Category Archives: Vegetarian Living

Fast food restaurants of the future

The growing interest in plant-based foods is giving rise to new startup restaurant chains on the horizon. For instance, John Mackey, co-founder of Whole Foods Market, plans to build a plant-based restaurant chain. Mackey is listed as a partner in Healthy America LLC, Bloomberg reports, which aims to launch vegetarian restaurants nationwide. Mackey’s past success scaling a business promoting healthy lifestyles is attracting plenty of investor attention as vegetarian and vegan diets grow in popularity. Several former Whole Foods executives are already joining Mackey in his new endeavor.

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Hotel chain plans to offer full vegan menu at every location

Selina, a hospitality brand specializing in digital nomad-style hotels, is planning to create a plant-based version of every menu item at all its 155 locations worldwide, including the United States, as it sees a growing interest in vegan lifestyles of the Millennial and Gen Z travelers that it often attracts.

They have partnered with an Israel-based vegan meat brand, Redefine Meat, to bring in more plant-based options.  The brand offers whole-cut vegan meats such as beef and lamb flanks, as well as ground meats made using 3D printing and AI technologies.  The brand, which has a goal of becoming the world’s largest meat company, says the new partnership with Selina hotels will help Redefine Meat reach a much broader global audience.

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Congress urges fed facilities to offer a vegetarian option

Congressmen and women want federal agencies to start offering vegetarian food options at all federal facilities—from cafeterias in federal agencies and military bases to museums and national parks.

Thirty two members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to President Biden, to push him to “strongly encourage all federal agencies to make a vegetarian entrée available everywhere that federal government cafeterias are serving meals—from federal agencies, museums and national parks to prisons and military bases.” This would, of course, be for the benefit of federal employees, but the general public might benefit as well. This is because plant-based meals are healthier than meats, so say the lawmakers.

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Local News – Kati Vegan Thai opens in Totem Lake

Tofu Satay from Kati Vegan Thai

Kati Vegan Thai has long been a favorite vegan restaurant in South Lake Union area of Seattle. With a clean, modern decor, and core values that focus on fresh, local, organic ingredients wherever possible, with no artificial flavors, the restaurant attracts those who want an upscale sustainable vegan meal without outrageous prices.

They recently opened a new restaurant in the Totem Lake area of Kirkland, just near the cinema, with the same decor and values, giving those that love vegan food a wonderful new dining option. We’re excited to give it a try!

California allocates $100 million for plant-based lunches in schools

Here’s a great investment. California just approved a $700 million investment for public schools to improve cafeteria food service infrastructure with $100 million dedicated to expanding the plant-based and sustainable food offerings with the help of Impossible Foods, which just launched two new meatless options specifically for students. The additional $600 million will be allocated to compensating workers, increasing food budgets, and upgrading kitchen appliances. Participating public schools will receive reimbursement funding for their efforts in expanding the plant-based and sustainable food offerings.

California will become the first state to invest public funds into a plant-based meal program. The budget will allow schools to better cater to plant-based students as well as adapt to other dietary restrictions. This program will give students an opportunity to learn about healthier eating at a younger age.

Soon after California passed this investment, Impossible Foods announced that it would launch new selections developed for school lunch menus. The food tech brand – which acquired Child Nutrition [CN] certification last year for the Impossible Burger and Sausage – unveiled a fully cooked Impossible Burger Patty that can be easily reheated by standard cafeteria kitchen appliances. The kid-friendly patty promises a completely balanced nutritional profile and earned a CN label from the US Department of Agriculture.

In addition, the brand will provide new whole grain Impossible Chicken Nuggets, slated to become available in by the end of 2022. The new plant-based nuggets will contain five more grams of fiber, 13 grams of protein per serving, and 40 percent less saturated fat than conventional chicken nuggets.

Before California’s statewide plant-based program was signed into law, several smaller-scale campaigns have helped bring plant-based meals to kids nationwide. This February, New York City public schools initiated the “Vegan Fridays” project to help introduce students to healthier, more eco-friendly meal options. Catering to all 1 million students in the NYC public school system, the new program led by vegan Mayor Eric Adams will help provide students with plant-based meals that would otherwise have low access to these foods.

Going to a meat-eaters barbecue?

As July 4th approaches, many people think about hosting a barbecue at their home or in a local park.  This cultural phenomenon is well-established as a meat-eaters paradise, but meat-eating hosts often struggle with what to provide for the plant-based eaters they may wish to invite.  In fact, there are so many possible veg-friendly options these days that choosing what to buy can be daunting, as they just don’t know which to offer to their plant-based friends.  A veg option that one person loves may not work for others.

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Local news – Cafe Red reopens, new vegan grocery

Café Red, a coffee shop located on Martin Luther King Jr Way in South Seattle, recently reopened with a fully plant-based menu.  The co-owners, Jesiah Wurtz and Haley Williams, are making a renewed commitment to community, with goods from local vegan companies.  They are both vegan themselves, and feel that South Seattle is lacking in places to buy great vegan food.

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Med students push for default veg option

Stanford Medical Students

Some vegetarian medical students at Stanford Medical School were frustrated recently, when they attended their White Coat ceremony where they are given a white coat and a stethoscope, to find that all the vegetarian options were already taken.  This is evidently a frequent occurrence.  Throughout their first year of medical school, they found that food options for vegetarians were in short supply at lunchtime and dinner seminars, orientations, club meetings etc.  The impact on them is that they feel their cultural and moral values are not recognized and they are not able to reduce their impact on the environment.

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College meals are going plant-based

Sodexo Food Service

Sodexo, a giant food service company, is increasing its plant-based offerings at hundreds of college campus cafeterias over the next few years, with the goal of reducing their carbon footprint by 34%.  They are aiming for 42% of the menus to be plant-based at hundreds of colleges and universities by 2025.

The push to move toward more plant-based menus is being driven by an initiative between Sodexo and its longtime partner Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which has been helping Sodexo to update their menus and animal welfare policies over the past 15 years. 

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Vegan options for the Coast Guard

Green beans being cooked at the Coast Guard Academy

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Yorktown Training Center has embraced vegan food options in its dining facility. From passionfruit panna cotta to Beyond Bolognese, students at the training center can now delight in high-quality vegan dishes. They launched the vegan program during COVID-19, when vegan trainees were unable leave the base to seek alternative food sources, with Petty Officer 2nd Class Ian Swoveland, a culinary specialist, serving as the brains and hands behind these dining options.

The menu is so popular that it attracts more diners than just the vegan students. Since Yorktown is one of the largest Coast Guard training centers in the country, the success of its vegan meal program is sure to have an impact on other locations. We have previously reported on other military installations offering vegan options, but overall there’s a lack of vegan options across U.S. military dining facilities and in rations. Sometimes a military member is forced to bring their own food to the field to self support, due to lack of options due to a lack of vegan Meals Ready to Eat (MREs).

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