The holidays are fast approaching. With them comes family gatherings, seasonal shopping trips, and of course, the holiday meal. The feast of families kicks off with Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas and then the New Year.
Most families gather around a juicy turkey, which has spent hours in the oven, cooking to perfection.
But what about those who choose not to eat meat? How do vegetarians handle the holiday madness?
The Harris Interactive Service Bureau estimates that 3.2 percent of U.S. adults are vegetarian.
Harris also notes that 10 percent of the population follows a vegetarian-inclined diet.
Some college students are included in these percentages. UC San Diego alumni Preston Luhman, a 25-year-old computer tech, said he became vegetarian because of the person he was dating.
“If it requires a dead animal, I won’t eat it,” stated Luhman, who continues to consume dairy products and eat eggs.
He found that it was a positive change, though it was a gradual process.
Rafael Colonna, a 26-year-old instructor at UC Berkeley, said that he turned to vegetarianism when he was living on a college-student budget and looking for a more inexpensive way to eat. Colonna said that he finds vegetarian eating more affordable than a meat-centered diet.
Both men said that becoming a vegetarian was a gradual change that has become a major part of who they are. Neither of their families follow a vegetarian diet plan, so when the
holidays come around, Luhman and Colonna have
to take an active part in dinner planning.
Luhman said his mother would often forget he was vegetarian or would cook food she thought was vegetarian but in fact was not.
Colonna said his mother had a difficult time accepting her son as a vegetarian. He said it was easier for him to come out to her as gay than as a vegetarian.
He said that she eventually accepted his food preferences, but like Luhman’s mother, she would sometimes prepare non-vegetarian food, thinking it was vegetarian.
Many prepackaged foods use animal stock. Something like mashed potatoes might seem vegetarian, but any stock used in the gravy would disqualify them.
Colonna said, that over the past five years, he has made half of the Thanksgiving dinner.
He said some of his non-vegetarian family even ends up eating the Tofurkey.