Do opposites attract?
If you would have told my fiance six years ago that one day he would be engaged to, and planning a wedding with a vegan, low-waste living (more like low-waste attempting and, quite frankly, often failing), Pilates Instructor, he would have told you that you were crazy.
And yet, here we are!
Cake tasting (he can even admit that vegan cakes are delicious!), creating a guest list, and setting up a catering menu, which lists a whole course of appetizers. Who am I, a Kardashian? You get one appetizer, and it’s going to be vegan!
I am vegan and have been for several years now, but my partner decidedly is not. My signature breakfast is a tofu scramble with black beans. His is…well, as opposite of that as you can get.
When they say opposites attract, I don’t think this is what they had in mind!
Top tips for loving and living with a non-vegan
As you well know, being a vegan isn’t scary, and neither is living with and loving someone who isn’t.
Here are some of my tips for living with all of the non-vegans in your life, whether it’s a romantic partner, friend, or family member.
1. How to Maintain Healthy Relationships
“Be open and honest about your expectations”
Omnivorous friends & family
You should have a conversation with friends and family members.
If you are going over to a friend’s for dinner, ask in advance what they are serving. If there isn’t anything for you to eat, that’s ok! Maybe you can bring your own dish to share, or, if you are like me, maybe you don’t share and eat the whole dish!
Been there, done that.
If you are more discreet than I am, maybe you tuck a granola bar or two into your purse. Or, just eat a meal beforehand, and enjoy your friends’ company and a drink or two if that is your thing!
Communicating with your family might be more difficult. Gentle reminders go a long way.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve casually dropped a:
“Remember to cook the veggies in oil, not butter!”
…on my way through the kitchen to shovel more chips and salsa into my face.
I’m very lucky in that almost all family members have been supportive. If your friends or family are not supportive, then always take care of yourself, and know which drive-thru is open late and serves an Impossible Burger.
Dating as a vegan
If you are currently dating, you need to decide for yourself what you are and are not comfortable with.
Only want to date vegans? Then go for it!
Put that in your profile, or only use sites that fit with your lifestyle, such as Green Singles. You can join local MeetUp Groups, or Facebook groups specifically for vegans and vegetarians to find people in your area who live similar lives.
If you are open to meeting and dating people who are not vegan/vegetarian, then go for that, too!
Just do not date someone with the goal of changing them. While a partner might be willing to compromise, and even make some changes, it is unfair to both of you to set expectations that your new love/crush/cuffing-season-only-fling will adopt a different lifestyle.
Love & relationships with non-vegans
Once you are in a relationship, or if you are already in one, communication is key.
If you are thinking about living with your partner, have some open and honest discussions about sharing your space.
In the kitchen, do you want to use completely separate utensils? Pans? Or are you fine with sharing all of the above if your partner cleans very, very well?
You get to decide what works best for the two of you.
In our tiny teal house, we have separate sides of the stove, where we place anything currently in use.
His is red, that means – STOP this touched meat!
Mine is blue – like the oceans I want to save.
In reality, they were just a two-pack on Amazon. But it works!
Some of our items are completely separate. Like tongs, BBQ grilling tools, and pizza stones. You gotta have pizza stones because homemade pizza night is the best date night!
Which brings me to…
2. How to eat with non-vegans
“Find restaurants you both love”
My best advice is to have some restaurant suggestions ready to go whenever anyone asks where you should go out to eat. You don’t want to end up at a restaurant where your date is chowing down on a lovely-for-them meal, and you are served a plate of asparagus.
Trust me, it is not fun.
And I’m vegan, not a rabbit…was there really nothing else in that kitchen I could eat??
My fiance and I have found some great restaurants in our area that serve delicious food for both vegans and carnivores (hopefully your partners and friends are more of the omnivore variety, but hey, sometimes they’re not).
We have found that some foods, such as Thai, Chinese, Mexican, and Vietnamese are great go-tos.
Cooking food together
Cooking together and sharing food is an act of love. Remember that when in the kitchen together!
You don’t have to eat the same thing to share in a meal. But if you do want to eat the same thing, you can always do what my dear, sweet, carnivorous partner and I do: put on your favorite shared podcast, pour a glass of wine, and don’t let the meat touch the veggies!
I’ll cook a grain and veg, (or let the Instant Pot do the work), and he’ll cook his version of protein – then everyone is happy.
Taco night works well, and have I already mentioned homemade pizza?! Talk about your day, talk about your pets, your plants, your hopes, your dreams, just don’t spend all day talking about what’s on your plate.
And one final thing
Remember that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Or rather, agave. Or don’t catch flies, let them be. What’s the vegan equivalent?!
What I’m trying to say is, be the sweet vegan that you are and allow some sweetness to come your way.
Find things that you have in common, and respect each other’s wishes, morals, and values.
You never know, you might find yourself living happily ever after as…
The Vegan and the Carnivore x
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Erin grew up in Southern California as a competitive swimmer, and a lover of the ocean. She originally planned on being a marine biologist, having decided on that career at age 5. After graduating from college, she moved to Seattle, where she was introduced to Pilates. She got her certification in 2014, and has been teaching ever since. She met, and fell in love with her partner at a bar in Ballard. In 2017 Erin moved to Boise with her fiance and dog for a new adventure. They added a rescue cat to the mix, currently live in the North End, and enjoy exploring Boise!