Are you the only vegan among your family and friends? Is it hard to fully enjoy the holiday given that so much of the Thanksgiving camaraderie centers around a dead turkey that you refuse to eat? I understand and empathize, but I have some ideas that will put some festivity back underneath your feet!
1. Be enthusiastic about what you're doing for animal welfare!
You're saving over a hundred animals lives each year! You! According to extensive research by Noam Mohr at The PETA Files, by being vegan you're saving nearly 200 animals per year. Do you know how absolutely wonderful this of you? Animals are thriving and avoiding painful slaughter because of YOU. So, enjoy this holiday season owning the gratitude the animals extend to you. It makes me feel more loving to myself and others knowing I am impacting animal welfare!
2. Make a scrumptious dish to share!
Create a crowd-pleaser of a recipe to take to mom's or grandma's home this year! People will take a bite and realize that healthy vegan dishes and kindness to animals tastes incredibly delicious!
3. Laugh at any criticism!
You're bound to have that one uncle/brother/sister/parent in your family who gives you a hard time for being "different" because of your food choices. Laugh with that person this year, and be genuine about it. Own the fact that you're unique and stand proud in your individuality. Be quietly grateful you are that you're not harming your body or any animal's, like everyone else at the table (but keep those last thoughts to yourself).
4. Find a support group.
It's wise to be a part of a vegan community via social media, whether that be on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. When you're the only vegan in your family or group of friends, it can feel awkward until you gain confidence in your new lifestyle and food choices. One community that I highly recommend is that of Eco-Vegan Gal, which you can find on Facebook. Whitney Lauritsen, the site's creator, creates an atmosphere of acceptance, compassion and "festive fun" for those who participate in sharing recipes, struggles, ideas, etc.
5. Bring your vegan snacks on the road!
So much of the enjoyment of holiday gatherings is participating, socializing and feeling "fed." When you bring your own snacks to share, this places you right in the mix of the camaraderie you're looking to achieve! It helps you to blend your veganized choices in with those that are not while giving you that sense of healthy overeating that is an inevitable holiday goal (0: It also aids in you having a full tummy so you are not tempted by all of the unhealthy options everyone else is eating!
6. Instead of eating a dead turkey this year, rescue one!
There are numerous online charities that rescue turkeys from people's forks! You can rescue a turkey (instead of eating one!) by donating to The Farm Sanctuary, which rescues animals! Another idea: you can contribute to my favorite sanctuary, which rescues abused animals.
I genuinely hope you enjoy the holidays as you embark on a lifestyle that defines the true spirit of the season: giving thanks, being of service, and loving others!