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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Gratitude

My Dad's reaction to my ethical practice of becoming a vegan was met with dislike, to put it mildly. He is a fisherman, so my sister and I grew up consuming the flesh of fish and other kinds of meats. When I told him that our family's staple food is no longer consistent with my new practice of eating, it took him awhile to adjust to the fact. My Mom and sister, though, accepted it with more ease. My sister is a vegetarian and she was glad to see that I had changed my eating habits. While it was disconcerting to my Mom that I had given up meat, especially fish, she was mainly concerned that it might cause dissension in the family. I understand that now, but I insisted on practicing veganism. Even after the arguments that I went through with my parents over the topic, I appreciate the acceptance that I get from them now on this issue.

I am confined to a wheelchair due to a gunshot wound that happened when I was a teenager, so my gratitude runs deep here, because I have to rely on all of my family to be able to stay vegan. I now live with my sister, who is a vegetarian, and my brother-in - law. My sister accommodates my vegan diet by buying vegan frozen foods, desserts, soaps, and more for me. She allowed me to adopt a dog (Roxy),and lets her live with me in their house. My sister also makes me breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (within the confines of a vegan diet) that help me to be able to live this lifestyle. When she buys food for me (I have informed her about some animal ingredients to watch out for), she is totally accommodating. She also helps me to buy any animal rights shirts I want to get, and my sister will send letters to those that harm animals that I also write to. I feel that without this assistance, I couldn't maintain the ability to contribute to society as a vegan. I am grateful for all her kind help.

My Mom and Dad now accept that I am a vegan for life more than they did when I lived with them. I have proven that because I have been a vegan for nine years. My Mom bought me a lot of vegan cookbooks over the years, and she makes me recipes from them and other recipes I see on the Internet whenever I visit her. She even bakes goodies for me to take home. My Mom takes me to a health food store on weekends called "Mother's Market," and we shop there for vegan food and other vegan products. You can also eat there, so I am able to get vegan dishes there, too. My Mom eats better now than before my transition to the vegan way, and I think it's because of the way my sister and I eat. When she is around either of us (and we are eating) the food is always at least vegetarian, but she really doesn't mind eating that way.

I am an adoptive parent of chickens and turkeys, and my Mom helps me keep track of their monthly payments. When my Dad goes to the bank, he takes money out of my bank account to pay for them. It is a good feeling to be able to save the lives of my three birds, and this is another time I am grateful to my parents for helping me to do this important thing. Someone in my position would have to feel gratitude because of the understanding I receive from my family, as they help me fulfill my reach toward complete veganism.

Shawn C.
California

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