How to Handle the Holidays as a Vegan

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Three years ago this November, right before the holiday season of eating, I decided to #GoVegan. After an intense amount of self education and exposure to the truth of animal agriculture, as well as experiencing plant-based meals in my own kitchen, I started to get bombarded with questions and concerns from family & friends.

I don’t know why I decided to go vegan at the start of that holiday season when we lived in the very traditional southern state of Louisiana, the heaviest food culture I’ve ever been a part of. It definitely wasn’t to make things difficult for myself or those who knew me, but with it came new challenges socially and realistically which is why I feel I can share some perspective with you now.

Someone asked me just recently, “How do you go home during the holiday season when the rest of your family isn’t vegan?” That’s a really good question that I’ve been waiting to answer. So, here’s my best advice for new vegans going home over the holidays to family & friends who may reject or question your decision to #GoVegan.

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Be Confident In Your Convictions

It doesn’t matter where you go in the world, someone is going to disagree with you. May that be in the form of snide comments around the dinner table, well intended concerns about your health, or straight up name-calling… I’ve been there, and chances are that if you’ve been vegan for any amount of time, you probably have been there, too. Knowing that not everyone is going to agree, I encourage you to practice radical acceptance in releasing control of other people’s reactions while remembering your own convictions about why you went vegan in the first place. Whether that’s for health, the animals, or the planet, you have got to be 100% in agreement with yourself even before you walk to do door & turn the handle to your family or friend’s house Thanksgiving Day.

Prepare mentally and literally for questions & comments. Bring your own amazing food to share. You could even write a list of people whose opinions matter most on a Post-It, stick that in your pocket, and take it out to look at it when ill comments or remarks are said. You got this.

Answer Questions After Dinner

It never fails that any gathering I’m at, someone is bound to be curious of my vegan choices. In the past, I’ve either word-vomited information, started arguments, or taken offense to someone’s comment or question, but now-a-days I save those conversations for “offline.” Meaning, the dinner table is off-limits for discussion about animal cruelty, hard health facts, and a holier-than-thou attitude. It’s not cool when someone tries to shove their convictions down your throat, so don’t do the same to them.

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Cook for Your Family

One of the best ways I’ve introduced my own family to veganism is by cooking delicious recipes for in the form of dinner & dessert. During the holidays you could even make sure to bring a few dishes for them to try (and for you to have for yourself). Just make sure you’re bringing something delicious. A veggie tray doesn’t count.

Don’t Be Judgemental, Be Enthusiastic

With a 600% increase in people who identify as vegan in the United States, someone is bound to tell you about their progress in eating plants. However, there will still be some animal products at the tables of non-vegans and it’s best not to be judgemental towards those choices. Everyone is on their own journey. Your choice by itself, is making a huge impact, so don’t forget that. Celebrate the little victories when they’re mentioned and love people where they’re at!

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If you have any questions, tips, or hacks about this topic, leave them in the comments or send me a private message. I'd love to connect with you!

xo,

Amy Beth





How to Be a Pura Vida Vegan

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What is Pura Vida? Literal translation means “Pure Life,” but when this is said down in Costa Rica, the phrase usually implies a relaxed attitude & simplicity towards life in that moment.

The car breaks down. Pura Vida.

Can’t find the umbrella. Pura Vida.

Plans are changing... again. Pura Vida.

While those are loose examples of Pura Vida, the concept is simple. Things don’t have to go always as planned and the little things we worry about aren’t worth the stress. However, I want to take it a step further but shedding light on what ‘Pura Vida’ could mean for your health.

Living a simple lifestyle here in the States seems impossible to achieve, and now that I’ve seen different, nothing angers me more than when someone tries to over complicate an individual's health. Health products sold by commercial companies & networking marketers with no reputable research backing up their products, paired with a lack of expertise in the health field, are confusing consumers about “what is healthy.”

I see this all the time. In fact, I was once ‘that person’ selling the idea of “fit” to my friends on Facebook because someone told me it was okay. Been there, done that, got selfies in the t-shirt; but oh how I wish that mistake didn’t take a toll on my body. While I usually live a life of ‘no regrets,’ I do regret my lack of personal research into the things I used & promoted in the past in order to make myself lose weight. My lack of research and full trust in my friends’ opinions caused chaos inside & out. You can read my story from my previous blog post.


So, how do we take control of our health in a way that’s not complicated?

How do we get our Pura Vida back?

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Start with whole foods.

You cannot get any simpler than something grown out of the ground, washed, cooked, then eaten. We have these things called, “convenience stores” which have stripped away the connection between the consumer and the producer, leaving us disconnected from where our food comes from, and this mindset can be dangerous. Having thousands of options in one store has spoiled our ideas of buying fresh or local. The convenience of being able to “go by the store real quick” doesn’t take much thought. That mindset then translates into the way we eat our convenient food without experiencing gratefulness of the person who picked that produce. I see that this is a problem, and I’m guilty of being a part of this system. It’s easy to pick up the frozen & packaged because all we have to do is open a bag/box/packaging, heat, and eat.

Eating whole foods is not only important to the growers, but it’s vitally important to our health. Tell me the difference between eating a piece of fried chicken and eating a whole orange. Yeah, the chicken probably appeals to your tastes more, but that whole fruit has more nutrients and energy your body knows how to digest than the overly processed piece of chicken will provide for you.

Simply put, our bodies respond better to whole food nutrition more than anything else. Within a whole piece of fruit is the energy and sustainability we need to make healthy jumps forward throughout the day.

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Start with small habits.

Health does NOT have to be complicated. You do not need supplements, wraps, teas, pink-drinks, and intense workout routines to be healthy. While the convenience with these products is…. Well, convenient… most of these options have proven to an unsustainable long term solution for your well being. It’s crap that these companies are pressuring potential consumers to buy their convenient product without regards to the long-term health of the general public. It’s definitely not right or fair to the people spending their money, and you have a right to know what you’re investing in.

Simply, you can start with whole foods, start with walking 30 minutes 3 times a week, and start with not buying junk food and buying lots of whole food. Start with trying a new plant-based recipes once a week for your family. Then once your foundation is built, add on from there.

Start limiting tech-time & start connecting IRL.

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This is the hardest one for me. I absolutely love connecting with people online and it is invigorating to respond to someone’s need for my advice… but these social media apps are tricky. They’re just as addicting in the same way as gambling and a whole generation has been trained to live distracted from what’s right in front of them.

Taking intentional breaks for longer periods of time may sound daunting at first, but I promise: it’s worth the time you’ll get back. Being disconnected due to the elements in Costa Rica required me to get back into things that I had been putting off and allowed me to form new habits.

Things I’ve started doing more of since cutting down on screen time:

  • Housework

  • Journaling

  • Talking to friends on the phone/facetime

  • Working on creative content

  • Reading

  • and Exercise

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Start analyzing your emotional & mental health.

Do you often, “just react” to things and feel out of control about certain tasks or taboo topics? Does your chest get tight when you’re feeling stressed? Does your health suffer because of everything you have going on in your life? Do you feel hopeless about your body’s response to food or lifestyle choices your choosing to hold on to?

Now is the time to look at your mental health. While I’m currently in the middle of a mental health healing journey (which I will share more in the future about), I can say that feeling bad all the time got my attention. If it’s getting your attention, treat yourself well by evaluating your mental health. My friends, if you don’t have this part of health in check first, you probably won’t accomplish the rest. It’s worth the journey.


Start with these mindful practices and I promise you (with help beside you), your choices will start to add up to better health. Please remember, there are many aspects to health and we DON’T have to complicate them.

Need some extra help in making realistic holistic choices? Check out the Realistic Holistic 6 Week Course on ThatVeganWife.com and about Why I Created this Course for you.

Until Next Time--

TVW

Watch the video I created of Highlights from my trip to Costa Rica!

Hey you. It's been a while. Welcome back to my channel. I have loads to catch you up on, but wanted to share some highlights from my latest trip to Costa Rica.