045 Vegan Holiday Survival Guide!
Are you a newbie vegan who’s heading towards your first holiday back home with your family? Are you a veteran vegan dreading the meat-fest and micro-aggressions? No matter what phase of veganism you are in, Callie and Nichole got you covered in our vegan holiday survival guide!
In This Episode
Callie and Nichole break down how to survive the holidays as a vegan visiting non-vegan family and friends:
Having “The Talk”
It’s important to prep your family and yourself ahead of time. Have a talk well before the holiday and the visit to set the expectations and give them time to acclimate and prepare.
- Be firm and unapologetic
- Set boundaries and keep them
- Don’t be confrontational, but do be strong and proud
Surviving the Meat Fest
If your family won’t eat vegan with you, make sure to have enough food for the entire trip so that you aren’t hungry or stuck with unsatisfying food. If it works for you and your family, you can volunteer to cook or suggest recipes for them to make, but no matter what your situation, make sure you can eat!
- Give your family a shopping list or go grocery shopping when you get there
- If you are traveling a long way, make sure that you will be able to eat getting off the plane/train/car
- Get something special for the holiday so you have something to indulge in while others are indulging
- Don’t try to replace family favorites with vegan versions, at least the first year or two
Making it Fun
It’s important to take the focus off of food and make sure to have fun with your family. We get so wrapped up in the food traditions of the holidays, it’s easy to forget that the holidays are really about being together and doing things we enjoy together.
- Make plans to do fun things before your trip so you all have things to look forward to
- During card games, movies, puzzles, sports games, try to contribute vegan snacks for everyone to enjoy
- Find an ally who can help you keep the excitement over non-food activities high
Not Going Home
If you just aren’t feeling it this year, it’s totally ok to not go home for the holiday. If you don’t go back, make sure to have fun!
- Say what you are doing, don’t focus on what you’re not doing (i.e., going home)
- Be firm, non-apologetic, but kind
- Make possible travel plans for the future on a non-holiday
- Do something fun: potluck with friends, take a trip somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, stay home and veg out
If you follow our tips, you’ll have the best holiday possible in weird circumstances. Please reach out to us for support or to share success stories, we’d love to share them on the show!
Links and Information
- World Health Organization: Processed meat can cause cancer; red meat probably can (CBS News)
- Chemicals in Meat Cooked at High Temperatures and Cancer Risk (National Cancer Institute)
- Ex-McDonalds CEO Joins Vegan Startup (Business Insider)
- Animal Now Legally Recognised as Sentient Beings in Australia (MSN)
Mentioned on the Show
We talked about my friend Jonathan Levy’s blog, Zero Waste Guy, which has great easy vegan recipes and tips on living a low-to-no waste lifestyle. Jonathan is a freshly minted vegan, so go check him and out give him some support and encouragement!
Here’s the list of our favorite, tried-and-true holiday recipes! The meal suggestions below are to make one amazing holiday meal that is a full, satisfying plate of food and includes a dessert.
Omni-friendly Appetizers/Snack Ideas
- Chips, guacamole, salsa
- Popcorn – homemade popcorn mixed with pesto is amazeballs
- Hummus, veggies and crackers
- French onion dip and chips (mix Lipton French Onion Soup mix with Tofutti sour cream – SO GOOD!)
Holiday Meal Suggestions
- Nichole’s Gluten-free Vegan Gravy
- Minimalist Baker’s mashed potatoes
- Stuffing – store bought (Trader Joe’s, Pepperidge Farms, Mrs. Cubbison’s or some flavors of Stove Top), or search Google for wild rice variation
- Greenbean casserole: Minimalist Baker’s easy version or Fat Free Vegan’s more complex (but delicious!) version
- Protein component: Field Roast roasts or Dr. Fuhrman’s Thanksgiving Non-Meat Loaf recipe
- Katie’s Healing Kitchen Raw Chocolate & Raspberry Cake (you can leave out raspberries or switch for other fruit and it’s still amazing)