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Due to dietary restrictions, students, become more cautious during holiday meals

Sophomore+Georgia+Estrada+browses+through+Pinterest+to+find+vegetarian+thanksgiving+recipes.+%E2%80%9CHowever+%28my+family%29+does+make+sure+that+there+are+protein-based+options+there%2C+but+it+does+also+feel+kind+of+restricted+since+whatever+we+make+is+normally+in+a+limited+amount%2C+so+generally+when+other+people+have+Thanksgiving+leftovers+I+generally+don%E2%80%99t+because+mine+is+made+in+smaller+portions+said+Estrada.
Avani Gupta
Sophomore Georgia Estrada browses through Pinterest to find vegetarian thanksgiving recipes. “However (my family) does make sure that there are protein-based options there, but it does also feel kind of restricted since whatever we make is normally in a limited amount, so generally when other people have Thanksgiving leftovers I generally don’t because mine is made in smaller portions” said Estrada.

When thinking about a holiday meal, most people imagine there to be the traditional turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and potatoes on the dinner table. However it’s not the ideal holiday dinner for others. 

Georgia Estrada, a self-chosen vegetarian and sophomore, said “Because of (vegetarianism) being an aspect in my life for so long, I don’t normally and immediately think of turkey and all the things I miss out on; I just think about my grandma’s deviled eggs.” 

According to The Family Handyman, nearly 90% of Americans celebrate winter holidays every year. 

According to Alec Smith, certified strength and conditioning coach, 20% of people have or choose to have dietary restrictions which may interfere with when creating a Thanksgiving dinner. 

Emma Hu

There are many different types of restrictions people can have, whether that be an allergy like peanuts or shellfish, or a choice to be vegetarian like Estrada, or  because of a disease like Celiac where sufferers can’t eat many starchy foods. 

Estrada talked about the reason she chose to be a vegetarian, she said, “So me and my friend from second grade decided to become vegetarian and we really didn’t plan for it to stay this long term, but I enjoyed not eating meat and getting to kind of explore a variety of foods cause my immediate choice to get iron, protein and fiber wasn’t meat.”

Another person whose choices may affect her holiday plans is sophomore Shifa Parkar, who has a nut allergy and is Islamic. Parkar said  because she is Islamic she can only have halal meat. Halal is when the meat is sacrificed in the name of god, and usually people can only buy it from meat sellers that have a halal label.

“Usually we get our meat from restaurants like Hyderabhad House or Biryani House that hand out different meats like turkey and beef,” Parkar said. 

Parkar’s dietary restrictions is also a choice she said it can be a challenge in daily life. When asked about their dietary restriction, Estrada and Parkar both said it affected them especially when they were with their family and friends as they typically have limited choices to eat from. 

Sophomore Shifa Parkar eats her lunch she brings from home in the Main Cafeteria. “I usually don’t take school lunch as I can’t eat the school’s meat because it’s not halal, so I bring lunch from home,” said Parkar.
(Avani Gupta)

“There is a limit to how much food somebody can make in such little time (during Thanksgiving) that it feels severe to push the expectation my family has on that day to accommodate me only,” Estrada said. “However (my family) does make sure that there are protein-based options there, but it does also feel kind of restricted since whatever we make is normally in a limited amount, so generally when other people have leftovers I generally don’t because mine is made in smaller portions.”

Estrada also recalled when being vegetarian was not the experience. “I remember that there was this one time where my most favorite aspect in Thanksgiving dinner were these noodles that we would always make; however, they got messed up as the person who was making the gravy made it with chicken broth rather than bone broth, so I wasn’t allowed to have them because my stomach would get upset as I went so long without eating any animal product.” Estrada said.

Parkar said, when she is with her friends who have a different ethnicity and when there is meat involved, she usually can’t eat it because there is a chance it’s not halal.

“During school lunches I can’t have anything except for cheese pizza or pasta, so I generally bring food from home to eat,” Parkar said. 

To accommodate this problem, Smith suggested to people who are having or hosting a Thanksgiving dinner they should reach out to your attendees if they can’t have something specific or any preferences they have but they don’t necessarily have to go out of their way. 

Georgia Estrada searches up filling vegetarian dishes to make during Thanksgiving in her Spanish class. “Usually the next day after Thanksgiving my whole family has leftovers while I usually don’t,” said Estrada.
(Avani Gupta)

To fulfill her nutritional needs Estrada said,“ I normally have eggs and would generally put something that doesn’t go with the dinner but still provides me nutrients such as cottage cheese, or a glass of milk.”

“You can have a balance of it, like if someone is on a diet doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t have good food come out of it. For example if you have a vegetarian you can ask them to bring their own dish or create at least one so they aren’t left out,” said Smith.



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