Sunday, November 30, 2008

More than Thankful... Hopeful

This has been a year of great changes for us.

But the biggest change has been adopting a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. We are still figuring out what all that means to us, since it varies from person to person, but as I've said before, it has been great.

And when I talk about this "change" I don't mean just the way that we cook or the foods we choose, but really a whole mentality. We've learned a lot about the health benefits of cutting out animal-based food, the disgusting facts of factory farming and really just made a lot more connections that should have been obvious to us before.

Even though I've worked with and cared for animals all my life, it took the traumatic incident of the attack on Napoleon to really open our eyes and spur us to action. Thank goodness he has had a 100% recovery but how could we care so much for this one and then contribute to the torture and slaughter of thousands of others? Oh, and by the way, since so many people have asked... I didn't pressure the hubby into this change. He actually was the main driving force, for which I will be forever glad and thankful.

So yes, we had trauma and, yes, we have learned some sad things that reinforce our feelings but this holiday should be about joy and Thanksgiving. And this year we, I feel, finally celebrated in a way that supported that. While a few turkey's are "pardoned" (like other innocents who are spared from execution in the nick of time), 72 million for this day alone are not.

We got a few questions, which we were happy to answer, including "But what will you eat on Thanksgiving if you aren't having a turkey?" Well, I never really liked to eat turkey or ham. And I got an upset stomach from all the butter and fat every year, so I wasn't going to miss that. What we were having were all of the other amazing traditional foods with only a few ingredient changes and one substitution.

We had a Celebration Roast from Field Roast for our main. These (and their sausages) are so delicious I wish we had started eating them in general years ago. We also had an Apple Sage Mushroom stuffing, asparagus, a fresh field green salad with pecans, sweet potato biscuits, gravy and the hubby's famous roasted root vegetable mash.

This is one of the best things he makes. You chop up and roast any mix of veggies but we used: butternut squash, turnips, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, russet potatoes, parsnips, carrots and rutabagas.

Prep the veggies by seeding and peeling as needed.

Then we chop them up into equal size, sprinkle with some olive oil, salt and pepper and any herbs you may want. Then they pop in the oven to roast at 400 for about an hour or 1.5 hours until they are crispy yet tender. You then can food process them or hand mash them. We add some broth and EarthBalance and you are done!

I also made a (vegan) pumpkin pie with a pecan crust which may have been the best pumpkin pie I've ever made. I could not stop eating it.

We added a bunch more photos onto Flickr, so check them out.

Unlike previous years, I came away from our dinner with a feeling of actual thanksgiving and a lot of hope. It really confirmed that you could eat amazingly (which we kind of already knew) and traditionally but still in line with our goals. We could have people over for a holiday meal and know that no one would leave missing anything from a taste or emotional level. I think food speaks to us on both planes so knowing that we could still fulfill that meant a lot to me.

Many people may have seen this video of Palin and thought it was pretty bad but I'm not sure it really opened any eyes. The whole "pardon a turkey" thing is sort of a joke.

But the true cruelty of what happens to the turkeys before they come to your table is far far worse.

There are so many people out there who care about animals and the environment. The Prop 2 victory is evidence of that and a great start to what I hope is a wave of change. In this new world, this paradigm shift, I hope that awareness will continue to grow and an openness will find new paths.

I hope our experience will inspire you to think beyond what has been taught to you in the past and to seek new information and try new things. I'd love to help answer any questions or talk through your thoughts.

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