Ahh, Thanksgiving! I absolutely LOVE this holiday. Everything from cooking and eating delicious food to hanging out with family and spending my entire break in sweatpants—it’s just the BEST. DAY. EVER.
The only bad part about this time of year is knowing how many turkeys suffer needlessly. If everyone could see what happens to these birds, more people would leave the meat off their plates and opt for vegan dishes instead this holiday.
But let’s face it: Sometimes the hardest part about being vegan (ESPECIALLY during the holidays) isn’t deciding what to eat. It’s the awkward comments and questions from family members and others that you have to deal with. Well, fear not, because we’ve compiled a handy-dandy list of comebacks that you can keep with you for these situations:
Question: “So are you just planning on not eating at all this Thanksgiving?”
Your answer: “Of course, I’ll be eating this year. Every traditional Thanksgiving dish can be made vegan—even the turkey!”
Question: “Can’t you take a break from being vegan for Thanksgiving this year?”
Your answer: “I personally choose not to eat animals because of ethical reasons, but I’m happy to whip up plenty of vegan dishes.”
Question: “Are you trying to say that we’re all turkey killers?”
Your answer: “No, but I think if everyone truly knew how much suffering animals went through, they’d eat a lot fewer of them.”
Question: “Isn’t a vegan diet unhealthy? How do you expect to get all your vitamins and nutrients?!”
Your answer: “A whole-foods, plant-based diet is one of the healthiest diets for humans. You can get all the vitamins and nutrients you need from plant-based sources—even things like iron, vitamin B12, calcium, and protein.”
Question: “But seriously, don’t you miss meat?”
Your answer: “No, because there are so many delicious vegan foods for me to choose from.”
Question: “The bird is already dead. You’re just wasting his life if you don’t eat it.”
Your answer: “The whole reason this industry exists is because there’s a demand for it. If I abstain from eating meat, people are less likely to serve it to me in the future, which helps reduce the amount of meat they purchase overall. I hope you’ll join me next year for a vegan Thanksgiving!”
Question: “What about those vegetables you’re eating? Didn’t they have feelings, too?”
Your answer: “It’s been proved that plants don’t have a nervous system, so they can’t feel pain at all.”
Question: “Thanksgiving is about being thankful. You should be THANKFUL for this turkey and the food that we have!”
Your answer: “I’m definitely thankful for the food that we have—and fortunately, we now have access to an abundance of plant food, so we don’t have to eat animals anymore!”
Here are some other helpful tips:
1) Yelling never helps. As hard as it is to see others contributing to such horrible industries, most people don’t want to know that they’re contributing to suffering. Rather than starting the dinner conversation off with “Hey, I’m vegan, and you need to be vegan, too,” partake in the usual dinner conversation. If someone asks you why you’re vegan, that’s a good time to talk about all the benefits of your diet.
2) Be honest. Yes, sometimes the number of questions we get when dining with nonvegans can be intense, but it’s a good opportunity for education since most people are so disconnected from the reality of how animals raised for food are treated.
3) Dazzle them with your kindness. This is also a good time to bust the myth that vegans are crazy. Show ’em that your intentions are never to make anyone feel bad but simply to help animals who can’t speak up for themselves.
How do you survive the holidays? Let us know in the comments!