New Vegan Thanksgiving Traditions
Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, and with the central celebration traditionally focused on a carnivorous / omnivorous feast, that last Thursday in November can be a contentious time for vegans, vegetarians and plant-based dieters. At WrawP Foods, we’ve been through this, and want to offer some (hopefully) helpful suggestions to make maintaining your lifestyle through these social holidays a little more pain-free and less stressful.
A plant-based diet in no way excludes you from a traditional Thanksgiving experience. It’s absolutely possible to put together a delicious + nutritious plant-based variation on the traditional Thanksgiving Menu. If it’s your first plant-based Thanksgiving, best to start planning early. Fortunately, the internet is your friend; there are literally tons of great vegan Thanksgiving recipes available on food blogs and YouTube channels. Or just type “Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes” into Google and prepare to be overwhelmed by all the results.
There are amazing recipes for plant-based alternative takes on classic Thanksgiving sides like Vegan Stuffing, Vegan Mashed Potatoes, Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits and Country Gravy and the venerable Vegan Green Bean Casserole. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but when you find a recipe that really works for you, make sure to save it, and revisit it next Thanksgiving. Creating these kinds of traditions can forge new and enduring bonds with friends and family.
Give Your Host Notice
If you’ll be dining with friends or family, away from home, you’ll want to let your hosts know of your dietary restrictions as early as possible. The more lead time, the better. Don’t consider this any kind of imposition, it’s the opposite: you were invited to share this holiday, and your dietary requirements are an important part of you. Your hosts are investing time and money into a meal they want their guests to enjoy and remember; foreknowledge of specific requirements will allow them to adjust that menu to offer more inclusive dishes, available to all their guests. Everyone wins.
The fortunate upside is that each year there are more turning to a plant-based diet. Vegan alternative dishes are becoming increasingly mainstream at parties, events, and family dinners. But still, best to let your hosts know when you accept the invitation.
Friends or relatives might be curious as to why there’s no traditional meat or turkey on your plate. How you respond will vary from person to person – we all have different relationships with our loved ones. You could answer honestly and briefly, like “I’m avoiding meat for ethical reasons.” And/or for health or environmental concerns. If you feel as though getting into this at all will just cause uncomfortable drama, be diplomatic and answer that the holiday isn’t the time to go into this, but that you’d be happy to discuss it further on another day.
If you’re able, and your hosts are amenable, offer to bring some side dishes. This can lighten your hosts’ workload, and also be an opportunity to share your dietary staples / introduce plant-based cuisine to other not-yet-converted guests. Offering friends and relatives some of your food is a great way to demonstrate how delicious a vegan Thanksgiving can be. Consider it a work of edible evangelism – one of those rare kinds of evangelism that nobody objects to.
A Plant-Based Tryptophan Food Coma
The Tryptophan-fueled food coma is intrinsically tied to the aftermath of a classic Thanksgiving feast. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid and the key building block in your body’s production of serotonin, a neurochemical responsible for elevating and balancing your mood. When tryptophan synthesizes serotonin, the chemical reaction releases the hormone melatonin, which is key in regulating sleep patterns.
Eating Tryptophan alone will not make you feel sleepy, but consuming it with large amounts of carbohydrates, like the carbs in sides and trimmings like stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls and breads that induces drowsiness.
Soy products are actually a rich source of Tryptophan. By including a (soy-based) Tofu Turkey product, like the classic Tofurkey (over 5 million sold since 1997), any other Tofu based dish, or soy-based meat replacement products like Gardein, vegans / vegetarians / plant-based dieters can share in the experience of that comforting, post-feast exhaustion.
Plant-based or no, leftovers are an almost metaphysical certainty, of any Thanksgiving feast. WrawP Foods can absolutely help with this, as our delicious raw vegan Veggie Wraps and Coconut Wraps can turn side-dishes like mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce or mac & cheese into the perfect grab-and-go snacks or lunches.
The holidays can be stressful; just take care of yourself, get through them, and look forward to those delicious leftover wraps in the days to come.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!