Vegan Deli

Vegan Deli  by Jo Stepaniak

Click here to learn more

Order this book!

 

 

Raising Vegetarian Children
by Jo Stepaniak, M.S.Ed., & Vesanto Melina M.S., R.D.

Raising Vegetarian Children

Click here to learn more

Order this book!

 
     

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.

Transitioning to Veganism

I just started the transition into veganism. Rather than take it slowly, I'm jumping right in. I can't bear the thought of ever consuming animal products again, but I have the problem with possessing items of animal origin. I want to throw my leather purse, jacket, etc. in the trash because I feel that giving them away (even to the needy) is saying, "It's okay for other people to use animal products; but it's not okay for me." My boyfriend understands my logic, but he thinks it would be a waste; especially when there are people who need clothing and other essential items. I'm confused. I feel that giving away animal products rather than discarding them defeats the purpose. I threw out our dairy products (even though they still were "good") and replaced them with vegan alternatives. So why shouldn't I do the same with other products?

Moving towards a wholly vegan lifestyle can be challenging, not only because we must find vegan alternatives for numerous items, but also because we need to "relocate" our nonvegan belongings. How completely and quickly we are able to accomplish this depends on our economic circumstances, our access to vegan options, and our willingness to part with items that still are functional or have sentimental value. Each vegan must make this choice individually, as there is no single best way to handle the transition.

Because veganism deals with reverence for life, it makes sense that you would feel uncomfortable keeping your nonvegan possessions or giving them to other people to use, as either choice could seem like a betrayal of your newfound convictions. At the same time, veganism demands compassion -- not only for animals and people who agree with us, but for all life, especially those with the greatest need and the least resources.

The freedom to discard food or belongings in reasonable condition is a luxury. When there are countless people going hungry, living in poverty, and subsisting without the bare necessities we liberally take for granted, tossing our usable possessions in the trash not only is wasteful, it borders on indifference. These are not qualities that mold the vegan experience. If anything, they contradict it.

Leather products are designed to endure a long time. If well cared for, they will last many years as footwear or apparel and take scores of decades to decompose in a landfill. What purpose would be served by "throwing them out," other than providing a purging of our conscience, when others could use them?

Wearing and using animal products when viable alternatives exist and we have the funds to buy them certainly would present a facade of endorsement and contradict basic vegan values. Pitching them when they still have many years of wear remaining, however, would be insensitive and self-serving. When we give our nonvegan items to those in need, we exhibit a paradigm of kindness that is the fundamental core of vegan convictions -- caring about others, whomever those others may be, including our fellow humans.




Copyright © 1998-2013 by Jo Stepaniak   All rights reserved.
Nothing on this web site may be reproduced in any way
without express written permission from the copyright holder.

 

 
 

Vegan Vittles:
Second Helpings

Vegan Vittles: Second Helpings by Jo Stepaniak

Click here to learn more

Order this book!

 

 

The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

Click here to learn more

Review by Dan Balogh

View Readers' Comments

Order this book!

 

 

The Food Allergy
Survival Guide

The Food Allergy Survival Guide

Click here to learn more

Order this book!