The holiday season can put quite the damper on your resolution to live a healthy lifestyle. But fear not… With these helpful tips and substitutes, Thanksgiving and veganism can go hand in hand!
These misunderstood vegetables bring about a look of utter disgust from your guests, but pair them with a delicious wine glaze when cooking the Brussels, and viòla, everyone will be begging for more! (As long as you do not over cook them, because… Eew). Or add a fun twist to traditional sliders, by cutting the sprouts in half and using them as buns for Tempeh, carmelized onions (or another delicious, vegan filling).
Sweet Potato Soup
Warm everyone up with a delicious concoction of diced vegetables, vegetable broth and rice (or light coconut) milk. This colorful, Fall soup hardly represents a meat-free meal, so nobody will complain about this warm liquid salvaging them from the cold!
Whether you like to use sweet, or regular, potatoes, this is the ultimate comfort food! You may not think of mashed potatoes as a non-vegan dish, but to make it nice and creamy, add Vegenaise. Vegenaise tastes just like mayonnaise, but of course it is dairy and egg-free. Whip your potatoes together with this miracle food, and I guarantee that your comfort food will taste better than those loaded with animal by-products! Do not forget to add Earth Balance butter on top, to finish, or you can always amp up this vegan dish with vegan gravy!
What is a Thanksgiving meal without a gravy boat? Most vegans get their protein from mushrooms so a mushroom gravy is a must. Make it using mushrooms, vegetable broth, cornstarch and soy sauce to pair with your delicious mashed potatoes to make for an unforgettable dish. Or if you prefer not to eat mushrooms, vegan gravy can be made using a miso paste, tahini and orange juice. Either way, you and your guests will not be deprived this holiday!
And what is a Thanksgiving table without cranberry sauce? This staple is usually the only vegan option during Thanksgiving. Use maple syrup (or agave nectar) to sweeten, and maybe even orange zest to add a little tartness to your Thanksgiving meal. You are already putting a spin on Thanksgiving, so why not keep going?
Without a traditional turkey, you thought that you were out of luck when it came to stuffing. But vegan stuffing can be so good that you do not even need to stuff it into anything (except your mouth). You can use the Fall’s crisp apples, along with walnuts (for more crunch), red onions and whole grain bread (you can go with a Gluten-Free variety here, if you choose). Or if you want something more starchy (it is Thanksgiving after all), use potatoes and bread, for this vegan side dish!
When it comes to the turkey that “Turkey Day ” is infamous for, choose tempeh products over Tofurkey. Tempeh is also made of soybeans, but the whole bean is used and the fermentation process is more natural. Tofu (among other soy products) is chemically engineered and loaded with estrogen. Tofu is made with only a part of the bean and first it is transformed into a milk form, which is then modified into the silky squares that we have come to know. Excess estrogen wrecks havoc on ones health. This could be the culprit in breast cancer in women. And since when do manly men want such attributes such as increased boobage and lower voices? (Increased estrogen is especially a no-no for young boys, as it completely disrupts their development). Faux meat can easily be made using tempeh. A much safer (and mouth-watering-good) alternative! You can purchase pre-made tempeh products at natural food stores, such as the curry, or you can have a go at creating your own “bird” with the tempeh squares. Plus, it tastes so good that no one will know that they are being healthy this holiday season!
Remember that when choosing food that is healthier, the more natural the better. As a general rule, if it was grown from the ground or if it roams the earth (for the non-vegetarians and vegans), it is safe to eat. Do you think the cavemen genetically modified their foods? Besides having more vitamins and nutrients in its natural form, foods in their natural form are better for our temples.
Most people say that sexy time creates the most excitement for human beings, but I think that dessert causes the same (if not more) joy. Just because you are not eating any egg or dairy products, does not mean that you have to forego the indulgence that is pumpkin pie! Sugar is my one exception to my “caveman diet “. Is it in its natural form and did the cavemen experience a sugar-high? No, but we are already giving up so much that a little indulgence cannot hurt (just do not overdo it!). Once again, natural food stores have you covered when it comes to vegan (and Gluten-Free, if you dare) desserts. These taste so good, you cannot honestly taste the difference. Plus, non-vegans will now be choosing vegan desserts from now on, since there is no difference in taste, but also much healthier ingredients! You could also make your own vegan pumpkin pie if you prefer less processed foods (and if you use your oven for something other than a place to store your winter sweaters!)
Remember that while the food on the table is not the essence of this holiday, your soul will be grateful that you chose to treat it with love, kindness and health this season!