Christmas is a magical time of the year when most families come together to celebrate and indulge in delectable meals and treats. Yet with meat typically served at most Christmas lunches, life can be tricky for vegans. Don’t worry, help is at hand!
With over half a million vegans in the UK- not to talk of the rest of the world – it is fair to say that veganism is one of the fastest-growing lifestyle movements of our age and will find its way into more homes this year than ever before. If you find yourself in the position of being the only vegan at the dinner table or gathering this season, have no fear and do not feel overwhelmed. Here are a few tips on navigating and enjoying Christmas as a vegan!
1. Why Not Host Christmas This Year?
If you have the time, opportunity and cooking skills, why not plan and execute a Christmas feast for your loved ones this year?
Start with some tasty appetisers. Swap the usual turkey for a nut roast or whole roasted cauliflower (yes, this is a thing!). Add some mouthwatering side dishes like spiced Brussels sprouts, coconut and turmeric roast potatoes, bright salads and roasted mixed vegetables. Then finish things off with a spectacular vegan Christmas pudding or chocolate truffles.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be anything too complicated, but you can still make a big impression with a thoughtfully chosen menu.
2. Show Off Your Skills and Contribute a Vegan Dish!
If you are invited to a meal where the vegan choices may be limited, why not offer to bring a tasty vegan-friendly dish or two along?
Not only does it guarantee that you will have something to eat, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to show your friends and family how delicious and satisfying plant-based meals can be.
It’s also a fun way of getting a friendly conversation about veganism started and chances are that everyone will want to try what you bring, so make sure you take enough.
3. Be Sure to Inform Hosts in Advance
This ties in nicely with the previous point. If you are all set to attend a non-vegan Christmas meal, be sure to inform your host in advance to avoid any awkward moments or having to explain your dietary requirements when you arrive.
A gracious host will ensure that there is something for you at the table and you may even be able to suggest ways that they can veganise certain dishes. When in doubt, contribute a dish that you will be able to enjoy as well, or eat in advance so that you are not too hungry when you arrive.
4. Brush Up On Your Vegan Knowledge
Questions about your lifestyle are likely to come up and this is a great opportunity to share your thoughts on how eating plant-based is a compassionate way to care for our animal friends, our health and the environment.
Try to remain patient (even in the face of incredulity or attack) and avoid heated debates, lectures or graphic descriptions of industrial farming around the dinner table. Focus instead on all the beautiful, positive aspects of being vegan. Keeping calm and setting discussion boundaries is a great way of ensuring that you enjoy the occasion as much as possible.
5. Remember Christmas is a Time for Giving!
If you are fortunate enough to spend Christmas with loved ones this year, it is important to remember those who are not in the same privileged position.
Giving back can involve anything from donating your time and energy to helping out at a food bank, donating plant-based meals to shelters, volunteering to cook at your church, and lots more. Let’s use this time as an opportunity to spread the most important aspects of our faith and lifestyle – love and compassion.
For more vegan recipe and lifestyle inspiration, visit www.vegannigerian.com.