I made the decision to transition to a vegan diet about a year and a half ago. I made this choice for a number of reasons, none of which I intend to go into detail about in this blog post 🙂 . Instead, I would like to focus on encouraging people to be open minded during the holiday season to people who make dietary changes for personal reasons. It is challenging to nourish our bodies intuitively in this day and age. There seems to be a new cure-all diet every month and usually it involves cutting out a major food group. It is no wonder that people feel concerned when they hear there is a person who has a dietary restriction who will be attending their holiday dinner. However, there are easy ways we can make the dinner table enjoyable and friendly for all!
- If you are hosting, find out if any of your guests have a restriction or food allergy ahead of time. You can choose how accommodating you are willing to be altering recipes.
- Encourage your guests to bring something hearty and delicious that can be enjoyed by all.
- Focus on what everyone can have versus what certain people can’t have.
- Don’t get defensive! Why someone chooses to change their diet/lifestyle is their choice, not yours.
- Don’t stress! Focus on everyone enjoying time together J
Here are my favorite simple vegan substitutions in recipes:
EGGS – 1 tbsp of ground flax meal + 3 tbsp of water set aside for 10 mins OR 3 tbsp aqaufaba (the liquid bean “juice” from a can of beans).
MILK – Alternative milks can be used 1:1 in place of regular milk in recipes. I usually get unsweetened almond milk because it is affordable and readily available. I also like cashew milk but it is usually much creamier than almond milk.
YOGURT – There are a lot of commercially available alternative yogurts. I personally like Kite Hill Greek Style yogurt or Forager Cashewgurt. For a quick recipe to mimic the texture/flavor yogurt, blend 1 cup silken tofu with 2 tbsp lemon juice and ¼ tsp salt.
BUTTERMILK – For 1 cup buttermilk, use 1 cup soy/almond milk with 1 tsp vinegar (any type of vinegar will work). Mix and set aside for a couple minutes to curdle.
BUTTER – My favorite butter alternative is Earth Balance Buttery Spread. There are a number of other vegetable based spreads available, just double check the nutrition label to ensure no milk or milk byproducts are present.
CHEESE – For a cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast is my go-to. A small amount of white miso is also a great option to add a tangy, salty flavor to a dish. I do not typically buy vegan cheese alternatives because they usually taste strange and are expensive.
There are a number of alternative products on the market that are well liked by all. However, I have found most basic ingredients work excellently and they happen to be affordable as well! Nevertheless, if you are in need of some holiday recipe inspiration, this blogger has a very comprehensive list of awesome plant-based recipes: https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-thanksgiving-recipe-roundup/