Ditching the bird for Thanksgiving

Alondra Gallardo, Online Managing Editor

Many know November for election day, daylight savings and Thanksgiving, but few recognize it as World Vegan Month.

The month-long recognition kicked off Nov. 1 with World Vegan Day, which leads into the rest of the month by encouraging people to eat more plant-based foods. Eighty-eight percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving, resulting in 46 million turkeys being eaten on the same day, according to a survey by the National Turkey Federation.

“Giving a month to veganism is important as it can bring more awareness and invite more people to go vegan or at least try to reduce their intake of animal products,” vegan Instagram food blogger Daisy Poblano said. “Not only for animals but for the environment and their own personal health as well.”

World Vegan Day was first celebrated in 1994 to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Vegan Society, according to the nonprofit Compassion Action for Animals. The Vegan Society was founded by a group of non-dairy vegetarians who felt the need to find a word to more accurately define the cruelty-free diet that then lead to a lifestyle.

As a vegan myself, I find the month goes by like any other until the Thanksgiving holiday rolls around and family members gather, leaving vegans as the only ones who don’t eat a giant turkey.

Some families treat vegans differently on Thanksgiving. Some might try to tear them down. Others might not care about veganism but won’t go out of their way to make sure there are alternatives. Others will try to make something special for you. 

After being a vegan for three years, I have learned that this can go a few different ways: You can practice your fasting and avoid eating until you get home. Another option is to pregame before the gathering by eating a bunch of (vegan) carb-heavy meals so you are not hungry for the rest of the night. 

Lastly, you can make your own dishes and distribute them with the rest and quietly watch everyone else dig into them because you “forgot” to announce that vegan dishes are included in the meal display around the oversized dead bird. Usually side dishes are more of a hit since you’re not trying to imitate meat, like a vegan fall pasta salad where you’d just toss all of the ingredients together. Regardless, it’s best to stick to your ethics and make your own dish(es) to share (or not).

Vegan fall pasta salad:

  • ½ cup of Brussels sprouts
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • ½ cup of mushrooms 
  • ½ cup of sweet potatoes
  •  Onion powder 
  • 16oz of pasta (I prefer bowtie)
  • 1 ½ tsp salt 
  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar 
  • Lemon (optional)