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A very vegan Thanksgiving

Updated: Oct 27, 2021

As many of us know, veganism is the ideology or philosophy that encourages humans to stop using animal products and lead a life with a plant-based diet. But where did it come fro

The name “vegan” was invented in 1944 when Donald Watson, the founder of The Vegan Society and produced the first copy of the Vegan News in 1944, called a meeting with 5 other “non-dairy” vegatarians, meaning vegatarians that refused to eat dairy or dairy products, to discuss their diets and lifestyle. However there have been traces of the vegetarian diet dating back to 500 BCE.

I know there are many vegans who try and push their lifestyle on other people and I think we can all agree that that’s annoying. We can’t all go vegan or even vegetarian for several reasons, but if you are considering it this year then this article is the one for you. Thanksgiving is coming up, and since I am the only vegan in my family, I wanted to try and have a totally plant-based Thanksgiving.

So far, my experience as a vegan has been pretty good. I did totally jump into it cold turkey–which I do not recommend, because that made it so much harder. Of course, it was pretty hard mostly due to temptation, but I think it is best to slowly transition. For example, eating more vegan meals a week or having days where you are just vegan until you feel comfortable enough to make the full change. Living in Southern California does make my vegan experience much easier since being vegetarian or vegan is pretty common here. Most fast food places even have vegan alternatives or things you can order, like salads and burgers, or most items that normally have meat in them now include the option of beyond meat and other alternatives that taste just as good while remaining plant-based. More stores like local Targets and Walmarts will even carry vegan or vegetarian brands. But what is most difficult is temptation. I’m pretty lucky because whenever I go to family parties there is always something that happens to be vegan or it is simple to make a vegan version. You can always bring vegan food with you, but I think it is better to ask what is being served beforehand just in case there are a few things you can pick at.

Since this is going to be my first Thanksgiving as a vegan I made a list of Thanksgiving foods I can eat, as well as new recipes. Luckily I can still have the following dishes:

  • Mashed potatoes (with vegan butter if you put butter in yours, I recommend trying Earth Balance)

  • Corn

  • Cranberry Sauce

  • “Pigs” in a Blanket (That are really just mini corn dogs from Morning Star Farms. You can find this and other products from this brand at local Targets)

  • Dinner Rolls (Pillsbury’s biscuits are an accidentally vegan product)

  • Brussel Sprouts with Bacon Bits (McCormick’s Bacon Bits are accidentally vegan too, which is kind of weird when you think about it)

  • Apple Pie (They have vegan apple pies at Sprouts)

  • Pumpkin Pie (Vegan pumpkin pies are sold at Whole Foods for those of you who like it)

  • Mac & Cheese (Vegan Mac & Cheese is sold at Trader Joe’s but it’s best if you add some seasonings you like because it can be kind of bland. I thought it tasted best with pepper, a little bit of salt, and some crushed red chili peppers).

I also found some other vegan dishes that you can make at home, such as:

  • This Vegan Stuffing (Normally I don’t like stuffing but I tried this and actually thought it was really good–I just hate onions so I substituted them with mushrooms and it was amazing).

  • Vegan Truffle Ricotta & Mushroom Lasagna (Another great recipe, but I recommend sprinkling the top with some vegan cheese or using tomato sauce which goes great with this dish. You can find vegan cheese from Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, and Target).

  • Vegan Baked Potatoes you can also try this other recipe or even this one (Just thought I’d mention a couple of different recipes since they all come in different styles and with different toppings).

Overall, you can still have a fun and yummy thanksgiving meal as a vegan. Remember to stay safe, take care of yourself, and enjoy your break as much as you can.

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