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.

Animal Suffering: Is There a Karma Connection?

question.gif - 1.4 K My best friend and I decided to go to a vegetarian convention about a month ago to see what the fuss was about. After seeing all the reasons for becoming a vegan, I decided to adopt the lifestyle. However, my friend is still adamant in his meat-eating ways. He strongly believes in karma and thinks that all the suffering brought upon the animals is just a part of the cycle. In his view, these beings must have done something really awful in their past lives and are just now reaping what they have sewn. I don't know how to respond to that. Suppose there is really no such thing as reincarnation? Even if there is, how can he just stand by and eat that steak while knowing how it arrived on his plate? What about compassion and forgiveness? How do I handle the situation?

answer.gif - 1.3 K Those who believe in karma as part of their spiritual beliefs know that it refers to the consequences of our actions and does not solely or necessarily deal with reincarnation. How we choose to interpret karma from the standpoint of our religious or spiritual beliefs can directly affect how we treat others. We can use karma as a way to bolster our own egos, justify the abuse of others, or inspire us to more compassion and kindness. Karma from a practical perspective is not about an afterlife or our next incarnation; it very realistically determines the heaven or hell we create here on earth during this lifetime.

Even if we were to believe that certain individuals or groups suffer because of their actions or inactions in past lives, our unwillingness to help relieve their suffering when an opportunity is presented only creates negative karma for ourselves in our own present and future lifetimes. The sword cuts both ways. Using karma as a "reason" for disregarding or participating in abuse is merely a pretext for justifying behaviors we wish to ignore or don't want to change. Attempting to hide behind a veil of "karma," once the curtain has been pulled back, reveals a clear misunderstanding of the term and is a convenient and self-serving way to rationalize the suffering and killing of others--both human and nonhuman.




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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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