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.

What to Do With Nonvegan Items?

question.gif - 1.4 K What do I do about clothing and food in my household that are not vegan now that I've become one? This is my third attempt at veganism. I am now more informed, more aware, and feel that I have made the decision for good now. However, before I became vegan, I bought a pair of leather sandals. I also purchased many packages of a veggie burger mix product that, while vegetarian, is not vegan (dairy, I think). I understand how wasteful it would be to not use the food, so I plan to use it until it is gone and then I will not purchase that product again (unless by some miracle they change their ingredients). But the shoes? It's not that they were expensive -- they weren't. I'm broke. I can't really afford to, right now, go out and buy vegan sandals (though I have noticed they are usually quite cheap). Should I find someone to give my leather sandals to? I'm not really very keen now on wearing them mostly because I have to wonder what kind of message I would be sending as a self-proclaimed vegan in leather footwear. Hypocritical, at best, I fear, and I certainly don't want to send that sort of message. What is the best way for me to go about making these changes within my home? No one I know would use those veggie burger mixes. So what now?

answer.gif - 1.3 K Virtually every new vegan encounters the dilemma you are presently facing. Often it is not easy to part with nonvegan items for a variety of reasons, and you touched on several of them. Finances are a critical consideration because, even though the heart may be willing, if the wallet is empty new purchases will be forestalled by necessity. It is important to weigh the odds: What is your comfort level wearing nonvegan items now that you have made an ethical commitment to veganism? How long will it take for you to save enough money to replace essentials, such as shoes, that are nonvegan? Do you already own vegan alternatives that you could use in the meantime, even if they aren't ideal?

You are correct in thinking that wearing animal products, such as leather sandals, would appear hypocritical and could easily send a distorted message about veganism to others. To avoid wastefulness, some vegans wear their old nonvegan items only in the seclusion of their own home and put on their "veganwear" when they are out in public. This addresses the issue of frugality on two levels: utilizing what is already owned and extending the life of one's vegan products through prudent use. However, many vegans find wearing animal-based commodities to be ethically and emotionally excruciating and they cannot bear to don them even in private. Consequently, each vegan must determine her or his own threshold of tolerance and make choices based on individual need and economic circumstance.

There are many creative and practical ways to dispose of animal-based commodities such as yard sales, consignment shops, thrift stores, shelters, gifts to nonvegan friends or relatives, and so forth. Some vegans donate the proceeds from the sale of their nonvegan items to animal rights organizations; others use the profits to purchase vegan replacements.

Nonperishable foodstuffs can be donated to food banks, shelters, or public kitchens. Even if these organizations don't generally deal in vegetarian/vegan fare, they are usually very grateful for donations of any kind and will put them to good use.

If you feel you cannot part with your pre-vegan commodities right now, then hold onto them until you are prepared to let them go. When you are ready, you will be able to devise imaginative and serviceable ways to discard them. I think you'll find that releasing the final remnants of death from your home is an incredibly liberating experience -- one filled with unfettered joy and the satisfaction of no longer needing to justify apparent conflicts of conscience.




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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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The Food Allergy Survival Guide

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