Plant-Based Thanksgiving

Posted by Jessica Meyers Altman on


So, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It conjures up warm thoughts of family, food, and abundance. Oye, the abundance!  In our family, as I'm sure yours, there has always been the overwhelming amount of brown food to go on the table. Most of this food is high in calories and low in nutritional value. You eat, and you feel sick, for good reason. Many of us consume between 3000 and 4500 calories in 1 meal and 229 grams of fatl! That's more than 2 whole day's worth of food! 

As I have transitioned to a plant-based diet, family meals have become more difficult (add to that, I'm gluten free, and I have become a real pain in the tuchas for the family!). I deal with the snide comments and questions about why I don't eat this or that, with my plate filled with colorful, healthy foods. I bring half of the meal. I do this because 1) if I didn't there would be nothing for myself or my family to eat, 2) I love to feed people healthy foods, 3) most people present are happy that there will be at least a few healthy options, and 4) I hope to sway people towards healthy food choices whenever possible. I feel that when a colorful salad, bean, or soup is placed upon a table, it invites comments and good feelings. You don't feel gross after consuming my meals, as they lack that heavy, calorically dense feeling from creating a bloated stomach. You also will be consuming WAY less calories, due to the higher fiber content and increased feeling of satiety.

So, here are my recommendations to you as you approach holiday season:

1) Answer Aunt Sally's questions about why you don't eat meat. Explain it for whatever reason is yours, in a polite, non-confrontational way. No one likes someone who is on a high horse. Refer to a doctor, the recent WHO studies, and type of expertise as to what has lead you down this path.

2) If the conversation turns hostile (as it sometimes can), remember people look at others choosing healthy pathways as a reflection upon themselves. When they see you doing something to make positive change, they feel defensive, and it causes them to turn inward on their own choices. It's easier to belittle someone else, to make oneself feel more comfortable with their own choices. Offer up friendly conversation, and explain to them that you'd love to give them some resources to read if they are interested in learning more. Explain that's how you learned too.  

3)  Tell the host/hostess that you'd love to bring something, and offer a suggestion. They will most likely be happy that you offered to bring something. If they aren't, bring food for yourself, and a little extra to share, should someone else want to taste.

4)  Ask someone to try something you've made. Sharing is caring, so offer up some whole food, plant-based recipes that you feel will appeal to the masses. Good ones to try are rice salads with mixed veggies, quinoa, lentil soups, and more. I have a whole listing of recipes (with more to come this month) on plant-based for Thanksgiving.

If you're looking for some plant-based recipes, check out a whole listing of them on my blog by clicking here. I will be adding more over the month, so do check back!

Remember, there's no reason to avoid a holiday because you're against how someone else lives their life. Holidays should be celebrated, but bring your own healthy spin to the table. Change is good. Bringing healthy changes to the table can help everyone. Hey, who know, maybe you'll bring someone to the plant side..... 

Until next week....happy eating!

Jessica from


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