Day to day, I don't find it hard to eat a plant-based diet. I have found staple meals and recipes that work for me and that I like. I also like to try new things and experiment. I no longer crave the things I once did. I have done research for myself and my positions have completely changed. I do not crave the chicken, because I know what happens to it before it is plated. I do not crave the dairy (as much), because I know that suffering was inflicted in the process. I know I feel better not eating it, so I don’t. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Now, that’s day to day. I will say- it isn’t an easy feat to be a vegan during the holiday season. I mean, unless you are eating with all vegans and sitting down to a vegan meal, which is extremely doubtful for most plant-based eaters. Not only do I find it difficult as far as what options are available, but I have found friends and family sometimes make it more difficult than it needs to be.
Here are a few tips I have learned along the way:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Honestly, asking about food is going to become a huge part of your life, so get used to it. When you go out to eat, you will have to ask about ingredients constantly, so why not practice on a friend or family member.
So, don’t be afraid to call up the host and ask what they are having! You could, of course, tell them you are a new vegan and are curious about what will be offered. You could also tell them you have new dietary restrictions, or that you were just wondering.
2. Offer to make a dish and bring something that you can eat
If you end up talking to the host and find out nothing vegan friendly is being offered, that’s okay. You will find people aren’t going to cater to you. Bring your own dish. Pick up some hummus and chips or carrots and make an incredible dish that will blow everyone away, and that you can enjoy.
3. Don’t be too hard on yourself
I have been eating a plant-based diet for almost a year now. I have messed up! If you end up eating something with butter, cheese, or a meat stock, do not beat yourself up. It happens. You may or may not have asked questions about preparation, and that’s okay, too. Do not catastrophize. Tomorrow is a new day.
4. Be honest and proud
Adopting a new lifestyle comes with qualms. Like anything people aren’t familiar with, there are opinions and for the most part (in my opinion) those opinions are negative. That isn’t because these people are bad, it is because they don’t know. If someone has a negative opinion about what you are or aren’t eating, fuck em. If someone is busting your balls, as they very well might, hit them with some knowledge. Be honest and tell them why you aren’t eating what they are. Do not be ashamed for choosing to eat a plant-based diet.
All of that said, if no one busts your balls or asks any questions, don’t bring up the fact that the ham on the table was previously a cute pig that was slaughtered for their Christmas meal.
I wanted to keep this short and sweet! These are just a few things I have learned along the way. If this is your first vegan holiday or holiday season, good luck! You can do it! I am proud of you for making this change. Remember to come prepared, take it easy and remain proud.
Happy holidays to you and yours!