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 had never had any luck with dating. The last few men I had been on dates with were meat-eaters. Although I don't mind dating non-vegans, these guys were especially bad. The last guy, John, had sausage and eggs for breakfast, any kind of deli meat for lunch, and steaks or sea food for every dinner. He constantly mocked me for my lifestlye choices. He would take me out to eat at steak houses where I couldn't even eat the salads or potatoes. I would just sit there sucking down water. In retrospect, I think he was trying to get me to crumble and eat some of his garbage-food. I couldn't even kiss him after awhile due to his breath. After him I just gave up on dating all together.

A year and a half after I had broken up with John, I received an email at work from an old vegan friend. He had just started a new animal rights group in the area and was holding a meeting that night. I hadn't been active with animal rights for some time so I decided to go. There were some old familiar faces, but many more were new. At the meeting, we discussed starting a student group at my college. I stood up and said that I would appreciate any help from students or people who had experience with college groups. That's when he stood up: blond hair, hazel eyes, back-pack at his side. Jake was from another college in the area and already had a group so he wanted to help. We set up a meeting later that week at a local vegan restaurant to get started.

We met and it was great. We set up everything for my college group. Jake had so many ideas and experience with students, it was really helpful. Since I don't have a car, he offered me a ride home. The animal rights meetings were weekly, so he started giving me rides home after each one.

One day he called me up. Jane Goodall was coming to speak and he was wondering if I would like to go hear her talk. We had such a terrific time that evening. He took me to this excellent Indian restaurant beforehand and we had front row seats. Jane Goodall is an impressive speaker. She even recommended a vegetarian lifestyle to the large crowd.

A few month's later we took a road trip together to California. It was summer, the weather was nice, and while we were in Los Angeles there was a day of action against Burlington Coat Factory. We went in with little slips of paper with our anti-fur message and placed them in many of their fur trimmed coats' pockets. It was fun and exciting. I would try on a coat, and he would slip his arm around me and into a pocket!

During that Fall Semester, I only saw him on weekends due to our different schools, but our love still grew. Over winter break, it was another excursion to California where we got arrested during a fur demonstration at Neiman Marcus. Our picture was on the front page of the metro section of a local paper. The two of us in handcuffs, side-by-side, with dozens of police and security around us. It was great!

Spring semester was much like fall, but now it is summer again and I moved in with him. We'll go to the same school this fall. Every day is wonderful, and I love him more each day. We have a companion rabbit that we found at my last school's campus. We think it was abandoned. It is completely domestic so we can't release it, but it is very sweet. Life is good.

Name Withheld

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