Navigating Vegan Holidays

by Lauri Mackey, CHHC, Positivity Podcaster & Speaker for Women; Authoress at Lauri’s Lemonade Stand

While veganism has been around since biblical times, it still feels like a relatively “new” idea as our culture and grocery stores catch on with all of their delectable vegan offerings.

Holidays are no exception, but we can find ourselves navigating some vegan holiday hurdles with our nonvegan friends and family. Common issues include combining meals that have something for everyone on the menu, dealing with a bit of teasing about our lifestyle, and creating new traditions.

“Veganizing” dishes doesn’t have to be hard. Unsweetened almond milk and Earth Balance butter make delicious mashed potatoes, and the butter can be used in the stuffing — voila! Gravy is a must in our household and is easily converted.

Be flexible. My mom still cooks a turkey, and I bring a main dish such as stuffed acorn squash, veggie pot pies or roasted cauliflower steaks (just a few of my favorites). Add a side such as traditional yams with vegan marshmallows (yep, Trader Joe’s carries them) and don’t forget the cranberry sauce, and we’re feasting!

As far as the traditional teasing goes, simply be patient. You’ve chosen this lifestyle so own it. No need to get upset. Don’t argue. Just remember that it’s attraction rather than promotion — that yummy side dish you brought will wow their socks off!

Sometimes feelings can be hurt, such as not partaking of Auntie Irm’s famous traditional Thanksgiving dessert. Understandable, right? But the only thing that stays the same is change, and it’s OK to be the one making it.

You’re not going to stop anyone from their traditions, but perhaps you can add your own this year by bringing an amazing new Thanksgiving dessert that’s been veganized! Auntie Irm will understand.

However you are spending your holidays this year, plan ahead, eat delicious food and spend time with family and friends. It is a time for showing a little more love, a little more patience, a little more tolerance, a little more forgiving, a little more kindness, and of course, a little more fun.

Happy Holidays!