Unless you’re some lucky stiff who lives in a commune and works for PETA, the holidays can be especially stressful for vegans. And we’re not the only ones. Those with health conditions that require a special diet or those who simply choose to eat healthy are also feeling the heat.
Despite all that talk of goodwill toward others, it seems there is even more pressure to “eat normal” (which is a slang term meaning “eat unhealthy shit”) during this time.
Go to work and there are bowls of candies on desks and treats on break room tables. And some well-meaning soul gifts you with his/her homemade goodies that you accept graciously (because how can you not), then search for a way to dump without being seen.
Then there is the holiday celebration.
Holiday parties are easy. No one will notice you’re not eating or drinking. Nurse a glass of water and leave early.
If your work group chooses to dine out together (or your controlling admin assistant decides that’s what you’ll do), you may get to order one of those crappy salads that tell the world you don’t believe in Santa Claus.
If the group does a potluck, you’ll end up eating that thing you brought to share, unless there happens to be another healthy eater within your group. While you chew on your raw veggies and whole wheat bread, you can cringe while watching your cohorts devour plates piled high with casseroles, creamed this and that, and topped off with a cream dessert. My arteries are already clogging just thinking about it.
You want to take part, but you also don’t want to compromise your principles and/or throw away all that hard work you’ve put in for months. If you go back to the junk now, it will be so much harder to start back up eating healthy come January. Don’t do it!
Some tips for making this a less stressful time include:
Support your co-workers who are also choosing to eat healthy by mutually agreeing to bring foods appropriate for each of you.
Eat beforehand. I know, everyone says do this, but it really does help.
Have prepared answers to, “Aren’t you eating?” “Here, try this,” and “It won’t hurt this one time.” You know they’re coming. Be ready.
Use positive affirmations that remind yourself why you’re eating the way you are. I deserve to be healthy. I feel good when I eat healthy. I feel good about myself as a vegan.
Here are some treats you can share to stimulate the celebration without caving into the pressure:
Nuts, preferably low-salt or salt-free, are a good source of protein, healthy fats and no added sugar.
Roasted chickpeas. Oh man, are these good! My favorite is those roasted with Moroccan spices. Here’s a link to the recipe.
Fresh fruits and veggies! Veggies are low-glycemic and a good source of vitamins. Fruits are a sweet substitute for all that chocolate and candy floating around.
Date balls are not for the diabetic, but for vegans wanting a sugary substitute for all that chocolate and pastry hanging out, they are a fantastic option. I bought some at Wal-Mart in the produce department.
Make your own treats. You can veganize most baking recipes using applesauce for part of the fat and flax seed for eggs. There are some great vegan bloggers out there who can show you the way and provide you with tasty recipes to try and share.
You can do this! Then come January when those around you are whining about needing to get healthy, you can smugly smile because you’re already there. It’ll be so worth it.