Turkey-less Thanksgiving: Vegetarian students share what they eat on Thanksgiving

Students typically look forward to Thanksgiving because of the food: turkey, gravy, cranberries, pie and all other kinds of delicious treats, but for vegetarians, some of the main courses on Thanksgiving are completely off-limits. Instead, they create their own tasty alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving foods.

CFHS senior Anagha Inamdar has been a vegetarian ever since she was born. Her entire family is composed of vegetarians, and her family has been vegetarian through every generation.

Inamdar’s family practices Hinduism, which is a religion where animals are considered to be sacred, so they don’t eat meat or fish of any kind. This means she can’t eat meat, such as turkey, on Thanksgiving. Instead, they eat lots of Indian food with vegetables.

For Thanksgiving, they make all of their favorite Indian foods, in addition to potato dishes like mashed potatoes or cheesy potatoes. “We’re all used to [eating vegetarian foods]. It’s what makes us all unique, and we like that. We like having a holiday and making it our own,” Inamdar said.

Although Inamdar has never eaten turkey, she said she has heard of a vegetarian substitute called “Tofurkey,” a kind of tofu that tastes like turkey. She’s never tried it, but she believes it could taste good.

Inamdar said that people are “really accepting of her vegetarianism.” It makes her feel like she can be herself, and people try to help her feel comfortable and try to adjust meals to what she prefers, which she said is really nice, knowing that there are so many people like this.

Over all, Inamdar just loves being vegetarian. She said, “The one thing I love about being a vegetarian is knowing that no animals were hurt. My religion values animals incredibly; like I said, animals are very, very sacred. I also feel like being a vegetarian makes me who I am, and it makes me me.”

Senior Holly Prohaska became a vegetarian in spring of her freshman year in high school. She is the only vegetarian in her family, who dissimilarly eat a lot of meat.

Prohaska chose to be a vegetarian because she does not support how many animals are treated when raised to be slaughtered for food. In addition, vegetarian meat substitutes are healthier overall. “I also just find meat completely disgusting and nauseating the majority of the time,” Prohaska said.

Because of her vegetarianism, Prohaska cannot eat the typical Thanksgiving dishes her family usually eats such as turkey and gravy. She also does not eat cranberry sauce, due to its containing gelatin/gelatin products, which she refuses to eat as a strict vegetarian since gelatin often contains parts of animals.

Instead of eating these things, she fills up on the side dishes on the table in order to receive that gratifyingly full stomach at the end of the meal. Occasionally, Prohaska will also eat tofu turkey if she really wants a meat substitute. Although she has many vegetarian options for her meal, she does occasionally miss the Thanksgiving food she can no longer eat. “I definitely miss gravy the most; mashed potatoes just aren’t the same without it,” Prohaska said.

Even generally in everyday life, Prohaska misses meat on occasion. It’s especially hard for her since she grew up eating more than her share of meat before she decided to become a vegetarian. Prohaska said, “[It’s] especially [difficult] at holidays when my whole family is eating a roast, and I’m having a peanut butter sandwich.”

However, Prohaska said that there are several tasty options vegetarians can indulge in. Her mother buys her a couple of different meat substitutes so she has a choice in what she eats. Prohaska said that Boca Burgers and Boca Chik’n Patties are very delicious foods she eats as a meat substitute. “The burgers come in a lot of different flavors, so if you get sick of one, you can easily substitute it for another,” Prohaska said.

Even though people are accepting of her vegetarianism, Prohaska said there are some people who are still skeptical about why she would want to be a vegetarian. Prohaska said, “Most people think I’m crazy, which I completely understand. In this society, meat is a huge part of practically every meal, so the fact that some people cut it out is bizarre [to others]. People are usually quite supportive, though, because it’s not like I’m trying to make them stop eating meat. I try to make sure my diet choice affects no one but me.”

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