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Your Fiance's a Vegan, Too? Right?

A vegan living with an omnivore. Can the two coexist?

My fiance, Mathew, and I have been together for eight wonderfully long years. We just recently became engaged this past January 22!  When we met I had already been a vegetarian for a number of years.  Mathew is your all American meat and potatoes type of guy.  Dinner just isn't a meal if there is no meat or fish on his plate.  He's a man — he needs his meat — his protein!  (*Chuckle*Chuckle*) Preparing meals was never really too much of an issue when I was a vegetarian.  All I had to do was make sure that if I made a dish, such a Chicken Pasta Alfredo, was to omit the chicken from my plate.  No big deal.  If we ordered pizza half would just be cheese the other half a meat lover's combo.  But then...

I chose to be a vegan.  What have I gone and done?!  I was no longer preparing one meal for dinner but rather two meals (this also meant more dishes - ugh).  I do the majority of cooking in our household so I am the one who gets to handle, slice, dice, and chop all of the meat.  This is a dream come true for any vegan — NOT!  This process grosses me out.  The feel of the skinned/plucked dead animal (and let's be honest that's what it really is, a dead animal) is icky and the smell is unpleasant to me.  The worst part is when I get nasty bits of animal material stuck underneath my nails.  Now, I know some of you can relate to this.  Is it not gross? I think I need to invest in some plastic disposable gloves!

Do I lecture, admonish, or preach to my fiance about his carnivorous eating habits?  When he is eating a hamburger do I tell him in graphic detail the horrors that occur in factory farms/meat processing plants?  Do I mumble under my breath "Animal Killer" when he is nibbling on chicken wings?

Nope! No lecturing or anything along those lines.  I respect his choices when it comes to what he wants to eat just as he respects my choices when it comes to what I will not eat.  Do I have hope that maybe one day he will decide to become a vegetarian?  Of course I do.  I asked him no too long ago if we (as in he) could do Meatless Mondays.  He just shook his head and said "No!  Me man!  Me need meat!"

Okay, just kidding, all he said was "No!" I wasn't going to give up that easily.  I then suggested Meatless Tuesdays - he just shook his head no.  I suggested Meatless Wednesdays - he just shook his head no.  By now you probably know where this is going - let's just say I ended up back to Monday.  Can't blame me for trying.  I may have lost this battle but I am determined to win the war!

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Frederick A. Pisani February 17, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Fred I have been a vegetarian for over twenty years. My wife is a meat eater. For the holidays we take turns having the family over, we do Christmas, my brother and his wife do Thanksgiving, we all go out together for Easter. My wife cooks a meat meal and a vegetarian meal, my sister-in-law does the same. Moswt everyone also tries the vegetarian meal and they always like it. We go to a restaraunt that has a vegetarian offering for Easter. When we sign up and go to dinner benefits I always request a vegetarian meal and never have a problem being accomodated. Many people wish they had my meal when they see it! Of course if you were Catholic you would be giving up meat on Fridays during Lent. Millions of Catholics do this every year and survive just fine. I am a 66 year old male in excellent health. You don't need meat to live a healthy life.
T B February 18, 2012 at 03:19 AM
I'm just surprised that you still willingly prepare meat for him. It's one thing to not lecture/preach pro-veg beliefs, but it seems entirely different to me to still choose to make it for him. I was a vegetarian before meeting my boyfriend, and I never lectured him on his meat-eating habits...but I never would have prepared it for him. He respected my choices, and I respected his...but if he wanted a meat component to the meal, he could make that himself! After a year of dating he decided to become a vegetarian as well, so it's not an issue now...although it never really was, as he had no problem eating vegetarian food with me. Perhaps if you put your foot down and just stop preparing it sometimes (at least for Meatless Mondays, Tuesdays, whatever!) he'd be more willing ;)
J. Schaefer February 18, 2012 at 02:50 PM
"VeganDad.blogspot.com" and "EverydayDish.tv" web sites have some great faux meat recipes. You can't beat Julie Hasson's Spicy Italian Sausage or Vegan Dad's faux chicken! Honestly, they are phenomenal! My husband and I agreed in 2009 that at home, I would no longer cook meat, but when we're out, we could eat it, if desired. Thank goodness for the two web sites above...the transition was so easy.
Richard Ian Tracy February 19, 2012 at 03:48 AM
You're a better bunny than me! :-) I haven't cooked meat for anyone since going vegetarian well over a decade ago (aside from ONCE for a very ill friend) and certainly not at all since going vegan. *I* couldn't do it -- I don't know how you manage. You're a model vegan example for not lecturing -- needless to say, I'd fail at that, too. Your patience is immense! Maybe he'll come around in stages: (1) Fool him with some fake meat pasta sauce (2) Make something so yummy & filling he can't possibly miss the meat (3) Meatless Monday -- or whichever day he likes (4) Begin taking "days off" from cooking meat for your own sanity and let him fend for himself! :-o When I settle down, I *really* hope it's with a nice vegan boy. If not, a vegetarian. At a minimum, vegetarian-at-home! I might could tolerate some milk or cheese in my fridge ... but there will be no meat in my kitchen ... no bloody corpse to discover in the fridge! {*high-pitched female horror scream here*} :-p
joe ponikarovsky February 20, 2012 at 01:24 PM
a good idea, just don't do it with bacon! of all the veggie meat-like options, bacon is DEFINITELY the one they need to keep working on. it has some flavor and it can be enjoyable, yes; but it's nothing like the real thing.
Rachel Jewell February 20, 2012 at 09:54 PM
David, I contacted Root Cafe via their Facebook page. I asked if they had any vegan options on their menu and if they offered soymilk in place of dairy milk for their coffees. This was their response, "We carry Soy, Almond and Coconut milk as well as skim and whole cowsmilk. We carry a varied selection of loose teas - both herbal blends and black and green. As our licensing doesn't allow food preparation, we bring in our foods and pastries from other stores and restaurants so I cannot vouch for them being vegan. But certainly for beverages, you should do fine and we carry fresh fruits as well." Looks like I have a new place to go to to enjoy a nice cup of coffee. Thank you for bringing this local business to my attention!
Richard Ian Tracy February 20, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Groovy. Most places don't have vegan 'milk' options ... never mind yummy coconut milk! :-)
Rachel Jewell February 20, 2012 at 10:02 PM
After a week of not consuming dairy products (mostly cheese since I gave up dairy milk years ago) I no longer had the craving for cheese. Whenever I think of dairy products I think of pus - eww - I'm sure you know what I am referring to. I wish you success in your transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. Don't beat yourself up too much if you stumble along the way. No one is perfect. Veganism is not about perfection, but rather it is about embracing a compassionate lifestyle. Hopefully you too can lead by example offering support and enouragement to your girlfriend.
Rachel Jewell February 20, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Brandon: When I read "bacon vs. fake bacon" I coudn't help but laugh. A while back I prepared myself a breakfast of applesauce and "fake" bacon." My fiance looked at my plate and asked what was on it, referring to the "fake" bacon. I told him it was "bacon." He said that that which I referred to as "bacon" looked nothing like bacon nor did it smell like bacon. I think "fake" sausage links might be better a choice! jmelnyk: I agree with you!
Rachel Jewell February 20, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I think it's wonderful that your family is supportive of your vegetarian lifestyle. I'm glad to hear that most of your family members are willing to try vegetarian dishes. For some people when they hear that a dish is vegetarian or vegan they think that there is some weird, disgusting ingredient lurking within! Or, that the dish is going to taste bland. Kuddos to those family members! I agree with your statement, "You don't need meat to live a healthy life." I have been a vegetarian for 16 years and a vegan for 2 months. I just had my cholesterol checked about a week ago and my total cholesterol is 117 (I must be doing something right!). My doctor said that I was below average - this is one of those times in my life when I don't mind being below average in something!
Rachel Jewell February 20, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Oh, my doctor also said that my cholesterol total was EXCELLENT!
joe ponikarovsky February 21, 2012 at 02:33 PM
is it possible he was referring to the the root cafe in lakewood? (http://theroot-cafe.com/) they are a coffee shop, but also have a full menu with primarily vegan/vegetarian/organic/locally sourced dishes.
joe ponikarovsky February 21, 2012 at 02:34 PM
to clarify, there's also this root cafe (http://www.root-cafe.com/) in Cuyahoga Falls, which i think is what you're referring to, Rachel.
joe ponikarovsky February 21, 2012 at 02:39 PM
as a first fake meat to try, i'd put some of the morningstar farms bbq riblets in front of him. when these were first introduced, they actually won a rib cook-off event. people had been eating and loving them all day. when they got onstage to accept they award they said "oh by the way, that's not meat."
Richard Ian Tracy February 21, 2012 at 05:03 PM
I second the MorningStarFarms RIBLETS vote ... just dynamic! You'd think ribs would be very difficult to replicate but they are probably the best widely-available veggie-meat item out there (if slightly expensive) ... and they're not just vegetarian but fully vegan. So, yay! :-) Also, if you can find it or order it, I also heartily endorse MatchMeats from North Carolina -- almost 'scary' fake mince (ground beef) and sausage. I don't think ANYONE could tell it isn't real. I think it has beet juice in it for colour ... so it 'bled' when I defrosted it in the microwave. I freaked out a bit then giggled!
Rachel Jewell February 21, 2012 at 11:55 PM
jmelnyk: Oops! Over-looked that location. Thank you for letting me know and including the link, now I have two places I can go to!
Rachel Jewell February 22, 2012 at 12:02 AM
I'm surprised I'm still doing it too! He did surprise me a few days ago - he said that if we could find a good vegan dish to make for dinner he would forgo having meat with his meal. Needless to say, I was estatic. Dinner ended up being vegetable Indian curry with brown rice. He LIKED it! I am hopeful that this meatless dinner thing happens at least once a week.
Rachel Jewell February 22, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Thank you for the two new websites (I have never heard of either one of them). I am always lookinig for new vegan recipes that I think my fiance will find appetizing. If the dish looks, smells, tastes good, and is filling - I think I'll be able to win him over.
Rachel Jewell February 22, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Your comment "no bloody corpse to discover in the fridge" reminded me of not to long ago when I was putting some ground meat in the freezer. I usually write the date on the bag and what is in the bag. If the bag contains ground beef, I label the bag "ground beef." Well, on this particular day, instead of labeling the bag "ground beef" I labeled it "ground-up cow" -- which in all truth it is. Now that, is honest labeling!
Nikki Flores February 23, 2012 at 06:04 PM
I may be jumping the gun here, but have the two of you thought about how you'll raise your kids (assuming you want them)? It's easy for you to agree to disagree between the two of you, but what happens when you want to raise your kid vegan, and he wants the kid to be a meat eater? Just wondering cos I know a lot of people who struggle with this, and they already have kids.
Rachel Jewell February 24, 2012 at 07:20 PM
That's a good question. We have very, very briefly discussed how our possible future children will be raised in regards to the foods they will eat. I read your post to my fiance and his response was, "My kids will eat meat." I chuckled and said, "That's interesting, because my kids will not eat meat!" I'm not saying that our children HAVE to be vegans, however, I think that when it comes to either their eating meat - being a vegetarian - or being a vegan, I think that raising our children vegetarian would be us (my fiance and I) meeting in the middle! Even though I know that we sort of joke and laugh about the subject now, I know that when we do decide to have children that this topic will be a very heated discussion. I guess if he really wants our kids to eat meat then it will be up to him to shop for, prepare and cook the meat for their meals - being how I do all of the cooking now, I really don't see him doing this. I also told him that if he really wants our children to eat meat then they will also have watch documentaries showing how the meat they are eating was procured. My children will not walk around in ignorance and be sheltered from what occurs behind the doors of slaughterhouses. Just because ignorance is bliss does not make it right. Out of curiousity, how do those couples you know who have children with one parent who is either vegetarian/vegan, how have they dealt with this situation?
* February 25, 2012 at 01:07 AM
“Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do.” ― Michael Pollan
* February 25, 2012 at 01:09 AM
“It's just the way things are. Take a moment to consider this statement. Really think about it. We send one species to the butcher and give our love and kindness to another apparently for no reason other than because it's the way things are. When our attitudes and behaviors towards animals are so inconsistent, and this inconsistency is so unexamined, we can safely say we have been fed absurdities. It is absurd that we eat pigs and love dogs and don't even know why. Many of us spend long minutes in the aisle of the drugstore mulling over what toothpaste to buy. Yet most of don't spend any time at all thinking about what species of animal we eat and why. Our choices as consumers drive an industry that kills ten billion animals per year in the United States alone. If we choose to support this industry and the best reason we can come up with is because it's the way things are, clearly something is amiss. What could cause an entire society of people to check their thinking caps at the door--and to not even realize they're doing so? Though this question is quite complex, the answer is quite simple: carnism.” -Melanie Joy
* February 25, 2012 at 01:09 AM
"To identify with others is to see something of yourself in them and to see something of them in yourself--even if the only thing you identify with is the desire to be free from suffering.” ― Melanie Joy
* February 25, 2012 at 01:10 AM
“The ninety-nine cent price of a fast-food hamburger simply doesn't take account of that meal's true cost--to soil, oil, public health, the public purse, etc., costs which are never charged directly to the consumer but, indirectly and invisibly, to the taxpayer (in the form of subsidies), the health care system (in the form of food-borne illnesses and obesity), and the environment (in the form of pollution), not to mention the welfare of the workers in the feedlot and the slaughterhouse and the welfare of the animals themselves.” ― Michael Pollan
* February 25, 2012 at 01:20 AM
“Today, it isn't unusual for meat to travel almost halfway around the globe to reach your supermarket. The average distance our meat travels hovers arounf fifteen hundred miles.” ― Jonathan Safran Foer
* February 25, 2012 at 01:23 AM
“The ten billion animals that are killed every year for meat and the virulent consequences of contemporary animal agricultural practices remain conspicuously absent from public discourse. How often have you seen media exposés on the violent treatment of farm animals and the corrupt practices of carnistic industry? Compare this with the amount of coverage afforded fluctuating gas prices or Hollywood fashion blunders. Most of us are more outraged over having to pay five cents more for a gallon of gas than over the fact that billions of animals, millions of humans, and the entire ecosystem are systematically exploited by an industry that profits from such gratuitous violence. And most of us know more about what the stars wore to the Oscars than we do about the animals we eat.” ― Melanie Joy
* February 25, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Ohhhh... The evil CAFO... “CAFOs house them as tightly as possible where they never see grass or sunlight. If you can envision one thousand chickens in your bathroom, in cages stacked to the ceiling, you're honestly getting the picture. (Actually a six-foot by eight room could house 1,152).” ― Steven L. Hopp
Rachel Jewell February 25, 2012 at 04:55 AM
"Carnism." Have you read Melaine Joy's book, "Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows." ? I've added it to my "to read" list. Are you by chance a vegetarian or a vegan?
Rachel Jewell February 25, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Are you familiar with the so-called "ag gag" bills in several states? From what I gather these are bills which aim to criminalize whistleblowing exposés of the cruel realities of factory farming. I guess the factory farming industries don't want their dirty little secrets to be brought out into the light. If one has nothing to hide I don't see what is the big deal.

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