For many people, the holidays can be more stressful than relaxing because running around buying food and preparing it can be hectic. Fortunately, I am extremely grateful to have such a supportive family, even if they mix up some terms on what is allergen friendly or not. I am exceptionally pleased with everything I found so far and we haven’t even gotten everything yet!
(photos by Danielle)
Some people will think that if you are vegan or vegetarian, it automatically means you are gluten free, eat a lot of salad, or have to eat bland. Also, some people think vegan and vegetarian are the same thing. It is always good to inform people what you can have at the table because there are SO many misconceptions. I know I am ALWAYS one to make sure that when I have guests, there is something for people to eat (I am very considerate of those things). With the technology and resources we have to learn about these such as the internet, there is no excuse for someone not to be able to have at least one thing at the table because there are so many allergy free options at stores these days. We even had such a challenge deciding on what vegan turkey to buy because there were five different kinds...we are coming far!!
Fortunately, I know a good amount about nutrition and have taken cooking classes so I know how to combat these problems we could encounter. I am in great health now, exercise regularly, have a normal BMI, and I have never felt better and more energetic. I completely resolved my stomach problems and my dad also told me I helped lower his A1C and he isn’t even fully transitioned diet-wise! However, our table includes people with cancer, diabetes, heart problems, and acid reflux...so we are in dire need of a healthier Thanksgiving this year. I know what you are probably thinking...that it will be insanely difficult. If you are on a path to better health but nobody else in your life is focused on wellness it may seem challenging. Think again because guess what? Wegmans delivers on the allergy free and dietary restriction friendly choices! The best part is, I have not even made my Trader Joes run yet with my mom!
First thing we did was look at what we normally buy and see how much we needed to change. This was EASY. We bought the same stuffing, olives, pickles, bread, and crackers that we already do. The pies we normally buy don’t have animal products in them, other than we had to buy a different pumpkin pie. My dad had been eager to have a blueberry pie and we found one this year! Sara Lee’s do not use animal product in this pie and it's the same with cherry and apple pies. If you can't find these there is also Marie Callender's and Mrs. Smith’s. Always be sure to double check the ingredients, especially if you are not only avoiding these ingredients for ethical reasons, but allergy reasons as well. The only thing for dessert we had to change was the pie, but we went to Wegmans so this was completely a non-issue. Also, there are many dairy free whips out there to top pies with. :)
Now, about the turkey...my family got a really small turkey because we also got our first Gardein turkey. I have seen phenomenal reviews on this and I can not wait to try it next week! I keep hearing about how many of these products taste EXACTLY the same as the non-vegan versions. I will update on how it all was!
(photos by Danielle)
For gravy this year….the Gardein turkey comes with 2 packets and then we also got Simply Organic. The only other thing was the Pepperidge Farm products we always use like the bread and stuffing are already vegan..this goes to show that you unknowingly eat these things all the time. We are using vegetable broth this year and a dairy free butter.
(photos by Danielle)
We still have a few more things we need to pick up from some local stores. I will update in about a week on how amazing everything was. We will have a rice blend and probably a green bean casserole. We are going to also pick up some rolls, potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegan egg nog, and many other delicious items for the table. If Trader Joe's has any more interesting items that I can’t resist, they may also make it to the table as well! We still have not decided what our third desert is going to be.
I hope everyone's Thanksgiving is a positive, loving day surrounded by supportive loved ones that accept you.