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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Children

As a new vegan and a young single woman, I have yet to really think through my views on childrearing.

Am I going to have children? I have almost always thought so, and thought I would look forward to it. But what about the environmental impact of bringing a child into the world here in North America, and what about the population problem?

Will I bear my own or adopt? There are no adoptions in my family tree; I have no foundation for understanding the dynamic of an adoptive parent-child relationship. Emotionally, I would prefer to have my own children, but maybe that's vanity -- wanting to see something of me grow up -- or the basic survival instinct -- my body wanting to fulfill its reproductive role. But wouldn't it be more humble and open-hearted to adopt a child who needs parents, and have my own growing experience in the process of raising such a child?

Will it make me a bad person or a bad vegan if I choose (as I suspect I will), despite these good reasons, to bear a child or two?

Will I raise my children vegan? I truly hope so. But what if I marry an omnivore? I don't think it's likely that I will, but if I do I will have to respect his views on how his child will be raised, if I want his respect in return.

If I have vegan children, how will they react to the world around them? Should I keep from them, in their toddlerhood, the knowledge that other people eat dead animals? Or should I explain, gently, why we won't go to McDonalds or Burger King? Will they feel ostracized in school when they don't eat what everyone else is eating or if they choose not to wear an item of non-vegan clothing that happens to be in vogue? Will I home-school them as a result? Will I make veganism a conscious choice for them -- actually giving them the option to be omnivore? At what age? Will I be able to deal with it if they choose not to be vegan, or will I fall back on the "my house, my rules" edict and insist on my children being vegan while they're at home?

Will I be able to find a family doctor sympathetic to veg*nism, who will not attack me for raising children without feeding them animal products? Will I be able to find babysitters who won't inadvertently or deliberately try to feed my children non-vegan food? Will my omnivore family try to undermine my choices for my children and try to get them to eat meat out of misguided concern for them or misplaced anger at me?

So many questions! And I probably would never have asked any of them if it weren't for becoming vegan this spring. One change can set off so many avalanches from the things we thought we knew. Our whole outlook is tumbled and reformed.

L.M.
Prince Edward Island, Canada

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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

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