A Vegan Thanksgiving Survival Guide

Veganism is a lifestyle, not just a way of eating. Yes, the foods you consume are perhaps the central part of your pro-earth, pro-animal philosophy, but there’s more to it than that. As a vegan, you avoid buying animal products of any kind, not just at the grocery store, either. 

 . It’s about transitioning to a way of life that helps the planet sustain itself and doesn’t consume unwarranted quantities of energy or fuel. A meat-based diet encompasses all kinds of problematic results, such as an inefficient use of land, heavy reliance on fossil fuels and more.

What Vegans Can’t Eat

As a nod to the way society works, and the questions you get when you don’t use animal-based foods, it’s helpful to look at what you can’t have once you opt for a vegan life: butter, cream, eggs, anything from goats, cows or chickens. Meat, beef, poultry, lamb, shellfish, fish, honey, lobster, gelatin and shrimp. That covers 99 percent of what you won’t be consuming. But there’s good news.

What Vegans Can Eat

You can eat hundreds of delicious foods even though you no longer consume anything that comes from an animal. The following are acceptable: vegetables, fruit, beans, spices, herbs, grains, soy-based foods, olive oil, pasta (as long as it does not include egg-based ingredients). 

How to Survive (and Enjoy) Your First Vegan Thanksgiving

Getting through your first vegan Thanksgiving with mind and body intact is a commendable accomplishment. Whether you’re the host or a guest, navigating around all the traditional meat dishes can be unnerving at times but it’s part of everyday life, so get used to it. Here are a few ways to make it through

Thanksgiving Day without consuming anything on your “Don’t” list:

  • Have a small meal at home, or in private, before the day’s big dinner. That way, you won’t be overly hungry and can easily socialize without feeling the need to stock up on everything in sight. This trick works best when you are invited to be a guest and there are few plant-based dishes on the menu.
  • Skip the turkey, stuffing and butter-laden mashed potatoes. Opt for a basic salad, potatoes without butter or gravy, nuts, beans and safe desserts. The best way to pull this off is to find out exactly which items do and don’t contain animal products. Don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Prepare some plant-based main dishes and bring them to the dinner you attend. Let the host know first, as a matter of politeness. This is a sure-fire way to get a full meal, enjoy dessert and take part in the full social atmosphere of the holiday. You will be surprised as how many people now include at least one non-meat main dish on their seasonal tables.
Be an Informed Spokesperson for Veganism

Once people know that you don’t use animal products, you will become a magnet for questions, some of which you’ll hear hundreds of times. What’s the lesson? It’s about learning to be a competent, articulate spokesperson for this new movement that does not condone using animals as a source of food.
 

 

 
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