By Julia Comino, VRG Intern
On May 10th, The Vegetarian Resource Group hosted a Zoom seminar with Professor Phyllis McShane’s class of University of Maryland dietetic students. These students had already earned their undergraduate nutrition degree and are currently completing a year-long internship to receive their registered dietitian certification. This conversation between these students and The VRG staff allowed a nuanced discussion of the relationship between veganism and nutrient needs, financial status, and lifestyles.
The Zoom began at 10:30 EST with Dr. Reed Mangels, a VRG nutrition advisor and registered dietitian, leading a presentation on the demographic of vegans in the United States and the common reasons individuals switch to plant-based diets. After this, current VRG interns discussed their insights on living as vegan or vegetarian and how financial situations or location can affect their diets. Following this discussion, Dr. Mangels opened the floor to anyone who had questions to pose to any VRG interns as a way for these prospective dietitians to learn how to connect with future vegan or vegetarian clients.
Next, past VRG intern, Whitney Blomquist, joined with her two vegan twin toddlers
to discuss her experience with
raising children on a
vegan diet and remaining vegan during pregnancy. Dr. Reed Mangels explained
that although individuals require different nutrients throughout their life
cycle, it is possible and healthy to follow a vegan diet at any age, including
pregnancy and childhood.
Following this conversation
on life cycles, The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Charles Stahler conducted an
ethics conversation in which he presented dietetic students with hypothetical
situations they might encounter with patients. From discussing how one might
react to a teenager switching to a vegan diet without their parent’s support to the effect a diet
change could have on familial relationships, this conversation allowed the
University of Maryland students to put to work the concepts on veganism they
had been taught.
Finally, each dietetic
student was given the opportunity to virtually share a vegan dish they cooked. Dishes such as pho-meat substitutes,
chickpea salad, and vegetable sushi were presented displaying the wide array of
flavors that vegan diets can have. After a final Q&A, the University of
Maryland students were presented the opportunity to do an internship rotation
with the VRG in the future before being dismissed, full of their newly acquired
understanding of veganism.
To read about past dietetic interns who did a rotation with VRG, see
To support VRG scholarships and
internships, donate at vrg.org/donate
For information about VRG
internships, see vrg.org/student/index.php