Instead of cooking meals only for Steve and me, I prepared enough for everyone and let them decide on their own that vegan-friendly food is not that unusual. This past year, I made it a mission to expand my cooking horizon and try new recipes several times per week. I want to create a variety of dishes to where they would say, “Wow! That’s vegan?” Even with that, we all eat fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts, and beans. Vegans just refrain from eating animal products. In reality, there isn't much of a difference in what we eat. Yes, we make and eat vegan-friendly meat and cheese, but anyone can eat those items - they aren't just for vegans.
Here are few things I learned to make any family gathering or holiday less stressful:
- Answer their questions openly and honestly.
- Bring or make food that you truly enjoy and want to share with your family and friends. Food can be a creative outlet and a way to express your love. Be passionate about what you make.
- Be a role model for your cause. You may think you are not making an impression or impact, but you are.
- Don’t judge. I remember before I became a vegetarian and then a vegan, I had the same questions and concerns. Remember, they are questions out of curiosity, concern, and love. Even the questions from your Uncle who will start making fun of your new choices. He is just trying to understand.
Above all, remember that the holidays are about enjoying the company of your family and friends, supporting loved ones in good and bad times, and building relationships. Relax, be yourself, and have fun!
Nuggets of Compassion
It's estimated that nearly 46 million turkeys are farmed and killed for Thanksgiving dinner each year. They are forced to live in extremely cramped buildings, never seeing daylight or having fresh air. Farm Sanctuary states, "The incredible stress of being overcrowded on factory farms can cause turkeys to injure each other with sharp beaks and toes. Rather than give the birds more space, producers commonly address the issue by cutting off portions of turkeys’ beaks and toes with shears, a hot blade, or a high-voltage electrical current. These painful mutilations, which are inflicted on newly hatched baby turkeys, are unaccompanied by any pain relief or anesthetic."
Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving by cooking a turkey this year, celebrate life by trying one of the many animal-friendly Thanksgiving meals below!
Here are a few vegan recipe suggestions for your Thanksgiving:
Vegan Cheese Plate Appetizer
Gardein Holiday Roast
Green Bean Casserole
Mac and Cheese
Visit my Holiday Meals board on Pinterest for more ideas! Not all the recipes are completely vegan, but they are more of inspiration that I can veganize. Make these recipes your own and alter them to fit your taste. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the recipes or how to make them vegan! Happy Thanksgiving!
*Note – not all sugar is vegan! I was surprised when I learned this fact. Most refined sugar is processed through animal bone char. The bone char removes impurities in the sugar and the color. This goes for brown sugar as well. Brown sugar is refined sugar that has molasses added to it. The following companies do not use bone char to process the sugar – Imperial Sugar, Wholesome!, C&H Sugar Company, Refined Sugar, Inc., Western Sugar, Florida Crystals Corp, and Michigan Sugar Company.