A new veganing

Veganism becomes a challenge as the holiday season approaches


This time last year, I remember stressing over how to tell my family I was vegetarian. This time around, it’s vegan, which is a lot harder to explain to people.

There’s probably nothing I hate as much as justifying my actions to others, and it’s especially weird when it’s about something as silly as foods I choose to eat — or not eat.

Since most traditional holiday meals include meat, I don’t eat the main course offered at family dinners when I come home.

Last year at Thanksgiving, I think I ate mashed potatoes, corn and maybe some salad. Given how my grandmother makes mashed potatoes and salad, this year I will be having corn.

One Green Planet suggests remaining calm when telling your parents/grandparents/uncle-who-loves-hunting about your decision to no longer eat animal byproducts.

“Resist the temptation to call your mother a chicken murderer at the dinner table,” the post said. “Outbursts and judgments will hurt your cause and not help in the being taken seriously department.”

The rest of the article explained reading up on veganism may help in the explanation process, if you feel the need to justify it to your family.

Something I worry about with this is offending my family. Every holiday comes with traditions, and for my family, those traditions involve food. Every Christmas Eve, we eat steak and shrimp; every Christmas Day, we eat ham and of course, every Thanksgiving there’s a massive turkey.

On each of the separate days, my grandmother and my mom spend hours slaving away making the feast, and, for me, not eating it feels like I’m telling them it was all for nothing. This is a silly concern, I’m sure, because the rest of my family members eat more than their fair share.

One suggestion I have for easing your family into the idea is making a vegan recipe for the holidays. Nothing brings people together quite like dessert, and showing off subpar baking skills is always a good time.

The New York Times released a list of 102 vegetarian recipes for Thanksgiving, and there were some that sounded delicious, like vegan mushroom gravy, pecan pie truffles and roasted sweet potato fries.

Not all of them were vegan, but, just like with any recipe, there are vegan substitutes that can be made. There are obvious ones, like using soymilk instead of cow’s milk, and some not-so-obvious ones, like substituting bananas or ground flax seed for eggs.

Knowing and researching some basic substitutes will make “veganizing” meals easier, especially around the holidays.

Another option for vegans around the holiday season is to just cook your own meal. This sounds terribly lame, but anything is better than just eating corn and maybe a salad. The only problem with this is, while convenient, it may be kind of obnoxious to whip out your own Tupperware and start heating something up in the microwave while your grandma’s turkey is going on hour six in the oven.

Regardless of how — or if — you choose to make your veganism known this holiday season, I hope you’ll join me in at least trying to be cruelty-free for a meal with your family.