When my Veganism Collides with the Holidays
“Love and acceptance,” “love and acceptance,” I repeat over and over again in my head. I’m preparing myself to practice what I preach this Thursday. This holiday season my goal is to be a productive vegan. This means not alienating potential people that could be inspired to make changes. Sure, non-productive thoughts enter my mind like, “Oh goodie, I’m just days away from being teased about my dietary choices by folks feasting on animal carcasses and then washing them down with their bodily fluids!” Whoa! Whoa! Whoa Tracey! Come back!!!! I promise these thoughts are not productive.
Model the behavior you’d like to see.
I don’t want to be criticized for my dietary choices and so I don’t want to do that to someone else. Breathe! If a person feels shame or discomfort they are more likely to go into lockdown mode. I’m appreciative when people accommodate my dietary choices when I’m eating at their house. I wasn’t always vegan but I was always the same compassionate and reasonable person I am today. I consider myself fortunate that life brought me experiences and information at a point in my life when I was ready to embrace it. Making someone feel judged for their actions usually brings defensiveness rather than a eureka moment that it’s time to change.
Join the Party!
When humans hit up against ideas that they believe threaten their beliefs, habits, or traditions, they are desperate to find a reason (usually anything will do) to rail against change. Fear of isolation is sometimes cited as a reason for not eating vegan. Show people that your vegan diet doesn't preclude you from enjoying life with people that have different ideas about food. The family table is where a lot of our most important and interesting conversations happen. You want to be at that table.
Serve lots of delicious vegan food.
Vegetables, legumes, grains, fruits and nuts are vegan. I think the most impact I can have during the holidays is to provide the most fantastic vegan food and show everyone at the table that vegan can mean delicious. Again, if someone is searching for a reason not to eat vegan, a simple disgusting tofu hot dog can be all the proof they need.
Send your guests home with leftovers and then some…
When you pack up leftovers for your guests, along with lots of the vegan goodies, you can add in some other things. I adopt a Farm Sanctuary animal for my guests and then place a photo with the animal’s story in the bag with their food. A simple brochure or donation card from your favorite sanctuary is also an easy add-in. In a quieter moment, they may take the time to look up what exactly it is you’re talking about---remember they love you and you love them.
LOOKING FOR DELICIOUS VEGAN RECIPES?
The Crossroads cookbook is now available and is filled with delicious recipes to get you started. Here are three favorites that would be perfect additions to your holiday table: