navigate thanksgiving vegan


9 Tips for Navigating Thanksgiving as a Vegan

navigate thanksgiving vegannavigate thanksgiving vegan

Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks and eating until your belt pops. But what if you're vegan?

The holidays are all about food (or so I've been told). The problem is...they might not be about your food. (One turkey-centric holiday, in particular, comes to mind here.)

So what's a plant-based individual to do? Below we've outlined our favorite tips and tricks for surviving Thanksgiving as a vegan. 

    1. Host your own! Really the only surefire way to guarantee that everything is vegan-friendly is to do the dang thing yourself. Plus here's an opportunity to show all your carnivorous friends just how tasty plant-based food is! If you're at all intimidated by the idea of creating an entirely vegan Thanksgiving menu we've got your back with an entire month of vegan only Thanksgiving-inspired recipes. From Cheezee kale dip (because appetizers are life), to maple roasted brussels sprouts, cornbread, stuffing, gravy, vegducken and of course PIE - we've seriously got it all.

    2. Talk to your host. Not down with cooking it all yourself? We don't blame you. But it's important that you let your host know of your dietary restrictions. No need to make a big deal out of it, they're probably stressed enough as it is at the thought of entertaining/pleasing all their prospective guests, but a little heads up as to why you'll be declining their nosh will be appreciated. 

    3. Bring a dish - or two. Something savory and a dessert are always a fair bet. This is also a great way to set your host's mind at ease when you gently break it to them that you probably aren't going to eat anything that they cook. In fact, it may help to lead with the fact that you'd love to help out by bringing a few yummy dishes of your own! Then casually add that the dishes will be plant-based and - oh yeah, you don't eat animal products but no worries! You're not picky and you're mostly there for the company. This can also be a great way to introduce your, potentially skeptical, friends to delicious vegan eats.

    4. BYOB. Given that not all beer or wine is vegan it doesn't hurt to bring a few of your favorite beverages, too. Plus, sharing alcohol can be a great way to put your friends and family in a good mood (and perhaps distract them from nitpicking on your dietary choices). Feeling festive? Don't forget the vegan eggnog! Cause 'tis almost the season. 

    5. Snack beforehand. It's possible that the dishes you're contributing will be the only things suitable for you to eat. So curb your hunger before leaving the house and make the day about connecting with others (and less about food). 

    6. Remember: it's a table, not a pulpit. There's a good likelihood that you were invited to Thanksgiving by a friend or family member that loves you. Ergo, this is not the time to break out the loudspeaker and turn their table into a fight of good vs. evil. We know that you have valid scientific, moral, and emotional reasons for eating the way you do, but this is not the place. If someone asks? Kindly tell them that you'd be more than happy to discuss the reasons behind your choice in further depth after dinner. This way you'll still get to share your view and it won't feel like a "Me vs. Them" situation.

    7. The turkey is off is any other carnivorous/non-vegan food. The same way in which vegans don't appreciate being told that their food looks disgusting, so, too, the rest of the world. Let them eat their bird without offering commentary - it won't be well received and who needs extra Thanksgiving drama? #nothankyou

    8. Brush it off. Every once in a while we encounter people in life who feel the need to make a spectacle of the fact that eating vegan is different. Congratulations captain obvious! Would you like a gold medal for this, most astute of observations? Although it's not the easiest thing to do: let them jest and don't engage. With some people, there's simply no winning. And, the fact of the matter is, their jokes probably come from a place of insecurity. You're shedding light on a subject that they'd rather not face and that makes them feel uncomfortable!

    9. Enjoy yourself. It's a holiday after all and, at the end of the day, food is just food. The people you surround yourself with will long outlast the meal on your plate.