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.

Vegan Ice Skates?

question.gif - 1.4 K I am a vegan and a figure skater. I have been figure skating since before I was two, and I would like to continue. I have also been vegan for a few years. About a year and a half ago I bought a new pair of skates that are made fully of leather. I have been angry at myself ever since because of my selfishness to care more about my personal enjoyment than an animal's life. Since then I have become more and more strict and would never do this again. But, I would love to continue my figure skating; it is a large part of my life. Over time, though, my feet have grown and my skates have broken down. In order to keep up my skating I must get new skates. The problem is that I need high quality and very supportive boots. I have failed to find any supplier that produces vegan figure skates of this quality. I have considered trying to find a way to get them custom made, although I know this would be extremely expensive. Do you know of anything I could do?

answer.gif - 1.3 K To make a decision you can live with, you need to weigh the options that are available to you. You could investigate the synthetic leather custom boot possibility to see if they are as expensive as you expect. Perhaps you will be pleasantly surprised to discover they are less costly than custom leather boots. If the cost is prohibitive and completely out of the range of your budget, then realistic vegan options are limited to nonexistent.

I would never suggest that you abandon your lifelong enjoyment of figure skating because you are unable to locate acceptable or affordable vegan skates. Taking care of yourself and ensuring that you have creative outlets that give you pleasure is not self-indulgent. In fact, this is vital for maintaining self-respect, self-esteem, and enjoyment of life -- all important aspects of being wholly compassionate. If you are unable to find satisfactory vegan skates, then try to make the new leather ones that you purchase last as long as possible by repairing them and taking good care of them so they won't need to be replaced too soon. Maybe by the time they need to be replaced, better options will have come on the market or you'll be more financially able to invest in a custom vegan pair.

Don't spend too much time worrying over this one issue. There are more valuable ways to use your gifts and energies to further the cause of vegan compassion. Within many of the arts that vegans enjoy there are elements of lingering animal products for which no replacements have yet been devised. If we removed these simple joys from people's lives, they would feel bleak and empty. Uplifting our spirits and the spirits of those around us makes for a kinder and happier world. This is an important factor in vegan living, too, and no less significant than removing products of suffering from our lives.

By no means am I advocating buying a wardrobe of leather shoes. However, when essentially no feasible vegan options exist, buying one pair of leather skates is perhaps less debilitating to you than not skating at all. Stop fretting and do what you must to purchase the best choice of boots given your present circumstances. Then, with an unburdened conscience, put your talents to task and skate to your vegan heart's content!




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