh, and Fido, The Wild Cow, Gabby’s…oh, boy, I’ve gotta start working out.
By Shelby Jackson, VRG Intern
The growing demand for vegetarian softgels in America, Europe, and Asia has caused Fenchem Biotek, a Chinese Firm, to launch gelatin-free softgels. The rising demand can be attributed to cultural and religious values in Asia, as well as food safety concerns in the US and EU. Animal- derived products raise concerns due to their affiliation with mad cow disease and prion diseases. Some of the vegetarian softgels developed by Fenchem include lecithin, Q10, lutein, and natural vitamin E. “Vegetarian softgels have a bright future,” according to Fenchem marketing representative Shawn Hua. Softgels are beneficial because they assure an “ideal dosage form of oils and poorly absorbed products in the food supplement industry,” says Hua. Fenchem claims vegetarian softgels are particularly advantageous because of their longer shelf-life due to better water resistance and adhesiveness. Mass production of Fenchem vegetarian softgels will ensue at the end of 2012.
1. Culliney, K. Soaring vegetarian demands spur Fenchem softgel development. FOOD Navigator-Asia.com. 2012. Available at: http://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Business/Soaring-vegetarian-demands-spur-Fenchem-softgel-development/. Accessed July 25, 2012.
The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including the 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 companies. Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.
For more information on food processing methods and food ingredients and to purchase our Guide to Food Ingredients, please visit our website at http://www.vrg.org/ingredients/index.php
Like every good southerner, I grew up in a household where fried okra was a staple of the summertime dinner table. My mother absolutely loves fried okra. I, however, cannot stand it. Granted, I haven’t even tried to eat it since…um, since I was a little kid, but I remember how awful it was. Slimy. And then that cornmeal crust? Pass. Thankfully, fried okra was among the foods my mother prepared that she happily let me skip because it’s not terribly healthy. And that left more for her.
However, in the last year, I’ve grown some as an epicure and okrafficianado. Thanks to The Wild Hare, I discovered that I like pickled okra. Thanks to Smoke Et Al, I discovered that I like fried pickled okra. But I’m still not ready to try those little stumps of fried okra that I remember from childhood. I just know I won’t like them.
However, I have discovered another way to enjoy okra and it’s an easy and healthy one at that: roasted okra. Or, what I like to call them: oven roasted okra fries. Why? Well, they’re:
- In the oven
- They are made of okra
- They give me the feeling that I’m eating oven fries
Now, I’ve seen a lot of recipes for okra fries. Most call for breading of some sort. Some frying, even. But these require neither. You just wash and dry some fresh okra, cut it in half, arrange it seed-side up on a tray or cookie sheet (I use my toaster oven) and bake at 400F until they brown to your liking. I finish mine off with some smoked sea salt. They are a perfect savory snack. Healthy, low-calorie, and a helluva lot more satisfying and better-tasting than kale chips.
A roasted okra “fry.” Not as yummy as a potato, but better for you and actually pretty tasty, particularly when topped with a good salt.
Why does this work? I think we all know the worst thing about okra is the slime. When you cut the okra in half and cook it seed side up, the slime bakes off. The longer you cook it, the drier and crisper it is. If you stop at the point that they’re just turning brown, the texture will be close to a traditional oven fry; that is, a little crispy on the ends, but kinda chewy. This is how I like them. Very satisfying to eat. But cook a little longer and you can get a crisper fry.
A couple of things to note, though. The okra will lose a lot of moisture in this process and the pieces will cook down to about 2/3 the size. Maybe even half the size. So plan accordingly. Also, you can grease your pan or lightly coat the okra if you still want to get the roasted taste, but want it to retain some of its slime. I mean, “moisture.” But why would you do that? You’re just adding unnecessary fat and calories. Just try it out dry. It’s pretty good. And this is coming from a dedicated fry lover and okra hater.
Oven-Roasted Okra Fries
20-30 pods (no longer than 4 inches long), sliced in half, lengthwise
salt to taste
Place the cut okra pods seed side up on a cookie sheet or oven-safe tray. Bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes or until browned and crisped. Add salt to taste and serve warm.
By Shelby Jackson, VRG Intern
Caryn Ginsberg’s Animal Impact: Secrets Proven to Achieve Results and Move the World applies marketing strategy to animal advocacy, enlightening readers with an easy-to-comprehend, professional approach that is sure to push individual and organizational advocacy efforts to the next level. Ginsberg’s straightforward guide is packed into her ACHIEVEchange framework: Action and Animals, Create Benefits and Cut Barriers, How to Say Something to Someone Instead of Nothing to Everyone, I Am Not My Target Audience, Education Is Not Enough, Voice Matters, Evaluate, Don’t Guess. Animal Impact guides readers through the text by breaking each chapter into pieces and by proceeding each with an outline, and concluding with a recap. The book successfully engages readers through its interactive discourse and thought experiments that help readers realize for themselves why certain techniques are more effective than others. Animal Impact is a powerful tool for the animal rights movement and a must-read for those concerned about the well-being of animals.
Caryn Ginsberg will be speaking and signing copies of Animal Impact at the Animal Rights National Conference this weekend in Washington, DC. She has graciously agreed to a percent of the proceeds to the Vegetarian Resource Group for every copy sold at the conference. The VRG will have Caryn’s book for sale at our table. We hope to see you there!
By Aileen McGraw
By the time my internship with the Vegetarian Resource Group began in early June, I had lived the vegan lifestyle for over two years. Cruelty-free diets and compassionate living brought familiar comfort. I knew the philosophies and strategies behind vegetarianism and veganism. At least, I thought I did.
One of my first projects was writing about balancing veganism with Type 1 diabetes – two factors that define much of my daily life. I hardly remember the years before my diagnosis with diabetes, but 17 years eating meat and other animal products remain vivid in my memory. Before the VRG piece, I rarely thought to consider these two driving forces together. Diabetes and veganism were parts of a whole, and through the writing process, I put into words something my body knew all along: my medical condition and dietary preferences inevitably connect with one and other. This became more than a general idea as I researched and fact-checked the article, diving into resources within VRG and the American Diabetes Association. Intern revelation number one: complete.
Starting at the VRG had me asking myself, “What do I want out of my internship?” The VRG comprises an amazing community of writers, professionals, interns, readers, sponsors and supporters of compassionate living. My resource pool is endless, and my experiences find even greater potential while interning long-distance from Chicago. I attended Chicago’s first annual Veggie Pride Parade, later exploring the wealth of VRG information on vegetarian festivals. I wrote up a blog entry filled with my opinions and perceptions of the parade, soon submitting it to the Baltimore VRG crew. I eagerly awaited their thoughts. Is it vegan of me to love feedback, to see how my words and actions impact others and our environment? After receiving the VRG response, I poured over revisions and comments. Surprisingly, the input surprised me. Intern revelation number two: witness politics. Recognize the achievements of everyone. Sure, I blogged about my experience, but more importantly, I had the opportunity to share information about Chicago’s vegan community and learned the importance of writing without bias.
As I reach the halfway point in my VRG internship, I keep reevaluating my concept of sustainable living. New challenges come to my attention while co-writing a vegan-backpacking article (who knew shoe glue can contain animal products?). The vegan lifestyle takes on a broader meaning when surveying senior living options. Fresh perspectives show me that vegetarian action happens at all ages (take, for example, Justice Beske and his mother, Marla Rose, who make kid-friendly Vegetarian Starter Kits together).
Intern revelation number three (and four, five, six…): ongoing. So far, my VRG internship catalyzed a redefinition of compassionate living, what it means to me, and how it influences community. I look forward to continuing this growth!
Interested in interning with VRG? See Internships & Scholarships at VRG!
This is the only sangria recipe you will ever need. One container and three easy ingredients that are cheap and easy to get. It’s also just about the best sangria you’ll ever have (and certainly the best you will make at home for just a handful of dollars).
The first think you need to do is buy yourself a bottle of Simply Lemonade. Or maybe Simply Limeade or Simply Orange; any Simply juice will do fine. They’re all good.
The next thing you need to do is drink your Simply juice. All of it.
Next, you pour a bottle of red wine in the container. Not “Merlot” or “Red Zinfandel.” “Red” wine. As in, the cheapest bottle of red table wine there is. We’re talking the $4.99 bottle on the endcap of the corner liquor store. That red.
Then follow that up by pouring in a can of ginger ale and a can of fruit cocktail. Swirl it around a bit and pour it in to a glass over some ice. Enjoy. Simple, no? Also? DELICIOUS.
Even better, if you’re only an occasional drinker, this sangria will sit patiently on the door shelf of your refrigerator for months waiting for you to indulge. I actually will occasionally dump any leftover red wine from other bottles and add a tad more ginger ale or fruit juice as needed. Evergreen sangria!
And if you need to make this for a lot of people, get a punchbowl, a box (3 bottles) of red wine, a two liter bottle of ginger ale and the big can of fruit cocktail (or two 15 ounce cans) and you’ve got a party. I guarantee it will impress even your friends who brag about their sangria recipes that include brandy, Cointreau and a dozen other ingredients that are completely unnecessary (and expensive).
1 bottle (750ml) of red table wine
1 12 ounce can of ginger ale
1 15 ounce can of fruit cocktail (not “light”)
Combine all ingredients in a 1.75 – 2 liter bottle or container and stir to mix. Garnish with slices of lemon, orange, or lime.
VRG’s Nutrition Advisor Reed Mangels, RD, PhD, was on the Dr. Don Show on July 25 to speak about transitioning veg babies to solid foods. If you missed it live, you can listen to it on the Dr. Don Show archives!
You can find more archives of the Dr. Don Show here: http://bullheadurgentcare.com/archives/index.html, including the April 25 show, in which Dr. Mangels spoke about vegetarian diets in infants, and the March 6 show, in which Dr. Mangels discussed pregnancy, lactation and vegetarian diets.
For more information on vegan pregnancy, see:
- The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book by Reed Mangels, RD, PhD
- Vegan Nutrition in Pregnancy and Childhood