Tag Archives: Vegan Holiday

Year-End Survival

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Having survived Thanksgiving and Christmas unscathed and vegan head-stong, I think now more than ever is a great time to think about what kind of difference I’m really making (if any).  Sometimes, the line between what I’m doing and the reasons for it get blurred especially since I took in all of the new veg information at once and have taken a little break from the constant reading and reinforcement.  I think its a great time for a little reflection. 

It’s easy to forget why we do things sometimes because of perceived indifference.  If I don’t think that one little action that I do will have any impact, I may not do it because who cares?  If I alone choose to abstain from meat and dairy, factory farms are still going to exist and the animals there are still going to live a short cruel life followed abruptly by a slow cruel death.  Even though I elect to have tofurkey on my dinner plate and soy milk in my latte, some chickens will never see the light of day or the starry sky at night and some calves will never taste their mother’s milk  because she’s busy being exploited so humans can give it to their children with their mac and cheese TV dinners as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.  It becomes all too easy to feel small and helpless in a world that seems far too big for its own good.  But I’ll tell you one thing- I can’t and I won’t believe it’s all for nothing.

If one act of kindness won’t stop all of the evil in the world, why be kind to anyone?  If one compliment to a friend can’t erase all of the hardships she’s suffered, why say anything?  And if you don’t think that one Big Mac with an Extra Large French Fry all washed down with a supersized Coca-Cola is contributing to the systematic exploitation of the animals that are caught in the system or the lower-income families that rely on this garbage for nutrients because fast food chains are conveniently prevalent in ghettos and impoverished neighborhoods, then eat up right? 

Wrong.  People can make the difference.  You can make the difference.  Your money is your vote and never forget it.  People have died so that we have the freedom to make these choices for ourselves but it’s about time we question what we’ve been told all our lives.  Who benefits from misinformation?  Who profits from your consumption?  And most importantly what are you going to do about it?

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Giving Thanks

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Holidays are about love and joy and giving.  (But let’s be realistic here) they’re also about planning and preparation and food.  Families gather and break (pita) bread, tell stories from the year past, and celebrate. And for those of you with a more Type A Personality Family, it’s more about what time are we meeting everyone, what should we bring, and how long do we have to stay once the conversation turns political?  Finding a happy medium can be key to having a successful and happy holiday.  Every family is different (let’s be real here, every person in every family is different) but coming together to share a nice heaping bowl of quinoa and tofurkey can be very rewarding…

But what if you’re not hosting the Thanksgiving feast and the safety that you feel within your own kitchen is thrown to the wind and the control you have over what’s going to be served for dinner has effectively been flushed down the toilet?  Here’s where it can get tricky.

Having been a meat eater at the last holiday dinner I attended at my boyfriend’s family’s house, I knew that I would need to brace myself for an interesting transitional point. I decided that introducing them to the reality of my veganism should be done months in advance.  It came up casually while we were all out to dinner for an occasion sometime in September.  An interested aunt had noticed that I had ordered a salad  and asked the waitress to please hold the meat and cheese.  Once had asked for oil and vinegar as my dressing, the conversation kind of flowed right from there.  It was a very non-confrontational discussion where people were mainly curious about the reasons (in a non-aggressive manner) and kindly contributed what they believed to be basic dietary requirements.  This, thankfully, was the perfect introduction to my new lifestyle; and so the seed was planted.

Then there was the official acceptance of the invitation (months later) that we were going to Thanksgiving dinner at their house.  I’m not sure that they remembered that I would be eating differently from years past, but I was sure to remind them (indirectly and through other family members- not by choice but by happenstance) just in case they remembered suddenly and they thought that it was their responsibility to make sure I had something to eat at their dinner table.  The last thing I want to do is show up and make veganism look unappealing by not enjoying a meal alongside everyone else.   

I’m assuming there are going to be a lot of questions regarding my choices since I’ll be seeing some of his cousins for the first time since my transition.  I’m going to use this time right before the holidays to brush up on some of the most FAQs and re-read the Vegan Society’s guide to Plant Based Nutrition so I’m ready to present my position in a way that is not offensive to anyone else that may be sitting directly beside me eating meat and/or dairy.  I will also do my best to avoid conversation about food while everyone is still at the dinner table.  Many books will tell you to avoid the conversation while eating if at all possible (or at least leave out the gory details) and say vague things like “I’m a vegan for moral reasons and the health benefits have been awesome!”  And then if someone wants to explore my choices further after the meal, I’ll be more than happy to talk about my choices.  I’m going to maintain an upbeat attitude and make sure I have my nutritional facts in order.  Arm myself with knowledge some would say. 

 I’m fortunate enough to be traveling along with 2 vegetarians to the feast anyway.  Overall, this should make for a pretty interesting dinner but I couldn’t be more excited to see how it goes!  Gobble on Mr. Turkey!  It’s vegan 2 “cheese” lasagna, Portobello risotto, and pumpkin pie galore for these veg heads!

Curious about hosting your own cruelty-free Thanksgiving?  Check out Veg News for 3 Simple Timelines for  a Stress-Free Vegan Thanksgiving

As for tonight, friends are coming over to celebrate a little early Thanksgiving celebration complete with Trader Joe’s brand stuffed tofurkey and gravy which is thankfully vegan-friendly along with some baked sweet potatoes and pan-seared asparagus.  Keep your eyes on the recipe section over the course of the next week- I promise you won’t be unhappy with the additions!