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And here are more replies from real veggies all over the UK - the

summary of the answers is that its not difficult going vegetarian, there is a
wonderful array of traditional style and unusual healthy tasty animal free
foods to enjoy with a wealth of ethical gifts to buy.

I just love thick slices of tempeh marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and
soy sauce baked in the oven for about 15 mins and served with all the
Not very exciting, but very tasty!
Sara Teiger PR
I'm a veggie, and oddly last year my Mum just made me a Curry!
Usually it's just meat substitutes with regular Christmas like veg!
Tom Brumpton
Freelance PR & Copywriter
Christmas day is tough, as in my pre-vegetarian days I loved *piggys in
blankets and actually do like meat but don't like the fact that we have to
farm animals to get it, not in this modern day.
This year I will be enjoying a nut roast, potatoes, veg, veggie gravy and
Yorkshire puds, served with mint sauce and cranberry jelly.
Ooooh is it wrong to want to eat that at 9.20am!
Lucy Bridgewater
* There are animal friendly pigs in blankets from Redwoods :O)

Is Christmas a challenge for vegetarians and vegans?

No, we just live off wine and spring rolls!
If you have been veggie for ages you may have it all under control by now!
A life of spring rolls is beginning to take its toll....
How would you deal with a non veggie Xmas pressie or pressure from well
meaning relatives who tempt you with dead birds for Crimbo dinner??
Having just finished working in a slaughterhouse that produces meat for
Tescos, Waitrose, Somerfield, Morrisons, and Asda I shall be giving pre
dinner speeches of my experience.
Non veggie presents go straight to the charity shop. If people haven't got
the hint by now I have no qualms about "offending" them.... after all, they
have offended me, by not buying me Booja Booja food.
When I first became a vegetarian the only veggie food available was freeze
dried TVP, so shut up and stop moaning.
Miss X Undercover Reporter!

Is it difficult being a vegan/veggie at Christmas?

Not at all! We enjoy - Nut loaf, salads of different varieties, and what I have
during the rest of the year. We have been veggie since 1997.
No it is not difficult being a vegan at Christmas. I eat a nut roast and all the
vegetables. I buy a vegan Christmas pudding which I have with soya cream
and my mum makes me a vegan cake which is delicious- I have to stop
everyone eating it!!!! I became a vegetarian 32 years ago and converted to
veganism about 12 years ago Being a vegan gets easier every year as more
products come onto the market. I do not eat many substitutes as I find the
taste of vegetables beans etc perfectly satisfying.
This is my first Christmas being vegan at Christmas and I am looking forward
to it! I have already arranged my food. I have been veggie for 18 years and
so I am used to not having turkey and have a variety of different, delicious
main courses including nut cutlets , veggie sausages and veggie roasts. This
year I will probably start with a full vegan breakfast followed by Christmas
dinner with a nut roast- and its really great cause there is always enough
Brussel sprouts for seconds!

Roast Veggies; potatoes (with lemon juice), parsnips, butternut squash,

sweet potatoes. Roast veg, Mediterranean style; sun dried tomatoes,
courgette, Aubergine, onions, tomatoes, Fresh veg; carrots, broccoli,
peas. Vegan sausages. Home made mince pies. Home baked bread. Home
baked cakes. Too much, in fact!!
Nutroast if at parents / fried peppers if at sister, veggie buffet at ours. We
have been veggie for 9 years vegan for 3 1/2 years.
On the contrary I think that I can now go through the Christmas festivities
with a clear conscious. The availability of alternative food is endless and
the limit is the extent of ones imagination in the kitchen. Since I became
a Vegan I have enjoyed the food at this time of year 100% more and eat
even more that I used to because of the sheer range available.
I think that it is even easier than being a meat eater as I can remember
trying to clean all that animal fat and grease from baking trays/tins. The
oven would also be caked in this stuff so it was a major operation to clean
up the kitchen after the dead animals had been cooked up.
Over Christmas I tend to eat stuff like:
Nut roast (sometimes in pastry) with roast parsnips, Brussels and Chestnuts,
mashed carrots and swede with soya cream and pepper, veggie bacon
wrapped round veggie sausages, mint peas, roast potatoes in garlic and
rosemary, grilled tomatoes and basil etc.
Other food includes: Baked pasta dishes. Steamed Puddings. Curries. Home
made apples sauces and brandy butter (Soya spread). Stuffed veg. such as
Courgettes, peppers and mushrooms.Homemade sage and onion stuffing
balls. Cheatin, turkey roll or the beef version (Redwoods). Sweet potato pie
or pumpkin pie. Meatless balls in a tomato gravy with all the veg. Mince pies.
Christmas pudding. Soya cream and ice cream.
This is just some of the things that I have had over the last few Christmas
seasons and as I have said that it is endless as you are only limited to what
your imagination can do in the kitchen.
I love Christmas, even more so now it doesn't involve a turkey carcass! This
year I will be having vegan 'turkey', vegan 'pigs in blankets', roast potatoes
and lots of trimmings. Then I'll top it off with a vegan cake - yum!"
Alexia Weeks, Writer.

It is easy to be veggie or vegan in our household at Xmas. We're Jewish and

we don't do Xmas, though we send cards and I buy vegan Xmas pudding and
vegan mince pies because I like them!
We eat what we always eat, but a few more treats like chocolates and cake.
I make something like veggie mince (Realeat) with onions, tomatoes,
mushrooms, peppers, pasta, etc.
We'll have doughnuts because it's Chanukah around that time. And of course
lots of fruit. I might do a rice thing, and bread in my bread machine, and
salads and jacket potatoes.
I might do a curry, or something with pastry. Or I might heat up something
from the freezer, like Fry's schnitzels and nuggets.
My husband Ian and I gave up meat 22 or 23 years ago, and went
completely vegetarian about 17 years ago. Our older children, David and
Rainbow, went vegan about 12 years ago, and our youngest, Matthew, who's
nearly 18, has been veggie from birth.
Being a vegan requires forward-planning and organisation - you certainly
can't just assume you'll find what you need when out and about or invited
somewhere. Christmas is no different but no worse. Carnivores eat the same
old thing every year, whereas with vegans the world is our oyster (companion
not edible)
I make a boozy pie at Xmas. Puff pastry top with a filling of chestnuts,
mushrooms, shallots, parsnip, garlic and red wine. The smell is divine let
alone the taste ! I'm a teacher, have been veggie for 12 years, vegan for 3
and suffer far fewer illnesses than my colleagues - particularly the
sickness/diarrhea variety ! I micro-wave leftovers in the staff room at
lunchtime and make my colleagues drool!
We are probably going to buy a vegan 'turkey' from Fresh and Wild, so
everyone can enjoy the same cruelty free meal for a change! :)
In previous years I've had a Cheatin' Roast plus all the usual trimmings and
my partner and his mum and family have had a dead bird! This year is going
to be cruelty free!

Puff pastry with roasted squash, peppers and pine nuts on top with home
grown roasted potatoes and leeks on the side.
Jonathan Barker
My Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe is always a HUGE HIT at the holiday parties. It
is Vegan and has mushrooms, onions, sundried tomatoes, jalapeo olives,
tofu, soy crumbles, soy cheese.
Anyone I make it for LOVES it and wants to recipes. Also my CABBAGE soup
recipe is great for New Years. Everyone is ready to LOSE WEIGHT.
I have a great Mon thru Fri RAW program that is easy and fast to make with
weekends being Vegan.
Mary Beth York

Celebrity make-up artist, product developer, screenwriter (my movie has a

Vegetarian Theme, kind of Legally Blonde meets Fast Food Nation and is
called MB York Survival of the Prettiest) and organic lifestyle expert.

Christmas Tips Family, friends and Christmas Events!

I don't get nearly the amount of hassle now as i did 25 years ago! Things
have certainly changed!
I do find it difficult when people give sweets to my son who's 10 and has
always been veggie but I have now got over my embarrassment and just say
'Im afraid he can't eat those' and then make noises about how it's awful that
in this day and age lots of sweets still use gelatine.
As for Xmas I have no problems as my mum cooks us a Christmas meal and
is happy to make a nut roast.
Helen Pope
My dad is terrible for this - he rang me up once and told me about some
sausages he'd found in a local shop and advised me to get some. I reminded
him again that I don't eat meat and he replied "Oh, I know - but you'd like
THESE sausages!"
It transpired that he thought I am a veggie because I don't like the taste of
meat. Last year, all through November, he had forgotten our conversation
and was emailing and calling with turkey price updates.
So last year, when we went to his house for Boxing Day lunch, I wore my
"Meat is Murder" badge. He told me that it made him feel very uncomfortable
as he had made turkey salad for everyone. I told him that was exactly the
point - I was uncomfortable with him keep trying to get me to eat meat. He
cancelled plans for the turkey salad and we each had a Ploughman's instead.

It worked. He phoned me last month and said "Remember how you used to
love tomato sausages when you were little?" Mentally preparing myself for
another battle, I replied that I did and with a note of excitement in his voice,
he told me that he had "discovered" Linda McCartney made tomato sausages
and should he bring me some back?
I had two packs in the freezer already, but gratefully accepted.
It's a long road, training people to think veggie, but it CAN be done!
Beverley Kerry
My mum is a vegan and I know that in the past (a very long time ago) she
maybe was tempted once. She was quite a sick person before she became
vegan always suffering from headaches bad chest infections etc.
I think that the way my mum looks at it now is that she can either keep her
health and see her grandchildren growing up or eat meat along with all the
chemicals that are pumped into these creatures and do herself a wealth of
damage. She is more than happy eating good quality vegan / organic food as
she feels like she has tons of energy after she has eaten good quality food!
Sylvia Henthorn
I'm naturally petite and slim built and when ever I venture home for
Christmas, or indeed Sunday roast, my Mum always comments on how I am
too slim (I have a very healthy BMI thank you Mother!).
This, she has decided, must be down to my vegetarianism, therefore I must
eat the beef/turkey/chicken on the table at once!
I always decline but make sure that I have double helpings of pudding, (to
her credit my mum makes amazing organic, egg free brownies) just so she
can be sure that my figure isn't a direct result of my vegetarian diet!
So my top tip for surviving non-veggie relatives at Christmas Eat lots of
Alula Cheery
I give my friends & relatives a written wish list. They can't go wrong & I have
modest expectations. I always receive appropriate gifts & they appreciate my
forethought. Very easily done, no muss, no fuss & everyone is happy.
Mary Preston
I have been veggie now since I was 12 (and hey, that's over 30 years!).

My biggest tip is 'don't stint on the extras!' Just because you aren't eating
turkey doesnt mean that bread sauce and cranberry sauce are off limits.
Experiment too with some stuffing balls... they don't have to have been
stuffed in a defenseless bird, just pop them in the oven on some foil!
Happy Christmas!
Anna McQueen
I like to make some of my own raw vegan recipes to bring along, to wow
them with! I also send them a copy of my e-book ahead of time, as a little
gift that might inspire them to make vegan recipes for their gathering.
I find them surprisingly receptive!
Happy holidays to you!
Judy Pokras
The Little e-Book of Raw Holiday Recipes
Always warn/remind the host well in advance that you are vegetarian or
If it is someone you know well then offer to bring an alternative to the meat
for yourself (or indeed a complete plate of food which can be reheated by the
host, in which case prepare a really attractive meal and be ready for the
amazement that it is vegetarian!).
Before the event work out in your own mind several responses to the "Why?"
question. Depending on who is asking then polite responses can include a
jokey "Why not?", or explaining that this really isn't the time or place to
explain in detail but you hope since you are not bothered by them eating
meat they will grant you the same courtesy.
If you are served something you are dubious about then simply leave it
without comment - remember everyone has things they don't like for
different reasons, it is acceptable not to clear your plate.

Invite people round to your home - and impress them with what is possible!
Hazel Rea
Bits of the following can be adapted for each situation. My message to
everyone is:
Just ask them - can you really enjoy Christmas, which is a time of love and
celebration by taking life needlessly. There is another way.
Point out that the end of the year is a good time for people to set their
intentions for the coming year, and ask what their heart really tells them
about the direction in health, happiness and prosperity.
Further, many people have the illusion after Christmas there are a lot of
"bugs" going round. This could not be further from the truth, because the
cold weather helps to reduce infection. The real reason why people get colds
and flu after Christmas is because of over eating too much cooked food and
meat, which lowers the immune system, increases acidity in the body.
Milk products are particularly bad as they have many micro organisms that
live in the blood. Once healthy blood cells start to adapt to their now toxic
environment they recycle themselves!
Raw vegetables and juices on the other hand, are full of bio-field energy
which keeps us alive, along with all the enzyme rich nutrients that would be
denatured by heating live food over 40 C.
This raw vegan approach to eating, boosts the immune system, keeps
healthy red blood cells from clumping together, thus increasing oxygen
capacity, and supports the normal life span of healthy cells.
So we can either decide now if we accelerate the ageing process, or slow it
down, or even reverse the process.
No better time than now to start setting intentions, before the holiday period
determines what sort of Christmas, and year ahead we want in our lives.
What sort of a world do we really want to live in, and leave for future
All have a wonderful, truly happy Christmas.
Dr Leom Woodal D.C
London Chiropractors

I think preparation is the key to a Happy Veggie Christmas, especially if

you're staying with family/ friends that don't know much about being
I always make sure that I tell people that I'm a veggie well in advance to
give them time to get used to the idea and think about what food they'll
It's always a good idea to remind meat-eaters about things like: regular
gravy won't be vegetarian; you won't want to eat things that have been
cooked in goose fat, etc.....
It may even be a good idea to take along some kind of veggie main dish as a
staple in case it all goes horribly wrong!
As for people trying to "tempt" vegetarians with meat, infuriating as it is, I
guess the only thing you can do is try and rise above it and remind yourself
that Christmas is only for one day!
Melanie Daniels
I have been veggie since I was a little girl and am in my fifties now.
Years ago I was treated as if I were demented because I did not eat meat,
poultry, fish or sea food, and it was difficult to eat out.
Attitudes (and menus) have changed considerably and most people respect
the choice of being a veggie today, but if pressured I tell a little white lie and
simply say I have developed an intolerance. This works like a charm.


I do not tell them the intolerance is to people who try to push their views on
to me!
Jo Jones
I think that ordering some leaflets (which are often free) and leaving them
around the home/office on issues such as the misery caused to over 10
million turkeys every year for our enjoyment is a good way to grabs people
It is a good way to start talking about why you are vegetarian/vegan and
your reasons for not eating meat. This then establishes that you will not be
tempted by the meaty goodness (urgh) at the dinner table and also hopefully
makes people think about what they are actually putting in their mouths.
If you are not the one responsible for cooking Xmas lunch, obviously you
need to have a word with the chef and let them know!
You could either bring your own delicious, pain free offering such as a classic
nut roast. There are loads of options out there to choose from and I would
advise having a look in your local health food shop for some ideas.
My favourite is a nut roast with veggie sausages and veggie bacon to act as
pigs in blankets.
For the office Xmas party, if you are going out for a set meal there is usually
always a veggie option but if it is bring your own then I always use this as an
opportunity to make a nice vegan treat.
Puddings always go down well and you can make a lovely cheesecake from
tofu. This shows people that you dont have to live on rabbit food to be
meat free.
I have been a vegetarian for 15 years and a vegan for 1 and I have never
had any trouble at Xmas. I think it is really all about communication, I
always initiate a conversation on being veggie. The more people that are
aware of the suffering an animal endures before it ends up on your plate the
better! My family and friends know about my opinions by now.


Yes Christmas can be daunting sometimes. Here's some advice for new
veggies and vegans.
Dealing with partners - convert your partner! They can't suggest you eat
turkey if they are veggie or vegan too!
Even if they really love meat just showing them Peta's meet your meat video
and information leaflets from charities such as Viva and any undercover films
of animals suffering on farms will have them thinking twice.
Don't preach and don't demand. It may take a while for the message to sink
in and it must be their choice to convert - it won't work if they do it just for
you, they must do it for the animals.
If you watch the videos together it is very powerful if they see you getting
upset as it will show them the cruelty involved in animal products.
You could also make a point of asking them nicely to clean their teeth before
they kiss you if they have eaten meat, dairy or eggs if you find that you don't
like the smell of those "foods" on their breath.
It can be a real passion killer if after a meal you go for a romantic walk only
for them to find they can't kiss you because they have eaten a dead animal
and there is nowhere handy to clean their teeth!
If they don't convert then respect them for their decision and insist that they
respect yours. Then make sure that you take it in turns to go to restaurants
you both want to eat in and don't feel you have to eat meat if you go out
with your partner. If the menu is not suitable for you find somewhere else
that will cater for you.
Dealing with friends - be confident in politely telling your friends that you
don't want to eat dead animals and head to restaurants that have
veggie/vegan options if they don't want to head to a veggie place for you.
Show them by your choice of food that veggie and vegan food can be great.
Don't preach but if they "tease" simply reply that you can tell them lots of
information that can put them off their meat dinner!
You may find that they become more aware of animal suffering by your going
veggie but don't expect to convert them all overnight! Some will never
convert and pestering them will ruin your friendship. Don't let them tease
you into eating animal products that you don't want to eat. Real friends won't
upset you if they know how much eating meat/eggs/dairy upsets you.
Office party - let whoever is organising it know that you are veggie/vegan
and ask them to provide a veggie/vegan option for you. Do this in plenty of
time so they have a chance to make arrangements for you.


Be polite when making your request and just state your food preferences whoever is organising it will not want to hear all your reasons for being
veggie or vegan - all they need to know is what special diets they have to
cater for.
If the party comes around and there is no food for you then it won't be you
that will be embarrassed if you have already asked for something that you
can eat.
Do not take the opportunity at the Christmas office party to try to convert
your workmates or your boss! You have all your working hours to show them
the right way by example. Prepare in advance a polite but short answer to
the question "so why are you veggie/vegan then" as someone will probably
ask and they don't want a sermon!
If the party is a bring your own food affair then bring in some fab
veggie/vegan food to tempt your workmates into a more compassionate
Rebecca Fellingham.
I have a hard time at Xmas due to three sets of parents between the two of
us veggies we have three meals to attend in three days all of high
importance the families concerned.
As my mum stresses out about the meal, I offer to bring our dish myself, but
have not time to cook (London life!). So last year I scoured Borough Market
for over an hour, looking for a festive dish that would do us. Sadly my local
market is a fine meat specialists market, so between the ostrich eggs and
unskinned rabbits I was lucky to find a vegetarian haggis! Boil to prepare!
The dish was delicious, perfect easy to transport, and is available on order!
Search the internet for a supplier near you, or take the trip to London Bridge
for a present buying trip and a quick buy to save you time and effort this
A few years ago my mum gave me a present in a parcel to open on
Christmas day. When I opened it I put it to one side and concentrated on
other things as I did not know how to respond to it.
Later I gave the leather Skirt and waistcoat back to my mum and said
"I appreciate your good wishes and thoughts but as it is leather I will not
wear it as it is no good me giving up eating dead animals if I wear them".
She gave it to her hairdresser.


Well, what I do for the office party (or any party for that matter) is to
suggest that everyone brings along something to eat and drink. This gives
the opportunity to make some tasty vegan nibbles. At worse youll at least
have something to eat...but what usually happens is everyone ends up
enjoying what youve brought, and therefore rethinking their image of vegan
If the party is a more formal affair, where catering is provided, or everyone is
going out for a meal, then it is easy to ask if the caterers/restaurant could
provide a vegan option.
Most will make the effort if theyre asked nicely - and if the concept is new to
them, its also a good opportunity to give them a copy of the booklet
produced for professional caterers by the Vegan society, Vegan Catering for
All, as a Christmas present.
Lorraine Haines.
No challenge for me :o)
Because my work doesn't want to be done for discrimination (and possibly
because I gob on about animal rights regularly but not in a dictatorship
manner) we will be having our work "do" at a Vegan restaurant. HAZAAAAA!
Family functions.... I refuse to go if they will be eating animals and because I
am constantly filling family and friends up with loads of lovely Vegan goodies
they now love them so much they don't seem to mind having a Vegan get
together - in fact many of them prefer it. As one said at a party in February:
"I love being able to bite into a sausage and not worry that I will bite into
something hard and not know what it is". (She was referring to the fact there
are herbs in veggie sausages and you may find a piece, but you know that is
not a piece of bone or tumour!)
As for getting an inappropriate gift, I thank them but explain that I cannot
accept it and why.
Usually they are very embarrassed so I take a softly-softly approach. I find
that being "in your face" about your beliefs (something I had to learn...) only
seems to alienate people and make them more stubborn.
Nobody likes to be wrong and will be even more reluctant to admit it.
Something we (as veggies/vegans) had to do when we stopped eating meat
on realising what we were doing. Not an easy thing to do, admitting you are
And as for relatives trying to tempt me with the flesh of dead animals... they
come off quite badly and it hasn't happened for close on a decade now. All
that does is give me a platform and boy do I use it!


Also want to mention (may be useful), that although I attended the

ceremony for my brothers wedding (who I am VERY close to, he is my best
friend in the world), I refused to go to the reception because they were
serving dead animals.
That got so many family members thinking as they know how much I love
my brother and loads wrote to me asking why I did it. Numerous have now
gone Veggie because they know how hard it was for me to stay away and
realised that it would have to be for a DAMN good reason!
Okey thats it from me :o)
Kerry Duggan
I solved our crimbo dinner dilemma by inviting everyone to ours - its only
afterwards when told the delicious meal they've raved over is vegan!!!
Extra work - but worth it - if only for the turkeys x
Suzanne Elliot
I do a number of things anytime I am going to a non-vegetarian home for a
dinner. First, I tell the host that I am a vegetarian. This way they
understand when you pass on the meat food.
Very often, they then make sure to have a few veggie options for you. Most
people are pretty supportive, but if anyone tries to challenge you, remember
that it is not you - it is a reflection of there own issues.
Don't call attention to your vegetarianism because that will draw everyones
focus to you and people may start trying to get you to eat animals saying
things like .."come on, it's a holiday.. " etc..... just discuss other things and if
anyone asks, be proud of your vegetarianism/veganism- and simply say that
this is the choice you have made...and change the subject - talk about
Obama being the president elect!!

And most people will get the hint and respect your decision.

The other thing you should do is bring some delicious vegetarian foods!!
Bring one or two dishes to share, something that you really love to eat so
that you too have things that you are looking forward to eating. This way it
feels festive for you too.
Debra Voulgaris
I know it can be tricky for new veggies but after a while things do become
easier. One way to help yourself in the short and long term, while helping
family and friends, is just be open about your preferences. Being
compassionate is something to be proud of, not worried about.


Most people need help in choosing presents for their family and friends so
drop some hints; "there is a great shop or website that sells these wonderful
such and such", sort of thing. I think many people would appreciate the help!
There are 1000s of veggie recipes so making your own fare is much easier
than it was 25 years ago (crikey, where has the time gone?).
Also, there is so much choice in the high street or from online shops for food
and drink.
The Co-Op, amongst others, label their own brands if suitable for Vegan or
vegetarian. And they sell Fair Trade wines as well :-)
If visiting, take something that is suitable for you as a gift and talk about
what makes it different from "normal" food or wine or whatever it is.
Happy Christmas!!
Glen Hickman
My tips for a Vegan Christmas are:
Try to be the one doing the cooking or in a group, always say that you can
make something if you are eating with friends and family, explain to them
what you can and can't eat in the nicest possible way, give them lists of
ingredients you can eat.
If you get presents you can't eat/wear etc tell people nicely why not, or pass
them on to others who do....always give a present that is very obviously
vegan and if possible Fair Trade/ Green /
Environmentally Friendly and hope that Vegan Karma shines through.
Giving Vegan cook books is a great tip and hint, there are so many and they
are all fantastic, think types of food the receiver would like and give the cook
Have a great time and a Peaceful Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year,
May All Beings Be Happy And Free!
Love and Light


End of part 4 Part 5 to follow

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