Vegan Deli

Vegan Deli  by Jo Stepaniak

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Raising Vegetarian Children
by Jo Stepaniak, M.S.Ed., & Vesanto Melina M.S., R.D.

Raising Vegetarian Children

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The Compassionate Life:
Bringing Heaven Down to Earth

Some people believe that a beautiful existence awaits us only after we depart this earth and that misery is simply a part of the basic human condition. Although it is true that much woe surrounds us, we are each responsible for the suffering we create within ourselves and for the distress and sorrow we bring to others. Every moment we make choices that have a positive or negative impact on us and those around us. Each of these choices is like a boomerang -- the love or heartache we give away is always returned back to us.

Because veganism espouses a reverence for life -- all life -- it requires practitioners to think about the impact of their actions and the good or harm their deeds will cause. Although veganism is not a theology, does not postulate religious ideology, and welcomes everyone regardless of spiritual affiliation or belief, veganism comprises the basic principle of compassion that all the world's major religions espouse. Beyond this, however, it provides a clear and practical path for infusing compassion into every area of daily living, not just our interactions with other people. Consequently, vegan practice expands the traditional view of compassion, taking it out of the realm of theory and putting it into everyday practice. Veganism was not designed to be a gateway to the heavenly hereafter. Instead, it was brought about to help create nirvana in the midst of our ordinary secular lives.

When compassion is our life's guiding force, it becomes inconceivable to cause suffering for ourselves or any other living being. Of course, vegans harbor the same foibles as other human beings and are no less fallible. Consequently vegans can make unwise choices, be narrow-minded, or cause pain unintentionally. Nevertheless, the prime directive of veganism is to do no harm, and this concise guideline makes causing harm less likely.

Except for natural disasters, virtually all problems that we encounter are instigated by our own species. If we are the root of our struggles, it makes sense that we must also be the antidote. Veganism offers a cure for suffering by respecting all life and rejecting the assumption, regardless of how it may be rationalized, that some living beings are less valuable than we are or more or less valuable than others. As a result, not only does veganism promote peace through eliminating exploitation, but it fosters harmony by encouraging practitioners to be charitable and kind. In addition, because veganism asks followers to include all life in their circle of compassion, vegans are free from conflicts of conscience and can avoid the paradoxical thinking that typically leads to dissension and remorse.

Heaven is often thought of as the most serene place imaginable and a state that is unattainable on earth. Still, abundant acts of loving-kindness can create the tranquility we expect of a paradise, and it can be done here in the realm of mortal reality. Because veganism does not relegate compassion to only human beings or limit it to particular behaviors, it provides the most viable route for establishing unity among all people, all nations, and all other species. Also inherent in the vegan ethic is respect and concern for the earth and her intricate systems, cycles, airways, waterways, and abundant plant life.

If we think of heaven in terms of serenity, respect, cooperation, fairness, and equality, the vegan outlook and lifestyle combine to make such a place a real possibility. In fact, it is the only philosophy that takes into account such a sweeping totality of life. Thus veganism is essential if universal peace is ever going to evolve. Without such a perspective, we are doomed to continue living in the hell of strife and struggle that we humans have created. However, with a conviction to vegan principles of compassion and a broad implementation of vegan practices, people everywhere can allow all living beings to experience and share in their own piece of heaven -- right here, right now. In this very moment we have all the tools we need to transform this earthly plane into a heavenly delight. It is up to each one of us to create a world of nirvana for others. In this way we will experience our own personal bliss and can actually bring heaven down to earth.


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Vegan Vittles:
Second Helpings

Vegan Vittles: Second Helpings by Jo Stepaniak

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The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

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Review by Dan Balogh

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The Food Allergy
Survival Guide

The Food Allergy Survival Guide

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