My Vegan Thanksgiving

I can’t believe Thanksgiving has already come and gone. I guess when you’re cooking all day, time flies! This year I spent Thanksgiving at my Dad’s with my (not so) little brother and his girlfriend. It was small, quaint, perfect, and…. completely vegan! Yup, we had a plant-based, meat and dairy-free Thanksgiving dinner. And, it was delicious!

Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner (1 of 1)

My brother decided to go vegan a couple of months ago after watching Cowspiracy and realizing the harmful affects our agricultural system has on the environment. He’s so passionate about it he managed to convert his girlfriend and even my meat-loving dad into vegetarians!

Some of you may know that I followed a strict Pescatarian (fish-only) diet for about 4 years after reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. A little over a year and a half ago, I went through elongated, intense chicken cravings. After months of battling them, I figured my body must be telling me something. I decided to listen to it. I gradually added poultry back into my diet. Now, I follow a mostly plant-based Pescatarian diet because it is what makes me feel the best. On occasion, when there’s yummy chicken around, I’m not one to turn it down.

Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner 9 (1 of 1)

My Dad has always been curious about following a meatless diet. He’s an Acupuncturist, MD, with his own practice in Palo Alto, CA. He’s always had deep rooted values for nutritious eating and exercise. It’s his passion for preventative health and self-healing that helped cultivate me into the health-nut, fit-freak I am today! I am so grateful I grew up with such a good influence on my diet and activity level. A lot of the time, he would “gift” my brother and me with the newest seasonal produce with the enthusiasm as if he was giving us a new car. His love for healthy food showed me how good it can taste and how great it can feel in your body. He is truly the OG of clean eating. Since the early 1990s, he has told me, “you want your food to burn clean.” As a kid I would brush this off a lot of the time. But now, I totally get it!

Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner 3 (1 of 1)

I know many people don’t have the luxury of growing up with healthy eating habits and find it harder later in life to adopt them. These are the people I want to help the most! Let me make this clear now, though. You do not need to eliminate complete food groups to find health. My family has given up meat because of environmental reasons. I still stand for a balanced approach to health and fitness. Don’t you worry. If you want a juicy hamburger on occasion, go for it lady! YOLO! Right?! haha. However, I do want to share my experience with a vegan Thanksgiving to hopefully persuade some of you how yummy healthy, plant-based can taste. No matter what sort of diet works best for you, there’s a rule that everyone will benefit from. The more veggies, the better! Adding in more plants to your diet can totally change the way you look and, even more importantly, feel!

I was so excited about our Thanksgiving meal plans. We researched and tested until my dad and I came up with what we thought was a perfect, balanced meal. We ended up making an Apple, Cranberry, and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash, Wok Green Beans with Garlic and Almonds, Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crumble Topping, Vegan Mashed Potatoes, Vegan Mushroom Gravy, Vegan Stuffing with Mushrooms, Water Chestnuts, Pine Nuts, and Celery, Refined Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce, and Vegan Pumpkin Pie with a Raw Crust.

Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner 5 (1 of 1)

Oh. My. Gosh. It was probably the most delicious Thanksgiving we’ve ever had! It all came out perfectly and also sat wonderfully in our stomachs. I definitely went back for some seconds but never felt overly stuffed. I also didn’t deal with the icky indigestion the next morning I usually feel after a big feast. It was refreshing. The meal was so tasty that I want to share my two favorite recipes – the Stuffed Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Casserole!

Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner 11 (1 of 1)

Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner 7 (1 of 1)

However, you’re going to have to wait a little while because they will be included in your FREE Starter Pack that you get when you sign up for your…. 12 Days of Fitness Holiday Challenge! Yes, the cats out of the bag. Why wait until January 1st?! We’re going to kick butt this holiday season with 12 days of FREE workouts, fitness challenges, healthy meals, and some awesome prizes! Make sure you’re subscribed to Life in Spandex so you’ll be the first to know when you can sign up, find out what awesome prizes you can win, and receive your free Starter Pack which will include these two Healthy Vegan Recipes, Challenge Calendar to help you plan, Tips for Having the Best Results from the Challenge, and Goal Planning Guide! Eeeek! I just couldn’t wait to tell you. More details will come out in the next week or so!

How was your Thanksgiving? Any of you have a vegetarian or vegan meal? What was your favorite dish? Tell me in the comment box below! 🙂

Health and happiness,



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Hi and welcome to Life in Spandex! I'm Emily, a personal trainer who believes there should be no secrets standing in your way to getting fit. I am sharing my knowledge here on this blog in order to help you reach your goals. Fitness should be fun, eating healthy should taste good, and feeling your absolute best is the ultimate goal. Let's get fit together!
  1. Ah I saw Cowspiracy too and thought I should go vegan for about five minutes and then I ate a big mac but it has encouraged me to go meatless for many more meals and I’m really interested in vegan recipes.

    Danika Maia

    1. Haha whoops! I feel like just being aware of how much meat you eat is a huge step in the right direction 🙂

  2. I’ll keep with my traditional dinner and follow your recovery from binge eating tips! lol

  3. Wow! This looks so good!

    1. Thank you! It tasted even better 🙂

  4. I’m not crazy about turkey, never has been, so this looks really interesting to me. I don’t think I could go vegan, but could definitely do vegetarian.

    1. Ya I couldn’t live without my eggs and fish! But I could definitely do it for one delicious meal 🙂

  5. This looks amazing!! I want that green bean recipe. Sounds like a wonderful meal with family, just what Thanksgiving is about.

    1. Yes it was :). Oh my gosh the green beans were amazing! My dad is a wizard with the wok!

  6. I am far from vegan, but this actually looks great!!!! Everything looks phenomenal. Clearly vegan can still mean delicious.


    1. Thanks Allison! All of these dishes would make great sides with other non-vegan food!

  7. Looks so delicious! I can’t believe it is all vegan!

    1. I know! I couldn’t believe how satisfying it was either

  8. That looks like a might good spread and it’s obvious that no one at the table went hungry!

    1. There was definitely plenty of food! Haha

  9. My husband’s cousin is vegan, and has gotten her parents to eat healthier. I admire her, but I feel healthier eating meat! it’s a weird feeling.

    1. Every body is different! I just try to make sure the majority of my meat is grass-fed, organic, and free range 🙂

  10. Your vegetarian meal looks so yummy and healthy. I am pretty much gluten free, as I am very intolerant to it, I wish I could kick the dairy too, my asthma would go away if I did, sugar and meat as well….ugg so hard to do this, but I am trying to head that way! Love your blog!

    Fashion and Travel

    1. Hi Valerie! I can totally relate! Sometimes a girl just needs some full-fat, diary-filled ice cream haha. I just limit the amounts of it I eat since it upsets my stomach too :/. I’m here for you! And, thank you 🙂 Stick around!

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