December 26, 2013

Our First Vegan Holiday Dinner. ~ Sarah Clark

For 20 years, my mom longed to host a vegan holiday meal, but I wouldn’t let her.

There was no way I was going to eat tofu turkey for my holiday feast—not this meat lover!

I wanted to dine on the traditional roast beast. I needed meat and lots of it. I wanted roasted turkey, veggies slathered in butter, sausage dressing and sugary desserts. Oh my! I craved Black Magic chocolates and yearned to devour a vat of rum eggnog.

Okay, here’s the back story; I grew up a vegetarian, so I only ate meat on special occasions and holidays or when I snuck over to my best friends house.

After I moved out of the house, I assumed the standard western diet and went on a meat eating rampage.

During that time, my mom continued to prepare the annual holiday feast, but she refused to touch the dead carcass. By default, my Dad was in charge—which is a little scary since the only kitchen appliance he can operate is a toaster.

No, we didn’t have a National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation moment and eat a bird that was so dry, that the inside was hollow. It was close one year, but to my dad’s credit the turkey was always delicious, and much to my mom’s amazement he did all the clean up, including discarding the nasty dead carcass.

Fast forward 20 years: I’ve come full circle.

After years of eating the standard western diet and getting sick with chronic illnesses such as sinusitis, bladder and yeast infections, I began to adopt a whole foods plant based diet (with a little fish).

I cut out the gluten, processed sugar, caffeine and dairy. Suddenly, much to my husbands’ horror, I had morphed into my mother!

Luckily, that’s a good thing! I made fun of my mom’s crazy vegan ways for years. I never knew what to serve her when she came for dinner. I constantly pestered her to just have a little bite of meat, to try a sugary dessert and for goodness sake to stop keeping herself on such a short leash and enjoy some “real food.”

Little did I know she was the one eating the real food, and that when you eat a whole food plant based diet you don’t crave the junk.

It took me 20 years and a scary health crisis, but I’m back to the diet of my youth. When my mom called me this year about the holiday feast, she asked how I would feel if she prepared a vegan holiday meal. When I said yes, she almost did a backflip. Finally we would eat a festive holiday meal—vegan style.

Here’s our menu:

Leek and Potato Soup

Glazed Lentil Loaf

Roasted Vegetable Salad

Roasted Potatoes

Cranberry, Apricot and Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf

Apple Crisp

It’s never too late to change your diet and create a ripple effect that inspires others around you. Here’s to my mom for staying true to her path, even when all the naysayers (including me) pestered her to come to the dark side. She continues to be a trendsetter, an inspiration and my source for my next great read.


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Assistant Editor: Brenna Fischer/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo Credit: Tracy Hunter/Flickr Creative Commons

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Sarah Clark