Vegetarian for the holidays (and my favorite recipes!)

So if you’ve been following along for a while, you might know that I gave up meat and most other animal products for health reasons. I haven’t been struggling (too much!) with the switch, but a lot of people I know have been struggling with my switch.

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While my immediate family and friends have been supportive, other people in my life have been a bit skeptical. Among the skeptics are people are positive that I must be starving myself and missing out on important nutrients. Around Thanksgiving, and now again at Christmas a lot of people have been asking how I’m going to be able to enjoy the holidays without being able to indulge in all of the meaty-deliciousness that is traditional holiday cuisine.

My canned response is, “Sides are my favorite!” with a smile, but I thought I would break it down and answer some of my biggest concerns when it came to switching to a vegetarian diet in a small q&a format:

Will I miss meat?

So this is the obvious question and the answer is different for everyone. The answer for me though, is no. Usually. The only meat dish I miss is chilli, and while you can make meatless versions, I still haven’t found a recipe that lives up to the one I grew up eating.

With that said, I really haven’t missed meat at all other than that.

Will it be hard to get enough protein? 

Not at all. I literally don’t even worry about protein a little bit because all of my favorite (vegetarian!) foods provide more than enough protein in my everyday diet. The veggie burgers I’ve been making recently have way more protein than regular burgers, and only about 5% of their fat!

Will I lose a ton of weight?

I’ve been on this journey for about 5 months now, cutting out 75% of meat in late July, bumped that up to about 90% by October, and I’ve been 100% vegetarian for a little over a month now. In that time I’ve lost about 5 pounds and then stayed pretty steady. Again, this question varies person to person and if you have weight to lose and you’re eating a healthy vegetarian diet (vegetarian doesn’t always mean healthy!) you will lose weight.

What will I eat during the holidays?

I wasn’t lying when I said sides are my favorite, and not eating meat serves as an amazing excuse to scoop extra mashed potatoes or cornbread casserole. If all else fails? Seconds on desserts!

Don’t you need to eat meat to be healthy?

Nope! This is a myth/lie that the meat industry has paid a lot of money to promote! You can be healthy and eat meat, but in no way, shape, or form does eating meat offer you a leg up on health.

My favorite Vegetarian Recipes.

If you’re in charge of cooking for the holidays, I recommend that you try a few of these recipes – they are all super tasty and they’ll leave you full and satisfied!

  • Veggie & Falafel Sandwiches: If I hadn’t switched to a vegetarian diet I would have never tried falafel and my life would be less fulfilled for it. Falafel is super easy to make and man, is it good!
  • Cauliflower Buffalo Wings: I love buffalo anything, and these cauliflower bites are the best!
  • Veggie Tacos: So I don’t ever use an exact recipe, just whatever I have on hand, but they usually end up looking a lot like these ones!
  • Veggie Burgers: Same as the tacos, I usually mix together what I have on hand, but this is the first meatless burger recipe I ever tried and I still always use black beans as a base!

Those are just a start (and four of the first veggie recipes I ever made!) I find most of my recipes by searching ‘vegetarian’ or ‘vegan’ into Pinterest, and I’ve had some great results! If you ever have any questions on switching, feel free to ask me! Like I said, I’m still pretty new to the diet so I don’t know everything, but I will share what I do know!

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  • Thanks so much for this post! There is some great info here. I’ve been really considering going vegetarian in the new year, and I’ve already faced a lot of skepticism from my family. I think I want to just go for it anyway, you know! It’d definitely awkward sometimes though because I think a lot of times people who eat meat think that you’re judging them if you’re a vegetarian so that makes them defensive, even though that’s totally not the case. Anyway, great post and happy holidays!
    Katie | http://www.thoughtcouture.com

    • Oh man, the skepticism is real. So many people just don’t get it, but I’ve gotten to the point where I’m fine with that! And I feel you about the defensiveness, for that reason I emphasize how I needed to do it for my health, even though now I would continue eating this way after researching the ethical side.

  • I’m not a vegetarian but I naturally prefer veggies over meats (I hardly eat any meat at all) so these are great! I love cooking so I must check these out!

    • I love to cook, too! If you’re ever looking for veggie ideas Pinterest is such a great resource (it really is a great resource for everything) I love looking there for new ideas!