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Natural Awakenings Philadelphia

Vegan Thanksgiving to Celebrate All Animals

Nov 04, 2016 02:45PM ● By Lisa Levinson

Fall is in the air as we turn our hearts and minds towards the upcoming holidays. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate family, but not always those we are born with. More than 50 people each year join their spiritual family to honor their ethical choices with the seventh annual Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck from 4 to 7 p.n., Thanksgiving Day, November 24, at Chestnut Hill Meetinghouse, complete with delicious holiday dishes. This special event includes a Gratitude Circle, arts-based entertainment and a silent auction.

In Defense of Animals, Public Eye: Artists for Animals and the Vegan Spirituality Group of Philadelphia will host the feast, where vegans and vegetarians can meet others that consciously choose a lifestyle based on compassion for all beings. This is a real, down-home community event where people share delicious potluck vegan dishes and connect on a deeper level. Non-veg friends and family are welcome to attend.

With a dead turkey as the centerpiece, Thanksgiving can be a challenging holiday for many vegans and vegetarians. This way, everyone is welcome to enjoy a peaceful holiday without any violence on their plates.

In addition to seasoned mash potatoes, candied yams, pumpkin-pecan pie, festive kale salads, and tofu turkeys, participants join in a Gratitude Circle where they introduce themselves and express gratitude for people and animals in their lives. Then they enjoy a wonderful evening program of music, performance, and sharing community news. They also gather together for a special meal blessing.

Prayer for the Meal

by Judy Carman

We joyfully give thanks for this

Our meal of love and peace.

For no one’s child lies on our plates.

None suffered for our feast.

We pray for peace on Earth for all

And grace to do our part.

To God/Spirit and to all life we are

Connected heart to heart.

Holiday Kale Recipe

This festive, colorful salad goes well with other holiday dishes.

1 bunch kale, washed and chopped (without stems)

½ cup pomegranate seeds

1 carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery or fennel, chopped

¼ cup dried cranberries

1 orange or persimmon, sliced (for garnish)

1-2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1-2 Tbsp walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts

1-2 Tbsp of a favorite dressing (or olive oil and balsamic vinegar)

Steam or quick boil kale (or use raw) and mix with other ingredients in a large bowl.

Garnish with sliced oranges or persimmons. Toast the seeds and nuts or serve the entire salad raw.

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization dedicated to protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats through education, outreach, andhands-on rescue facilities in India, Africa, and rural Mississippi. Public Eye: Artists for Animals is a Philadelphia-based organization teaching compassion for animals through the arts, a project of the animal rights nonprofit Mobilization For Animals.

Cost is a $5 to $10 donation. Bring a vegan (no animal products, meat, dairy or honey) meal to share (entree, side dish, appetizer, dessert) and a bowl, cutlery and cup (extra will be available). Location: 20 E. Mermaid Lane, Philadelphia. To RSVP, call 267-847-6553 or email [email protected] For more information, visit

Lisa Levinson is the director of In Defense of Animals’ Sustainable Activism Campaign, offering emotional and spiritual support for animal activists. She can be reached at [email protected]

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