Hello and good morning!
Recently i have seen alot of people asking what they should do for christmas/thanksgiving (and any other special occasions) when it comes to food if they are the only vegan.
Everyone’s situation is different and family and friends can react differently as well as how understanding they are varies. But first and foremost i would say, remember why you are vegan (i.e makes animal products less tempting, this is important if you are a new vegan. The longer you are vegan the less tempted you will be to try something that isn’t vegan!) and 2) don’t let your vegan lifestyle hold you back from social events.
The one thing about certain special occasions such as easter and thanksgiving is that there is alot of focus on food and primarly meat… chicken, turkey, lamb etc and that can be a little too overwhelming as a vegan. You might feel disgusted or just feel like it is *too much* to be around so many people eating meat and none of them making the connection, and if that is the case then maybe it is best to have a separate celebration where you invite family/friends to your place and you say that it will only be vegan food.
My suggestion however, if you can manage to be around so many people eating meat, is to make your own vegan food – and make enough so everyone can try! However i would suggest that you make sure to take from the vegan food first, because it has happened to me where i have made vegan food for everyone and i was the last to take and by that time my family had already taken alot of the vegan food as well as the non vegan food.
By making enough for everyone to try that can show them that vegan food doesn’t have to be tasteless and boring. Some people are just so stuck in their mindset that they can’t even think about how to create new dishes or combine different foods or flavours, instead they are just stuck in the meat, potatoes, vegetables type of meal.
With the food you could either try to veganize the meat dishes that will be served or use fake meat as replacements, or you could just do totally different food that isn’t a replacement for the meat dishes!
If you have a family that is more understanding maybe you could suggest that half of the food (at minimum!) is vegan so that everyone can enjoy it – including you. Or if you really enjoy making food maybe you can suggest that you try to make all of the food vegan and you can volunteer to help cook. Or like mentioned above, if you want it to be fully vegan then you could always suggest to have the celebrations at your place where you decide the food (and just tell your guests that if they are in desperate need to eat meat they will have to do that before or after your dinner/lunch because it will completely vegan!). Also you could always make suggestions to the person hosting on how to veganize certain food, for example mention that they can use oil instead of butter in many dishes or use non dairy milk in desserts or dishes that require milk etc (There have been numerous times where i have been invited over for dinner and a person has put butter on the vegetables or added milk/butter to mashed potatoes etc and then something that was already vegan is no longer vegan).
Or what you could do as well is to just make single portion vegan food that looks and tastes incredible but is only for you, and that may tempt or make the other guests jealous….. however i usually find that letting the other guests try the vegan food can make them more willing to try making vegan food at home when they realise it tastes good!
Also a tip is to NOT tell your/the guests that the food you made is vegan until afterwards. Many have the mindset that vegan food doesn’t taste good and won’t even try it just because you say it is vegan!
There you have some tips and advice and i hope that all of you who celebrate different special occasions have a good time! Don’t let your vegan lifestyle hold you back, that is one way to make a vegan lifestyle suck and make you more likely to return to eating meat/dairy if you feel that you are isolated or can’t go to social events anymore.
Also it can be good to come prepared with facts, answers and clapbacks if someone asks about veganism or is rude or makes jokes… then you have a fast response ready! Also don’t take any rude remarks from friends or family, they shouldn’t make rude comments about your food or lifestyle and remind them of that if they do!!!