Tips For Navigating Omnivore Family And Friends
Ahhh, the holidays! A time for giving, spending time with family, being thankful, and…eating.
Lots and lots of eating. If you’re a vegan mama (or papa) like me, the eating part can sometimes make the spending time with family part, less appealing to say the least. I don’t want to be too blunt, but the last thing I want to do when I’m in a jolly mood, is to stare at my beloved friends and family feast on a dead animal. It just takes the jolly right out of the air, if you know what I mean. Not only is the watching others eat bothersome, but let’s not forget the comments. You know the “are you sure you don’t want this cheese? It’s so good!” or “wow, you’re not going to let your little one eat that cupcake? You aren’t letting her be a kid!”
As well meaning as our omnivore friends and family can be, there’s no doubt that for some of us vegans, it is anxiety provoking. While we can’t always control our surroundings, this year I was determined to come up with solutions that didn’t cost a whole lot, and that kept me sane this season. Because us vegans have to stick together I wanted to share them with you! Here they are:
1. Have a vegan potluck!
This year I decided to send out invites to my loved ones, and have a potluck. I specified on the invitation that it was vegan, and even made a suggestion that if they were unsure what to bring, they could google their favorite dish with the word vegan in front of it. This idea works on so many different levels; I don’t have to spend a lot because everyone is bringing something. Also, everyone is bringing something vegan, so the whole “I don’t feel like being around a dead animal” anxiety isn’t there. Another cool thing is that this may be the first time your omnivore family member attempts to make something vegan. That can be a great conversation starter.
Example: Aunt Jay: “I didn’t realize nacho cheese could be vegan, and with potatoes no less!” You: “That’s so cool, it’s delicious! You can do so much with potatoes.”
Okay. So you get the point. A pot luck is good for spending time with family, not spending money, and lessening anxiety. But what about those inevitable comments? Tip number two will cover that.
2. Dealing with the inevitable comments about how veganism isn’t actually healthy.
This is a hard one because we all have different personalities. Some people do really well with ignoring, and I envy those people. I am that person who has to learn to keep her mouth shut, and if you’re like me you know this is no easy task. This year I decided that I’ll do two things in preparation for the holiday season. One, is to come up with 3 or 4 come backs. Nothing rude or crazy, but something that is short, to the point, with a little punch. Here’s some examples: “It works for us, but thanks.”
“My son loves kale, AND cookies, so he isn’t deprived.” “I don’t want to talk about it right now, but we’re thriving so don’t worry.”
The key is to have these things stored in your brain, so at any moment you can whip them out. This decreases the “what will I say” anxiety, and makes for a pleasant surprise if you get no comments!
The second thing I’m planning on doing is making one amazing thing. For you that might be your awesome vegan cookies, zucchini, or pasta sauce. You can, prepare this awesomeness before any family/friend get together. If someone says something against veganism, you can simply direct them to the dish you brought! Example: Uncle Jay: “You’re missing out, this cupcake is great!” You: “ Here try one of mine!” I love this one and can not wait to use it. This year I’m planning on making this fried cauliflower recipe I got from “Sweet potato soul” on youtube. It is so good!
See friends, I can not promise you a peaceful holiday all around, or that, that one crazy cousin won’t bring a cheese tray anyway. However, if we plan ahead just a little, we can enjoy the holidays. I hope these tips helped, and if all else fails at least you, and your kiddos will be sure to enjoy yummy vegan food no matter what happens!
Tags: are vegans healthy, holiday season, holidays as a vegan, how to deal with omnivores, omnivore