I’ve been vegan for almost three years and it has been a JOURNEY! One of the most notable changes (outside of the food) is how I now interact with others. If you’re wondering what I mean, it’s possible that you’ve never experienced being at a celebration or event surrounded by omnivores. I’ll be honest… for a while scenarios like these were a bit intimidating. I couldn’t help but feel like all eyes were on me (even if they weren’t).
Adopting this lifestyle has certainly made me a much more inquisitive person, as I wonder more now than ever about the contents of a particular dish. One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about the transition is that my personal choices have made others around me question their own food consumption. Baby steps! 🙂 Though conversations around what I choose to put on my plate can be redundant, I try my best to remain approachable and open to sharing personal stories about my vegan journey. After all, if it were me I’d be curious too!
Most of my immediate family will make an effort to accommodate me with a few options or give me a heads up on things that might not be suitable for me. However, in most cases I do a lot of the cooking anyways, so I look out for myself 🙂 Pairing a few “accidentally vegan” dishes with my own meal leaves me satisfied and grateful to be surrounded by family and friends over the holidays. Struggling with the thought of holiday gatherings this year? I’ve put together a few tips on surviving the holidays as a vegan, just for you!
1. Be Prepared
This one is SO IMPORTANT! You wouldn’t go swimming without a bathing suit (or would you?!), so don’t go to Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner without FOOD! Have you been vegan for a while? You might be fortunate enough to have family members who will have options ready for you. If they do, great! If they don’t, it’s no big deal! Come ready with your own meal that you’d be excited about eating. I say “excited” because there’s nothing like sitting in a room filled with amazing aromas and you’re staring down at theeeee most basic bowl of salad.
Believe it or not, being prepared goes beyond the main course to surviving the holidays as a vegan. In my family, it would behoove you to be ready with snacks or something to munch on until the dinner actually starts. You know, for those situations where dinner was supposed to start at 2 pm, but two dishes are still cooking in the oven and they’re nowhere near done. Keep hunger at bay by traveling with something to munch on. For times like these, I like to walk with my DelishFish Gummies from Wholesome.
They’re so convenient and perfect for snacking! Because they’re just gummies (that happen to be both gluten free and vegan), you don’t have to worry about them taking up too much room in your stomach while you wait for dinner to finish. I just toss them in my bag and eat them discreetly (so I don’t have to share). 🙂 You can also use them to barter with the young ones in your family! Trust me, they’ll be wrapped around your finger!
2. Just Relax
It’s inevitable. Someone in your family thinks you’re crazy for giving up cheese, meat, and other animal products only to eat “rabbit food” or vegan alternatives that closely resemble the very foods you gave up. If you’re confronted with this, just chill. It’s not your battle to fight. It’s their ignorance not yours, plus it’s not up to you to change their mind or prove anyone wrong.
These conversations are bound to happen and it’s okay to engage, but just know the likelihood of you changing this person’s mind about consuming animal products is about as likely as me eating a turkey leg. Ain’t gonna happen. Don’t stress yourself by getting into a heated discussion about why “so and so” shouldn’t be eating “this or that.” I’ve found that most people are more convinced when they take the time to do their own research, not because they got into a heated discussion with their 3rd cousin on their dad’s side. Surviving the holidays as a vegan certainly comes with a few “wooo sahh” moments!
3. Sharing is Caring
It’s unfortunate that vegan food has such a bad rap. I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve had some pretty questionable vegan dishes. However, I’ve also had some questionable non-vegan dishes. I guess people think that the likelihood of something actually tasting good without some of the “essentials” like eggs, cheese, or milk is pretty slim. I get it. Once upon a time ago, I used to be this person. Thank God I’m not anymore! If cauliflower can become pizza crust, I truly believe you can make anything without animal products!
Since I enjoy cooking, I like to take dishes to share with everyone during the holidays (I’ll definitely be taking my new cornbread and whipped sweet potatoes dish this year!). Last year I took one of my fav desserts (this half baked cheesecake) and even my picky, vegan-skeptical family members enjoyed it! Even if you’re not the biggest cook, I’m sure there’s at least one vegan dish you’ve perfected! Try preparing that (or a few) and take them with you. Here’s a tip- don’t tell anyone what you’ve made. Try arriving early or sneaking it in the line-up amongst all of the other non-vegan foods. At the end, ask around about your particular dish to see what people thought of it. Nine times out of ten, they won’t even taste the difference.
As proud as you might be of your dish, I’d steer away from making a preliminary announcement about what you’ve cooked before everyone eats. That way, people don’t psych themselves into not liking it because they know it’s vegan. Trust me on this one.
That wraps up my tips on surviving the holidays as a vegan! I’m hoping these 3 things will be helpful in making for a smooth holiday season. What are your tips for new vegans as we prepare for the holidays? Let me know in the comments below!
This post was sponsored by the wonderful people over at Wholesome!