I love holidays. I really do. People are nicer, more polite, more willing to share; many work less often and the emphasis is on friends and family. It’s how I wish people acted every day! For many years I was too punk to really celebrate them, but now I look forward to sharing time and food with close friends and family.
Thanksgiving is extra special because it is my vegetarian anniversary- 2012 will be my 18th vegetarian Turkey Day (I went vegan not longer after)! That’s more than half of my life, which seems significant. This week I’ve been thinking back to the angst-y teenager I was who decided to stop being wishy washy about this not eating animals thing and took a stand. It’s unfathomable to me that the same number of years old I was then, have since passed. And that that decision has changed my life so much!
That first Thanksgiving I ate only sides- which isn’t hard to do at an Italian Thanksgiving. Plenty of pastas, salads, and vegetables for me to eat. Soon after that I learned more about the history of Thanksgiving, the celebration of ‘giving thanks’ and romanticizing those who, and I don’t use these words lightly, committed genocide against Native Americans. I then fasted in protest for Thanksgiving over the next bunch of years. How could we celebrate so much death- people and animals?
I calmed down about it eventually and found that discussing these issues and offering delicious vegan options as Thanksgiving dinners was the most productive thing to do. And that’s my MO- be a positive example of alternatives. Alternative ways of thinking, eating and interacting. Compassion is a topic of Thanksgiving- my philosophy has always been to just widen that circle of compassion like that famous science guy said.
But this year, inexplicably, I’m more angry than ever about the millions of turkeys killed for this holiday. I pride myself on not being preachy- most of those who follow my site are more interested in my adventures and racing than my diet or politics. And maybe I’ll lose some of those folks. But tomorrow if you sit down at dinner and there’s a dead bird in the middle of that table you have to know that it was a living, breathing being with emotions and feelings that suffered and died unwillingly to be there. And the solution is simple: the more people who give up eating animals the less that are killed. You can make a difference.
Photos from 15 reasons not to eat turkey.