While I've been doing the vegan diet to get a handle on my weight and health (with great success) as the holidays come closer, with all it's yummy foods, how do I handle going places where there are little, if any, foods I can enjoy? Sure, I can make and take some dishes, so that my friends and family can see that it's not a life of cardboard and emptiness.I just don't want to offend people or get left out next year for being, "different". I've been looking for recipes for old faves that have been veganized, so any ideas on this would be great also. Usually, I give food gifts for Christmas, but am seriously considering giving loved ones vegan food gifts. Do any of you have recipes for these? Thanx!
Have you thought about calling the host/hostess of the events you plan to attend and asking them what they might like you to bring? Whether they want you to bring a side, dessert, beverages or some rolls, you are showing that you are eager to contribute. This may make it easier on the day of when you politely decline turkey.
Depending on how close to the host/ess you are, you could also have a conversation in advance (like, now) about your diet and let them know that you are thrilled to be a part of their celebration but you want to make sure you don't end up spending the whole dinner asking whether the beans have meat stock in them.
Food gifts are great! You could make vegan hot cocoa kits (make your preferred blend of coco powder and sugar, put it in a pretty cellophane bag, tie a candy cane to the bag, etc), soup kits, a yummy snack mix, or make some bars or cookies. There are tons of vegan options out there!
When I switched to a vegan diet, I let my friends and family know, not only to avoid uncomfortable situations at visits, but also because they are part of my life and I wanted to share the good news with them. Although they were all carnivores (at the time, wink-wink), they were very supportive, and went out of their way to allow me to share great vegan foods with them and they even made special dishes for the family that were vegan. So long story short, don't assume things will be difficult. These ARE the people that love and care about you the most. Maybe they will surprise you!
Ok. So I have been at this for four years now and being a dinner guest at other people's homes was by far the most difficult part for me. Not wanting to offend people who have been cooking for days to make you happy and entertain you is no small matter. Calling ahead helps, but I still felt very annoying and uncomfortable. The host is inviting me over to eat a meal that they are preparing, often they don't want my vegan casserole in the room as a reminder to everyone that they are eating dead animals. And often the host is very receptive and respectful and will even prepare a vegan dish. Which is very kind but I always tell everyone not to go to any trouble for me. The good news is, it gets easier. People are, for better or worse, fascinated by veganism and diets in general. Even when you don't say a word about being vegan, everyone in the room will know. It's very odd. So after awhile you will be known as the vegan chick and everyone will be used to it. You just gotta hang on and get through this first vegan holiday season and you'll be good to go.
This is also my first vegan holiday season. Even though I'm going to my mothers, and my family knows of my choice, they still seem to smother butter on everything and think nothing of it. I know its going to be difficult but I was thinking of buying her a tub Earth Balance Butter to try before the holidays, and when they notice there is no diffrence, maybe she would consider using that instead. At least this way I can enjoy the veggies that she makes. Other than that, I'm pretty lost as to how I'm going to get through dinner myself.
Thank you for all the responses. Looks like Turkey day may just be me and my daughter, so that makes it easier. My Dad had said he was going to fix a chicken, *sigh* and invited us. When he finally noticed my weightloss and complimented me on it, I broke the news to him of my diet changes, to which he gave me "the look". He was very frustrated with me when I had gone vegetarian yrs ago. He treated it like an illness that I needed curing of. With that said, I know that although I choose to eat this way, he is not going to alter his food to "taste like cardboard" to suit me, even though that's not how it is and I know it. If I can avoid it, we will just do something at home, my daughter and I, and call it good.
I am SO excited about the Veggie Brothers website. I like the recipes in The Kind Diet but don't have the time or creativeness to cook them. I just ate a peanut butter sandwich because I am hungry but am on the run. SO I will be ordering a freezer full of the Veggie Brothers food.
My Mom (not so much my dad) treats me the same way! I am like the leper of the family-I hear things like :"Wow you look pale..maybe you should eat some meat." My mom even recently told me that I make going out to dinner too complicated and that I "limit myself" by not eating meat!
This will be my first vegetarian/vegan Thanksgiving and while my Mom is cooking the regular turkey for the rest of the family, while I have elected to prepare my own vegan meal and sides (along with dessert).
My question is-Does it get better? One of the reasons I was so reluctant to be vegan, I am ashamed to say, is that I did not want to deal with the grief from my family. I am however, happy to do something positive for the Earth and for the animals, so I take the constant negative remarks, but it isn't easy sometimes. Does anyone have any tips for dealing with concerned relatives who do not understand veganism, without getting preachy?
Nicole - good question. And the answer is a resounding yes! It does, in fact, get better. :)
The thing is - you have to continually remind yourself that you are doing a wonderful, positive thing by eating/living vegan and that you are a kind, good person for choosing to live this way. People are going to get defensive and judgmental, and if you can accept that and forgive them of their ignorance before even getting into a discussion with them, you'll be able to come out of it a happy person as a result. I had such a tough time with family members and friends when I first went vegan - but you wanna know the funny part? So many of them are now vegetarian - and even vegan! - as a result of seeing me live this way positively and joyfully. Example: Last Christmas, my brother smacked me with a package of bacon as a way of making fun of me for being a vegan. Fast forward to now - he, my sister, and my mom will all be enjoying Tofurky, not turkey, on Thanksgiving - at his suggestion! Additionally, my mom has gone vegan, my husband has gone vegan, my mother-in-law is almost vegan, my sister is also almost vegan, my brother is completely vegetarian, and my step-mom has stopped eating land animals! The list goes on and on...
I didn't know how to handle people at first, but it got better and better as I realized that their projections - their worries for you being "healthy" or their judgmental looks - are really only because they themselves feel threatened by your choices. And that's probably because they know deep down that something is wrong with eating animals. So, I would suggest being as positive, loving, and joyful as possible, no matter who you are around. Find a short, kind way to answer the common questions, keep a smile on your face, and I promise - if you keep it up, there will be a ripple effect you never expected. :)