Monday Link Up: Thanksgiving Edition [11/17/14]

Good Morning and Happy Monday! I am writing this post as I sip on my biodegradable french roast K-cup coffee with a splash of heated up Califa Farms “Holiday Nog” almond milk (both new products here in the Gray Eats Green kitchen.) The ground outside has a thin white layer on it, the leaves on the trees have been replaced with snow as well and my weather app reads 30°F. Although it’s still only mid-November, I’d say winter is officially upon us.

I was going to save this Thanksgiving themed Link Up for next week (the Monday before Thanksgiving) but I figured you may need more than three days to mentally and physically prepare yourself for this monstrosity of a holiday.

No matter what you celebrate the rest of the year, I’ve noticed that Thanksgiving is one of the most tradition and family centric holidays and definitely the most food centric holiday. For example, in my family we observe the Jewish holidays. We are usually are scattered about the country for Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah. For other secular holidays, such as Fourth of July, New Years or Halloween, we usually celebrate with friends. But Thanksgiving is the one time of the year where our entire family comes together to celebrate together.

This can definitely create some stress and anxiety that isn’t associated with the other holidays, and my extensive blog reading and web searching has led me to the conclusion that many people feel the same way. Something that adds fuel to the stress and anxiety of high intensity, close proximity and highly concentrated family time are different eating styles. No matter the kind of lifestyle you live, no one gives you grief about your eating style quite like your family. As a childhood “picky eater” who turned into a “health nut” (in general my M.O. was avoiding white flour, sugar and processed foods) and now a “vegan” with a large family I can say I have much experience with the trials and tribulations that come along with a large family and an interesting eating history. So, if you are looking for tips and tricks on how to make your specific eating style work with your large family gathering, look no further than this week’s Link Up.

Even though most of these articles have to do with “vegan-ising” Thanksgiving, from what to do about the food itself to explaining your choices to loved ones, this information (and the delicious recipes) can really apply to anyone who has recently made any sort of healthy changes or long time healthy eaters who get slightly anxious during the annual reunion and feast. So without further ado…

1. Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete has one of the best blog post archives on the web on topics surrounding how to be a socially acceptable and low maintenance vegan. His laid back writing style matches his non-preachy attitude, and his How I Do Thanksgiving As A Vegan post is no exception. No Meat Athlete is probably the source that most influenced my transition to a plant based diet. Matt gives us some excellent tips on “doing” Thanksgiving as a vegan and reminds us that this holiday, like all holidays, is truly about family and friends, not the food.

2. Gena of Choosing Raw is a blogger whose vegan social tips rival her vegan recipes in both ease and palatability. Although this post, “thanksgiving jitters: tips for healthy eating at family gatherings” was written five Thanksgivings ago, the information is as relevant as ever.  Her thorough post emphasizes planning ahead, walks you through different scenarios you may encounter with different family members, and once again reminds us that food is just food and family and friends are really what we are celebrating.

3. Angela of Oh She Glows supplies us with more amazing tips to navigating the holidays as a vegan and some drool-worthy recipes. If you peak around her site you’ll find even more Thanksgiving recipes from throughout the years, like this post or her entire Thanksgiving recipe collection

4. Vegan Thanksgiving 101 by Happy. Healthy. Life. takes it back to basics and gives you no fail tips and advices for hosting a vegan Thanksgiving that will please omnivores or being a vegan guest at an omnivore Thanksgiving.

5. Now let’s talk Tofurky. I couldn’t help but include another post from Choosing Raw. Gena celebrates the 20th year anniversary of the Tofurky brand by celebrating the product and the beloved bird its named after. Although I tend to stick with plant-based whole foods and avoid meat substitutes, and I have never actually tried any of the Tofurky products, I appreciate this brand for being a pioneer in the plant-based movement and working to make these types of options easily accessible, familiar and comforting, and a excellent transition food and alternative to the real thing.

So there you have it, five awesome sites and sources for surviving Thanksgiving as a vegan (or just a health conscious person in general.)

What are you favorite vegan Thanksgiving recipes and tips for having a smooth holiday with family and friends? Let me know in the comments section below!

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