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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Addictions

This is my story of how I became vegetarian. It was the middle of January 2001 that I was fixing a hamburger and a couple of eggs for breakfast. While I was waiting for my George Foreman grill to cook the hamburger I mused on the fact that the cow that was the source of the hamburger had died a violent death. That thought led to thinking about how memories are stored in the cells. That violent death was recorded in those cells. A question arose in my thinking. Could the memories in that flesh affect us emotionally when we eat that flesh?

I had to find out. Although I ate the hamburger and eggs I still thought about the memories in the flesh. By the next meal I was eating vegetarian. I paid close attention to my feelings after that next meal, noting that I felt lighter. When I told a friend about it he suggested the placebo effect, and I had to admit that could be true. How could I prove otherwise?

I decided to write to a vegan on the internet. I got an answer. He did not think my idea was valid because when people go back to eating flesh after being vegan they experience euphoria, and continue to have a sense of well being afterwards. This did seem to blow my theory. However, rather than stop me it inspired me to think in a new direction.

The sense of euphoria reminded me of the effects of addiction. When a person stops smoking, drinking or some other addiction, they feel euphoria when they resume. Could it be that eating flesh is actually an addiction? I cannot prove it is, but there are some indicators. Addiction is to feelings, not to substances. That's why a person can be addicted to gambling, or sex or thrills. They are addicted to the feelings they get from the substance or the behavior. If people are addicted to flesh, they are addicted to the feelings from eating that flesh. Could it be that the memories imbedded in the flesh create feelings that are addictive?

When a person stops an addictive behavior there comes an emotional relapse about three weeks later. That's why so many people go back to smoking three weeks after they quit. Three weeks after eating vegetarian, I had the relapse. I woke up depressed, and it continued until I realized that it was a relapse. I felt a new kind of pleasurable feeling that comes from making a discovery. As far as I was concerned, eating flesh was addictive. And, I was overcoming that addiction.

That's why people resist the idea of giving up flesh. Having given it up myself, I find myself truly enjoying my food. Perhaps I am fooling myself, but I thoroughly enjoy the variety of flavors in plant based food that I could not find in animal based food. And, I continue to feel good. I like the way my body is behaving on this new eating style.

It occurred to me that the addiction is started early in life, when baby is forced to eat meat. I've been told by mothers that when babies are first given meat they reject it. They love the sweet potatoes and the pears but spit out the beef. One mother told me of the subterfuge she practiced getting her baby to eat meat, hiding the meat under other food to trick the child into eating it. It appears to me that the body knows best what is good for it when it is rejecting the meat.

Addictive substances are often unpleasant at first. Take cigarettes for example. The body wants to reject those first puffs, coughing, choking, sputtering. After it is forced, smoking becomes addiction. The memories of the unpleasantness disappear, leaving the smoker to enjoy the cigarette. Could that be what happens with meat?

Whether my thoughts are valid or not, they have led me to a vegetarian style of eating. I have even given up eggs and dairy although they presumably do not store up violent memories. However, having replaced flesh with those delicious soy products, there was no place for eggs and dairy either. My doctor tells me that a plant based diet is good for me since I have had cardiovascular problems, including a quadruple bypass surgery.

Another thought occurred to me that goes beyond diet. If it is true that the memories of violence contained in hamburgers affects us, could it be that these memories create the appetite for violence in our society, especially in our entertainment. I have heard that vegetarian societies tend to be more pacific that those that eat lots of flesh. Perhaps the answer to crime lies in our diet.

Next month I have my cholesterol test. I am looking forward to it. From all that I have learned, my plant based eating should raise my HDL and lower my LDL. I am excitedly anticipating the test results.

Clifford I.
Iowa

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