How to Rock a Vegan Fourth of July
The Fourth of July is one holiday where barbecue and meat centered dishes populate every household celebrating America’s Independence, but meat and animal products don’t have to be a featured item at this year’s celebrations.
The new book, “Vegan Strong: The Ultimate Field Manual for a Kick-Ass Plant-Fueled Life” highlights some of the advantages of a vegan lifestyle as well as tips and recipes for newcomers to begin this journey. The author, Bill “Sgt. Vegan” Muir is an Army veteran who became a vegan in 1992 and stuck to it throughout both his training and deployment.
Muir’s mission is to make people aware of everything these lifestyles have to offer and to ensure that these “trends” of vegan or vegetarian diets become more like long term lifestyle choices. These diets have become more and more popular with people of all ages and backgrounds all over the world and this year you can incorporate some of these ideas into your life.
One dish that graces almost every picnic table on July 4th is pulled pork, but it’s not just a dish for hungry carnivores anymore. Try using shredded Jackfruit to substitute for the traditional meat version.
Being vegan during the holidays doesn’t mean suffering through endless tofu or “fake” meat dishes. It’s a different and oftentimes more difficult path, but for many people the struggle pays off in the end.
Side Dishes can easily be made into a yummy vegan version of your favorite dishes such as potato salad. You can either use an oil and mustard base or you can substitute mayonnaise for vegenaise like Muir advised in his book.
If you prefer mashed potatoes then Muir has another recipe for you in which soymilk and a vegan butter substitute, Earth Balance, takeover for their dairy counterparts.
If you’re craving a burger this year, try making your own veggie burgers, and use flax seeds to make a flax egg replacement which works perfectly when trying to hold your burgers together.
Many grocery stores also sell veggie burgers that contain no eggs or animal products whatsoever. You might also find veggie dogs or sausages to complete your vegan-meat takeover this year.
If making a meat dish vegan sounds too dreary, then try making some easy veggie kabobs or simply grilling out some veggies for the whole family to enjoy.
For those people hosting the annual Fourth of July party in which the whole neighborhood shows up, try whipping up some of Sgt. Vegan’s chili which is completely cruelty-free and perfect for the whole crowd, meat and non-meat eater alike.
For dessert, arguably the most important part of any party, make your banana pudding vegan by ditching the gelatin filled classic and putting a twist on it with some soy or coconut milk.
Then, as the night dies down and the bonfires start, grab some dark chocolate instead of the milk chocolate with artificial sweetener, and then pull out your bag of marshmallows. While many brands sneak in unnecessary animal products such as gelatin, Trader Joe’s has a great brand of vegan marshmallows that are sure to be a hit with all the kids and adults at this year’s party.
Vegan recipes are super easy to come by with cookbooks like “Vegan Strong” as well as online recipes at your fingertips. In addition to eating like a vegan you can also try shopping for cruelty free clothing by paying especially close attention to your boots or belts that complete that “All-American” look. Try buying something made with vegan leather or ditching it all together and getting creative with your cruelty-free clothing.
If you want to shoot off those fireworks for that final patriotic move, then play it safe and be cautious of the environment around you. Make sure the trees and birds are clear from the sky above you and keep your pets inside or far away, because what may seem like innocent fun is actually dangerous and scary for both wild and domesticated animals alike.
When the night is over clean up your mess. Any traces of plastic or firework remains could get swept away into the wild and not only damage animal life but inhibit the natural growth of the flora around you. Read the labels on everything to make sure you are recycling and reusing whatever you can to produce a minimal waste environment.
These tips should ensure you have one of the best vegan and cruelty-free parties around!