Vegan Criticism

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