When you are married to a non-vegan, conflicts may arise if you are a vegan. It will require some work and patience, but you can still live together in a mixed partnership without having to resort to wringing each other’s necks. Kidding aside, here are some tips on how you can make your relationship work, and possibly even introduce a plant-based dietary lifestyle to your partner.
Be aware that dining out may take some preparation. You have to make sure that you can also eat while your partner enjoys their steak. Call the restaurant ahead of time to ask for their vegan menu choices and discuss your dietary restrictions. By doing this, you and your partner will both have a great time during your date and it will not make him feel guilty. As you progress through your relationship and have tried out several restaurants, you can create a list of places that both of you love visiting.
It may also be helpful to start introducing vegan meals in your household. On nights when you decide to stay in and have dinner at home, cook vegan meals that both you and your partner can enjoy. Dinner is a great venue to do this since you can have more time for preparation and for bonding, compared to lunches or breakfasts. Cooking a vegan meal also lessens the pressure of preparing two types of meals and a vegan dish is something that can be eaten by you and your partner. Even when your meals are not entirely vegan, you can still take gradual steps towards that kind of lifestyle, by making your bases vegan. For example, when you are cooking pasta make the base ingredients vegan so you can eat it on its own. Your partner can then add meat and cheese once it is served on the plate. Another strategy is to have dishes that are majorly composed of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and nuts. If you and your partner love milk, you can try out non-dairy milk such as almond milk, which is great in flavor and is also high in nutrient content.
When diet preference differs, It is a good idea to discuss storage and handling. Aside from consumption, storage, and food preparation are also important considerations when you are a vegan. For the purposes of sanitation and to avoid contamination, ask your partner to store meat in another part of the fridge to make sure it is not in contact with your food. If you feel upset with animal products, you can either ask your partner to place their items on the bottom shelf or in the part where you can’t see it or you can buy a different fridge to completely separate your foods.
It can be quite frustrating at first. But the key to making your relationship work with your nonvegan partner is to take things in stride and to not take it too personally. Mutual respect is important so your relationship remains peaceful even if both of you have different food morals.
Mixed marriages between vegetarian and non-vegetarian partners happen a lot. The challenges are not limited to your diet preference. You also have to consider the kind of dietary habits that you will expose your children into. While there are a lot of decisions that will take place, it is still entirely possible to have a harmonious household with your children raised as vegetarians even when your partner remains to be non-vegetarian.
Decision making comes into play even before you start having children. First of all, there should be a consensual agreement between you and your partner that your child will be raised as a vegan or vegetarian. Secondly, even if your partner does not adopt the lifestyle, he or she will still need to actively encourage your child to follow a plant-based diet. These two things will be your major factors in making sure that your children will be raised as vegetarian.
If your spouse agrees that your kids will be raised as vegetarians or vegans, you can start setting guidelines that you and your partner will both have to follow. One of these is to make sure that only vegan meals are cooked and served at home. That said, your groceries will also be entirely of vegan products. However, your partner can still eat meat but only when they are outside and not in front of your children. For example, if you go out on date nights without the kids, your partner can have meat-based dishes, but the same will not hold true if you are going out as an entire family.
Since most of your rules will be in favor of a vegan lifestyle, it is then your role to make sure that your vegan meals are enticing and exciting for everyone. Experiment with different kinds of recipes that your kids and your non-vegan partner will enjoy. In time, your partner will start developing a taste towards vegan food and you can frequently serve it as you slowly introduce them to the kind of dietary habit that you are following.
Another important aspect of raising vegan kids is to make sure that your partner is educated when it comes to vegan eating. Your partner should be aware of what foods are considered vegan and non-vegan as well as hidden ingredients that might be included in the food. There will be times that you need to go on a trip and your spouse will be left with your children at home, or when you can’t go with them to the restaurant. Your partner should know what to ask in terms of food options and ingredients. Understanding everyone’s diet preference is important.
Respect and unity are two things that should be constant in your goal towards raising vegan kids. Although you are not fully supportive of your partner’s eating habits, you should not disrespect them in front of your kids or other people. Likewise, your partner should not also show a hint of disapproval every time you serve a vegan meal. As your kids grow up, you should also talk to them that not all people follow your lifestyle and that it is important that they remain respectful and tolerant towards other people’s food choices.
If you and your partner decided to allow your kids to eat meat when you are eating out, stick to your rules. You can influence them but you shouldn’t show that you are appalled that they chose to order burgers or steaks since it is rare for them to have it.
When going out or talking to non-vegan people, you will commonly encounter family and friends that will question your approach to eating. Even when your partner is non-vegan, they should be able to stand up for the decisions that you have made as a couple.
Is this an issue in your household? Please let us know your tips for making it work below.