The last day we ate meat.

Back in August 2014, my mother invited us over for her famous meatloaf. As I took my last bite, I told her of our decision to no longer consume meat. She looked at me like I was from outer space. I expected this…I was raised on the Western diet of meat, dairy, fish and eggs. My parents raised us like their parents…and those before them. There was never any reason to question the safety of our food… we trusted the government and the FDA…they were looking out for us, right?

I think they used to…before convenience foods…before the explosion of factory farmed animals and before the greed, corruption and lobbying of the meat and dairy industries. As I researched the information presented in the Forks Over Knives documentary, I discovered that finding out the truth is pretty disturbing. And I am not going to lie…I was quite depressed for awhile. But my sadness turned into anger and that is when I became determined to spread the news on what I had learned.

I am very passionate about my new lifestyle and I probably come off as too pushy, especially in the beginning of my journey. I am part of a large Polish family, where all gatherings and celebrations are centered around food. So lets just say family gatherings were a little more tense for me. I felt a mixed vibe…from genuine interest to annoyance. During one gathering, I was asked why would I “do this” and then was told that I was going to ruin the holidays.

I think change creates a lot of fear in people. I guess I am different…I have always loved mixing things up and not sticking to the same old routine. Maybe that is why it was easier for me to make the change to a plant-based lifestyle.

So when the holidays rolled around, I ignored the past comment and introduced a new idea. Instead of sticking with tradition, My husband and I decided that Christmas Eve dinner would be celebrated mexican style. We offered Sofrita Burrito bowls (Sign up to receive our newsletter and get this recipe for free!) with all the toppings, tortilla chips, guacamole and salsa! My sister brought seasoned chicken for the carnivores. It was so different than years past…but it was also so very good! Everyone enjoyed their dinner…not one complaint!

Fast forward three years. My sister, brother-in-law, niece, my children …and my mother… are very close to being 100% plant-based.

I am glad I stayed true to myself. Navigating family get togethers and holidays can get tricky. For ways to make the transition easier, check out our “Tips for social gatherings/holidays”.

Jacqui

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