How to Survive the Holidays as a New Vegan
As if the holidays aren’t already stressful enough, you’re now vegan! Well congratulations, you made the right decision. I applaud your bravery and commitment! I know how stressful it can get talking to friends and family about your new found veganism, especially around the holidays when all people do is EAT!
Well, fear not my baby vegan. I’m here to help. I’ve encountered many situations in which people were overly curious, taken aback, maybe even offended at my veganism (though they’ll never admit it’s because of their guilty conscious LOL). That’s okay. People can feel how they want to feel about inconvenient truths.
My point here is not to make things worse or awkward with friends and loved ones, but to equip you with the tools you need to make sure the holidays are enjoyable for you.
I know this year with the pandemic and shut downs, things might look a little different! Which just means your gatherings will be more intimate, which can either be great or even more tricky with your new found veganism. That’s okay, because here are three tips to make sure you have a good time, regardless of other people’s opinions on your vegan lifestyle.
1. Make Sure You Let the Host Know You Are Now Vegan
You want to make sure if you are celebrating the holidays at someone else’s house to let the host know that you are now vegan. Let them know you’re not telling them because you want any special treatment or for the entire feast to be vegan, you just simply want to let them know so they aren’t surprised or offended when you show up and aren’t eating the food they’ve made.
The host might feel bad if you don’t let them know ahead of time so they have time to prepare something if they feel so inclined. If they do want to make you something, just let them know they don’t have to go above and beyond but maybe they could skip the dairy in the mashed potatoes or something simple like that.
It might also be nice to do a group text or a Facebook status about your veganism so that the other people there aren’t surprised either and maybe you can get the initial shock out of the way before you even show up.
An example of this could be “Hey! Just so you’re aware, I’ve recently decided to eliminate all animal products from my diet (or life) and I’d appreciate your understanding and support throughout the holidays this year! This choice is very near and dear to my heart because XYZ. I can’t wait to see you this year and celebrate our friendship/love. See you on Thanksgiving/Christmas/Kwanza/Hanukkah/Whatever!”
But if you’re the host, just let everyone know you’re going to make the food vegan and would appreciate it if everyone respected your decision and that the food will be delicious, even without animal products!
2. Be Confident in Your Choice to Go Vegan
Let me start by saying, you being a compassionate person is a GOOD thing. Whether or not people understand your choice, should not be any of your concern. All you need to do is be confident in your decision. You should be able to articulate why you chose to go vegan in a direct and straightforward manner so that you sound confident in your decision. Sounding confident will make it so that people will question or antagonize you less.
If you don’t sound convicted in your choice, people might question you more or try to get you to slip up. It sucks that people are like this, but it happens and you should be prepared for this type of behavior. We can’t control what other people think, do, or say, but we can control our reaction to it.
You want to make sure you don’t sound combative because you don’t want to be the “angry vegan” and make things worse. All you have to do is follow the following formula when someone asks you why you aren’t eating meat or why you went vegan.
“Thank you for your interest in my new lifestyle choice! I decided I don’t want to eat animals or animal products anymore because:
Eating meat has a negative impact on the planet and I’d rather not contribute to global warming.
Animal products aren’t very good for our health, despite what we have always been brought up to believe, and I’m trying to live a healthier life these days.
I recently learned a lot about how much animal cruelty goes on behind the scenes in the food industry and I’d rather not eat food that contributes to the suffering of innocent beings.
Thank you for understanding my decision and being open to my point of view!”
If they begin to speak negatively to you or try to prove you wrong in some way or another, you can say, “I appreciate your thoughts on the matter, but my mind is made up. This is a personal decision and I’d appreciate it if you can respect my choice to do what I please with my own body.” *Mic drop*
After that, you can pretty much avoid any further uncomfortable conversation. And if someone is still not being polite or respectful of you, that’s when you know it’s probably time to cut ties or spend less time with these types of people. Sometimes we grow into our new compassionate lifestyle and realize the people we use to surround ourselves with, probably don’t belong in our future. And there’s nothing wrong with that! All we can do is lead by example, be as polite as possible, and let it go.
3. Bring Your Own Food
Whether you cook or bring a yummy dish to share with people and open their eyes (and stomachs!) to how delicious vegan food can be or you bring your own food to eat, you shouldn’t expect anyone to cook for you. Even if they did cook something for you, who knows if they really know what “vegan” means. A lot of people don’t and that’s not something we should be willing to risk.
There’s plenty of restaurants that provide holiday meals that you just heat up at home and there’s a TON of vegan holiday recipes you can find online. But just be sure you’re not relying on anyone but yourself to stick to your commitment to the animals, your health, and the planet this holiday season.
Catered Holiday Options:
Vegan Thanksgiving Recipe Pinterest Board Curated by Yours Truly
So just remember, your choice to go vegan is a good thing. It’s a personal choice that no one should be able to argue against or make you feel awkward about. As long as you have something to eat and aren’t bashful of your decision to go vegan, the holidays will be enjoyable! Embrace your compassionate lifestyle and celebrate without the animal products!
Have Vegan Holidays! :)