The chocolate-filled eggs were scattered across the yard, some hidden out of sight. Others were in plain view. Once all 75 eggs had been found, it was time to dive into the Easter meal. There was ham, deviled eggs, “pork” barbecue and kale salad. This was no traditional Easter meal.
Holidays in my family may be quite different from the majority of families, but our family is quite unique. My aunt, Michele Davis is an athlete and Pennsylvania state trooper. She, along with her husband Brian, has been following a vegan diet for a few years. An avid animal lover, Davis chose to cut out animal products after reading some books about the health benefits and cruelty involved in factory farming. Even with a hectic schedule, Davis finds time to cook her vegan meals. She actually loves to do it. She says that while many may be overwhelmed by the number of ingredients in vegan dishes, most recipes are very simple to make.
Her husband adds, “I’m lucky to have a wife who’s a fantastic cook and I think that’s a big key contributor to my success to maintaining my vegan lifestyle. Otherwise, I’d end up eating a lot of junk.”
A variety of herbs and spices can combine to recreate the taste of meat while nuts like cashew and almonds can be soaked and pureed to create vegan cheese. Though Davis doesn’t find many of the meals to be very difficult, these recipes have landed her in the hospital.
As she used a knife to pit an avocado for dinner, the knife jerked and she ended up slicing her finger. Blood sprayed onto the kitchen window. Her husband was outside at the time, but he saw the blood and knew something was wrong. Luckily only a few stitches were needed and Davis was back to cooking.
This Easter, Davis made a “pork” barbecue and kale salad to add her vegan flair to the meal. We also had more traditional items like ham, green bean casserole, deviled eggs and potatoes. I, myself, am a vegetarian, so I do still eat dairy and eggs but no meat, fish or poultry. My addition to our holiday meal was cheesy risotto cakes and wheat berry salad.
The entire family seemed to enjoy the majority of the dishes. Even my old-fashioned and picky grandparents were willing to try the vegan and vegetarian dishes. That’s the great thing about a vegetarian and vegan diet. Even if other family members follow a more carnivorous diet, they can still enjoy all of the meat-free foods. With an open mind, many may be surprised how good the faux meats and meatless options taste.
Dessert also included vegan options including coconut chia seed pudding and cookie dough balls made from almond meal and dark chocolate. The majority of people question those following a meat-free diet because they think there’s no way for them to get enough protein. Others think that all we vegetarians and vegans eat is grass and yucky vegetables. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Beans, quinoa, tofu, seitan, tempeh among numerous other foods contain protein. Additionally, there are countless meat-free options that meat-eaters would be astonished are vegetarian because they taste so similar to the real thing.
My family may be unconventional when it comes to holiday meals, but who’s to say what is conventional anymore? Who decided that ham and deviled eggs were necessary for an Easter meal? Maybe it’s time to revamp the holiday meal and add something new and different. My family sure has. Our last holiday meal included lentil loaf and deviled potatoes. No eggs necessary.
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