" />
close icon

what are you looking for?

close icon

badges you can earn


earn editorial badges by uploading a number of stories.
  • 1
    writer
  • 10
    senior writer
  • 20
    sub - editor
  • 50
    editor
close icon

Sign Up


use your university email address to create your account.

Username already exists, please use another email address.

Please ensure all fields aren't empty









 
  • Please Select
  • Abertay University
  • Aberystwyth University
  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Anglo-European College of Chiropractic
  • Arden University
  • Arts University Bournemouth
  • Ashridge Executive Education
  • Aston University
  • Bangor University
  • Bath Spa University
  • Birkbeck University of London
  • Birmingham City University
  • Bishop Grosseteste University
  • Bournemouth University
  • BPP University
  • British School of Osteopathy
  • Brunel University
  • Bucks New University
  • Canterbury Christ Church University
  • Cardiff Metropolitan University
  • Cardiff University
  • City, University of London
  • Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Coventry University
  • Cranfield University
  • De Montfort University
  • Durham University
  • Edge Hill University
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • European School of Economics
  • Falmouth University
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Glasgow School of Art
  • Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Guildhall School of Music and Drama
  • Harper Adams University
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Heythrop College, University of London
  • Imperial College London
  • Keele University
  • King's College London
  • Kingston University
  • Lancaster University
  • Leeds Beckett University
  • Leeds College of Art
  • Leeds Trinity University
  • Liverpool Hope University
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • London Business School
  • London Metropolitan University
  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • London South Bank University
  • Loughborough University
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Middlesex University
  • Newcastle University
  • Newman University, Birmingham
  • Northumbria University
  • Norwich University of the Arts
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • Plymouth College of Art
  • Plymouth Marjon University
  • Plymouth University
  • Queen Margaret University
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Queen's University Belfast
  • Regent's University London
  • Robert Gordon University
  • Rose Bruford College
  • Royal Academy of Music
  • Royal Agricultural University
  • Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
  • Royal College of Art
  • Royal College of Music
  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Royal Northern College of Music
  • Royal Veterinary College
  • School of Advanced Study
  • Scotland's Rural College
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • SOAS, University of London
  • Southampton Solent University
  • St George's, University of London
  • St Mary's University, Twickenham
  • Staffordshire University
  • Swansea University
  • Teesside University
  • The American International University in London
  • The London Institute of Banking & Finance
  • The Open University
  • The University of Law
  • Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
  • Ulster University
  • University College Birmingham
  • University College London
  • University College of Estate Management
  • University for the Creative Arts
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Bath
  • University of Bedfordshire
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bolton
  • University of Bradford
  • University of Brighton
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Buckingham
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University of Chester
  • University of Chichester
  • University of Cumbria
  • University of Derby
  • University of Dundee
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of East London
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Essex
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Gloucestershire
  • University of Greenwich
  • University of Hertfordshire
  • University of Huddersfield
  • University of Hull
  • University of Kent
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Lincoln
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of London
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Northampton
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Portsmouth
  • University of Reading
  • University of Roehampton
  • University of Salford
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of South Wales
  • University of Southampton
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Suffolk
  • University of Sunderland
  • University of Surrey
  • University of Sussex
  • University of the Arts
  • University of the Highlands and Islands
  • University of the West of England
  • University of the West of Scotland
  • University of Wales
  • University of Wales Trinity Saint David
  • University of Warwick
  • University of West London
  • University of Westminster
  • University of Winchester
  • University of Wolverhampton
  • University of Worcester
  • University of York
  • Wrexham Glyndwr University
  • Writtle University College
  • York St John University

By creating an account you agree to the uni news Terms and Conditions, and agree to receive marketing communications.

close icon

subscribe to uni news


get the latest articles straight to your inbox.

vegan at Christmas

Veganism vs. Christmas: Why being a vegan at Christmas is so important

Although we’re supposed to say Christmas is a celebration of family and gift-giving, carol-singing and church-going, we really know that Christmas is all about the food.

The first thing that springs to mind when we talk about Christmas dinner is the turkey. Or perhaps the gammon steak. Or the beef, or the hog roast, or maybe even duck. In any case, the meat is the main event. It’s the thing that takes the longest to prepare: first, you have to pick out the best-looking specimen in the shop. Then, you have to argue with every family member about how best to cook it. How long does it need in the oven? When do you put the stuffing in? How indeed does one stuff a naked, headless bird? The turkey, arguably, is more important than Father Christmas on the 25th December in many households.

But what do vegans eat?

So, what do vegans eat at Christmas, then? I’ve learned, as a vegan, that it’s very difficult for people to imagine Christmas dinner without the star of the plate, the roasted meat. While I’m used to being regularly questioned about where I get my protein from, I find the interrogation intensifies at Christmas time. It really is impossible for most people to conceive of Christmas without the turkey, but being a vegan at Christmas isn't all bad.

The dark side of Christmas dinner

It’s important we consider the dark side to the traditional Christmas dinner.

While the mad rush to get the biggest turkey is seen as quite a humorous yearly scramble, the sour reality is that turkeys are being genetically manipulated to be bigger. The demand for the bird grows each year, and so farmers are forced to grow the birds. In 1970 in America, the average turkey weighed 17 pounds. Nowadays, they are fed chemicals so they weigh around 28 pounds. Because turkeys are bigger, their bodies are often too heavy for their legs, meaning they can’t stand up.

What’s more, the turkey farming process itself is particularly unpleasant. Without going into the gory details (as I think PETA’s website aptly does this), I don’t think anyone would be able to stomach roast turkey if they saw what went on behind closed doors.

What's the alternative to eating meat on Christmas Day?

Luckily, nowadays, and particularly in this country, we have so many meat-free options available to us. For three consecutive years, I’ve tucked into excellent Christmas dinners without any meat on the plate. If you’re feeling lazy, it’s so easy to nip to M&S and get a vegan nut roast. Or, Holland and Barrett offer ‘Tofurkey’, a plant-based imitation of the traditional Christmas classic. Really, if you think about it, we don’t even need there to be one central focus of the plate: there’s not one part of the meal that isn’t exciting. Being a vegan at Christmas means challenging the whole concept of “meat and two veg”, which has been a really interesting experience for me since transitioning to veganism. And, frankly, I can think of far worse things than omitting meat and filling up on Yorkshire puds and roast potatoes.

Personally, I love to make a nut roast. It’s cheap, straight-forward to prepare and takes less than an hour in the oven. Imagine not spending the whole of Christmas day checking on the bird in the oven! It’s healthy, full of protein, ethical, and fairly inexpensive. Let me tempt you with this recipe.

A re-imagined Christmas dinner

So, perhaps instead of the mad rush to grab the “best” turkey in Tesco’s and the stress of preparing it, why don’t you experiment with something new? What’ve you got to lose? I’m going to anticipate the habitual retort of “But I love the taste of meat” and tell you, yes, I understand—I ate meat for almost 19 years! But, is a moment of pleasure on the tongue worth the lives of hundreds of turkeys?

10 million turkeys are killed every year for Christmas Day.

This, to me, does not exactly scream Christmas cheer. I think the truth about the production of turkey meat is very frightening and unsettling, but sometimes it’s the rude awakening to this sad reality that can help inspire change.

Comments