Vegans at the Family Thanksgiving

For new vegans, and even for those who have been vegan for a long time, visiting the family home has the potential to be problematic at any time of year. And for non-vegan family members, the task of preparing food that will keep everyone happy can be daunting.This can be particularly difficult on occasions such as Thanksgiving, when sharing food is central to the gathering of family and friends. When faced with the challenge of being surrounded by the food that is generally served at such events, vegans can end up feeling so uneasy that they might decide not to attend at all. If they do choose to attend, the other guests can find themselves feeling uncomfortable about what’s on their plates.

But with understanding, patience and compassion on both sides, it is actually very easy to turn a potentially tricky situation into a fabulous time for all. Incorporating vegan dishes, and even serving a completely vegan holiday meal (as my mother and I have done many times, with great success) can lead to a new level of shared respect, love and gratitude that can actually serve to bring families closer.

When a vegan is willing to take the time and effort to help their family and loved ones incorporate delicious vegan food into the menu, and non-vegans are open-minded and even enthusiastic about trying something new, everyone can enjoy a magnificent, cruelty-free meal, and ‘veganism’ can actually become a part of the celebration.

I am truly fortunate to be part of a very accommodating family. My mother, while not a vegan herself (well, not yet anyway), is a shining example of a vegan-friendly parent, even going to such lengths as ‘veganizing’ her pre-planned Christmas gathering when a last-minute change of plans led me to decide I would be there after all.

My family’s readiness to adapt to my needs when I’m visiting is something I am tremendously grateful for, especially because I know many vegans who are not so lucky. For the vegan whose choices are not accepted by their parents or siblings, visits home can cause significant anxiety for all involved. But this really doesn’t have to be the case.

The more one’s family members are open to including vegan food in their dining (which might be dependent, in some cases, on the vegan individual being willing to help the host, where appropriate), the more welcome the vegan will feel, and the more comfortable everyone will be.

Being vegan is about embracing the philosophy of nonviolence and adjusting one’s diet and lifestyle to incorporate the values of justice, compassion and kindness to others. Although the dietary requirements that go along with this belief system may appear very restrictive at first, the truth is that vegan cuisine can be fun, exciting, delicious, healthful, and satisfying, and can make a beautiful, colorful spread for a holiday table.

Also, be sure to check out:

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Pie
7 Vegan Recipes Perfect for Thanksgiving
Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake
How to Go Vegan?

Image: Suat Eman /


Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey3 years ago

I wouldn't mind providing some vegan dishes as long as the vegan is not going to preach the evils of omnivore to me or my guests.

In that case, She needs only to eat by her/his self or with other likeminded vegans.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson3 years ago


Mine G.
Mine G.3 years ago

Arkadaşım erkek arkadaşının evinde kalacak

Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Magdika Cecilia Perez

I love this post ...

Stathi Stathi
Stathi Stathi3 years ago

Thank you for sharing!!

Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago


Aranza R.
Aranza R.3 years ago


Penny C.
pen C.3 years ago

Thank you.

rosemary weston
rosemary weston3 years ago

this article is a rerun from 2009 and is not really all that informative or helpful. many people don't really understand the differences in why individuals have chosen to be vegan or how they are different from vegetarians or pescatarians. there are so many known allergies of food restrictions these days that anyone planning a dinner should probably ask guests if they have any restrictions for health, religeous, philisophical or any other reasons.
my grandson is seriously allergic to peanuts and tree nuts so they have to be very careful. as a vegetarian working to be more vegan, my life is not in danger if i eat something unknowingly because the person providing the food didn't think or care and i doubt if i will go to hell, but it is a matter of respect.
anyone who is limited in their diet for whatever reason needs to make their diet VERY clear to the host. a pot luck dinner can be fun and divide the work involved and everyone could include a recipe with all the specific ingredients listed. if you think you are not taken seriously, eat well before you go and be very careful what you eat there! bring a bag of nuts or trail mix along!
holidays should be more about getting together with family and friends than about the food. any problems with food should be discussed before or after the event and arguing or criticizing never helps...