Being a vegetarian for 10 years and a vegan for three, I’ve had my fair share of awkward meal encounters, but no family meal is as intimidating as Thanksgiving. From the cousin who suddenly becomes a nutritionist whenever you’re around to the uncle who spends half of his weekends hunting, here’s a guide to surviving this year’s biggest feast as the resident vegan:
“So, what do you eat?”
Preparation is key. Look up some delicious vegan recipes online, make a stop at the local Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s and create the most appetizing plate in the room. Not ready to throw down in the kitchen? That’s all right. PETA2 has a list of some ready-made items that can still make a bang. Now, all you have to worry about is keeping everyone’s hands off your food.
“But what about protein?”
Ah, yes, the family “nutritionist.” While a vegan diet does require proper planning to make sure all nutritional needs are met, there are some family members who will never believe that there are other sources of protein besides meat and eggs. My advice? Know why this lifestyle works best for you, maybe throw a few facts their way, but ultimately, let it go. This holiday is all about enjoying time with loved ones, so the heated debates can wait.
“But don’t you care about plant feelings?”
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve had this joke made to me, I’d be rich enough to eat at Ethos for every meal. Alas, no one pays me to laugh at their terrible jokes. I still do though—at least a chuckle. Because the truth is, why should I get worked up about it? They usually mean no harm, and besides, veggies aren’t the only things I can roast.
“You’re not one of those crazy vegans, are you?”
No, you won’t see me yelling at strangers on the street or smacking the hamburger out of someone’s hand, but, to be honest, most of us have our moments. Vegans are passionate about many things: animal rights, health, the environment; and while I don’t recommend turning the pre-dinner toast into a testimonial, don’t let people’s preconceived notions about “crazy vegans” stop you from standing firm in your convictions.
“Is alcohol vegan?”
Yes. Yes, it is. ;)
Good Luck, my fellow vegans, and happy Tofurkey Day!