For a lot of us, the holiday season is a time to share love for not only our fellow man, but our animal friends. Strangely, though, many will celebrate the time around a spread of food made mostly of animal products this year.
Some may be considering a switch to a cruelty-free diet as their new year's resolution, but there are five reasons you might want to think about trying out your new lifestyle early.
1. Holiday meals are all about the side dishes.
Let's be honest. You're far more excited to shovel Mom's creamy green bean casserole into your mouth than to pick at the turkey or ham. Why not skip the meat altogether, then, and bulk up on your favorite sides? Holiday favorites like green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and even pumpkin pie can easily be made totally animal product-free, too.
2. A guilt-free conscience looks great with a healthy waistline.
It's no secret that animal products come with a lot more saturated fat than many of their plant-based counterparts. It's also common knowledge that you, your neighbor, your mom, and your uncle get gym memberships every year to work off weight gained from eating those fatty holiday foods. Skip the treadmill walk-of-shame this year and go right for the plant-based meat and dairy alternatives during this season's cookie baking parties, gingerbread house assemblies, and family dinners. You'll be able to smile knowing that you're not contributing to animal cruelty in your diet and you won't be wearing those baggy holiday sweaters into January.
3. Go to a turkey holiday feast.
Those who take more joy in watching animals happily chow down than actually chowing down on animals often go to farm sanctuaries during the holidays. Why? For no other reason than to feed some happy, healthy pigs, turkeys, and other animals platefuls of kale salad, pumpkin pie, and butternut squash. The sanctuaries set up beautiful spreads and then unleash the birds. And they're not shy. They jump onto the tables to gobble up the delicious greens and vegetables. Not too long ago, those birds were scheduled for the slaughterhouse and the grocery store freezer aisle. Now, they play in the snow, socialize with other animals and people, and enjoy their lives like any other living thing loves to. In honor of them, their caretakers throw a feast. Get in touch with your local farm sanctuary to find out if a holiday meal for the animals will be happening near you. You'll see that animals are a lot more fun in person than on your plate.
4. Cruelty-free eaters have holiday potlucks -- and they're huge.
Your family might not always be entirely understanding of a plant-based diet. Despite the obvious benefits, it's new to many people and thus, scary. So, try reaching out to others trying a cruelty-free diet. It's likely that there's a Facebook or social group based in your city or state. Lots of groups even have giant potluck dinners around the holidays. Visitors bring guilt-free appetizers, entrees, and desserts. It's a great way to introduce yourself to the diet and shake away those "I'll miss [insert comfort food here]," feelings. Nostalgic meals that you thought couldn't be made plant-based all sit at the tip of your fork. Not to mention, you'll likely make a few like-minded, plant-based friends while you're there.
5. You'll save more than a few lives.
Think about how many turkeys sat in the middle of a dinner table this Thanksgiving. How many animals lived and died in questionable conditions for that one meal? As later holidays approach, it's difficult to push away the idea of pain and misery in exchange for a holiday. It might even seem nonsensical to you to celebrate love and life with an animal-based meal. So, consider doing what makes sense and aligns with your moral code by trying a plant-based diet this holiday season.