This is a guest post from Paisley, our resident vegan hottie
For many, anticipation and excitement this time are built around camping out for sales on electronics that’ll probably be outdated before they even have a chance to unbox them. For me, it’s knowing there’s no school, no work, and no excuse for anyone to opt out of holiday family functions. However, when your diet changes and differs from the rest of your family there can be disconnect where soul food once tied bonds.
With Thanksgiving being around the corner, here are a few simple tips on how to survive the holidays as a Black vegan:
Explain why your lifestyle change works for you.
Trying to explain lifestyles that vary from cultural norms can not only be difficult but also frustrating, for both parties. From experience, this often results in a barbershop style debate about how so-and-so has been eating fatback, chitlins, and hog maw their entire life and feels just fine. I’ve learned the best way to avoid this is by explaining why certain eating habits don’t work for you. Avoid the shaming and condescending remarks, or spewing diet and health statistics linked to soul food that’ll only put a damper on a precious occasion. Instead, speak on the positives. Share how your lifestyle changes have benefitted you. If someone seems open or receptive to knowing more, that’s fine, but don’t try to guilt trip or force your views anyone.
Bring a vegan dish
If your family is anything like mine, even the green salad will be off limits to you. To save yourself, you have couple options: eat beforehand, or offer to prepare a dish or two. Rather than tell them, show them something new. There are a million and one ways to recreate some of your Thanksgiving favorites without preparing them with meat or dairy, when you incorporate the right herbs, spices, and dairy alternatives. Try Googling a few recipes and add “vegan” to the keyword search.
Most importantly, remember to give thanks and hold gratitude for the opportunity to gather and spend time with your loved ones.