I really hate to interrupt a good story, but given that the holiday season is squarely upon us, it seems appropriate to address some of the challenges that we’ve heard from others and have experienced ourselves! So, here are the 5 biggest challenges of being WFPB during the holidays:
Number 5: How to handle food gifts
Number 4: Holiday office parties
Number 3: Traveling
Number 2: Being a guest in the home of family/friends who think you are crazy
Number 1: Relatives who insist the children are being deprived
Now, I’m certain that there may be some additional and more challenging experiences than what are listed here, so we’d love to hear your thoughts and stories shared on our Facebook page! For the ones we've listed, here are a few tips that have worked for us:
In every situation, always be gracious! The quickest way to close another’s mind to the benefits of a whole food vegan lifestyle is to be militant, sharp-tongued, critical and sarcastic even if that is the approach they choose to take with you!
Whatever the food gift may be, accept it in the manner in which it was given. In this case especially, it really is "the thought that counts." My challenge is what do I do with it? I feel bad about throwing “good food” away, but then again it really contradicts that definition! To offer it to someone who would eat it but doesn’t understand the damage it’s doing, seems unethical. So…to the garbage it goes but a thank you note to the giver for the thought is always appropriate!
Holiday office parties are not so bad. Eat before you attend, or ask if you can contribute and WOW them with a couple of your tried and true Whole Food Plant Based dishes. You don’t have to inform them it’s healthy, and what a great way to win over those that think if it’s healthy it must taste terrible!
Traveling is much easier than it used to be. There have been several articles and posts flying around lately informing us of airports that are vegan friendly and giving tips for road trips as well. We pack dried fruit, nuts and homemade goodies to snack on, and there is always a grocery store that has fresh fruit and easy to eat veggies for grabbing on the go.
Being guests in someone else’s home is certainly a challenge. What seems to work best for us is letting them know that we are eating a bit differently to reverse some health issues, so will plan to take care of our needs as not to burden the host. Then prepare for questions, attempts to argue and sometimes straight up mocking! Ironically, it may very well be your gracious but firm commitment that will result in them calling you at the onset of their next health crisis.
By far the situation that most is challenging and creates the most stress, is the sabotage surrounding the idea that the children are somehow being deprived of the heart disease, diabetes, allergies, hypertension, acne and all of the other diseases associated with the sugar, salt and fat-laden dishes and sweets we find in abundance during this time of year! This is where your patience may be tested to its very limit and may actually come down to a loving but firm decision to take a “time out” from visiting for awhile.
And just one more lesson learned from experience, that applies in all situations no matter the season - when inquiring about oil-free options, we have found that it is much more accepted if the explanation is that you have a health condition that you are trying to reverse (which is totally true for most of us) rather than you are avoiding oil so you can be healthy! There are still so many who don’t understand the implications of added oil in the body who really believe they are eating healthy in their use of extra virgin olive oil and the well marketed coconut oil. To say that you are avoiding it for health reasons inadvertently condemns them for using it.
We’re looking forward to hearing about how you’ve handled challenging situations, and what lessons you’ve learned along the way, so please share on our Facebook!
For now best wishes for a very healthy, happy and stress-free holiday season!