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Celebrations: Tips and tricks for surviving holidays.

November 2023 / by Cookhouse Hero

This is a tricky one. For me, I'm a 95% WPF advocate who might include either processed foods like faux-vegan sausage and cheese or an occasional slice of pizza margherita. But for vegans or 100% compliant whole food, plant-based eaters, well... yeah, it's a tricky one. Check out useful suggestions to de-stress during special celebrations.

  • Real Food Recipes: MamaSezz curated 12 last-minute, WFPB recipes for your holiday table. LINK

  • In the News: All Creatures gives advice for ethical vegans about grace during the holidays. LINK

  • Feeding Families: Plant-Based Juniors explains five ways to create a vegan Thanksgiving. LINK

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(humor + creativity + a spoonful of truth-sugar)

CH BLOG - November 2023 / © by Cookhouse Hero / Reading time: 3 minutes

Three approaches to "living in a glass house" while celebrating.

     Humor: First, I'd say that humor has been my primary ally, not only during celebrations but while engaging in any random conversation about eating a lot of plants. I hadn't realized how intimidating this WPF diet and lifestyle could be, and thus, how many chats I would have about what I eat and why. I'm not so comfortable with this "living in a glass house" reality, so I usually resort to self-deprecating humor as my first line of protection. It works (almost) every time.

     Truth: As a Cookhouse Hero advocate, telling the truth fearlessly is one of our superpowers. Deciding to simply share facts with folks - who push us to talk (and talk and talk) about our food and lifestyle choices - is challenging, noble, and I would argue at this point in our civilization, necessary. How far down the rabbit holes we choose to go is relative. Simply saying, out loud, that we're eating plants because of health and/or food animals and/or eco-systems is important.

     Blend: Depending on the gravity of the situation, I've sometimes chosen to say yes and blend in a bit. I might not eat a piece of turkey or ham, but I'll eat mashed potatoes with butter or chocolate birthday cake with coconut oil, processed sugar, bleached white flour, and eggs. Others might be cool eating animals during a special party or holiday supper. For vegans and 100% compliant plant-based eaters, blending in could look like putting something on your plate that you don't eat (I've done this at birthday parties and nobody noticed).      

While it's understandable that some WPF and vegan advocates completely shy away from celebrations, Cookhouse Hero asks you to consider joining in and using tips and tricks for support.

Seven tips and tricks for surviving (and thriving) during celebrations.


  • Humor: By far, humor takes the least amount of effort and almost always lightens the vibe in the room. Say something like: "Yeah, eating primarily plants must seem like I've gone out of my mind, huh? I thought so to... at first. But now, I feel so much lighter." Then, stop talking or change the subject. Read your audience accurately.

  • Contribution: This is a common tip for plant-powered guests, but I wouldn't bring kale and bean soup. That's like going from zero to 60 in a nano-second. Instead, consider bringing roasted carrots or Brussels sprouts, or a plant-based green bean casserole or WPF dessert.

  • Creativity: Within the Contribution category, appetizers are the easiest and most beautiful. After all, we eat with our eyes, too. Everyone likes hummus, baba-ghanoush, and a relish tray creatively displayed on a lovely platter (olives, pickled things, veggies, crackers, etc). If you want to get fancy, add Miyoko's Creamery vegan cheese. 

  • Timing: Arrive on the later side and leave on the earlier side. Excuses tend to be lame (and usually not believed) during celebrations, so I'd just "sneak in and out" if that's possible. 

  • Location: Stay out of the kitchen and away from the food table(s). As a chef, I prefer hanging out in kitchens, but when I do, the plant-questions begin! When I'm in another room, chats about cherries are less common. 

  • New Tradition: If you're with a group of skeptical but slightly open people, try adding a new tradition to the table. This can be a WPF/vegan version of a familiar food such as Fourth of July faux-vegan sausages with the works or birthday cake from a Forks Over Knives recipe.

  • Courage: If you feel there's an opening in the conversation, please consider walking in. Talking about plants and food systems is a wise way to support human health, food-animal welfare, and stable eco-systems. 

Use humor and blending in. Sing and tap dance if that helps. Try (almost) anything to save the world.  


​What to do?

     Of course, we can always just "walk away" in the form of changing the subject and/or literally walking away. Also, try not to preach or judge; that never, ever works. No matter how we approach these sticky situations, we need to remember our WHY and never give up! And although we might feel like we're alone in this plant-focused universe, we're not. There are many articles on this subject and each one I've read has been helpful. I reckon the three most important aspects to remember are 1) our primary WHY, 2) our commitment to saving the world via creating and supporting human health and longevity, happy food animals, and stable eco-systems, and 3) our ability to use humor as much as possible to lighten the mood and gracefully get our point across. Indeed... a spoonful of truth-sugar can make the info-medicine go down.

Click on the links below and learn more about cultural realities and how to successfully overcome them!

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