When you first go vegan Thanksgiving is really difficult. Between the dead turkey’s corpse on the table, trying to find something to eat and navigating comments from judgey relatives, the fun part of the holiday can quickly be drained if you let it.
Below are some delicious and easy ways to cope with the holiday challenges and come out of it with a happy full belly. Even if these items aren’t available in your area, most are just a click away.
Filling the house with the scent of cinnamon rolls is a critical part of Thanksgiving morning. Love Immaculate rolls! The frosting is delicious and the rolls are flaky and gooey.
Here’s Immaculate’s store locator
Immaculate Crescent Rolls are just as delicious as their cinnamon rolls. Not only are they vegan, but they come out of the oven fluffy and bakery-like.
Here’s Immaculate’s store locator
Desserts possibilities are, of course endless, but it just doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving if there’s no pumpkin pie. Wholly Wholesome has an incredible Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie that is totally vegan and totally delicious.
Here’s a link to the store finder
I’m a big fan of VeganLotus on Etsy. They ship affordable and amazing vegan desserts and meals. Everything is shipped fresh and quickly in coolers with icepacks.
Tofurky’s star product is their amazing gravy! It’s thick, rich and has a complex flavor. Even leftover it’s great. Every year we buy three cartons. Two for Thanksgiving and one to stash in the back of the freezer for a spontaneous Winter Friday night treat with baked fries.
If you’d like to make your gravy from scratch you can try Imagine Vegetarian No-Chicken Broth. It makes a great base for your homemade gravy.
Simply Organic Vegetarian Brown Gravy Mix is, despite the name, vegan.
Pacific Foods now has a Vegan Mushroom Gravy which is conveniently shelf-stable.
Another shelf-stable option is Imagine’s Wild Mushroom Gravy, which is not only vegan but also gluten-free.
The rushed pace of the holidays can often be a confusing time for the animals of the household, especially if their needs get overlooked.
Don’t forget to give your companion animals a special treat for Thanksgiving, just be sure it’s safe for them. (Catster has a great article on this) Remember that garlic, onions, shallots, chives, etc. are toxic for cats. Of course cats are also lactose-intolerant…something that isn’t an issue at a vegan meal but still important to note.
If you plan to have people in your home, make sure your animals have space to retreat if they need some time away from the stress and excitement, especially if guests bring children with them. Well-intended children often don’t realize that they are terrorizing animals with their volume, by cornering them and by ignoring the animals distress signals while forcing themselves upon the animal.
Also, consider that some animals may want to be social. If that is the case help them to have the opportunity without their being at risk. Visitor’s may not realize that your cat is indoor only or that your dog has a gluten sensitivity. Be sure to tell people how to interact with your furry children.
FIND NEW BELOVED RECIPES
There is a whole world of food out there. If you want to get into the kitchen and cook it all yourself, the internet is filled with vegan Thanksgiving recipes. As a micro-dweller, I love that we no longer have to store, or spend money on, cookbooks.
Vegweb – Is a wealth of info, not to be missed.
VegNews – Is another great resource for all things vegan.
Pinterest is the mother-load for amazing vegan recipes.
DEALING WITH RELATIVES
If you’re new to veganism and your relatives are being negative, give yourself permission to skip the family stress and go relative-free this year. Why expose yourself to their pressure and ridicule?
In my early veg years I suffered through the holiday. Then I met some vegans who taught me a great tactic. If your relations aren’t willing to understand why the dead cooked bird on the table is impossible for you to ignore, ask them if they could be comfortable with a roasted dog on the table while they eat.
In a loving and compassionate tone, ask them how they would feel seeing it, smelling it and hearing everyone drone on about how tasty its body is.
My relatives were never willing to understand so I went relative-free. It removed all of the stress, allowed me to create my own traditions and gave me the chance to spend the day with the people who mean the most to me.
Just watch Home for the Holidays (1995) directed by Jodie Foster if you begin to miss the stress of extended family. You’ll be cured of your insanity in no time.
If you decide to protect yourself against those whom do not support your consciousness, you may want to find some like-minded people to spend the day with.
Consider joining a Facebook group to share ideas with other vegans, such as Thoughtful Thanksgiving.
You can also like some Facebook pages, such as What Fat Vegans Eat Recipe Hoard or What F.A.T. Vegans Eat. The easiest thing to do is search “vegan” in the search field and start liking every page you see. Then look through the likes section of those pages to find more.
Subscribe to some YouTube channels such as Hot For Food.
If you’re an extrovert, find a local Vegan group to join. These groups often come together for a cruelty-free Thanksgiving potluck. Search on Vegan Meetups to find a group. Can’t find one near you? Consider starting your own. Here’s how.
Gardein Holiday Roast – Comes with gravy and is stuffed with wild rice stuffing. Delicious and only takes 1 1/2 hours to bake. Firmish texture. The leftovers slice up nicely for sandwiches and taste just as yummy cold.
Gardein Stuffed Turk’y – Like the Gardein Holiday Roast, these have a firmish texture. Delicious little morsels that are great if you only want two portions. If you decide to brave the relatives and attend their non-vegan Thanksgiving, this is a great item to pack.
Gardein Turk’y Cutlets – These are great for sandwiches or if you’d rather skip the stuffing. The texture is much softer than the Gardein Holiday Roast and the Gardein Stuffed Turk’y.
Tofurky Vegetarian Roast – This is the original turkey substitute. If you have trouble digesting large amounts of salt, this one may not be for you. Tofurky gives you the option of buying just the roast, the roast and gravy together, just gravy, or “the feast”, which consists of the roast, “wish sticks”, gravy and brownies.
Available to order from the Tofurky website
Field Roast has multiple options. Everything Field Roast makes is unbelievably delicious and of the highest quality. Textures are dense and meaty. Protein content is very high and flavor induces constant Mmmmm’s.
The savory puff pastry on the Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute is flaky and buttery. The whole roast is stuffed with Field Roast sausages to make it even more decadent.
The 1 lb Celebration Roast by Field Roast is a great small option that is stuffed with butternut squash, apples and mushrooms. Truly delicious.
New this year is the Forager’s Roast with a Pineapple-Mustard glaze. It is made with chanterelle mushrooms and wild huckleberries and smells like a holiday.
The Celebration Roast with Traditional Bread Stuffing and Gravy comes with their phenomenal Porcini Mushroom Gravy.
Find using their store locator
Trader Joe’s Breaded Turkey-Less Stuffed Roast – If you’re fortunate enough to live near a Trader Joes, you could soon be sitting down to dine on the acclaimed Turkey-Less Roast, which is famously only $9.99.
Trader Joe’s store locator
Vegan Whole Turkey from Vegetarian Plus – If you’re trying to get others to give veganism, or vegetarianism, a try, this item may be more comforting to them, as it somewhat resembles the shape of a dead turkey. I’ve never tried this one as it appears quite bready.
Alternatively, you could make the “Vegducken” (aka Squashplanten or Butteggini). There are many variations on this vegan roast but most agree that the outer layer should be a butternut squash. Inner layers are vast and include eggplants, zucchinis, squash, celery, asparagus and leeks.
Looking for something less labor intensive? Try a whole roasted Cauliflower.
You could also try making a seitan roast. ‘Bringing Home Seitan’ is a great resource for how to do it.
If you’d like to celebrate turkeys, rather than harm one, you could always sponsor a turkey at a farmed animal sanctuary.
Many sanctuaries, such as Farm Sanctuary, hold a Celebration for the Turkeys. This is a wonderful opportunity to get up close and cozy with these amazing birds. Pet them, feed them a yummy treat and feel good about participating in kindness.
Question of the Day:
Have you tried any of these coping ideas? What do you do to cope on Thanksgiving?
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