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.

Singing to Stones?

question.gif - 1.4 K I've recently converted to being completely vegan. I am a college sophomore and have been slowly going through the steps to become vegetarian and now am vegan. My problem is that many people don't understand why I am vegan. I don't want to see animals treated poorly, held in captivity, and living in cruel situations. People often get offended when I tell them that I am a vegan. They think that I do it just to be a hassle or that I do it because it's the "popular" thing to do. How can I make them understand that it is what is best for the planet, for the world, and for our species?

answer.gif - 1.3 K When people have an epiphany, as which often occurs with novice vegans, they are usually exuberant and anxious to share their newfound insights. Nevertheless, outsiders are rarely enthralled with or receptive to the personal revelations of others. This can be disheartening and frustrating, particularly when a person feels she or he is the bearer of urgent, life-altering information.

Knowledge can affect people only if their minds and hearts are open to it. Those who are disinterested will not be influenced regardless of the zeal of the messenger. It can take an enormous amount of emotional energy to try to convince an apathetic person that what you have to say is important when she or he couldn't care less. Most longtime vegans come to realize this and tailor their efforts accordingly by focusing on attentive audiences that express sincere curiosity.

It is not necessary that friends, family, relatives, or acquaintances understand your beliefs in order for you to feel comfortable around them. However, it is vital that they respect you by not ridiculing your choices or asking you to defend them. Generally, people who deride vegans are uninformed, embarrassed about their own lifestyle, in a state of denial, or feeling threatened. People who are secure in themselves are more likely to ask questions out of a genuine desire to learn and will also be more open to hearing you talk about your reasons for becoming vegan. I created a "veganism" (compassionate versions of conventional maxims) that addresses these types of predicaments. It goes as follows: Don't sing your song to a stone.

Sometimes the best way to handle a situation is to ignore it. Try not to draw attention to yourself or make a big deal out of being vegan when you are in social settings. Be the finest example of kindness and compassion that you can muster, even in the face of hostility. Eventually, people will leave you alone, respect you, or see you as a "curiosity." Then, when they inquire about your veganism, it will be because they are truly interested, not because it is forced upon them. This will present the best opportunity for you to inform and educate gently, without preaching. In this way, the authentic seekers will become visible and your song will be heard not by stones but by budding flowers.




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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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