Vegan – somebody not eating animal products: somebody who does not eat meat, fish, dairy products, or eggs.
Vegetarian – somebody not eating meat or fish: somebody who eats vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, and usually eggs and dairy products, but not meat or fish
Being a vegan/vegetarian during the holidays can be a great time to introduce your friends and family into how wonderfully rich and diverse and yet similar meat-free foods can be to the “mainstream” meals, but tread carefully my friend it can be a touchy subject!
There are those that believe eating only a plant-based diet will leave out a lot of the taste they have come to love and we know that is completely not true, think of all the NEW wonderful and exciting flavors you are going to be exposed too. Willy B Mum has been a vegetarian/try-hard-vegan for 22 years and she is constantly discovering new tastes and textures… it never ends.
Tips on how to enjoy an animal-free Thanksgiving.
1. Stay steeped in thanks. No matter where you go or what they serve, don’t lose sight of what the day really symbolizes. If you have family and friends around you then Thanksgiving has really already served its purpose. Appreciate that. Life is good.
2. Don’t panic. If you are going to a non-vegan/vegetarian home for the holidays you may think that you will stand out like a sore thumb, but no. There will be plenty of side dishes that you can enjoy like Roasted Fall Vegetables, Brussels Sprouts and Mashed Potatoes.
3. Give a heads up. Yes, there will be plenty for you to eat, but keep in mind there are subtle ways the host may use meat. Remind your hostess ahead of time of your diet and remember to politely ask just to be sure when you arrive.
4. Share the vegan/vegetarian wealth! Now is a great time to bring your wonderfully tasting foods to the table. Also, when everyone is complimenting you on your great eats, you can refer them to cool recipe websites like Vegan Dad and The Veggie Mama. Don’t forget that salads, breads and deserts might be a little more socially acceptable (and not to mention easy to make). However, if you have time and are feeling ambitious here is a great “Willy B Mum” special that is perfect for Thanksgiving – Apple, Coconut, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup recipe.
5. Don’t go into too much detail about your diet unless you are asked. This is such valuable advice. Yes, this is a great time to show people how nifty a diet without meat can taste, how much healthier they would be if they go meatless, how much better our Earth will fare and how easy this life really is, but you are more than just your food. This is a time for respecting each other and, sadly, any difference of opinion can turn an otherwise wonderful day into a time for heated debates and that may not be fair to your hosts.
Being a non-meat eater may seem a little difficult during the holiday as far as food for thought, but we make our days what we want them to be. And you can make it about being grateful for all the other bounties our bodies enjoy.
Thanks for reading everybody! Get your Plant On! Happy Thanksgiving.
**This posting was written by Ella Rucker who is a NYC based Writer, Poet, Producer and of course Mother! (with a little insight from Willy B Mum)