Families switch up traditional Thanksgiving meals

Maddie Cox, Editor-In-Chief

Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of the biggest feast-filled holidays in America, but one of the underlying challenges many tend to overlook at the struggles those with restrictive animal product diets go through during these times.

Ty Doman, senior, decided to go vegan because he was already avoiding dairy and made the step to go all the way and not eat any animal products.

“I’ve been on this diet for 4 months, and it’s allowed me to lose a lot of unwanted body weight and make me feel better, alone with less mental fatigue.”

Those who are vegetarian, or vegan know the struggles of trying to find substitutes even just on a regular basis.

“My family is not vegan, but are very supportive of my life choices,” Jordan McCully, senior said, ”There is difficulty finding food substitutes at time, especially when going out to eat at restaurants. But there are usually more options at the grocery store.”

McCully says it is hard to find substitutes around the holidays, because most of thanksgiving and Christmas revolve around meat and dairy.

“My diet definitely effects my eating around the holidays because at my family gatherings there are few vegan options. My mom usually makes me my own special meals that I can bring to different holiday parties,” McCully said.

As the traditionally holiday feasts near, some find it difficult to find options that follow their diet when their family does not follow the same one.

Doman says he finds himself in similar struggles because his family does not follow a vegan diet like himself either.

“Around the holiday like thanksgiving, I eat meat substitutes hat are made to taste like meat or even look like meat. Also for many traditional holiday foods I substitute non-vegan ingredients with vegan ones, like instead of cream I’ll use coconut cream,” Doman said.

McCully says a few of her favorite substitutes are vegan corn casserole, vegan lasagna, salad, and some vegan desserts. Diana Weiland, cooking teacher, says that substitutes and options are available to make new versions of traditional favorites.

“Pumpkin pie can be made vegan by replacing the eggs with coconut cream and cornstarch to thicken the pumpkin and spices.  The pie crust can be made with vegetable shortening and even the finished pie topped with vegan whipped cream, made by whipping aquafaba, the liquid in a can of chickpeas whipped and sweetened,” Weiland said.

Weiland says it is important to know if your guests might observe special diets, but also instead of expecting your host to make something special, bring a dish to share you know you can eat and others may try. Students can also look to food magazines, food blogs, and online recipes for inspiration and ideas to spruce up their holiday substitutes.