More than Tofurkey: An Honestly, Though Guide to Vegan Thanksgiving

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Being one of the only (if not the only) plant-based persons at holiday gatherings can be tough. I've been the only one at Thanksgiving with my family since I stopped eating meat about a decade ago. And back then, vegan was not trendy in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. (Ahem —aow a-days, there's an annual vegan Thanksgiving. )

Honestly, though, if it wasn't for my dad's insanely talented cooking skills, I probably would have eaten plain pasta for years.

So whether you're newly adapting to a plant-eating lifestyle, have friends and family that are vegan, or you're just looking to cut out some meat and dairy, I hope this guide helps you get there this holiday season. 

I'm so thankful that I'm able to run this blog, share fellow plant-eater's recipes and (hopefully) fill your Thanksgiving with a few more vegetables. 

xx phoebe 


SUBSTITUTIONS (print this out or save it to your phone!

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VEGAN THANKSGIVING RECIPES 

READY-MADE VEGAN OPTIONS

These are both buy in-store and order online

  • Whole Foods | In hundreds of Whole Foods stores around the country, you can ORDER an entire Thanksgiving dinner (or just a few dishes). Use code VEGAN for $5 off. 
  • The original TofurkeyAmazon 
  • Trader Joe's | They have TONS of frozen and fresh vegan-friendly options. Just look for the square with a V for Vegan. 
  • Sticky Fingers | Grab some of their ready-made sides or mains, and if you're lucky, you'll be able to snag one of their crazy popular pies. 
  • Founding Farmers | Order their Thanksgiving To-Go by November 19!  
  • Sweet Earth Foods | A ton of frozen options that are perfect as a back-up or for "just in case." I swear by their artisan bowls. Find in almost any grocery store. 
  • Loving Hut | A vegan vietnamese cafe with 38 locations around the country. Not exactly "Thanksgiving," but still delicious. 
  • Equinox DC | (Not the gym). This amazing, (mostly) plant-based restaurant is open for Thanksgiving this year, and their menu is insanely good. 
  • FOR THE CHEESE PLATE: Kite Hill, Miyoko's Kitchen, Field Roast & Treeline. 

OTHER VEGAN BITS AND BOBS

  • Vegan Thanksgiving Cookbook // Amazon 
  • Cozy socks for the comatose Netflix and chill // L.L.Bean
  • A festive tablecloth for last minute decor // Target
  • The coziest post-Thanksgiving sweater // Madewell 
  • My favorite copper bowl for gourds, pumpkins, apples, or candy // Target 
  • Olive wood coasters (set of 4 for $19!) // West Elm  
  • A mini wine rack that's the perfect gift for your wine-loving host // Mintwood Home 
  • Well-priced Pinot Noir to guarantee good times all around // Total Wine  
  • And a mini tree to get you into the holiday spirit. // Target

weekend round-up {november 10-12}

Photo via Unsplash: Kira auf der Heide. 

Photo via Unsplash: Kira auf der Heide. 

things to do

blogger scene

this and thats

ICYMI - things to read

  • A (honestly, though) fascinating look into why we often promote overly confident, incompetent people to leadership positions in the workplace. [Harvard Business Review]
  • I've always supported TheSkimm and believed in what they were doing, but after this, I'm feeling wary of supporting them again. [Jezebel]
  • ASMR freaks me out. So I started reading about why people are so hooked. [The Guardian]

Insomniacs: This is every sleep hack you need to know

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I think you guys already know where I’m going with this: I suck at sleeping. I lay awake in bed, staring at a ceiling. I close my eyes and try to rest my mind, only to have it consumed with my anxieties, my to-do lists. Oh, shoot, I totally forgot to answer that email...

...and the next thing you know, I’m on the couch in the living room, working with a BIG cup of coffee until the sun comes up.

Or something else happens. I’ll be desperately tired, begging my body to take a chill pill and fall asleep, only to wake up two hours later. My body will beg me to rest, to fall back asleep. But my mind will refuse. And I’ll lay there for hours, in a half-comatose state, until I finally drift off 15 minutes before my alarm goes off.

It’s hell. And it’s hellishly common for tons of people.

Earlier this week, I begged you all to send me your tips on Instagram. ANYTHING, I begged you guys. And you MORE than delivered. You sent me so many incredible tips & tricks. And a few of you even sent me emails. For that, I’m forever thankful.

In this infinitely faster moving world, I don’t want to lose these pieces of advice, these tips, tricks and remedies.So I’m saving them in this post. For you, for me. For us. And I’m hoping that whenever you have insomnia, you might find this helpful as well.

xx phoebe


WAYS TO COMBAT YOUR INSOMNIA

...that don't include sleeping pills

Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone produced by our glands that regulates sleep and wakefulness – when it spikes, we're super sleepy. When we wake up, it begins to fall.

But taking it in supplement form can help a lot of people with sleep. Some of you swear by taking 5 mg, but one of you said 15+mg combined with a wicked boring book (here, here). Full transparency, it barely works for me. But Maxim swears by it and LOVES taking these sleepy chocolates. 

Anti-anxiety medication

So if you have anxiety, you’re probably already on a prescription for some sort of anti anxiety medication. Unsurprisingly, one of the most common causes of insomnia is anxiety. We feel anxious — worried about a big board meeting, a never ending to-do list, a sick relative — and our mind holds us hostage like a zombie.

Cannabis and Hemp Oil

Honestly, though, this shouldn’t be a stigma anymore since it works so well so many people. There’s a new company — Not Pot — that makes mini chocolates that you’re supposed to pop once a day to help with anxiety. Their calming effects, which build up over time, have been reported to help soothe insomniacs into a more regular sleep.

Camping

According to my crunchy granola college friends, camping resets your circadian rhythm, helping you fall asleep and get on a more regular sleep schedule (see here, here, here). It has to do with the natural light, and waking up with the natural rhythm of the Earth. It might sound odd, but there's a ton of research to back it up.

Routine bedtimes

Magnesium

I've heard this one a lot, and I actually kind of swear by it too. Magnesium supplements help calm your body down — aka it will help you fall asleep. (see here) I add a little bit of Natural Calm to my water every day. It's like a natural Xanax. But they warn if you're not used to it and take too much in the morning/middle of the day, you might get drowsy or fall asleep, 

Cut the caffeine

LOL. I will not be doing this. But I appreciate it and I bet if you had the guts to do it, it would be totally life-changing. 

Essential oils

There is a ton of research to back up essential oils being food for sleeping, especially when it comes to lavendar. See here, I swear by this roller ball and this roller ball for nighttime routines. 

Ashwagandha & Valerian Tea. 

According to The Chopra Center, Ashwagandha plant — more commonly known as Indian Ginseng — contains many useful medicinal chemicals, including withanolides (steroidal lactones), alkaloids, choline, fatty acids, amino acids, and a variety of sugars. Studies show their abilities to help regular stress and regulate your sleep cycle. Buy it as a tea (here, here) as a powder mixed with milk, or as a tablet.  You can also look at Valerian tea — It is one of those "ancient remedies" that people have always sworn by. Valerian tea is created from the root of the valerien plant. My favorite has been Natural Medicinal's Bedtime tea.

Warm milk

Local DC #bossbabe and friend, Kallie Seniff talked to me about her struggles with insomnia. And honestly, though, it was super relatable. One thing she talked about (and many others have) is a big, warm cup of a mylk concoction called a "golden milk latte." I've tried this on many a night, and it's REALLY helped me. 

No screens & Reading a book

Meditation & Nighttime yoga

A lot of yogis swear by a couple poses to help sway your body into a more restful state. In personal experiences. Some of my favorite move HERE. 

Raw Honey

Apparently Tim Ferris SWEARS by this for sleep. I’m not a fan of Tim Ferris, but that seems to be an unpopular opinion.

Cut the nighttime carbs

So Katie Marshall, an incredible nutritionist and dietician in DC (check her out!) suggested this to me. She said that if you’re eating a super heavy meal — esp. one with slow to digest grains and carbs — it can be difficult to digest, causing insomnia.

I have a very slow metabolism (tmi: I poop like once every two days), which made me think that this could definitely be attributed. Plus, I oftentimes wake up in the morning feeling sluggish and bloated like I’ve just eaten.

 

weekend round-up {halloween edition}

halloween-phoebe-mcpherson-pnmcpherson

what to do

blogger scene

this and thats

icymi - what i'm reading

weekend round-up {october 20-22}

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w h a t  t o  d o

 

 b l o g g e r  s c e n e

 

t h i s  a n d  t h a t s

PSSST: My picks for all of this weekend's sales: 

 

I C Y M I//  w h a ti ' mr e a d i n g


All of the dc-based food + drink startups you need to check out ASAP

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If you're a Washingtonian, you know that there's been a huge scene for #madeindc in recent years, including the incredible Union Kitchen — a food accelerator that's helped to launch some of DC's (and my) favorite brands — think Pinch Dumplings, Takorean, Swizzler, 'Chups and Compass Coffee. They even have two grocery stores in the District, just to help these brands land in the hands of customers. 

Meet The Makers is their bi-annual (I think) meet and greet event for the general public, food buyers, press + #madeindc businesses. You may have remembered that I went last winter to bring you guys a round-up of every veggie-centric food business to look out for. Aaaand we're back again! 

Side note: Scroll to the bottom to see Maxim's amazing name tag for the event. 


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TRUE MADE FOODS

OKAY. I'm starting off with this one because I only had a taste but I REALLY need to get my hands on a few bottles (hint hint). True Made Foods makes a bunch of sauces and condiments that are 100% made from vegetables. Their Veracha instantly stole my heart — it's vegetable sriracha

Available here + here. 

SUPERFOODS WATER

They're in the middle of launching (but follow their insta for updates). They're a drink company that makes "superfood waters" like collagen blends, tumeric mixes, etc. 

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SASYA FOODS

A long time favorite of mine. When Sasya Foods was just launching last winter, I fell in love with their spreads. And now they've added rice lentil chips to their line. Truth be told — I bought two bags at Taste of DC and have already crushed them. Keep an eye on them, because they're going to be a big player in the DC Food Scene. 

Available here and at union kitchen grocery. 

JRINK JUICERY

Another fan favorite of mine — Jrink is a popular juice + health foods place with locations across the district. Their newly released Pumpkin Chai is to die for, but any of their juice cleanses are transformative as well. 

Available from their stores or for delivery. 

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SNACKLINS

 Think: Pork Rinds without the pork. 100% vegan, 60 calories per bag and available throughout the District. But be warned: They’re super addicting. I can eat an entire bag in one setting. 

Available from all these locations. 

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DON CICCIO & FIGLI

A 5-year-old startup dedicated to bringing gourmet, handcrafted, Italian liquor to the District. Their classic limoncello is a fan favorite. But if you love something earthy + heavy, look at Luna Amara. 

Available here. 

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WHOLESOME NIBBLES

Super yummy "treats" — aka balls — made from nutritious ingredients. They're filled with things like raspberry, coconut, dates + chocolate. Also: sugar-free, raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. 

available here. 

OH-MAZING GRANOLA

Healthy. nut-free granola company, all available online for now. Their Caribbean Delight is the only vegan flavor — but it's really good. 

Available here. 

LAOBAN DUMPLINGS

Another food startup that I've loved watching grow and totally prosper. When I first met LaoBan Dumplings, they were in their humble beginnings and within a few months started popping up around the District. Less than a year later, and they're getting ready to open their first store front — CONGRATS! Veggie + meat options, too.

Check them out. 

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AU'SOME FOODS

Recently launched and the makers of nut butter with argan oil, aka a "solid gold oil." They have four varieties including one with honey. I wanted alllllll the samples because of how delish they were. 

 They're not yet available, but stay tuned! 

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RUBY SCOOPS

Amazing, healthy(ish) sorbet and ice-cream . They don't use sugar — their pomegranate pear sorbet is sweetened with apple juice. And you can really taste all of the fruits, instead of tasting the syrup-y substitute with a lot of sorbets. 

 Available here. 

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REPUBLIC RESTORATIVE

I meaaaan, if you're not already a huge fan of Republic Restorative, get ready to be. Republic Restorative is a female-founded, female-run distillery. They made waves during the election for creating "Rodham Rye" and actually presenting it to HRC herself. Their newly launched Borough Burbon is wicked smooth — one of the only liquors I've ever wanted to drink straight-up. Also try their spiked lemonade (yum). 

SWAP FOODS

You guys know that I'm madly in love with Swapples — the gluten-free yucca waffle. Their founder, Rebecca Peress, famously went from concept to store-shelves in just six weeks. Read her story because she is a total bossbabe.

Available from:  Mom's Organic Market, Union Kitchen Grocery. 

WATUSEE

WatUSee is a vegan foods company. They make these amazing "chickpea puffs" in flavors like zesty ranch + caramel sea salt. But they're not really in startup phase anymore — they're available all over grocery stores. But still delish. 


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Maxim likes to do what he calls "The Bonus Fry" — basically his pick of the day or event.

The Bonus Fry Blue Ribbon Winner

"EatPizza because they have accomplished modern-day culinary sorcery to create a delicious pizza that can be made in 10 minutes at home, is frozen, but tastes fresh, is organic and non-GMO, and is only 540 calories for the whole pizza."


But also a huge shoutout to these foodie businesses that are also making local, vegan foods + drinks a reality. Make sure to give them all some social media love, and look out for them in local food stores! 

  • Vegetable + Butcher 
  • Modern Bar Cart
  • Chocotenango
  • Caribe
  • Compass Coffee 
  • Shrub District 
  • Foodhini 
  • Port City Brewing
  • Crepes Parfait 
  • Atlas Brewing 

 

weekend round-up {sept 29-oct 1}

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w h a t  t o  d o

b l o g g e r  s c e n e

t h i s  a n d  t h a t s

i n  t h e  k n o w

l o n g - f o r m