Being a vegetarian on Thanksgiving

by Lisa on Wednesday: Nov 16, 2011
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I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 16, which means for the past 12 years, I have been the only one in my family and immediate circle of friends who does not eat meat. I get by fine for the majority of situations I find myself in with food, asking for substitutions in restaurants when necessary and perusing menus to find things I can eat.

The Thanksgiving tradition my family has followed for the majority of my life has been to go to my aunt and uncle’s house for dinner and family time every year. I’m very lucky that my aunt and uncle have come to understand and accommodate the fact that I don’t eat meat and no longer treat it like a phase or something crazy. The past few Thanksgivings, they’ve gone out of their way to make vegetable dishes and even some special stuffing that isn’t cooked inside the turkey. I’m never hungry on this holiday, that’s for sure.

But it hasn’t always been this way, and there are still some occasions when being vegetarian feels like being an from another planet. A few Easters ago, my cousin hosted a brunch. Knowing ahead of time that it was brunch, I didn’t think there would be any issue finding something without meat to eat (aside from sausages and bacon, almost all breakfast-y food is good, right?). Well, I was wrong. Every single thing they had included meat. My mother suggested I try the quiche… and lo and behold, there was bacon inside. The only thing I could do was pick at some fruit. I wasn’t happy.

Now that I’m a little older and I’ve started reading blogs of other people who eat like I do (or even vegan or raw in some cases), I know that there are options when a situation like this presents itself. The Fitnessista has had some great tips on this scenario over the years, the number one being that if you’re going somewhere that isn’t necessarily veg-friendly, make a veggie dish to bring with you so you’ll know you’ll be guaranteed to have something.

I’ve often thought about what kind of menu I would plan if I were to host Thanksgiving one year. D is convinced I’d want to make a tofurkey, but I don’t think I’d go in that direction. We’d have to have a traditional turkey because there would be so many meat eaters present, but I would want to make a huge spread of interesting, healthy veggie dishes.

Thankfully, I know I won’t have to worry about what I’m eating this year during the holidays.

Are there any out of the ordinary dishes you’re making this year?

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