Vegetarians Look to Satisfy Their Thanksgiving Appetite in Different Ways


Zack Jimenez

Alternative options to traditional Thanksgiving meals.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, people are already trying to beat the crowd, buying Thanksgiving dinner items. However, there are a choice few who don’t break out the turkey. Vegetarians prefer not to eat meat and make different choices concerning their diet. There are also different reasons why they keep away from animal products.

Instead of consuming meat, vegetarians prefer to eat grains, proteins, fats, and fruits and vegetables. Although many would argue that meat is a protein, there are many other substitutes that can replace animal products within that category. For instance, vegetarians can eat about five daily servings of protein-filled foods such as beans, legumes, nuts, and soy. They also consume eggs and Greek yogurt.

However, there is one nutritional factor that most vegetarians lack and that is iron. It has been shown that iron is more easily received from meats. Nevertheless, just as there are replacement foods for protein; there are also stand-ins for iron. Vegetarians can produce iron by eating dry beans, lentils, soybeans, spinach, and tofu.

Vegetarian diet choices are unique and so is the reasoning behind it. One of the bases for going vegan is the value of animal life. Many farms inject their animals with growth hormones, such as rBGH or recombinant bovine growth hormone. However, some of these stimulants are known to be cancerous and affect the byproducts they create such as milk.

Amber Pena, a vegetarian specialist, said, “Meat has always grossed me out since I was a kid. I had to go to a nutritional specialist and everything. I’ve also always had a soft spot for animals. So, three years ago, I decided eating meat wasn’t worth all the pain to me. I’ve always known about the cruelty happening in animal factories, but just like others, decided to look the other way. But, one day, I saw a picture on Facebook that broke my heart. I finally vowed I wouldn’t eat meat again. Those animals were more important than my appetite.”

Another reason vegetarians abstain from meat is helping the environment. By not consuming meat, there is a reduction in the destruction of rainforests, wildlife habitats, and endangered species. Many farmers today use pesticides and herbicides in order to produce food for animals. Unfortunately, these chemicals end up leaking into rivers and streams, which causes pollution and other environmental problems.

This Thanksgiving, many vegetarians are getting ready to celebrate. The only difference between how they prepare for the holidays and non-vegetarians do is the food choices.

One of the food items used for a vegetarian Thanksgiving is tofu.

“Although it may sound disgusting, tofu, when cooked right, can make a really soft turkey,” Pena said.

Another food choice can be stuffed mushrooms filled with gorgonzola, eggplant, garlic, and parm. There’s also the delicious veggie burger.

Hannah Nichols, a Senior majoring in dance, has been a vegetarian for 12 years.

Nichols talked about the dishes she eats during Thanksgiving.

“I eat stuffing that is not made in the turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans, mashed potatoes without gravy, cranberries, and pie,” Nichols said. “My favorite dish is sweet potatoes!”

Whether someone is vegetarian or not, there’s always alternative ways to spend the holidays!

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