The best way to defeat holiday anxiety, handle vegaphobia and snarky comments from meat eaters, and enjoy thanksgiving gatherings is with emotional buoyancy. Thanksgiving is when we come together to fill our bellies and enjoy insightful conversations. It gives us the opportunity to bond with one another. But Thanksgiving for vegans, vegetarians and plant-based people brews holiday anxiety. This is as we prepare our lists of meat-free Thanksgiving dishes (browse our healthy meat-free dishes here). There is underlying apprehension when it comes to attending social gatherings. No one wants to deal with snarky comments or an onslaught of vegaphobic remarks.
By definition, vegaphobia is “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against vegetarians and vegans”. Simply observing an interaction between one plant-based and one who eats meat. There is an adverse and negative reaction from those who eat meat when someone brings up the fact that they are meat-free. Not factoring ethical vegans into this scenario. Some try to act fake nice, which lasts a few seconds; their eyes harden and their body language shifts away. Respectfully, some of us DO NOT judge you for your food choices; you are hard on yourself as it is. Just stop anticipating someone would/could judge you for your meat lifestyle. Stop comparing or commenting on body sizes. Some of us want to talk and vibe with you.
They claim that vegaphobia is not real, but the search results show otherwise.
Practice emotional buoyancy and restraint
A cheerful or zesty disposition is not what I mean by ‘emotional buoyancy’. I believe plant-based eaters and vegans can achieve emotional lightness, thus emotional buoyancy. Oxford dictionary defines buoyancy as “the ability or tendency to float in water, air or some other fluid”. Thus far, vegans and plant-based people with balanced eating habits are more attuned to others’ emotions. Which is why this strategy works.
To enjoy Thanksgiving for vegans, take the opportunity to practice how well-attuned you are to varying degrees of conversation. And the application of restraint. As you maintain your inner buoyancy (lightness), choose to guide the conversations towards fluidity. Some unintentional rude behaviours stemming from innocent curiosity about your lifestyle might lure you into teaching or overexplaining. Pass on the responsibility; change the topic to something mutually beneficial. Without directly saying so, challenge each conversationalist to steer away from their unhealthy fixation on veganism or meat-free culture. It’s a nice party; we are not in school or at a TedTalk.
Tips to overcome holiday anxiety
Remember, Thanksgiving for vegans and plant-based people means an opportunity to bond. Just like everyone else. Delight yourself by fixing your best meat-free Thanksgiving dish. And also, pack various dishes you can eat if the party doesn’t have substantial options. Furthermore:
(1) Reduce expectations. They might have sides you can eat but bring your own food.
(2) Anticipate uncontrolled meat gutting details. Raving and ranting about the “labours of love” that went into a roasted pig or stuffed goose is just another way for hosts to bond with the crowd. More so, it is not fun when others tip-toe around you concerning the topics they can and cannot discuss, adding to holiday anxiety.
Feel into and see them as they are with care
For context, has a child ever presented to you their drawing or craft from school, and you slapped it from their hand? Meat-free folks should strive to see things this way from a meat-eaters point of view. Especially when they rave about a dish that contains animal products (try not to roll your eyes or look salty). When they talk about their non-vegan or non-vegetarian dish, think about the numerous secret trials. Think also of the errors it took to get it right enough to present publicly. Thanksgiving is enjoyable – should you choose to truly see the other humans (carnivores, too) and bond with them. Not teach, not advocate, and not contribute to vegaphobia.
Energy grows where energy flows snap vegaphobia
Think about it. People hate vegetables for various reasons. That is not a hill you want to die on during the holidays or when you are trying to enjoy your meat-free Thanksgiving. True story: People who eat animal products have mistakenly eaten and loved what is purely 100% plant-based. It always shocks them. Each of these experiences reduces vegaphobia and cuts back on the snarky comments. Respectfully, plant-based lifestyle enthusiasts do not attend parties wanting to change people’s minds. They accept that their medicine cabinet size might be reduced by 45% from weaning off animal products. No yelling or passive-aggressive matches about animals vs plants. And this is good enough.
Make social conservations fun again
I don’t know about you. But when I’m at a party, these are the only topics I’m interested in: boys, fashion, makeup, shoes, travel, and where to get good cocktails (preferably with discounts for ladies). From this extensive list, we can discuss various things, thus adding to the fun party vibe! Think about it, booze is flowing, jolliness abounds, and the hosts have laid out festive foods in abundance. The atmosphere is perfect for these conversations—a perfect Thanksgiving for vegans.
- No meditation talk because we are trying to booze up. Chances are the drinker might see stars or hear voices. No buzz kill!
- No, I don’t know what’s happening economically around the world or what online companies are beefing about. I’m too busy trying to walk around the room so everyone can see how good I look in this outfit. “Do you know how many squats it took to get this bum?” Lol!
- No, I don’t want to talk about my food lifestyle because it is a source of nourishment and healing for my body. It is a lifetime of learning, doing and correcting. And I’m at a party trying to have fun, not teach.
We want to hear from you too. What retorts would you add? Comment below. Thanksgiving for vegans is so annoying for some of them that there are articles out there telling people (meat eaters) how to ‘handle a vegan eater’. Let’s turn the tables. This article is for plant-based lifestyle enthusiasts on handling vegaphobia and how newbies can handle holiday anxiety. Especially if they get snarky comments and rude remarks. It also gives helpful tips on enjoying meat-free Thanksgiving or other holiday gatherings.
Just curious, does anyone else drink their wine out of a mug?