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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Holidays at Home

As a college student, holidays are a great comfort, but they are so stressful. My parents and I play this walking-on-bubble-wrap avoidance game to keep from hurting one another's feelings when it comes to our differing beliefs. I joke about mad cow disease. They joke about how you can't get mad cow disease from chickens. These exchanges are accompanied by laughter, but the laughter is tense and nervous.

When my sister is home for whatever brief period she can manage, she also laughs, but the laughter takes on a different tone. She feels that my beliefs and lifestyle are foolish and sentimental. I feel that hers are wicked and cruel. We never say this out loud, but we communicate it clearly to each other telepathically. I remember the Christmas where I received her gift of an assortment of lotions and soaps -- all of which contained obvious animal ingredients like milk and beeswax.

We don't have a lot of family traditions. Our holidays are not like most other families' holidays. I love my family, and I miss them very much when I can't see them, but I really wish that we could all agree on what is right and wrong, if only for these short visits. Do I turn a blind eye to the death on the table, the corpse that mars my meal? Or do they acquiesce completely to my beliefs and wince as they eat lentil loaf and vegetables?

I often return to school after holiday breaks feeling drained and irritable, because I know how great it could be if holidays with my family were free of tension -- the tension that will never disappear without some major changes in all of our (my family's) perspectives.

Cara K.
Virginia

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