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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To Be or Not to Be...Tolerant

In my dealings with friends over the years, I have noticed that I am always more tolerant in accepting their nonvegan lifestyle than they are in accepting my veganism. I am sure I am not alone in this observation. It puzzles me when "friends" ask you why you are vegan and then try to crush your responses, one by one, in what appears to be a self-defense tactic. They'll say "plants are alive, too"; "cows, pigs and chickens are supposed to be food"; "we have been meat-eaters for thousands of years"; then of course there's always, "where do you get your iron, protein, calcium?" You'd think that if these people were truly my friends, they would not try to find some way to discredit my life choices. So, the question remains, how tolerant should we be of such "friends"?

I will admit that I have severed myself from a few people over the years. These are people that persistently tried to start arguments with me about veganism and animal rights. Slowly, I broke the bond with these types, because friends should not be irritating and confrontational. Keep in mind that I never attacked their meat-eating or eco-destructive ways (even though I detested these characteristics). I believe in leading by example so I never shouted "murderer!" at them when they bit into their burger. Instead, I would bring vegan food to parties or offer advice on how to recycle. But oddly enough, they would say rude things to me practically every time I ate something. So I decided that these are not friends. In this type of relationship, more tolerance on my behalf was not necessary because they showed no tolerance or respect toward me.

I do have many friends who aren't vegan (coworkers, old friends from high school, and my boyfriend). These people at least show tolerance toward the unfamiliar ideas of veganism. For these folks, I will offer tolerance because they will try my food, ask me honest questions, and listen to the answers. Ideally, I'd love for these people to turn towards compassion for all beings, even though it is unlikely that they will ever do so. Sometimes I just accept the fact that vegans are a minority.

Tolerance levels, like all things, are different for every individual. I have found my own level of tolerance in dealing with nonvegan friends. I know when to call it quits; I know when to give something time. All vegans must find their own level of tolerance in dealing with this issue.

Michele M.
Massachusetts

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Vegan Vittles:
Second Helpings

Vegan Vittles: Second Helpings by Jo Stepaniak

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The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

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Review by Dan Balogh

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The Food Allergy
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