The story of how a 30-something carnivorous daughter-of-a-trapper ventured into a bold new vegan world.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Big, Fat Vegan Thanksgiving

Ah, Thanksgiving!  The first real test of our commitment to plant-based eating.  First, my mother calls. 

“Your brother tells us you’re a…vay-gan?”
“Vee-gan, mom.”
“What does that mean, vegan?”
“It means we are eating a plant-based diet.  No animal products, so no milk, no cheese, no meat.”
“Oh.  Why?”
“Health reasons.  I saw this research that showed how people in other countries, who don’t eat as much meat and dairy, don’t have the problems with obesity and cancers as we do here.”

Mom calls me back to tell me that my dad doesn’t feel up to having us over for a full Thanksgiving dinner.  We settle on ice cream and cake for my daughter’s birthday. 

Next up, my husband’s side of the family.  Luckily, I wasn’t present when John explained to Grandma Mason we were following a vegan diet.  How did she take it?  Well, she told him about “someone” she knew whose kids almost died because their parents put them on a vegetarian diet and they didn’t get enough protein or vitamins, but she did volunteer to tweak her usual feast to include some vegan options. 

Dinner was well enough.  She made a giant ham, which John and I both resisted.  We had plain baked sweet potatoes, plain boiled white potatoes, plain peas and a giant salad, complete with some yummy wonton strips she’d tracked down since croutons have milk and cheese in them. 

I gave her an “A” for effort, even though we had this conversation after dinner:
Grandma:  “Have a piece of pie, Tab.”
Me:  “No, thanks.”
Grandma:  “I know you can’t eat the crust, but you could eat some apple pie filling.”
Me:  “Doesn’t it have butter in it?”
Grandma:  “Sure, but not very much.”

Then, it was off to my parents house.  There was vanilla cake, per my daughter’s request, and a couple of different kinds of ice cream.  John and I brought two different non-dairy ice creams to try, and everyone wanted a bite.  Here’s the “scoop”, pun intended.

For John, I got Organic So Delicious Chocolate Walnut Brownie (retail:  $4.50 at my local health food store).  It’s a soy based “ice cream”.  It WAS so delicious!  The little bits of brownies and walnuts were super yummy, and overall it was a decadent, rich treat. 

For myself, I bought Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge.  This is made from coconut milk and sweetened with agave (so, it’s organic, soy-free, dairy-free AND gluten-free).  At almost $7/pint, it’s not an everyday purchase, but it was really good and worth a splurge once a month or so. 

My mom, who is diabetic, was impressed with the flavor/texture as well as the sugar/carbs in a serving.  Nick, I know you and Amanda are reading this, so feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below!

We had a nice visit.  John can’t seem to reconcile masculinity with a plant-based diet, so he spent most of the time complaining about this crazy idea I came up with (please refer to my first ever blog to see whose idea this really was!).  Frustrating to me, but understandable in some ways.  I know he is on-board, he’s just got to get confident enough to talk it up in public.  Our first 30-days are almost up, and we’ve already decided to go another 30 days.  The results, which I’ll write about tomorrow, speak for themselves!

Probably my favorite part of the visit?  John, my brother and my sister-in-law were having a conversation about diets on the table.  I’m assuming someone said something about my sister-in-law being a vegetarian.  From across the room, I hear Sam pipe in, “I’m a vegetarian, too.” 
Hearing him say that big word just cracks me up. 

Back home, we had a simple Thanksgiving celebration with just the kids.  My poor 18-year old was openly afraid of the tofu in the fridge, so I went with a simple casserole, Savory Shepherd’s Pie, I found in a vegetarian cookbook my mom let me borrow (Better Homes & Gardens Vegetarian Cooking Recipes for Today).  It used beans, not meat, as the main protein.  I had to make some simple adjustments to make the recipe vegan (for example, for the mashed potatoes on top, I used vegetable broth instead of milk and mixed in nutritional yeast instead of sprinkling cheese on top).  On a scale of 1-5, John gave it a 4, Morgan gave it a 3, and the boys refused to eat it at all (I attribute this to their ages, not the food).  I thought it was just okay, so I’m not going to bother posting the recipe here.

Today, as I am every day, I’m thankful for the freedom to just decide one day to become a vegan. 

1 comment:

  1. The Vegetarian Mennonite (aka your sister-in-law) must put a plug in for the Chocolate Walnut Brownie "soycream" (hmmm, did I just coin a term?). It was pure deliciousness, a chocolatey non-dairy symphony for the tastebuds. The Coconut Bliss didn't have quite the right texture, but was otherwise acceptable.

    Are you still going to be vegans for Christmas? I'll have to adjust my baking accordingly...