There are so many good reasons to choose to lead a vegetarian lifestyle. It’s much better for the environment, it doesn’t support the mistreatment of animals, and it lowers the risk of heart diseases, just to name a few.
But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy, especially if you’re someone who chooses to eat a vegetarian diet for all the more significant reasons despite enjoying the taste. The holidays, in particular, make it hard for those of us who don’t eat meat. So many of our American holidays have been connected to certain foods over the years of tradition that we simply associate them with one another. How can I really celebrate St. Patrick’s day without my mom’s classic corned beef dinner?
Take Thanksgiving, for example. Though of course it has a historic background, is a great time to spend time with friends and family and also to express gratitude, this entire holiday is seen as centered around the consumption of what is now considered a classic or traditional Thanksgiving day dinner. The day has even been nicknamed “Turkey Day,” and is recognized throughout the U.S. The alternatives aren’t quite as enticing – the use of tofurkey remains a running joke in my household.
Of course the sides dishes are still available, cranberries and mashed potatoes don’t contain any animals (one would hope), but being left out of the main dish on such a national holiday feels like being left out of an inside joke that everyone in your family is in on.
Then just weeks after, to add insult to injury, you have Christmas. You miss out again with the well regarded, much anticipated holiday ham. All I can say is: accept it, move on, try to convince your grandparents to eat some mushroom lasagna, and look forward to dessert.
So stay strong out there all you vegetarians, the holidays will come to a close, and we can all go back to happily eating our tofu and seitan.