One of the hardest things about my first year of being vegan was the holidays. We all have certain traditions, and abandoning those in search of new ones is not easy. Sure, going vegan may sound super in terms of the health and environmental benefits, but wait! No chocolate Easter eggs? No Halloween candy? When you realize that you have given up mom’s famous pudding pie on your birthday, eggnog on Christmas, and turkey on Thanksgiving, being vegan becomes a much greater challenge. Never mind that the pudding pie gives you a stomach ache, last year you had three cavities filled after Halloween, and Eggnog is downright gross. What would life be without these family and cultural customs?! How will you attend holiday celebrations with your new vegan lifestyle in tow? What will you eat? Will you spend the entire evening being interrogated? As November approaches the halfway mark, you wonder, can a vegan “do” Thanksgiving?
Last year was my first vegan Thanksgiving, and it was amazing. Luckily, besides the turkey, Thanksgiving is all about the vegetables; think of that cornucopia, brimming over! We learned that it was fairly simple to ensure that all of the side dishes, like mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and assorted vegetables, were animal-free. The meat-eaters in the group brought their own turkey. I sat at one end of the table, and the turkey sat at the other. As I have mentioned before, I am not a big fan of fake meats, so Tofurky was not an option (yuck!). Instead, for the main vegan dish, I prepared acorn squash stuffed with wild rice, cranberries, and toasted almonds. Vegan desserts are a cinch; there was a delicious cobbler and my favorite pumpkin cake with chocolate frosting.
All in all, there were some new traditions created, but it was really about altering some of our old customs slightly to ensure that everyone could enjoy the day. My friends were more than accommodating, and we all had a lovely time. In addition, I don’t think anyone felt as disgusting as in past years by the end of the night, since our meal was much healthier than the usual Thanksgiving spread. So log into VegWeb, break out your favorite vegan cookbook, and create an amazing menu for your vegan Thanksgiving. Maybe it will be your best Thanksgiving yet.