Home Podcasts January 12: Discovering Field Roast and Vegetarians of Washington!

On today’s show, we spoke with Alison Ozgur, a dietitian with the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine; David Lee, the co-founder and president of the Field Roast Grain Meat Company; and Amanda Strombom of the Vegetarians of Washington.

Alison spoke with us briefly about the 21 Day Kickstart, an awesome online information and support program for those interested in transitioning to a plant-based diet.  You can learn more at:



or download the iPhone app from the Apple App Store here!

We also chatted with David Lee,  the co-founder and president of the Field Roast Grain Meat Company.  In the late 1980’s, Chef David Lee established Seattle-based FareStart (originally named Common Meals), a culinary job training program with the mission of serving and supporting the city’s homeless and disadvantaged populations. His innovative approach involved cooking nutritious, culturally authentic and familiar foods for those in need.

While he grew FareStart into a highly successful nonprofit, David launched FoodCircle, which was the first and longest running online community of professional chefs and cooks from around the world.

His interest soon turned to creating vegetarian meats — specifically, how Buddhist monks developed Mien Ching, or “Buddha’s Food,” which perfectly aligned with their values of kindness to all beings. David began experimenting with Mien Ching ingredients. His European culinary background and love of strong, bold flavors helped inspire the creation of Field Roast, a charcuterie-style vegetarian grain meat.  In 1997, he established Seattle-based Field Roast Grain Meat Company with brother Richard Lee.More about David here.

We were also joined in the studio today by Amanda Strombom of the Vegetarians of Washington.

Amanda Strombom was inspired to become a vegetarian after reading the book Fit for Life by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond. She is originally from England and holds a Masters degree from Cambridge University.  She came to Washington 16 years ago, where her interest in vegetarianism continued to grow. As president of Vegetarians of Washington since 2001, she devotes a major portion of her life helping people to change their diets.

About the Vegetarians of Washington:

Vegetarians of Washington is a nonprofit organization made up of people from all walks of life, but you don’t need to be a vegetarian to join!  They provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere where everybody proceeds at their own pace.  Their monthly dinners at the Mount Baker Club in Seattle, are popular opportunities to enjoy delicious food from a different local restaurant, caterer, or chef each month.  (Dinners cost $15 plus tax for members and $20 plus tax for guests & nonmembers.) Free nutrition and cooking classes are offered at a variety of locations around the Puget Sound.  Members receive a free subscription to the monthly magazine Vegetarian Times and can take advantage of a comprehensive discount program.

Amanda, together with vice-president Stewart Rose, has written and edited four books as leader of Vegetarians of Washington, including a guidebook to vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants and shopping, Vegetarian Pacific Northwest; a cookbook featuring delicious recipes from local restaurants and chefs, The Veg-Feasting Cookbook; an informative book on the many benefits of a vegetarian diet, The Vegetarian Solution; and their most recent book, Say No to Meat, which is a comprehensive guide to all aspects of becoming a vegetarian, written in an easy question-and-answer format.

Vegetarians of Washington organizes the biggest vegetarian food festival in the country every year.  This year, the twelfth annual Vegfest, takes place at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall on March 23rd and 24th, 10am to 6pm. With over 500 different kinds of free food to sample, everyone is sure to discover a wide selection of delicious vegetarian foods they enjoy.  Doctors like this year’s speaker Dr. Michael Greger, will be explaining the many health benefits of eating less animal products, and the free health checks and artery scans are sure to give many the motivation they need to change their diets. Delicious cooking demonstrations are hosted by experienced chefs from PCC Natural Markets, and an abundance of vegetarian nutrition books and cookbooks will be available to purchase. Clowns and special kids’ activities make this an event that everyone can enjoy. Tickets are only $8, and kids 12 and under get in for free.

As the interest in healthy vegetarian food continues to grow, Vegetarians of Washington provides a warm and caring community for people to learn and share their experiences of moving toward a vegetarian diet. For more information, visit www.vegofwa.org or call 206 706 2635.

2 replies to this post
  1. What a fine show!
    I’m a big fan of Field Roast, and it was interesting to hear co-founder and president of the company David Lee talk about its beginnings. In fact, may I ask, could you possibly include in your conversations the “Ronnie Question” ,taken from ARZone, i.e.( the question of how your guests might have come to hold such a compassionate stand in the first place)? I’ve always find this interesting, and sometimes instructive!
    My first attendance of a Vegetarians of Washington monthly dinner a few years ago remains unforgettable. It was just after my recent divorce, and so I really needed to make new connections. But I did, as I always do. I sat in the only empty table at the back of the room. I suspect that Amanda has seen such silliness before, as all who entered the hall afterword, were directed to sit around me.
    The food that evening was wonderful, The talk/speech(?) was the truth, and flawless. The people around me were a joy to be with, and so yes, I had a great time!
    My best to your guests, but also hats off to the host of this show, who does this difficult work with such seeming ease.

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