Give side dishes the thanks they deserve.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Americans will trash an estimated $282 million of uneaten turkey this Thanksgiving; which contributes to the $165 billion in uneaten food Americans waste every year.

“Along with trashing uneaten turkeys, they’ll be wasting the resources necessary for its production — meaning 105 billion gallons of water — enough to supply New York City for more than 100 days — and greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 800,000 car trips from New York to San Francisco,” a statement by the NRDC said.

To avoid all this waste, the best solution is to plan ahead, prepare less food and skip the turkey! Before you even step into the kitchen, get a head count of the number of guests you will be serving, see if anyone is bringing a dish, and make sure your refrigerator and freezer have plenty of room for leftovers. Another idea is to stock up on reusable containers, so you can send guests home with leftover food.

Turkey and other food items containing animal products can only be left out at room temperature for about two hours, before they need to be thrown out due to the risk of causing illness. Who wants to eat something that can make you sick if not handled, cooked and stored properly? Plus, these poor birds live short, miserable lives – genetically manipulated, drugged, confined, overcrowded, diseased, injured, abused and neglected. Remember, they say you are what you eat – so forget the dead flesh and fuel your body with fresh, vibrant plant foods that will support your body so you can thrive!

And skipping the turkey and other animal products during holiday mealtimes doesn’t have to be uncomfortable – it can be an enjoyable and positive experience for everyone. By simply adjusting a few tried and true recipes, compassion can be your holiday theme. Use our new website, CompassionateHolidays.com, to help navigate family discussions regarding your cruelty-free lifestyle and inspire others to explore compassionate living. Happy Gentle Thanksgiving!

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