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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Do you have questions about being vegan? Send them to Jo using this easy form. She would be happy to address your individual concerns as well as general inquiries about vegan ethics, philosophy, practical applications, and living compassionately. Jo cannot respond to questions about nutrition or answer questions that have already been addressed in the Archives

Jo will make every attempt to answer each question personally, however, due to her schedule, this may not be possible. If a reply is forthcoming, it could take up to a few weeks, so please be patient. It is also possible that your question will be answered directly in the "Ask Jo!" column rather than an individual response.

If you'd like to view previous questions Jo has answered, visit the Ask Jo! Archives.

Cruelty-Free Clothing

My diet is vegan, and I am thinking about other vegan choices, notably in clothing. Living in a cold, wet city, I wear both leather (on my feet) and wool (on my back) nearly every day. Nature's designs for warmth and dryness, stolen from other animals, do work very well. The alternatives seem to all be petroleum products like Polartec® and plastics, often made by large (ethical?) chemical companies. The petroleum and chemical industries are responsible for suffering, environmental destruction, and poor use of resources as well. Do you think there's a clear ethical choice?

Managing in the modern world often necessitates a modicum of concessions by people who choose a humane lifestyle. There are sometimes no perfect solutions. Nevertheless, the vegan ethic does provide explicit guidelines for determining the most compassionate answers to the majority of everyday challenges. Certainly there are occasions when choices seem more subjective than clear-cut, but fortunately these are the exception rather than the rule.

There are numerous garments which implicitly involve deliberate, unwarranted suffering and death. These include the obvious fur, fleece, feathers, skin, shells, bristles, and secretions of sentient animals. Nature designed these parts with a purpose -- insulating and protecting the bodies of the individuals who grow them -- and, indeed, they are extremely effective. Animals do not have a closetful of clothing; what nature provides is all they possess. In order for humans to expropriate an animal's effects, they must deny its basic needs and ultimately take its life. Every piece of animal-derived apparel represents a minimum of one -- and often multiple -- lives that have been needlessly sacrificed for human indulgence.

People who wear an animal's remains display callous disregard for the item's sentient origins, regardless of how recent or long ago the animal perished. When vegans use these products, even if they owned them before becoming vegan or purchased them second-hand, it lends credence to the social acceptability of using animal commodities.

Every day more and more vegan alternatives become available because there is a growing demand for them. While the situation is not yet ideal, reasonable replacements for leather and wool do exist. Synthetic leathers are flexible, sturdy, "breathe," and preserve all the functional qualities of animal hides without the carnage. Although a few large corporations produce a preponderance of these products, several small start-up companies make fantastic vegan "leather" shoes and jackets, and some manufacture their goods from vegan recyclables, making them environmentally-sound as well as practical. The same is true for polar fleece articles, which can be spun from recycled plastics and other reusable items. In addition, these products are durable, so they seldom need to be replaced.

Layered cotton and corduroy and synthetic fleece-filled outwear lend weightless warmth. Nylon, vinyl, rubberized cotton, and other treated fabrics guard against the elements without forfeiting ethics. It is true that petroleum-based products are not exemplary, but they are not the only option in many situations and, whenever they are, the key is to buy infrequently and make the items you currently own last as long as possible.

Leather and wool are the direct result of willful, premeditated slaughter. Harm caused by petroleum-based products is ancillary. The distinction is intention as well as repercussion. Both industries wreak environmental havoc, but only one aims its artillery at someone's head.




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Vegan Vittles:
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Vegan Vittles: Second Helpings by Jo Stepaniak

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The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

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The Food Allergy
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