Every year, I celebrate my veganaversary on Black Friday since I went vegan the day after Thanksgiving in 2004 (and I went vegetarian the day after Thanksgiving in 1994). Technically, in 2004, that was November 26, but it's easier to keep up with if I just celebrate on Black Friday.
My mom and I have long had a Black Friday tradition of brunch at Brother Juniper's, followed by holiday shopping in Memphis. My morning usually starts with leftover pie (this year, it was apple pie) and coffee. And then my mom arrives in town around 10-ish, and we head to brunch.
Brother Juniper's is a super-popular brunch spot, especially on Black Friday. So we typically wait between 30 and 45 minutes on a table. Totally worth it. Thankfully, there's a nice coffee bar where we wait.
For years, we've been ordering the Fahim's Special (a tofu scramble dish with home fries and toast). But this year, they've added a new vegan menu item — the Spicy Tofu Potato Bowl. My mom and I both ordered this.
It's a tofu scramble, flecked with jalapenos, served atop home fries and topped with guac, and then you get extra home fries on the side!! And Brother Juniper's has the best home fries in the world. They also have amazing house-baked bread that's so good with their made-in-house jam.
After brunch, we went shopping for holiday gifts, which took us several hours. Although we were stuffed from brunch, all that shopping worked up my appetite again, and I ended the day with the best part about Thanksgiving — a leftovers plate!! Enjoyed while watching The Wire on Netflix.
In 15 years of veganism, a lot has changed. The cheese is WAY better. There are milks made from oats, hemp, almonds, cashews, and even peanuts! Vegan nacho tortilla chips are a thing. Plant-based burgers are everywhere. Vegan items are common on menus just about anywhere you go. And more people are vegan than ever before. It's been so cool to see the progress of veganism over the years.
And I've changed some too. I used to be a self-professed (and proud) junk food vegan. And while I still love my indulgent foods, I've leaned way further into the health side of the movement. I'm still 100% in it for the animals, but as an athlete, it's been fun to see what whole foods-based eating can do for my running performance. Here's to many more years of veganism!!