Veggie Club of the Ozarks weighs in on how to enjoy the holidays with dietary restrictions

Dietary restrictions can be tough during the holidays. The veggie club of the Ozarks weighs in on how to enjoy the holidays with those restrictions.
Published: Nov. 26, 2022 at 9:28 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 27, 2022 at 8:50 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The holiday season is a time for family and friends to share meals and good times.

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or have food allergies, navigating the holidays with dietary restrictions can be tricky.

“A lot of people, you know, especially if their diets are for ethics, you know, for animals, don’t like to be in a setting where the dead animals are the centerpiece of the meal,” said Chip Ballew, cofounder of the veggie club of the Ozarks. “So it can be upsetting.”

For many, veganism is a lifestyle choice that can come from ethics, health reasons, or curiosity. It is a lifestyle choice that can sometimes feel isolating for some, which is why clubs like these are so important.

“So when there are like a support circle or support group, you feel like you have something to lean on,” said member Heba Elkordy. “You feel like you have people to celebrate with without any consumption of any meat, which is something for us. Definitely like a huge comfort zone.”

Michelle Obermier has been a vegan since the 1970s. She has been coming to club meetings for two decades and works in the vegan food industry at a restaurant in Marshfield.

She says if you’re hosting someone with dietary restrictions, you should keep them in mind when preparing for those holiday get-togethers.

“So if you’re cooking side dishes and vegetables and stuff, and then you add, you know, bacon or beef or something into it, they won’t be able to eat it,” said Obermier. “So just be kind of cautious. And now it’s pretty easy to get cashew, almond, or oat. Most people can’t tell the difference. So you can always use that or just leave out the dairy if you need to do that.”

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