Memorial Day Munchies
Memorial Day has unfortunately become a grand American grill-off. Bring your chicken, hot dog, and burgers, and get ready for the fat to sizzle while you nom on some potato salad – the next day regret and misery. Memorial day was originally intended as a day of remembrance and appreciation for soldiers who have died in war, yet most celebrations have moved very far away from that original intention and sobriety.
For most, Memorial Day has become instead a day of parties and family get-togethers – a transformation I understand, although I wish we could be contemplating the detrimental costs of war. You should know while packing the trunk with soda, chips, patriotic cupcakes, and steak tips that there was a huge marketing campaign that goes to getting your dollar. The intention of the companies selling you the food is to get you to overeat and overindulge on this holiday. That makes me sick, and it’s making you sick too.
Holidays don’t have to be a day where you stuff yourself with junk and feel awful the next day, no matter what your diet. With the amount of people who are watching their cholesterol, weight, and blood pressure, I wish we encouraged ourselves to eat satisfying and nourishing food on this day we get to share with friends and family. You know, pass along good habits as part of this tradition to the next generation. Instead we force ourselves to diet and perform heroic bouts of intense resentful exercise, a futile gesture. If we are being real, most days for Americans are days of indulgence – food free-for-alls on holidays only compounds the problem.
From my personal perspective, it also doesn’t have to be and should not be the alienating day where it is uncomfortable to be the only vegan attending. Have some compassion if you aren’t vegan, we really aren’t just trying to be snobby know-it-alls with our dietary choices. Much of it is rooted in our morals, and it has taken us time to reach this decision. We would like to enjoy the party too, we probably don’t want to talk about our protein intake in front of everyone, and no, we won’t show your kids factory farming videos while you grill. I swear we are trying to be decent people!
Some motivational tips for the vegan party goer to make a positive ripple: bring a salad, carrot sticks, or a healthy dessert with you. Why? If they have vegan options at all, they will most likely not be healthy ones. Don’t fool yourself, or you will end your night lamenting that large, poorly-decorated plastic chips bowl you bottomed-out going it solo. Don’t do that; we’ve all traveled that road before. If possible, bring a vegan dish large enough to share with open-minded family and friends so they have a glimpse into how satisfyingly delicious your life is – with the additional benefit that you are helping out the host or hostess. Karma points to you!
Most people think vegan food sucks – that it’s bland, boring, too crunchy, and ewww vegetables. Show them otherwise. Cut open a ripe melon, bring that kick ass kale salad with avocado love, and grill that corn ’til it’s true inner succulence shows. Take a stand for vegans everywhere by offering up something delicious, and hopefully it will be the opening to enjoying great company and great conversation.