This Christmas, an estimated 7.8 million vegetarians and vegans in the UK (12 per cent of the population) will enjoy delicious plant-based festive food for their holiday meals.

Christmas Stars' EatKind Festive guide.
Christmas Stars' EatKind Festive guide.

This includes many famous faces. To inspire even more Brits to make more compassionate choices for their Christmas cooking, celebs Joanna Lumley, Ricky Gervais, Evanna Lynch, The Vamps' James McVey and sisters Lucy and Tiffany Watson have put together a complete menu of meat-and-dairy-free dishes for Humane Society International UK’s Christmas Stars’ EatKind Festive guide.

The recipes in HSI’s guide can be combined to make a fantastic veggie Christmas feast, with Lucy Watson’s Merry Mushroom Pâté serving as a light starter and Joanna Lumley’s Rich Red Wine Gravy and Tiffany Watson’s Spicy Soy Sprouts making the perfect accompaniments to Ricky Gervais’ Tofurky and Trimmings recipe.

Joanna Lumley said: “At Christmas time it makes me feel happier to think that no creature has suffered just so that I can celebrate. I hope the recipes in HSI’s fantastic festive guide inspires people to be a bit daring, and dance under the stars with a cruelty-free plate of fabulous vegetables, stuffings, pies and sauces. Happy Christmas to everyone… people, birds and beasts.”

Around 10 million turkeys are killed in the UK each year for Christmas dinner. Some 90 per cent of these highly social birds will have spent their short lives in over-crowded indoor sheds often with no access to natural light or any meaningful stimulation. They’re genetically manipulated to grow so fast, and so obese, that they often suffer from crippling leg disorders making it painful to take even a single step.

For those choosing to take turkey off the table, the good news is that there is a vast range of tasty meat-free selections for your Christmas centrepiece. In fact, global sales of plant-based meats, such as seitan sausages and, Tofurky or Vbites celebration roasts, are booming, according to Allied Research. Sales are set to reach US $5.2 billion by 2020, with the EU being the largest buyer of plant-based meat, and figures released by Ocado reveal that vegan food sales in the UK increased by an astonishing 1,500 per cent last year.

HSI’s guide is also packed with top tips from British celebrities and HSI/UK staff members for plant-based shopping on the high street, from animal-friendly sweet treats to savoury snacks, including Tesco’s chocolate and hazelnut churros, and mince pies and Christmas puddings from stores such as Waitrose and Morrisons. There is also a section highlighting the variety of delicious dairy-free cheeses available from artisan producers as well as leading supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s Free From Wensleydale-style with cranberries, Raw Food Rosie’s Baby-bleu cashew ‘brie’ and Nutcrafter Creamery’s Gormasio Extra Aged Cheddar-style.

Claire Bass, executive director of HSI/UK, says: “Humane Society International is delighted that compassionate celebs are sharing their tasty meat and dairy-free meals and demonstrating that it’s never been easier to take a holiday from eating meat. There are veggie versions of almost all Christmas classics so you can still enjoy your traditional favourites without harming animals. We are asking the public to give peas a chance this Christmas and leave turkey off their table in favour of more compassionate choices.”

Humane Society International advocates compassionate eating – or the Three Rs: “reducing” or “replacing” consumption of animal products with plant-based foods, and “refining” our diets by avoiding products from the most abusive production systems.

Fast facts:
Turkeys naturally live for up to 10 years of age, but on factory farms they are genetically manipulated to grow so fast, so obese they’re normally slaughtered at just nine to 21 weeks old.

In the wild, turkeys are highly sociable birds who roost in trees and can fly at speeds of up to 50 mph. Famous for saying “gobble gobble,” turkeys actually have more than 20 different vocalisations, and each bird has a unique ‘voice.’

Cutting down on animal products is a great way to protect your health. Studies have found that people who eat less meat have a lower risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity. The World Health Organisation has warned that processed meats such as bacon, ham and sausages can cause cancer.

Download HSI/UK’s EatKind Festive Guide at: www.hsi.org/EatKindChristmas.

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