Thanksgiving is a beautiful opportunity to celebrate peace, kindness—and turkeys. Each year, I try to find a way to celebrate compassion on this special day. Last year, I joined Gene Baur and Farm Sanctuary at the Celebration for the Turkeys in downtown San Francisco. This year, I plan to share an array of delicious homemade vegan dishes with my family and friends.
Though some people may give you a strange look when you mention you plan to celebrate a vegan Thanksgiving, keep in mind you’re in good company: Beyoncé, Russell Brand, Ellen Degeneres, Liam Hemsworth, Jared Leto, Alicia Silverstone, Gwen Stefani, Carrie Underwood and Kat Von D will be enjoying a cruelty-free Thanksgiving, too.
In the middle of a crowded Saturday afternoon in San Francisco’s Mission district, I found the wisdom of the farm: peace, compassion, presence.
I decided to participate in Farm Sanctuary’s Celebration for the Turkeys—a beautiful gathering of animal lovers, a delicious vegan feast and a live video feed of the sanctuary’s turkeys eating delicious platters of lovingly prepared food. Thanksgiving feasts “for” turkeys, instead of “of” turkeys—what a concept!
I was deeply touched and honored to meet two of my personal heroes: Gene Baur and Susie Coston of Farm Sanctuary. Gene gave an amazing speech about compassion, and Susie shared photos and stories of some of the many turkeys she cares for at Farm Sanctuary in New York.
I can’t believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner! This day truly is one of my favorite holidays, even though I gave up eating meat decades ago. That’s because Thanksgiving really isn’t about a specific menu; the day represents enjoying the company of friends, family and loved ones. But how can we celebrate animals next week when we are surrounded by well-intentioned meat-eaters? Here are a few tips to help you not just survive the day, but even enjoy it (and make it as animal-friendly as possible):
1. Show off your bounty. If you are the one hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, lucky you! Move over, Tofurkey: There are so many wonderful options for a Thanksgiving feast, how does one choose? This article rounds up awesome recipes, such as Squash and Apple Puree (which looks delish!) and Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Chimichurri and Almonds. Oh She Glows, one of my favorite sites, shares a whole host of inspiring dishes, including Crispy Smashed Potatoes With Avocado Garlic Aioli and Gooey Pumpkin Spice Latte Pudding Cake. And don’t miss One Green Planet’s “25 Soups, Salads and Starters for Your Vegan Thanksgiving.” (The Buffalo Sweet Potato Stuffed Mushrooms look amazing!) Of course, if cooking’s not your thing, consider catering a few courses from Whole Foods or your local vegetarian restaurant. I promise you: No one is even going to miss the meat.
First, dear friends, I want to wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Are you staying close to home this year or traveling? I will be spending a cozy afternoon with my family at my parents’ house. My mom always cooks up an amazing feast.
With Thanksgiving just a day away, I got to thinking about the different ways we can give back and show our thanks this year …
1. Save a turkey. It costs just $30 to sponsor a turkey this Thanksgiving, thanks to Farm Sanctuary’s special Adopt-a-Turkey Project. The photos and bios of the turkeys available for adoption are guaranteed to warm your heart.
2. Visit an animal shelter with your kids, nieces and nephews, or grandchildren. The animals always appreciate visitors, and it’s a great way to encourage giving back at a young age.
3. Write a handwritten letter or card to a parent, friend or other loved one thanking them for something thoughtful and kind they’ve done for you.
4. Offer a free Reiki treatment to your vet or local shelter or sanctuary.
5. Donate to your favorite animal charity, shelter or sanctuary. It doesn’t have to be money (though they love cash!). Other helpful items include gift cards to a pet store, rope toys and chews, laundry detergent and bleach, paper towels, newspaper and hand sanitizer. If you’re not sure, most shelters offer wish lists of needed items.
What about you? I’d love to hear how you’re showing thanks or being thankful this holiday.