The VeggieVision and VeggieTimes Essential Guide to Surviving a Vegetarian Christmas.
VeggieVision has put together this fun guide that aims to help new vegetarians with their first veggie Christmas, give tips and advice for people that have vegetarians and vegan family members, and maybe some new suggestions for fellow veggies too. “Going vegetarian for me was the most wonderful thing I have ever done - not only was I taking notice of what I ate and knowing that my plate was guilt free but I felt spiritually happier and more confident. The more I grew and learnt about eating a vegetarian diet the natural progression for me was going vegan and a few years later I took the next step and have now been vegan for about 7 years. I love being vegan and am passionate about promoting it in a fun and positive way. It is very exciting to know that we are not only helping animals but paving the way for an easier life for vegans of the future. We hope that you enjoy the guide and look forward to adding your suggestions next time. From myself and the team, we wish you a wonderful compassionate veggie Christmas and a New Year of contribution and growth” Karin Ridgers - Founder of VeggieVision and VeggieTimes
Surviving a Veggie Xmas
Top tips on how to survive a veggie Christmas by super Peter Bernard - THE Vegetarian Life Coach. 1. Don’t get sucked in The first key message on surviving a veggie Christmas is not to get sucked into the usual Christmas hysteria. By taking a step back from the hype, you will have a chance of enjoying the Christmas you want to have. To do this you need to be clear on exactly what that Christmas looks like – what are you able/prepared to spend on presents, who do you really want to (and have to!) see and what would you really like to do at Christmas? Know the answers to these questions and you have a good foundation for actually enjoying Christmas! 2. Presents This is a tricky area but with a little foresight, buying and receiving Christmas presents can actually be enjoyable! When buying gifts, remember to buy from the vegetarian charities and companies you like, and that shopping online can be so much quicker and easier! Also, when buying gifts I try to give items that I would like to receive myself – at the very least you will give a great gift and also raise awareness of vegetarianism at the same time! Remember, it‟s never too early to tell people what you would like to receive as a Christmas present! In doing so, you can stop people wasting their money on unsuitable presents, get what you want and also be a model for them as an ethical consumer. So be courageous and ask for what you want – you‟re actually doing your friends a favour, as they won‟t need to worry about what to buy for you! 3. Food This can often be the hardest area for veggies at Christmas, particularly when you get an invite from family members that simply don't get being vegetarian. The best starting point is to make it clear in a polite but firm way that you are a vegetarian and that this means you do not eat animals or their by-products such as suet, lard or gelatine. Unfortunately, what often happens is that this throws the host into a 3
panic because they are unable to think what you will eat; so your next step is to educate your host about what you do eat. It‟s best to start by mentioning all the food you can eat from what might normally be made at Christmas, such as fruit, nuts and vegetables (as long as they haven‟t been cooked in animal fat!). You can then suggest a simple veggie main course that could be made by the host, point them towards a Vegetarian Society approved ready meal or even take one along for yourself. After all, despite what some food manufacturers would like to tell us, vegetarians love food too! www.vegetarianlifecoach.co.uk
But why a veggie Crimbo anyway?
Christmas is the time of goodwill to all - but why doesn’t that include turkeys? As more and more people turn to a healthier and more compassionate lifestyle more people are taking up the veggie option at Christmas - and there are plenty of reasons why…………. It‟s a proven fact that vegetarians and vegans suffer less heart disease, certain cancers and strokes and an animal free diet can be used to help to reduce disease too. Concerned about cholesterol? Your body makes its own and doesn‟t want or need anymore. All animal products contain cholesterol which is a primary cause of heart disease. A vegan diet naturally doesn‟t contain cholesterol.
A vegan diet could feed the world. 750 million people go hungry everyday whilst one third of the worlds grain is fed to animals that are bred just to feed us. Wouldn‟t you rather feed the Developing World rather than a cow that‟s going to be slaughtered for burgers? Many people do not realise that a cow is like a woman, she can only produce milk after giving birth. Therefore cows are repeatedly made pregnant and the milk is taken away for human consumption – not even the little calf can have his share. Often the calf is destroyed immediately or taken away for veal.
And who wants to have the milk of another animal anyway, would you have cat or dog milk!!? Are you into good tasty food? Great! The vegans I have met throughout the world love their food and feel happier that no animal has had to suffer or die for their plate. Some say vegans make better lovers too!
Maybe the question should be why do you eat meat rather than why not? 5
Its embarrassingly easy to go vegetarian and vegan. Instead of picking up the dead animal burger, go for the veggie burgers, instead of cow juice go for soya or rice milk. Nowadays there are kinder, healthier alternatives for everything; fishless fingers, tuna pate, sausages, burgers, bacon, dairy free cheese, ice-cream and chocolate. There are many different varieties from supermarkets and health shops. As well as the meat and fish alternatives there are all of the amazing fruits, vegetables, rice‟s, pastas, nuts, together with Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Italian and Caribbean food – and more! So to sum up: There is no need to kill animals for food. Its bad for you. The Developing World is going hungry. The planet can not sustain itself on a meat-based diet. And animals are suffering. So, why not check out the cruelty free options that are around - and remember knowledge is worthless without action - If you know this stuff then lets tell the world!
HOW to ease the stress of Christmas and everyday life in 6 easy steps:
Busy people often juggle life, careers, children and miss out on some time for ourselves. There are many time saving ideas that you could benefit from - time perhaps where you can take stock and have a breather - invest the time into looking into ways of improving your diet - and perhaps how to put something back to the universe too.
1. Good morning. What‟s your morning routine? If need be you will be surprised how easy it is to change. Watch TV? Why not do your ironing at the same time? Or switch off the TV and wake yourself up with some, not too painful chores such as dusting or washing up. A morning of housework is not as painful as it sounds and could give you valuable evening and weekend time instead. 2. Wakey Wakey! Not enough time in the morning? It can be easier to get up earlier! Set your alarm clock half an hour earlier and get out of bed. Try it, it can make a world of difference. Often people feel more energetic for the rest of the day too. 3. Travel Time. How do you get to work? Train? Time to study or read. Travel by car? What about a talking book? From classics to self help and motivational tapes and CD‟s – don‟t waste this time! Tony Robbins is a great guy to listen to. 4. Hot Lunch. Have a lunch break? Do you have a break at work? Just chat? Carry on working? Don‟t break any employee rules but maybe the could be time could be used to sort out your bank statements, write that letter, go shopping or have some you time - a trip to the hairdressers or even get your nails done if you fancy spoiling yourself! 5. Turn off TV (and go and do something less boring instead) Never have an evening free? Many people say this although they have time, “Royle family” style, to crash out and watch TV. Make the change; invite over some friends or family or visit them, join a gym or go for a walk, run or bike ride and maybe take the kids 7
or partner. Have a relaxing bath and self pamper evening, cook a romantic meal and talk to your partner. There are also plenty of veggie groups and animal sanctuaries that would love extra support as well. Avoid just slobbing out! 6. Many Hands. If you can afford it maybe think of hiring a cleaner, maybe someone you know, someone a friend or neighbour recommends or there are many companies now your can go to. For a minimal fee you could get half of your weekend back which could be quality time and time to make a difference.
Real Veggies Real Answers
We always have the same thing on Christmas Day because my family won't let me make anything else. I do my new and experimental dishes at other times during the Christmas holidays. So we have a white nut roast with a layer of green parsley and herb stuffing in the centre, with veggie gravy, bread sauce and cranberry sauce, lots of crunchy golden roast potatoes and Brussels Sprouts and carrots. They love it so much that sometimes we have it again on Boxing day, but, in any case, I always try to make enough so that we can have it cold with salads and chutneys for one meal. I will be cooking for 13 this Christmas... luckily all my children and their husbands, boyfriends and children are vegetarian! I got the nut roasts into the freezer last weekend, ready to cook on the day. Rose Elliot www.roseelliot.com
I just love roast veg so I have a huge plate of all the works including veggie stuffing and fresh cranberry sauce - just leave out the meat ! If I was more of a domestic goddess I'd make a spinach and pine nut 'jalousie' (layers of puff pastry with spinach, nuts, cream and cheese) but with 4 kids under 9 it ain't gonna happen ! Janey Lee Grace Janey is a presenter on Radio 2 and is the author of Imperfectly Natural Woman www.janeyleegrace.com
"I love Christmas, even more so now it doesn't involve a turkey carcass! This year I will be having vegan 'turkey', vegan 'pigs in blankets', roast potatoes and lots of trimmings. Then I'll top it off with a vegan cake - yum!" Alexia Weeks, PETA
Brussel Sprouts, Roast Squash, Onion, Potatoes, Parsnips ,Sweet Potatoes , Carrots , Mushroom Gravy, Nut Roast, Cheatin' Celebration Roast, Vegan Bread Sauce, Stuffing Cranberry Sauce. Home Made Christmas Pudding, Mince Pies, Soy Cream. Most veg will be from a vegan organic food producer - organic veg delivery in our local area. That‟s our menu for Xmas .. I think some vegan red wine and probably some bottles of becks beer might be on the menu .. I will try and get some cannabis beer if I go through London (Planet Organic) Ketan Majmudar Spiritquest and VeggieVision Web Manager www.spiritquest.co.uk
In a perfect world I will start with a freshly squeezed vegetable juice and a slice of wheat free toast with dairy free margarine, with sips of Supergreens during the afternoon and then have a small tasty roast dinner. But. Knowing my husband it will be a huge naughty fry up, scoffing Troody chocolates throughout the day, having a big starter of breaded mushrooms and a huge roast dinner followed by fresh mince pies topped with Tofutti dairy free cheese, washed down with red wine. Karin Ridgers
And here are more replies from real veggies all over the UK - the summary of the
answers is that its not difficult going vegetarian, there is a wonderful array of traditional style and unusual healthy tasty animal free foods to enjoy with a wealth of ethical gifts to buy. Is it difficult being a vegan/veggie at Christmas? Not at all! We enjoy - Nut loaf, salads of different varieties, and what I have during the rest of the year. We have been veggie since 1997. No it is not difficult being a vegan at Christmas. I eat a nut roast and all the vegetables. I buy a vegan Christmas pudding which I have with soya cream and my mum makes me a vegan cake which is delicious- I have to stop everyone eating it!!!! I became a vegetarian 32 years ago and converted to veganism about 12 years ago Being a vegan gets easier every year as more products come onto the market. I do not eat many substitutes as I find the taste of vegetables beans etc perfectly satisfying. This is my first Christmas being vegan at Christmas and am looking forward to it! I have already arranged my food. I have been veggie for 18 years and so I am used to not having turkey and have a variety of different, delicious main courses including nut cutlets , veggie sausages and veggie roasts. This year I will probably start with a full vegan breakfast followed by Christmas dinner with a nut roast- and its really great cause there is always enough Brussel sprouts for seconds! What do you have to eat for Xmas dinner?
Roast Veggies; potatoes (with lemon juice), parsnips, butternut squash, sweet potatoes. Roast veg, Mediterranean style; sun dried tomatoes, courgette, Aubergine, onions, tomatoes, Fresh veg; carrots, broccoli, peas. Vegan sausages. Home made mince pies Home baked bread Home baked cakes Too much, in fact!! 13
Nutroast if at parents / fried peppers if at sister, veggie buffet at ours. We have been veggie for 9 years vegan for 3 1/2 years.
On the contrary I think that I can now go through the Christmas festivities with a clear conscious. The availability of alternative food is endless and the limit is the extent of ones imagination in the kitchen. Since I became a Vegan I have enjoyed the food at this time of year 100% more and eat even more that I used to because of the sheer range available. I think that it is even easier than being a meat eater as I can remember trying to clean all that animal fat and grease from baking trays/tins. The oven would also be caked in this stuff so it was a major operation to clean up the kitchen after the dead animals had been cooked up. Over Christmas I tend to eat stuff like: Nut roast (sometimes in pastry) with roast parsnips, Brussels and Chestnuts, mashed carrots and swede with soya cream and pepper, veggie bacon wrapped round veggie sausages, mint peas, roast potatoes in garlic and rosemary, grilled tomatoes and basil etc. Other food includes: Baked pasta dishes. Steamed Puddings. Curries. Home made apples sauces and brandy butter (Soya spread) Stuffed veg. such as Courgettes, peppers and mushrooms. Homemade sage and onion stuffing balls. Cheatin, turkey roll or the beef version (Redwoods) Sweet potato pie or pumpkin pie. Meatless balls in a tomato gravy with all the veg. Mince pies Christmas pudding Soya cream and ice cream. This is just some of the things that I have had over the last few Christmas seasons and as I have said that it is endless as you are only limited to what your imagination can do in the kitchen.
It is easy to be veggie or vegan in our household at Xmas. We're Jewish and we don't do Xmas, though we send cards and I buy vegan Xmas pudding and vegan mince pies because I like them!
We eat what we always eat, but a few more treats like chocolates and cake. I make something like veggie mince (Realeat) with onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, pasta, etc. We'll have doughnuts because it's Chanukah around that time. And of course lots of fruit. I might do a rice thing, and bread in my bread machine, and salads and jacket potatoes. I might do a curry, or something with pastry. Or I might heat up something from the freezer, like Fry's schnitzels and nuggets. My husband Ian and I gave up meat 22 or 23 years ago, and went completely vegetarian about 17 years ago. Our older children, David and Rainbow, went vegan about 12 years ago, and our youngest, Matthew, who's nearly 18, has been veggie from birth. Being a vegan requires forward-planning and organisation - you certainly can't just assume you'll find what you need when out and about or invited somewhere. Christmas is no different but no worse. Carnivores eat the same old thing every year, whereas with vegans the world is our oyster (companion not edible)
I make a boozy pie at Xmas. Puff pastry top with a filling of chestnuts, mushrooms, shallots, parsnip, garlic and red wine. The smell is divine let alone the taste ! I'm a teacher, have been veggie for 12 years, vegan for 3 and suffer far fewer illnesses than my colleagues - particularly the sickness/diarrhoea variety ! I microwave leftovers in the staff room at lunchtime and make my colleagues drool !
Vegan Pressies - What to buy for your veggie friends.
Personally I prefer quality time with family and friends and as Tony Robbins says making ‘magic moments’ that you will remember (for good reasons!) for ever. But even so it is nice to buy and receive presents that do not compromise our cruelty free way of living. A good idea is to ‘adopt’ an animal at a local sanctuary and join someone to one of the national veggie groups such as Viva!, The Vegan Society, The vegetarian Society, PETA or Animal Aid. Its wonderful to give something back and find out about painting one of the homeless shelters before Christmas and donating vegan foods to a hostile or shelter. The Essential Good Charities Guide (book), The Unlock The Labs, silver lock-badge. A hand beaded Fair Trade choker, Australian Organics soap & body wash, Green & Blacks chocolate & 3 different flavours of carob. I got lots of vegan things from lush; bath ballistics, soap etc. Heaps of vegan fair-trade chocolate from Green & Blacks. I also got a really useful vegan cookery book. I didn't get anything that wasn't suitable for vegans which was nice! And I used all Xmas money towards my new boots from vegetarian shoes :D Altogether a v. successful Xmas for me!! ;) Dairy free chocolate I send stuff from Dr Hadwen, Natural collection, Viva and the Vegan Society, usually chocs, esp Booja Booja as everyone loves them. I received loads of chocs, and a vegan xmas pud, plus carefully chosen clothes and other gifts. I send bath products, makeup collection boxes and vegan choccies from Dr Hadwen Trust. I never send leather items - only plastic e.g. 16
handbags, purses. I also send Xmas cards from Animal/Vegan charities. I receive mostly Vegan/ethical gifts from friends & family who mostly buy from the internet. ( food hampers/shoes/belts & Booja Booja truffles!!!!) I always try my best to support vegan/animal rights & human rights issues. I only buy cards that support Peta, Amnesty international, Donkey sanctuaries etc. I received vegan goodies from Lush! I got a vegan hamper from my daughter. She spent a great deal of time going around the shops finding a variety of things from sweets and crisps to tins of spaghetti. She then filled a large cardboard box! I got two large bars of Green and Blacks speciality cherry chocolate and there was a rather nice bottle of whisky! A number of ethical charity cards were sent. My daughter sometimes demands ethical gear from the Viva catalogue, which I am happy to get for her. A bit more inspiration could be used in creating a range of desirable ethical fun gifts for young children? I gave copies of Plant Based Nutrition & Health. I bought myself a scarf, a diary & a teapot, all made in 3rd-world This year I was so incensed with the greed of me, me, me. Not me exactly but I really think we should use the occasion of Xmas to putting a bit in towards others. Anyway after my little ramblings - I asked anyone who was going to get me anything to get something that had to with a charity - they all know it has to be vegan. And /or to give me some money that they would have spent on me instead, I do not NEED anything. I managed to collect £170 for the local hospice. I will do this in future, it also helps others to think! I sent a card I made myself from junk packaging and pictures cut out of magazines etc I got 6 huge different bars of vegan chocolate! All completely different in make or flavour! Also a fantastic vegan belt that looks so funky! 17
Non-animal fleece, jewellery, Elizabeth Shaw mint-crisps, Moby C.D And a subscription to "Ethical Consumer" from my mum. Got the wonderful "Raising Vegetarian Children" book for Christmas email Christmas card a couple of animal sponsorships I 'adopted' animals at Hopefield Animal Sanctuary for several people for Christmas and I intend to do the same thing for birthdays during the year. We received a soya milk maker which we tried out for the first time this morning. I gave and bought vegan wines and champagne from the Coop. I don't buy non-vegan things - I don't buy animal-derived things for anyone no matter how much they might think they like them ! So no leather jackets or footwear for my children or even woollen garments and definitely no animal related foodstuffs. I sent a couple of boxes of Viva chocolates, a couple of boxes of viva fudges and a few other miscellaneous goodies bought from the wonderful Veganstore. Yes, lots of vegan choccies from Dr Hadwen Trust and Viva. I got some fluffy chunky boots for Xmas which were from Veganstore. They are cream suede type with brown and cream fluff on!!! I gave lots of vegan goodies particularly food - xmas pud, mince pies, chocolate santa, hemp pesto and pasta, hemp walking socks, vegan cooking book and so on.... I got most of things from stores in Brighton including Infinity Foods; the Hemp store (not all stuff is vegan as they use some wool); Montezuma (amazing chocolate shop!) and recipe book from veganstore.
Helpful Books - and life changing Christmas pressie ideas:
Campaign Against Cruelty – Alex & Ronny Unlimited Power – Anthony Robins The New Why You Don‟t Need Meat – Peter Cox How to win friends & influence people –Dale Caragie Feel the fear & do it anyway – Susan Jeffers Flirt Coach – Peta Heskell Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill The Secret - Rhonda Byrne
Well there you have it
- some information about what other veggies eat, buy for each other, why a Veggie Christmas is the only way to celebrate and a few tips on combating stress! Plan ahead - call the restaurant where the Christmas party is being held and explain what you will eat, talk to your friends and family and explain in an assertive way why you have chosen to ditch the turkey and tell them of the healthier and compassionate „alternatives„. Take food with you if this will help when eating round a family members house - you will probably find they all want some! Think about what to do for others and how to get the veggie message out there in a fun and positive way - and remember you are representing all veggies and vegans so aim not to get too aggressive!! MANY thanks to everyone who has contributed to our guide - and next time we look forward to hearing from you! Vegan wishes
Karin Ridgers and the VeggieVision and VeggieTimes team! * Veggie Internet TV station - cookery, celebs, info* www.veggievision.com * The UK’s only Veggie Newspaper* www.veggietimes.co.uk
To finish we have some cool quotes from some top vegans……
"Veganism is the future; a low fat, high-fibre plant-based diet is good for one's health, it doesn't require animals to be bred, reared and slaughtered for food which in turn reduces pollution and the wasteful use of the world's resources. Consumers, not wanting to eat themselves, animals or the world into an early grave, are demanding more animal-free foods. The Vegan Society "Veganism could be the greatest growth area of the millennium. The mintel report on Food Intolerance and Allergies estimates that total retail sales of 'Free From' foods shot up by 165% between 2000 and 2002. The consumer is king and finally getting products that they would prefer - foods and services kinder to people, animals and the environment. Tony Weston - Author & Foods For Life Going vegetarian has never been easier. The explosion of vegetarian foods means that you can pop everything from bean burgers to veggie 'sausages' into the microwave and finish the meal with frozen non dairy 'ice cream'. You can order a latte with soya milk in the neighbourhood coffee shop, enjoy a veggie burger straight from the barbecue and stock your kitchen with wonderful products we could only dream of 20 years ago: flavoured rice mixes; a whole host of microwavable ready-made meals; soya-based 'cheeses', 'cream', 'mayonnaise' and 'milk'; and imitation meat products that can be used on their own or in your favourite recipes. Sean Gifford - Former Director, European Campaigns People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Europe 21
More people are interested in going veggie than ever before. There's a growth in awareness that factory farming is obscenely cruel; that it's damaging the world and is bad for our health with animals routinely pumped with drugs and kept in dirty, overcrowded conditions. Others change because they want to help their heart or reduce their risk of getting cancer. Reflecting this is the growth rate of vegetarian foods increasing more rapidly than any other food sector. -Juliet Gellatley - Founder and Director of Viva! Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
PPS More about Karin Ridgers. Karin is a former Director of The Vegan Society and award winner of VIVA! She is a media contact for The Vegetarian Society and ran one of the biggest veggie and vegan groups in the UK. Karin is the founder of VeggieVision.com – the internet TV station that promotes everything positive about veggie living and films on a regular basis. She is also a radio presenter and now presents the UK‟s first Veggie radio show. Karin launched the UK‟s first Veggie newspaper as a pilot and it was a huge success with celebrities, journalists and people subscribing from all over the UK. As an event organiser Karin has organised popular veggie events including gala balls, festivals, comedy nights and more. Karin now runs a PR business and helps raise the profile of great products, people and businesses in the media. To contact Karin please email firstname.lastname@example.org