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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Dating

I have found it near impossible to find a male partner who shares my views. I live in a conservative area and I think that the guys around here really believe that they will become infertile if they become a vegetarian or go all the way to veganism. I am surrounded by people who claim to be vegan or vegetarians while eating chicken.

During my teenage years the only accessible boys in my peer group where "hessians." We were the bad kids, dressed in all black. We were always banging our heads to the reverberations of Ozzy, which never quite left our heads since we were practically deaf from the volume at which it was cool to listen. I judged prospective boyfriends by the length of their hair and their love for my favorite bands. I was a goner if the boy liked Dave Mustaine.

When I was eighteen, I met a boy my age (I was a vegetarian at that time) who told me that he too was a vegetarian. I thought this was a new pickup line, and before I could stop myself I blurted out, "That's like an oxymoron right? I mean you are a guy." Although this relationship ended horribly, it changed my views about dating. He did not know who Megadeth was but Oscar Wilde was his favorite author. He understood the cathartic aspects of painting and creating beauty everywhere we went. I learned that compassion can be universal.

I have since become far more knowledgeable but no less disenchanted about the lack of male vegans in my area. I have met very few. I can count them on one hand, and I do not even have the dominant polydactyl gene.

In all fairness, the few male veg*ns have been for the most part wonderful yet typical of the human species. When I look inside, I realize that my compassion is limited to nonhuman animals and I should not have expected more from others.

Onward to the present and my current relationship. He is not a veg*n. For the past two years there has never (to my knowledge) been meat in our house. Enter Dr. Atkins. Now I have to do my grocery shopping separately from my chosen one. I am surrounded by death in our kitchen. I can't eat when he does. And I promise that if he touches my veg*n hot dogs I'll rap his knuckles with my fork.

Dating is such a delicate situation. I am rather ethnocentric when it comes to my views, beliefs, and values. I feel that I live with the equivalent of a veg*n heathen. I hope that one day he will see the "light." Until then I will tempt him with soymilk smoothies and other vegan delicacies.

Carrie P.
Pennsylvania

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The Food Allergy
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