How to Celebrate Thanksgiving Without the Turkey

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By: Erin Lynch ’18 & Alexandra Sprouls ’19

While the main Thanksgiving meal is notoriously the turkey, vegetarians and vegans instead choose to reach for the sides to stay in line with their morals.

The difference between vegetarians and vegans is that vegetarians generally solely refrain from eating meat, whereas vegans don’t eat meat, eggs or dairy products. People make these dietary changes for various reasons, some of which are because of animal ethics, environmental reasons, and health benefits.

“I became a vegetarian my junior year of high school, mostly due to animal ethics. I have always loved animals and it simply didn’t feel right to consume them,” Christine Kaszanek, Staples science teacher said, ”Since deciding [to be a vegan], I have become more educated on the environmental and health benefits associated with veganism, and have realized it is truly one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

While vegetarians and vegans can both eat common Thanksgiving sides like mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetable casseroles, rolls, and cranberry sauce, many choose to make other foods to accommodate their diet.

“Usually, my family makes me a quinoa or tofu dish to accommodate my dietary needs.” Brooke Kessler ’19 said. Sharing her insight, Kaszanek said “I end up bringing a feast for everyone to share! This year I brought garlic and chive mashed potatoes, stuffing, a corn pudding, a broccoli casserole, an onion pie, stuffed mushrooms and a seitan (meat substitute) loaf stuffed with leeks and a trio of mushrooms. I also made two batches of vegan cookies for dessert!”

During the holiday, many find it hard to resist the turkey, but for most vegetarians and vegans, it wasn’t an issue. “I didn’t consider breaking my vegetarianism over Thanksgiving simply because I am so used to not eating meat that it didn’t cross my mind,” vegetarian Jane Ewert ’19 said

Although it may seem like an inconvenience for families to substitute meat products for their vegetarian or vegan family members, over time families grow accustomed to the change. “My parents are really good about making sure I always have options for meals.” Kessler said.

For those considering a vegan diet, Mrs. Kaszanek is happy to answer any questions or to have a conversation about the topic.