Review by Sandy Laurie
with Conscience, Conviction, and Compassion
Join any conversation about how vegans live and what it means to be vegan and eventually you'll hear "Well, Jo says…."
For nearly a decade, now, Jo Stepaniak has been one of the reigning icons of veganism - and for good reason. Her deeply felt conviction and generosity of spirit shine through everything she says. When she speaks of the serenity to be found in living a compassionate life, it's clear she speaks from experience.
"Vegan tenets are relatively simple: Do the least harm and the most good." ...Being Vegan
But as Jo Stepaniak writes in the prologue to Being Vegan, vegans bring an astounding depth of consideration to their choices. The result is a steady stream of letters, emails and questions posted on her web site. They come from everywhere and everyone. Those who are considering veganism for the first time and those who have lived a compassionate life for years - they all want to know more and they all turn to Stepaniak for answers. In Being Vegan they get them. Stepaniak answers them all honestly, thoughtfully, and with amazing clarity.
Written in question-and-answer format, Stepaniak's book addresses a wide range of issues beginning with the elementary issue of what veganism is and how it differs from vegetarianism. With the basics covered, she goes on to give a lucid and compelling account of how the vegan philosophy permeates every aspect of life
"People who are vegan attempt to imbue every aspect of their lives with an ethic of compassion. This influences their day-to-day choices and colors their political perspectives, social attitudes and personal relationships." ...Being Vegan
Being Vegan is filled with useful information and lots of good, practical advice for living as a vegan in a non-vegan world. With conviction and common sense, Stepaniak offers suggestions on how to meet a variety of challenges, including:
- How to shop for vegan foods
- How to plan nutritious meals
- Being vegan on a budget
- How and when to teach others about veganism
- Living with companion animals
Living with non-vegans
The style is vintage Jo Stepaniak - warm and real, with a deep sense of conviction that never strays into demagoguery. Veganism, she says, is not a rank to be achieved, not a state of perfection, but a lifelong journey on which we make deliberate choices that are informed by compassion and reverence for all living beings. It's not about sacrifice, but about actively deciding to do the right thing and knowing the peace and joy that dwells in a spirit unfettered by conflicts of conscience.
For those who are already vegan, this is a must-have reference book. For those who have newly awakened to the philosophy of compassionate living, it's a thoughtful and practical guide to bringing veganism into their daily lives.
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