Monday, November 09, 2009

Thankful Thanksgiving

In America, it's customary to welcome the Holiday season with a huge family meal, also known as Thanksgiving. For those who are health-conscious, vegetarian, or vegan, Thanksgiving may bring in a sense of dread or wonder, especially when considering the meat-eaters out there.

About 46 million turkeys are prepared for the Thanksgiving feast. For those who believe in animal rights and the liberation of all sentient beings, abstaining from turkey is a statement of, shall we say...taste.

So what do vegans and vegetarians eat on Thanksgiving? The good news is, they still enjoy mashed potatoes, yams, cranberries, and even corn. They also enjoy vegan-based gravy and most often families work together to cook their own recipes. You can always get help with the vegan communities for ideas and considerations.

And there is always the legendary Tofurky or Celebration Roast. It's basically a blend of tofu, tempeh, and seitan (wheat glutten) to make a kind of meat analogue. The stuffing, of course, is still purely vegetarian as it can be full of bread and spices.

Another interesting aspect of a "thankful Thanksgiving" is Adopt a Turkey, pretty much a turkey pardon on a large scale. Many families extend their kindness towards rescuing a turkey from not only slaughter, but allow them a peaceful life thereafter.

Many people may be turned off at the thought of a vegetarian dinner, but the surprising revelation is that many Thanksgiving dishes are already vegetarian in nature (remember the potatoes and yams already discussed earlier?). Although it is agreed that a centerpiece dish is often the talk of the day, you won't have to spend 5 hours basting a turkey when you can simmer a Tofurky loaf in rich spices and gravy for only an hour. Turkeys are rich in fats and other nutrients that you probably are already receiving from side dishes. Mass-raised/produced turkeys have been injected with harmones and other unnatural additives. Unless you've raised the turkey yourself, there is no sure way that your turkey is even healthy at the time of being processed.

The bottom line is; turkeys are not necessary for a great Thanksgiving dinner. If anything, you might benefit more out of a turkeyless dinner. And if that's too extreme, simply substitute a few ingredients like butter and gravy to make your Thanksgiving a little bit more "thankful".

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