The first Thanksgiving after I my changed diet (to a plant-based one) was sorta awful. I thought I'd wing it. I'd just show up to my in-laws hungry, and there would for sure be something I could eat there. I wasn't going to be picky about what my host was serving, and I certainly didn't want to be the pain in the butt with the "dietary restrictions." And so I sat there. Holding back the tears. Trying to act like I was totally cool with my plate of cranberry sauce and a few pieces of lettuce.
Four Thanksgivings later, it's quite a different story. I don't ever just wing it anymore. I plan ahead. I've gone from feeling like I'm the pain-in-the-butt guest to the one that is going to bring an interesting dish to the table (literally). I offer to make the mashed potatoes now, help with the some other sides, and I'll always make a dessert (like this apple crumble). Not only do I take the pressure off the host of making something plant-tastic, but I can help her out with some of the kitchen duties too.
To me, it's not about making "healthy food"; it's about making food that everyone can enjoy together. And isn't that what Thanksgiving was supposed to all about in the first place?