A whole food plant-based (WFPB) Christmas can mean many different things – it can be a time to make a huge effort and prepare new dishes, often much richer than usual, it can be a time to impress omnivorous family members with the delicious way we eat, offering a wide variety of WFPB dishes, it can be a time to eat simply – focussing on the people you are with rather than fuss about food, it can be a time to prepare foods you would rather not just to keep family members happy, it can be a time where you eat foods you know you are better off not eating – whether it’s to keep the peace or because it’s just too delicious… after all, it’s Christmas!
We eat very simply throughout the year but we make a little extra effort when everyone gets together at Christmas. We are very fortunate to have a few in our family who are plant-based so most of the food on offer will be oil-free WFPB, but it will be a buffet of richer, more calorie dense foods which we know can be a problem for some, so Christmas feasts come with a warning that eating too rich a mix over a few days can have you ‘falling off the wagon’ (see bottom of page). Below are some links to individual recipes and recipe collections to give you some meal ideas for your festive celebrations. Christmas can also be a time of conflict so we have included some links below to help you deal with others who are not eating this way.
- My Sister’s Plant Based Christmas Pudding – from Jenny’s sister, and now an updated Vanilla Custard recipe
- Fruit cake – from Jenny’s sister and mother
- Chef AJ’s banana oat cookies (NB Link opens to Jenny’s blog)
- Vegan Deviled Eggs – These tasty potatoes are a big hit at parties. Our basic hummus recipe (which is not included at the link above) is 1 can chickpeas, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/3 cup water, 1 small garlic clove and 1/2 to 1 teasp ground cumin, plus 1 teasp tahini (but you can skip the tahini if you want it lower in fat). To the hummus add 1 teasp Dijon mustard, a shake of turmeric and a shake of smoked paprika to make the ‘egg’ topping.
- Easter: Hot Cross Buns – from Deb Plowman; Hot Cross Buns – from Robyn Chuter
- Anzac Day: Anzac Biscuits – for Anzac Day from Sandy Pluss. Note this recipe can be made using less coconut and less sugar; or you could add desiccated coconut to the banana oat cookies listed above (Jenny has done this for Anzac Day – it’s the only time we use coconut!)
Festive recipe collections
- Forks Over Knives – 2021 Vegan Holiday Recipes
- Anja Cass – (Australian) 10 Vegan Christmas Recipes That Will “WOW” Your Guests! with a special mention for Anja’s Edible Potato Christmas Wreath
- Emma Roche – (Australian, with a US/European influence) Healthy Plant-Based Recipes for the Holidays
- Sandy Pluss – (Australian) Lots of ideas here Christmas dinner 2014 and Christmas dinner 2013
- Cathy Fisher – Favorite Holiday Recipes
- Forks Over Knives – Ultimate Plant-Based Christmas Dinner
- Mary McDougall – Holiday Meal Planning & Recipes (Updated)
- Susan Voisin (Fat Free Vegan) – Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
- Happy Herbivore Holidays & Gatherings by Lindsay S. Nixon – From the McDougall website, features some recipes and a link to her book
Coping with family celebrations
- Guide to Eating at Social Gatherings (and Holiday Meals) – Emma Roche
- Two Important Tips from Doug Lisle to Get You Through the Holidays – Doug Lisle
- Tips for Visiting Friends and Family Who Are Not Plant-Strong – Rip Esselstyn
- See our Social Disapproval page for more strategies
Falling off the wagon
It doesn’t take many rich meals to put someone right back in the middle of the learning curve as explained by psychologist Doug Lisle in The Cram Circuit (see around the 38 min mark). He talks about the problem of Thanksgiving (or Christmas) where we often eat several rich meals over a few days, and this can be enough to have someone fall off the rails. One bite, or one meal won’t put you back in the pleasure trap… but repeated bites of energy dense foods over Christmas can put you back in the “conditioned cram”. It is helpful if you recognise this challenge and know that you might have to sweat through an “extinction burst” after Christmas (or any holiday period where you eat a lot of rich food). We so often hear from people early in the new year who tell us they fell off the wagon over Christmas and are having trouble getting back on a healthy eating plan. Whatever you do, be kind to yourself and do your best under the circumstances.
- Watch The Cram Circuit by psychologist Doug Lisle
- Or consider coming to our next 7-day live-in WFPB immersion retreat to help re-set your taste buds in a supportive environment!
Page created 12 December 2018
Page last updated 19 April 2019