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

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How to Be a Polite Vegan Visitor

question.gif - 1.4 KMy first vegan summer is fast approaching. I live in Portugal where being a vegan is very difficult. I'm going to be visiting a friend at a beach location and I'll be staying with her and her family for two weeks. My friend doesn't cook at home because her parents own a restaurant. When I've stayed with them before, I've made my own breakfast at the house, but I usually have my lunch at her family's restaurant. Because the food is already prepared, I always end up eating soup, rice, and tomato salad. When we go out to eat, I end up eating soup again. I don't think this is at all nutritious, but I don't want to be rude. How can I get around this?

answer.gif - 1.3 K Traveling for vegans can sometimes be a challenge, but with a little creativity it doesn't need to be a problem. When visiting for extended periods with others, it is important that your hosts understand not only what you do not eat but what you do eat. Many meat eaters do not share the interesting and varied diet most vegans have; therefore they are often unaware of the extensive options that are available to us.

Soup, rice, and salad are wonderful, but eating them every day would make most people weary of them quickly. Your best approach is the honest one. Communicate with your friend prior to your visit. Let her know that the food she and her family offer is always delicious and greatly appreciated, but you feel that your options are limited. Ask her if there is any way that you could get a little more variety without being a burden to her or her family. Tell her what you generally eat at home and what some of your favorite foods are. Inquire if her family could prepare something with these foods or if they could make one of their special dishes without any meat, eggs, or dairy products so you could sample a few of their other specialties. On the occasions when you do not go to the restaurant, you could offer to prepare dinner or lunch for your friend and her parents, if this would not be considered impolite.

If you do not want to suffer in silence during your visit, it is essential that you speak your mind and heart to your friend. Tell her how difficult it is for you to even discuss this because you do not want to appear ungrateful for her and her family's hospitality. Once you begin a dialogue, your friend will most likely want to know more about the different kinds of foods you eat. She may even be curious to try some of these foods herself. You can both view it as an adventure that could make your visit together even more interesting, exciting, and fun.

Meaningful friendships are based on trust and honesty. Expressing your deepest thoughts and emotions about this matter may seem intimidating because there is no guarantee that your friend will understand or empathize with your predicament. Nevertheless, if you want to have a comfortable visit, there are no other reasonable alternatives. You may run a slight risk of alienating your friend, but you have an even better chance of strengthening your bond and making future communications more open and the relationship even closer.




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The Food Allergy
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