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Looking ahead to holiday meals? Vegan items could be on the menu

© iStock - sergeyshibut
Mike Moen

(Wisconsin News Connection) November is almost here, and some households might be planning their menu for upcoming holiday meals.

Those who support vegan diets say it's not a "fringe" option to consider. For holidays like Thanksgiving, turkey is still the staple.

Mary Telfer, with the Wisconsin-based organization Alliance for Animals, said they urge everyone to avoid eating meat this holiday season due to animal treatment concerns, human health and environmental impacts from food production. For people on the fence about making the switch, she explained you can lean into vegan options. 

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© iStock - Ridofranz

"They think, 'How can I do this and still please my family? How can I do this and still keep up our traditions?' I mean, yeah, try some different things," Telfer urged.

She pointed out you can sample vegan food before the holidays, noting there are now countless websites and cookbooks with recipes. Grocery chains like Aldi and Trader Joe's sell plant-based holiday roasts. And Telfer added if you feel you need to serve meat to your guests, you can offset the impact by using sides like nondairy whipped cream. Staples like mashed potatoes and cranberries can still complement the meal.

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© iStock - Sergei Gnatiuk

And if you are worried about missing out on protein, Telfer recommended you load up protein-rich vegetables, such as peas. As for considering a vegan holiday meal, she feels it should not be as controversial as some might think.

"We don't think it's strange when we welcome progress when it comes in the form of technology or the newest phone or laptop. And yet, we have a harder time embracing progress in how we think about our nonhuman animal friends."

Beyond the treatment of animals, she stressed industrialized food production creates land use issues for future generations, and threatens wildlife habitat, while adding to pollution woes and harming human health.