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NZ Vegetarian Society offers guidance on surviving Christmas

The NZ Vegetarian Society has set out advice for vegetarians and vegans on how to survive Christmas.

In an article shared on their website, they note that Christmas can be a challenging time for vegetarians and vegans, because Christmas gatherings usually involve a lot of meat, and at them those who follow plant-based diets are often unfairly criticised for their choices.

The article advises vegetarians and vegans to practice self-acceptance:

“Vegetarianism and veganism are meaningful forms of action. Going and staying plant-based has significant benefits for the animals, for the planet, and for your health - the world is a better place because you are committed to your lifestyle.”

It also offers tips on how to prepare for Christmas gatherings, to ensure that they are safe and enjoyable. “This requires you to be proactive,” the article reads, “but it will be well worth it on the day!”

The article follows another article, aimed at meat-eaters, encouraging them to give the gift of understanding to the vegetarians and vegans in their lives. That article notes that one in 10 Kiwis now avoids meat some or all of the time, so at any given gathering there is likely to be someone - possibly even a family member - who follows a plant-based diet.

In their advice to vegetarians and vegans, the NZ Vegetarian Society suggests that they let their hosts know beforehand what they can and cannot eat:

“It may feel imposing, but it’s actually good manners. Assume that your hosts want to accommodate you (because they probably do), and let them know what you can and can’t eat. Be willing to answer questions, and be prepared to make suggestions. Offer to bring something, but it they offer to prepare something as well, tell them you would appreciate it.”

The article also encourages vegetarians and vegans to find their allies:

“These aren’t people to complain with; they’re people who will look out for you and stand up for your vegetarianism or veganism. They don’t need to be vegetarian or vegan themselves - they just need to care about you and respect your choices. It may be your meat-eating partner, or it could be your flexitarian friend.”

Among the things vegetarians and vegans could request of their allies are:

• that they share the vege food
• that they crowd out thoughtless comments with positivity
• that they help to make sure the vegetarians and vegans get enough to eat

The article concludes by affirming the joy of Christmas:

“You deserve to enjoy Christmas! Sometimes the best thing you can do to counter unfair criticism and convince other people that vegetarian and vegan lifestyles are fulfilling is to participate in activities that you love, and simply be seen enjoying yourself.”

You can read the full article here: http://www.vegetarian.org.nz/how-to-survive-christmas/

Helpful links:
Christmas Recipes http://www.vegetarian.org.nz/recipes/
Vegan Certified Products http://www.vegetarian.org.nz/food-dining/vegan-certified-products/
Vegetarian Approved Products http://www.vegetarian.org.nz/food-dining/nzvs-approved-products-2/
Vegetarian Gift Ideas http://www.vegetarian.org.nz/shop/christmas-special-vegetarian-vegan-starter-kit/

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