With illuminated houses, crackling fireplaces, and mulled wine, there’s no denying that the holidays are a special time of the year. For many of us, though, they can also be a wee bit stressful (hence, the mulled wine). If you’re attending a holiday dinner with meat-eaters or hosting the soirée yourself, here is some info that’s sure to come in handy. (And feel free to download and print the full version of PETA’s Vegan Holiday Survival Guide if that’s more your thing.) The holidays are a wonderful time to be an advocate for animals—and showing how easy (and tasty!) it is to be vegan is a great way to do it.
Wondering how to replace a dead stuffed bird as a centerpiece? Vegan holiday roasts are in almost all grocery stores, and many of them include vegan gravy, making it even easier than ever. Use one of these options and never worry about missing out on holiday staples again.
No need to worry about skipping out on mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie. If a recipe calls for dairy “products,” have no fear: an alternative is near. Soy, almond, and rice milk are super-easy to substitute for cow’s milk (and to bring along for others to sample). For a vegan butter option, Earth Balance gets my vote.
Got baking to do (or baked goods to eat)? No need for eggs when you can use applesauce, a banana, or an egg replacer instead. Do yourself a favor by bookmarking PETA’s Ultimate Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet and be sure to share it with friends and family. It definitely comes in handy.
Now, how will you put that all together and impress the naysayers? Easy. We’ve got some killer recipes and even a couple of videos that are sure to activate your taste buds.
The Common Questions
Nonvegans might have some questions (in addition to “Can I get the recipe for this?”). It’s important to have polite and succinct responses prepared in order to avoid arguments at the table. (Save those for politics and differing parenting styles—am I right or am I right?) Sometimes, it’s best to say something like “I’d be happy to fill you in more after dinner” and then follow through. Remember: Going vegan is the best way to save animals, improve your own health, and help the environment.
What’s the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan?
Vegetarians don’t eat meat—and that includes chicken and fish. Vegans avoid all foods that come from an animal, including eggs, dairy “products,” honey, etc. Luckily, there are vegan options for almost everything, including sour cream, ice cream, and many other items.
But what’s Thanksgiving without a turkey?
Thanksgiving is a time to take stock of our lives and give thanks for all that we have. In today’s farming system, beautiful, inquisitive, intelligent turkeys endure lives of suffering and experience excruciatingly painful deaths. Eating a dead animal is certainly nothing to celebrate, so let turkeys give thanks, too, by keeping them off your plate.
Vegans aren’t healthy. We need meat, don’t we?
Vegans can be extremely healthy! Vegan foods contain no cholesterol, are often low in saturated fats, and are full of protein, iron, and calcium. Vegans have lower rates of obesity, and going vegan lowers your risk of the three leading causes of death in the United States—heart disease, cancer, and strokes.
The Bible says it’s OK to eat meat!
Jesus’ message is one of love and compassion, and there’s nothing loving or compassionate about factory farms and slaughterhouses, where billions of animals lead miserable lives and are condemned to violent, bloody deaths. Jesus mandates kindness, mercy, compassion, and love for all God’s creation. He’d be appalled by the suffering that we inflict on animals just to indulge our acquired taste for their flesh.
Cows need to be milked, so what’s wrong with drinking milk?
Like all mammals, cows produce milk for their babies. In order to make milk, cows on factory farms are impregnated over and over again until their bodies are too worn out to continue producing, at which point they are killed. The calves are immediately separated from their moms, and the males are sent to veal farms. By drinking milk, you’re actually supporting the veal industry. Luckily, there are tons of delicious nondairy milks available these days.
Once you’ve wowed your friends and family with this delicious cruelty-free fare, have them thank you by pledging to go vegan at PETA.org.