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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Lessons from My Dad: An Open Letter to Jo

Dear Jo,

Last summer my father died of a heart attack. He had been a lifelong alcoholic and compulsive overeater. Along the way he developed high blood pressure, diabetes, pancreatitis, and a whole host of other health problems. He was probably over 300 pounds. When he died, I went to his place (I live out of state) and what I found in his house was unbelievable. In addition to the giant mass of empty beer cans littering the living room, there was rotting food all over the place, namely empty processed-meat-product packages.

The kitchen was sickening. There was so much grease, on the walls and floors and counters that I had to put a towel down to keep from slipping. He had cooked sausages, bacon (extra thick), corned beef hash, you name it. There were four large jars and cans full of saved meat grease (something they did in the Depression) on his stove. Needless to say, I was grossed out. No matter what cleaning product I used, I couldn’t get all the grease up. I threw out everything I could. It was sad, very sad. He mainly died of alcoholism, but the rest of the poor diet, which he believed to be good for him, added to it for sure.

You see, my dad didn’t like what he called “rabbit food.” Wouldn’t eat salads. Loved the greasy spoon diners, burgers, milkshakes, and fries. His “diet” consisted of beer, frozen dinners from 7-11, like Hungry Man, Dinty Moore Beef Stew, anything canned and processed. Oh yes, and he always made sure to drink three glasses of milk a day. His doctor tried to tell him about his health, so did everyone around him who loved him, but for some reason he just didn’t follow it.

That next fall, I started getting repulsed first by eggs, then milk, and finally around Thanksgiving I was revolted completely by most meats. I had no intention of becoming vegan. It just made me sick preparing the carcass of a turkey. I started investigating vegetarianism, mainly as a diet. For years I have tried one diet after another, tried to stay off refined sugars, but to no avail. In 12-step programs they say you need a spiritual awakening to recover. Well, after researching many sites on vegetarianism and vegans, I decided to go for it. I felt like I have had a long-overdue awakening--the realization that not only am I harming my body, but my soul.

My main thinking was to lose weight at first, but after discovering the horrors of what really goes into our foods today, I’ve become a vegan for life. I don’t want my fate to be the same as my father’s. I loved him dearly. But he was stubborn and no one knew all the pain and abuse he was doing to himself. By turning away from meat and dairy and embracing this profound, simple, but powerful lifestyle, I hope my children never have to find me like that, and I hope to help others in my life, too.

--Suzie B., San Diego




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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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