This is snapshot of some of the vegan entrees we ate for Thanksgiving which included green chili and cheese tamales, roasted mixed veggies, pumpkin banana pie, and a cranberry wild rice stuffed vegan roast!
On my way to work after the holiday, I noticed there were more bicyclists and runners out on the road. So I made an obvious assumption that it was all due to those excess calories eaten the night before. The notorious post-holiday belly bloat must have finally digested off and now excess proteins from the turkey are supposedly enabling these early birds to get up and move, or else. So after some introspective thought, and after celebrating Thanksgiving FULLY VEGAN for the first time, I concluded to write an article on the BIG benefits of veganizing the holidays. Following are some of the reasons I thought going plant based over the holidays would be one of the best decisions you could make for your health:
Simple Recipes Most plant based recipes are simple to make and they usually don’t require a long list of ingredients or a lot of time to put together. Depending on what it is your making for Thanksgiving, vegan recipes are actually easier than you think, even if they are new! For a Thanksgiving raw dessert, I made some raw mini pumpkin pie tarts for the first time and was surprised it took less time than I had expected. It can also be fun getting the family involved making new recipes that are healthy. If your not exactly sure on what kind of plant based recipes to make, there are plenty of websites out there that offer plenty of ideas and recipes for free.
⇒Savings$ If your cooking and buying, you’ll save money with vegan entrees. A small 12 pound turkey can cost on average from about $21.00 depending on where you buy the turkey. You’ll certainly pay more if your concerned (and who wouldn’t be!) with how the turkey was raised. We paid $12.00 for Gardein‘s Cranberry and Wild Rice Roast which serves up to 8 people. The options available now for substituting meat have improved and are really great. If I had been blindfolded and tried Gardein unknowingly, I wouldn’t have known the difference! The texture and flavor were perfect. Making things from scratch is typical with a plant based diet so if everything else you serve will be homemade, you’ll be saving money.
⇒You Eat Less During the holidays everyone tends to eat a little more, especially being around family and friends! How else are we to try what everyone else has made without overindulging just a little? We could if the food is healthy. The fact is, traditional holiday recipes call for a lot of sugar, oil, butter, and fat. In fact, committing to a vegan holiday will actually save you on average about 1400 calories, 86 grams of fat, and a whopping 523 grams of cholesterol! You’ll also eat about 31 grams more fiber sticking with a plant based plate. So you will eat less because fiber fills you up and sends signals to your brain telling you to slow down or stop eating.
⇒Healthier and Happier If you can stick to your guns and eat right even on Thanksgiving, chances are your already healthy. Every meal counts because it can all add up so by filling your plate up with healthier food during the holidays, you’ll stay healthy and happy. Eating a heavy meal filled with refined sugars, meat, and dairy can cause shifts in your mood. The link between food and mood is a lot more solid than you think and many people go through life depressed never connecting the dots. During this time of the year, it can be frustrating having to tell everyone you have preferences but you’ll gain more confidence and become more comfortable with saying NO each time that you do. Avoiding foods with unhealthy ingredients may be hard to do now, but has big rewards in the long haul because you’ll less likely gain weight and be a happier person.
⇒Plant Based Leftovers If your a plant based person most of the time or rarely eat meat and decided to go with having a turkey for the holiday, let’s get down to the bottom line of your decision. A lot of healthy eaters will sometimes make “adjustments” to their diet for special occasions such as Thanksgiving in order to please others, or to avoid confrontations with relatives and family. After all, its just one day of eating turkey right? But let’s get real with this “once a year” mentality that persuades you into having turkey. It isn’t going to be just one meal. Turkey’s are big and have a lot of meat. Your going to end up with turkey and a lot of other high fat left overs for several days to come.
⇒Less Bloat More Energy Eating a high fiber plant based meal can help to prevent bloating because you’ll stay regular even after your Thanksgiving meal. No bloating means less discomfort and more energy for you to continue enjoying the holiday with family and friends.
⇒Prevents Binges Eating processed foods that are high in sugar and fat can trigger certain behaviors in persons who already deal with unhealthy eating patterns. Sugar can act like a drug and can initiate destructive binges lasting for days. Making plant based desserts that are high in fruits, nuts, and whole grains can help prevent out of control binges from starting in the first place. Using whole food, nutrient dense ingredients full of fiber will help to slow us down. Furthermore, our cravings are better controlled when we’re getting enough nutrients.
⇒Less Illness Its already been confirmed, 80% of all antibiotic drugs used in the U.S. are given to animals. Almost 90% of all store bought meat had signs of contamination with fecal matter at some point during or after its processing. If we continue to keep buying these meats, the industry will continue to use their antibiotics in raising animals. And it would be just a matter of time that we end up putting our health at risk.
by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer
²Benefits Of A Vegan Thanksgiving~NamelyMarley