Holiday Feasting

Being a vegetarian at a Christmas party is not easy. At the first in a long line of holiday festivities, I was able to eat two items: bread and cake. The next morning I had a massive sugar hangover. It doesn’t help that I’ve known most of my friends longer than I’ve been a vegetarian. Six months ago, I was a meat-eater, just like everybody else.

I remember feeling so ripped off when I realized the Skinny Bitch diet was vegan. Being vegan is not a diet option most people would embrace. I sure didn’t. Then Oprah did a show with vegan author Kathy Freston and my inner vegetarian emerged. A lot of my friends figured it was just another phase. I’ve been on every diet, cleanse, and flush on the planet. This would just be one more. Six months later, although holiday eating is proving a bit of a challenge, I do not miss meat.

After that first sad affair, I checked the menu in advance for my next party. This might sound a little crass, but I did it under the guise of “What can I bring?” The hostess dutifully recited the menu. Again, my options were pretty much bread and cake. Even the salad had meat in it. So I offered to bring a grain-based side dish. She suddenly remembered that the lasagne was vegetarian. It was, and it was delicious. In fact, I’m making it for my own holiday party this weekend.

The hostess of the third holiday feast I attended announced her menu ahead of time. This is always nice. I can figure out which kind of wine to bring, and also know if I should eat a veggie burger before arriving. Maybe it was just luck, or maybe she is one of those thoughtful people who A) remembered I’m a vegetarian B) made allowances for my diet. Along with her Chicken Kiev, she served bread, a green salad, and pasta. I was totally satisfied at her table, particularly when she rolled out the chocolate cake.

To ensure that my family will be satisfied when we gather here, this Christmas will feature ham, just like every other year. Yes, I’m vegetarian, but I am not the type to say no meat will pass through my kitchen door. My mother offered to bring the main course, so at least I don’t have to buy it, bake it, or trim the fat.

Speaking of trimming fat, contrary to what some of my friends seem to believe, becoming vegetarian was not just another weight loss ploy, although it has proved to be the easiest slimming method ever. In addition to dropping ten pounds in the first months of going veggie, I have not gained one pound back during all this holiday feasting–even though I’ve been eating an awful lot of cake.

(First published as an original 50-Something Moms post.)

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