What are you thankful for?
No, really. Right this minute, can you rattle off some things you’re grateful for? Go ahead and do it. I’ll wait…
This is a common quandry at the GetVegucated Schoolhouse Online Community, and it’s one with a response that only you can refine and perfect over time.
- For starters, offer to bring your own food. That way, you can eat and be merry and be considerate of your host, while also showing your pals how delicious the vegan lifestyle is. I usually bring both a sweet and a savory dish to show the versatility of meat-free fare, and I always bring plenty for sharing.
- Secondly, try to look at inquiries about a vegan lifestyle as an opportunity, rather than a defensive trigger. Sure, there are misconceptions out there, but people usually ask because they’re genuinely curious. Honor this curiosity and give them an affirming response with a dash of proactive education like: “That’s a great question. I became educated about how animals we eat are treated and I realized that I didn’t want to be part of that. I still get to eat fantastic food, too.” You know your friends and family best, so whether or not you want to engage in a more detailed conversation is your choice.
Question #2: “What do I make and/or bring to the festivities that everyone will enjoy?”
Gobble Day is an excellent opportunity to BLOW PEOPLE AWAY with your delicious food. While Thanksgiving is commonly associated with a Turkey leg, any seasoned (pun intended) Gobbleday gobbler will tell you that the meal is all about the sides. Of course, there are amazing recipes for cruelty-free main dishes, too. Whether you’re the chef, a dish-toting attendee, or a grab-and-go party goer, the suggestions below will make you the most popular person at the gathering. And don’t forget your local veg-friendly restaurants and grocers who will likely have awesome grab-and-go and order ahead options.
Main: Seitan Stuffed with Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, & Mushrooms with Savory Mushroom Gravy
Sides: Smoky Butternut Mac n Cheez, Green Chili Cornbread, Guilt-Free Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Lentil, Beet, & Orange Salad, & 3-Ingredient Cranberry Sauce
Dessert: Maple Pecan Pie & Fall Holiday Fruit Salad
Main: Gardein’s Holiday Roast or Field Roast’s Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute
Sides: Amy’s Non-Dairy Vegetable Pot Pie, Lots of fresh veggies, and some tasty vegan rolls with Earth Balance
Dessert: Pillsbury Apple Turnovers with So Delicious Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Question #3: “Beyond the food, how can I put my compassion in to action?”
Sponsor a Turkey: On a holiday where 45 million sensitive and inquisitive turkeys are slaughtered just to fill our plates, it’s a pretty great time to sponsor a gobbler and save a life. Farm Sanctuary has a wonderful “Adopt a Turkey” Project that aims to generate support for the Sanctuary’s many rescued turkeys. The campaign boasts supporters like Ellen Degeneres and Shannon Elizabeth, so you’ll be in excellent company when you donate.
Attend a Vegan Meet Up: No family in town? No problem! Join a vegan meet up, attend a dinner at a local veg-friendly restaurant, or attend one of the many “Gentle Thanksgivings” being held around the country. Farm Sanctuary is also holding Celebrations for the Turkeys at their New York and California shelters. If you’re the boozier type, Vegan Drinks has various events going on around the country. A great way to meet like-minded people – new friends to be thankful for!
Do For Others: Nothing gets you feeling more grateful than doing good for those less fortunate. Volunteer with Food Not Bombs to serve nutritious vegan meals to the homeless and victims of Hurricane Sandy, donate a warm coat to someone sleeping outside, walk (or sing to – just sayin’) animals in your local shelter, visit with or invite a lonely senior to your meal, give one of the 400,000 children in foster care a memorable gift (November is National Adoption Month, after all). The point is – every little bit matters and means something big to someone, and the options are really limitless. My awesome friend, Marla, gets her son in on the action by having him save up his allowance for a trip to the thrift store. There, he chooses gently-used blankets and sheets, which he then donates to a local animal shelter. Teaching the kiddos about fiscal responsibility, compassion, and giving back? Now, that sounds like the real spirit of gratitude.