A Very Veggie Thanksgiving

21 Nov

"Tofurkey" or turkey flavored tofu, reasonable vegetarian/vegan turkey substitute or against God's plan?

On Halloween weekend I made the mistake of watching my version of a scary movie, a documentary called, “Forks Over Knives.” In this film two Vegan nutritionists give their professional opinions on why meat as well as any animal food products are bad for you and demonstrate how  ingesting of them negatively affects our bodies. And I gotta say I was a little disquieted by what they had to say about how eating meat affects our circulatory systems and can cause cells to become cancerous.

As a meat enthusiast, it’s not uncommon to eat either chicken, pork, steak, veal, or fish once a day at least; or I’ll have eggs or yogurt and I love cheese. I had thought myself to be a pretty healthy eater despite that; nothing fried, I buy organic (mostly) and I don’t eat too many sweets. So it was really shocking to think that after being so “good” I could still be doing my body harm by having a piece of plain grilled chicken over my salad or a cup of greek yogurt!

Inspired/terrified by this new information, I decided to challenge myself and abstain from eating meat until Thanksgiving. I look forward every year to turkey with gravy, homemade mac & cheese, and the dessert splurge so there was no way I could forego all that but from November 1 until this coming Thursday I have followed the dietary guidelines provided in “Forks Over Knives.” And I discovered that a meatless and even a dairy/egg free diet is not that difficult to follow!

While having brunch this past weekend at Cafe Blossom (known for their organic and veggie-friendly menu) I noticed that they have a Turkey Day menu and I must say the absence of “tofurkey” and the special festive dishes were quite enticing. And I started wondering if a vegetarian/vegan Thanksgiving would really be so bad after-all?

For the moment I am not resolved to quit meat or dairy forever because steaks, cakes, and shish-ka-bobs are just too delicious, but for the sake of my health I’ve decided to cut down on my meat intake. The benefits of doing so are great, especially if you have or have a family history of diabetes, cancer or heart disease. I’m not trying to scare anyone with this post because it’s Thanksgiving soon and the holidays are a time to celebrate and enjoy, but I will be adding more vegetables to this year’s Thanksgiving menu because if there is one thing that I am always thankful for (besides family & friends) it’s my health!


10 Responses to “A Very Veggie Thanksgiving”

  1. evervescence November 21, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    Hi there! Thanks for the pingback to your blog! I have yet to see “Forks over Knives”, but I do plan to watch it. I think it’s really great you strive to eat healthy. It is really alarming when you find out the truth about your food but it is so important too. I think that it makes sense that meats aren’t good for the body (at least the meats grown/processed in factory farms they are not good for anyone or anything). I don’t know if the movie mentioned this or not but cow’s milk just isn’t biologically compatible with the human body, it is comprised of casein which turns into glue in our bodies. Though tasty and hard to give up cheese, it can be done. I truly believe it is just a process of slow elimination and redesigning your life.

    I chose to give up dairy completely and don’t use cheese substitutes (save for my favorite nutritional yeast un-cheeze sauce I make) but there are some really good products like Daiya that mimic cheese but are plant based. Might want to give those a try? So I get the feeling you are not a Tofurkey fan? I thought it was too salty personally and I don’t use a lot of meat replacements much but I do love how similar it is to turkey for people who are making the transition to a meat-free diet. The transition seems to be the most difficult for everyone during the holidays that center around meat based meals.

    I’ve honestly never eaten or cooked more creative, healthy, delicious foods since I gave up meat and dairy. Kudos to you for making the choice to go without meat until Thanksgiving! You are doing my challenge but in reverse! 🙂

    Thanks again for the pingback. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • restrow November 22, 2011 at 10:25 am #

      Yes, do watch “Forks Over Knives” as you say it is so important to educate yourself about nutrition and how diet affects your overall health. I am not a fan of dairy or meat alternatives, I find the taste really lacking. I’d rather just have a veggie only dish that is delicious without trying to be something that it’s not. So no tofurkey for me!

      I totally agree with you about the creative cooking! And my plates are so much more colorful now as well! The real challenge though is when you go out to eat. Most restaurants still don’t have much selection when it comes to meatless entrees. But I think they’ll get there eventually, especially if we create the demand.

      Thanks for subscribing and a Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  2. Johnny K November 21, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    What? Only a negative word about the bird? “Say it isn’t so! Oh the humanity…”
    Turkey is certainly different from steak in fat content and work required for digestion. It is entirely possible to buy a healthy organic turkey, who has had all the free range benefits and a natural diet. And what am I going to do now with all that fresh from the bog cranberry sauce.

    • restrow November 22, 2011 at 10:29 am #

      No not negative, turkey is delicious and of course it has a lot of good things in it for you especially if you get an organic turkey. This post is simply to give voice to another school of thought. I don’t know about that “bog cranberry sauce” though lol! That to me sounds very suspect!

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Heather December 2, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Wow! It’s nice to hear about such an open mind! 8) We get a LOT of grief from friends and family about our plantbased lifestyle.

    I recently became a vegan, in order to follow Dr. McDougall’s plan (he was one of the Drs in the film). I started Nov. 1, heavily medicated for hypertension (I’m only 32 and not morbidly obese, but could stand to lose a few lbs, as I have three kids, the last being born in July!) and now I have normal bp’s, and I’m waiting to improve to the point of coming off of the medication. (By the way, antihypertensives are horrible medicines, side effect wise!)

    Please give considerable thought to adopting a plantbased diet, or, like the author, trying to incorporate more plants into your diet! It’s life changing. You’ll forget about how delicious the steak is when you see and feel that much better!

    • restrow December 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

      Heather you will get no grief from me. Congratulations on all of your efforts paying off and seeing an improvement in your health! Vegetables are delicious! Best of luck to you and thank you for your comment!

  4. Renata Hale December 2, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    If you factor in the revolting abuse of animals and the environmental impact factory farming has, it’s VERY easy to be a vegan… Good for you for taking first steps! By the way, their are vegan version of shishkabob and vegan baking is delicious! You won’t miss out by making the change…

    • restrow December 2, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

      Yes I definitely approve of Vegan baking! Which was so surprising, but I recently had a Vegan pecan scone that was better than any non-Vegan scone I’ve ever had. It was so moist! The abuse of farm animals is quite shocking, I’m glad that the issue is gaining more awareness. Did you see that McDonald’s just severed ties with their main chicken provider because of the inhumane treatment of the birds?


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