No Turkey? No Problem

The holidays are filled with decorations, warm family reunions, celebration, and delicious food. But what happens when you cannot enjoy most of the dishes on the table? Whether you have a dietary restriction or maintain a lifestyle that affects your diet such as being vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian, the holidays can be a source of stress when you want to eat with your extended family who might not provide for your needs. We had a conversation with Brendi Wilmore ‘20, who has been a vegan for two years, to see how she navigates the dinner dilemma at holiday gatherings while also having a good time. 

“The first Thanksgiving was really hard because my family was not very welcoming. I didn’t eat anything because I can’t argue as a guest,” noted Brendi.

However, since then, she sees the holidays as an opportunity to “reduce the stigma around being vegan”

“It’s not hard for me because it is my morals.”

So how does one express their morals without offending the hostess? Brendi finds it helpful to be open about the topic and to bring food that fits into her lifestyle to share with others. 

“Anyone with dietary restrictions should bring a dessert and a main dish that is really good to show others that a non traditional dish can still be good.”

“My Mom always makes this really good vegan chile where she grinds her own spices. She also found a way to make mashed potatoes with a butter substitute so we always bring those to share.”

There is also a growing collection of specialized options at various grocery stores and bakeries which can be great if you are not up to preparing a dish yourself. 

At the end of the day, the holidays should bring us together in celebration and should be a time of joy. Sharing your favorite foods and including everyone during meal time is so important in caring for one another’s needs.