Vegetarian Thanksgiving


Every year, millions of American dinner tables are laid with food from one end to the other, and at their center is a roasted turkey, the symbol of Thanksgiving itself.

But ever since vegetarianism and veganism became more popular in the U.S. around the end of the 20th century, Thanksgiving celebrators have had to accommodate this holiday to their diet, which often eliminates the turkey.


Kate Mays

A vegetarian since before middle school, senior Kate Mays has been celebrating a meat-free Thanksgiving for almost six years.

“I became vegetarian for moral reasons,” Mays said. “It’s not just killing and eating animals but the treatment of the animals beforehand.”

At the age of five, after discovering that meat came from animals, Mays’ younger brother decided to become vegetarian.

“I don’t think I would be a vegetarian if it weren’t for ,” Mays said. “He showed me that it’s not hard at all.”

Mays celebrates Thanksgiving at her grandma’s house along with predominantly non-vegetarian family members.

“ have to bring our own food,” Mays said. “There are a lot holidays where I would just eat the side dishes or I’d bring my own food.”

Mays’ main dish is a Tofurky — a Thanksgiving turkey made of meat replacements like tofu.

“It can be awkward,” Mays said. “Especially when it’s, ‘Can I get into the oven a little bit, put my little Tofurky right next to your huge turkey?”


Mihir Shroff

For freshman Mihir Shroff, a Hindu and vegetarian since birth, his November break isn’t spent celebrating Thanksgiving.

“It’s not that big in our culture, so we don’t really do much for it,” Shroff said. “But the vibe around the house is a Thanksgiving vibe. We need to be nice to each other today and appreciate what we have.”

Those who practice the Hindu religion usually do not eat meat, fish, poultry or eggs.

“We don’t kill our friends, and animals are our friends,” Shroff said. “One of our gods is actually a cow. treating everyone like they’re God so that includes animals too, and we don’t kill God and we don’t attempt to slaughter God.”

Shroff and his family are comfortable celebrating the holiday with friends.

“It’s just been a tradition for a while to eat turkey and I really don’t want to do anything to that tradition,” Shroff said. “I wouldn’t eat much but I would definitely go and spread the message and share.”


Lily Ottinger and Rozlyn Wohler

After sophomore Lily Ottinger came back a vegan from a debate camp at the University of Kansas, her friend sophomore Rozlyn Wohler decided to become vegan as well.

“ offered a whole slew of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options,” Ottinger said. “I always saw eating vegan food and so I figured I’d research it. Overnight, I went from meat-eater to vegan.”

Although Ottinger believes strongly in her new diet, she doesn’t want it to overshadow what she describes as a day “that’s supposed to be about family”.

“You could have a good vegan Thanksgiving dinner,” Ottinger said. “But the fact is I’m going to be eating with almost twenty so it wouldn’t be worth making a whole vegan menu.”

After a Thanksgiving lunch, Wohler and her mother set up their Christmas tree and watch Christmas movies.

“For me, Thanksgiving has never been about the food,” Wohler said. “It’s mostly been about spending time with my family.”