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Thanksgiving is once again upon us and I, for one, am eternally thankful for raw cheesecakes: true gifts from the raw vegan gods… Cheesecake aside, the holidays have the potential to stir up panic in the best of us. Whilst it’s undeniably a wonderful time of year, the potential for awkward family meetings, political disagreements and heated conversations is rife. Throw in raw veganism? It’s enough to give you palpitations.
But there’s no need to worry. Thanksgiving is surprisingly easy to survive as a raw vegan – and it may even be your best yet – if you follow my 5 simple steps to making this raw vegan Thanksgiving awesome!
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare, and bring enough food to share!
The first step to making this Raw Vegan Thanksgiving one to remember (for the right reasons!) is preparation. There’s loads of tips and tricks online to have you whipping up a raw Thanksgiving feast that even the meatiest of meat eaters will want on their plate.
Fully Raw Kristina has some great advice and shares what she likes to take to dinner, including beautiful salads and a simply stunning pumpkin pie.
There’s so many raw Thanksgiving recipes to peruse that you’ll be spoil for choice! Just note that for some of these dishes, you’ll need specific kitchen tech, including a dehydrator. Never heard of it? Never fear. My handy guide to the best of the best dehydrators are here and all the rest of raw vegan kitchen tech is here!
Prepare for the big day by trying the recipes before Thanksgiving to rate them, and to check you have the right equipment. There’s nothing worse than looking forward to a beautiful dinner, and finding out that you need a super high speed blender to make that creamy soup. Trying to puree butternut squash in a $30 dollar version will result in frustration, disappointment, and a downright chunky mess. That’s why I’m also thankful for my Vitamix – the King of the blender world!
And if you think you might be tempted by high-fat, processed foods on the table, consider eating something, even if it’s just a small snack, before leaving for dinner. I often have a persimmon, banana and date smoothie pre-Thanksgiving. It leaves me satisfied enough to not be tempted by health-ruining foods, but I still have room for all of that raw vegan deliciousness! Don’t be fooled by the raw vegan stereotype. We eat a lot. 3000 calories a day, glowing skin and maintaining a healthy weight? Sounds awful, right…
Related Post: Should you try Raw vegan diet for weight loss?
You should also consider bringing plenty to share around. Now it’s unlikely that, before seeing the beautiful platters and vitamin-rich goodness you bring, that your family will ask you if they can try your food, but trust me, when they see the rainbow of color you’ve prepared, their hands might start to wander, especially to your moreish raw vegan pumpkin pie!
2. Remind yourself of the health facts
Even though it’s pretty obvious at this point that the standard American diet is harmful to say the very least, it’s possible that you’ll be asked during dinner about the ‘safety’ of your raw vegan diet (groan). The hardest part of being raw vegan isn’t the food, it’s the misconceptions!
Politely respond to any ‘concerns’ about your health with some indisputable facts. Michael Greger, physician and nutrition expert, in his book, ‘How Not to Die’, describes studies showing how meat consumption leads to an increased risk of colon cancer and how processed meat, well-cooked meat and fried foods may correlate with a higher risk of pancreatic cancer: one of the most aggressive forms.
Related Post: Seven Epic Benefits of the Raw Vegan Lifestyle
In complete contrast, Dr Esselstyn, M.D, has proven that a whole foods vegan diet can reverse heart disease. Some cooked vegan foods are part of this diet, but fruits and veggies in their natural, uncooked state, are some of the main sources of disease-preventing goodness. Michael Greger similarly explains how a plant-based diet can fight against cancer, unlike its carnivorous counterpart. So if and when a family member asks if you’re getting enough protein, hit them with the facts, and try to remain calm…
3. Stay calm
As difficult as it might be, channel your inner zen master throughout Thanksgiving dinner, where you are likely to be surrounded by incredibly unhealthy, animal-based, planet-killing foods, and less than sympathetic family. Though you might be seething on the inside, be resilient, stay calm, and avoid fisticuffs with the less than understanding family members and friends, if you can help it. It’s possible that there will be a joke, or 6, about being raw vegan (we’ve all heard them, and aren’t they just fantastic?), but try to respond in a controlled manner.
The problem is that our society has been falsely led to believe that a diet full of meat and dairy is the optimum, when in fact, as we know too well, this can lead to diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It does such a good job of convincing us though, that people often scoff at the thought of eating purely fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. Passing on cancer-causing fat-laden fried foods and choosing meals that will give you an abundance of energy, glowing skin and a longer life? How odd!
Many people are still on their journey to realizing the truth about food, so stay patient. For any family members who are particularly resistant, accept their reluctance, but offer samples if any are curious. I guarantee that when you turn up with your rainbow of vitalizing dishes, they’ll sneak a taste when you’re not looking. After all, when it comes to lifestyle changes, slow and steady wins the race! One minute they’re tasting your desserts, the next they’ve started their own raw vegan health blog… the copycats!
During my last Thanksgiving, a very skeptical father-in-law ‘accidentally’ ate some of my raw vegan cheesecake, and said it was the best he’d ever had. He had no idea that it was raw, until we told him, and now he requests it all the time. He used to scoff at the thought of dishes made purely from fruit, veg, nuts and seeds, but now he can’t get enough! I dazzled him that day with my dessert, and so can you!
It’s likely that some of your family members will expect you to bring a pathetic bowl of carrot sticks to Thanksgiving dinner… maybe on a bed of limp lettuce leaves if you’re feeling particularly fancy. So smash their expectations by adorning the table with a dazzling display of beautiful colorful dishes, abundant with vitamins and minerals, that knock the rabbit food stereotype out of the park. You’ll already have tried and tested recipes and picked your faves. Just make sure you bring enough for people to try when they’re well and truly dazzled!
And when you’re the only one not crouched in a ball on the floor clutching your aching stomach from the processed carb and fat overload, your family and friends may want to ask you a few questions about your lifestyle. It will be incredibly tempting at this point to tell them you’re going for a jog as you feel ‘full of energy actually’, but try to refrain if possible. Simply remember your facts from earlier, and – calmly – explain the infinite benefits of the lifestyle!
Give them recipes, discuss the epic benefits, advise on equipment, and, if you don’t dislike them too much at this point, offer to prepare a dinner for them! They’ll be thankful for the advice and you’ll be thankful that you’ve smashed the boring raw vegan stereotypes.
So there you have it. Everything you need to survive Thanksgiving as a raw vegan, and it may just be your best yet. As long as you avoid the topic of politics. Whatever you do, always avoid politics!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!