If you're like me, you may be the only vegan in the entire family. And that could be hard at times; especially during the holidays. So, I've put together a few tips that have helped me make it through, headache-free.
Tip #1: Eat in Advance!
Ok, I'm not saying to have a three-course meal before you attend every party but definitely have a little something to eat just in case all you are able to eat is bread and potatoes. If you are comfortable (or not shy like me), you could ask the host in advance what sorts of dishes and appetizers will be provided just to make sure there is something for you. (You would need to do that if you had an allergy so you could treat this the same.) Most hosts will provide at least some plant-based foods such as salad but these may also contain dressings with milk and egg or could be topped with chicken. Some family members still ask me if I eat fish, chicken or cheese. So, even if the host of the party assures you that there will be vegan options, there's a chance that they aren't completely vegan. If you have children, then definitely feed them in advance just in case because even though the host believes your kids will like their vegan options, that may not always be the case.
Tip #2: Bring Your Favorite Vegan Dish to Dinner
What I always do when I'm invited to a holiday gathering, is to bring a plant-based dish that we could all enjoy. This way, I know I will be eating at least one type of dish. And chances are, there will be more options. Here is my signature dish I like to call, The Plant-Based Special. It's a real crowd 'pleaser' and can work as a side dish as well. So, bring a dish or appetizer that you are proud of and want to share with your loved ones. If you want to bring something a little more "recognizable" to the guests or more "safe", then bring roasted potatoes or Potato and Garlic Mash. Don't get excluded from holiday dinners, participate and become the spotlight in your social gatherings.
Tip #3: Bring Positivity to the Party
The hardest part about going vegan isn’t switching from meat to tofu; it's actually the social gatherings. Food is social and often an item in celebration. If you are invited to a holiday dinner but do not eat all the food, you may actually offend some family members or friends. Some may argue with you about ethics. Don’t engage in an ethics battle this holiday season. Diets and traditions are deeply personal. Instead, try discussing how much you enjoy being vegan and how it makes you feel healthy and happy. Let people see all the good in veganism by bringing positivity to the subject and they'll come around on their own.
Tip #4: Help Find a Restaurant You Could All Enjoy
If your family and friends are planning a get-together at a restaurant, help pick the spot, assuring that there is something for everyone to enjoy. The number of restaurants offering vegan options is rising dramatically so chances are, you will have some vegan options no matter where you eat. However, there are vegetarian restaurants that many non vegans go to and they tend to be "hot" and trendy. So, you could suggest everyone to meet at this new hot and trendy spot, for example. Try to find one that has a great atmosphere too, and preferably with good music to really make sure everyone has a good time. What's great about this option is that it encourages people to try foods that they normally would have not tried, and this will make them a little more open to the idea for the next time.
Tip #5: Show Off Your Vegan Fashion
We now know that your style does not need to be comprised when it comes to cruelty-free fashion. So, why not show it off this holiday season! If someone compliments you on your clothing, be sure to let them know that it's vegan; they'll be very curious about the texture and will ask questions which is a good thing. To search for vegan wear, simply type "vegan fashions" in the search engine of your choice and find the outfit of your dreams.
Tip #6 Gift a Cool Vegan Item
Looking for Christmas ideas? Why not get a lovely pair of vegan suede shoes or vegan leather handbag or wallet for your loved one. There are countless sites that offer several fashionable items that are completely cruelty-free. And the best part about is, it gets shipped to your door so you can avoid those hectic shopping malls.
Tip #7: Get Your Family To do a 14-day Detox Cleanse
The one thing your family and friends may complain about during the holidays is how bloated they feel right after the huge holiday feast. They may also complain about skin issues and have probably gained a little weight. Use this as an opportunity to get them on a 14-day detox cleanse, stressing on the positive effects a diet switch can have in such a small amount of time. They will feel better and their skin will glow due to the removal of milk products, as this increases sebum production. To check out my 14-day detox cleanse, sign up on my site here for more information. After the cleanse, don't be surprised if they come back asking you for more tips!
Tip #8: Remember You Are Awesome
After all, it is said and done, if you have decided to go vegan, then it was your choice. You do not need anyone's approval and you don't need to feel guilty. You are helping the animals, your health and the environment all at once. I just appreciate that and thank you. You are awesome! In almost all cases, and after some time, it is very possible that another family member will adapt to the same lifestyle or at least become curious. And, when that happens, welcome them with open arms. :