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It’s that time of year again, where the snow begins to fall, the smell of cookies fills your home, and you’re bombarded by countless questions about being vegan…oh the holidays! Growing up the holidays were always my favorite time of year. It was a time to spend with friends, family, and of course eat delicious festive food. But the holidays can also be a stressful time when you’re constantly trying to justify your personal decisions to other people in your life.

I’ve been vegan for over 3 years so I’m quite familiar with the questioning and curiosity that comes along with not having turkey at Thanksgiving dinner. Below are a few of my top tips on how to survive the holiday’s as a vegan:

BRUSH UP ON YOUR “WHY”. Whether you decided to go vegan for the animals, the planet, your health, or a combination of reasons, it’s important to brush up on your personal response as to why you went vegan in the first place. When you fully understand the science, research, and/or emotions behind this decision, it becomes much easier to relay that information to your friends and family. That way when you get asked “but where do you get your protein from?” you’ll be able to reply with a calm and educated answer, rather than be frazzled and frustrated!

BE FLEXIBLE. Perhaps there are only two dishes that are vegan, and that is totally okay. Remember to meet people where they are at and understand that it is quite alright to make do with the slim pickings of vegan options. And while it is important to stay flexible, don’t ever feel like you need to eat meat or dairy simple because someone pressures you into it. Return to your “why”, express your reasons and happily explain to anyone who is curious.

PLAN AHEAD. If you’re the one doing the cooking this part is quite simple. However, if you end up going to someone else’s house remember to plan ahead. Call them up and ask them if there will be any vegan dishes, and offer to make or bring something vegan if the host is open to that. Not only will this ensure you’ll have some delicious vegan food, but you can also show everyone else how scrumptious plant based meals can be. Making a vegan dessert is my favorite way to contribute to a holiday gathering…because who doesn’t love a tasty cookie?

BE KIND, COMPASSIONATE, AND PATIENT. I know (trust me I REALLY know) how difficult this time of year can be. The vegan jokes get old real quick and sometimes it can be down right frustrating and isolating. Yet, the most important tip I can give you is to be kind. Remember that you weren’t always vegan. Know that good friends and family always just want what is best for you and you may just be the first vegan they have ever met! Be patient with them; answer their questions, don’t laugh at their curiosity, or their continual clarifications on what exactly is vegan.

At the end of the day, this time of year is all about spending time with those we love. Call me crazy but I think this can be achieved even if we all have different food on our plates. Never underestimate the power your actions have, even if it feels like no one else cares, I promise you are having more of an impact than you may ever know. Happy holidays friends!


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