Fort Worth vegetarians and vegans will enjoy the Spiral Diner and Bakery owned by Amy McNutt. DFW Vegetarian and compassion.

Giving the Gift of Compassion
By Amy McNutt

Raising vegan and  vegetarian children.
Enjoying a healthy life.

When you’re out to make the world a better place, sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged here in Texas, the land of fast food joints and steakhouses. Then you have to step back, relax and remember that change does not happen overnight. It is a gradual awakening process and everyday our actions make an immense difference. Every time we choose not to eat animals or buy products that have been tested on animals, we make a statement of compassion and non-violence. We can vote for kindness with every dollar when we choose not to support companies whose actions do not respect the beauty of all life.

In addition to making compassionate personal choices, the power of example and education is one of the most important tools we have for changing the world. Over the years, I have learned that as much as you want the people you love to stop eating animals, you can never force your beliefs onto them even if you have only the best of intentions. The most effective thing you can do is gently introduce the subject to them and be there to answer questions, when they are receptive to it. If they’re not ready, don’t be discouraged or think badly of that person, just remember that there is a lot of “meat is good” and “four basic food groups” patterning that people have to undo, especially here in Texas.

It’s easy to forget that not everyone knows what goes on in the world of factory farming. It wasn’t until a friend told me about the cruelties of the dairy industry that I stopped drinking milk. But if it wasn’t for that friend who let me know about cruel practices such as male calves being taken from their mothers right after they are born to be turned into veal or worse, I might still be drinking milk thinking that it came from the happy cows I grew up seeing in the Blue Bell ads. It just took one person to change my life forever. Now all I can do is try to do the
same for others.

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You chose a vegetarian lifestyle for health, compassion, environmental, or spiritual reasons. The choice was  yours. The results, however,  are all-encompassing.

By introducing the joys of a compassionate lifestyle to those you love, you are offering them the best gift you could ever give. Bradley Miller puts it well when he says, "Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar." A vegan diet has the most enjoyable side effect of opening up people’s hearts and souls to the extraordinary interconnectedness of all life.

This holiday season give the gift of compassion. one suggestion is to give or lend everyone copies of books like “Food Revolution” by John Robbins that discuss all the benefits of eating a plant-based diet. You could even send them to various vegetarian websites, some of which will send them a free vegetarian starter kit.

These are just a few things to remember this season.  I hope that by the end of 2002 we will be able to look back and feel good about the differences we made in the lives of those around us. I hope you all have a happy and compassionate New Year.

-Amy McNutt

Amy McNutt is the owner of Spiral Diner, an all-vegan restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas.


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