We’re big fans of vegan food so of course we love Vegan Insanity. From recipes to kitchen tips and tricks, Cassie’s got all things vegan covered on her blog so we went to her with a question that we often get: What tips do you have for living with non-vegans? Read on for her five tips.
5 Tips for Living with a Non-Vegan
Guest Post by Cassie Howard from Vegan Insanity
I switched to a vegan diet just over one year ago, and I remember how hard it was for me to be the only person in our household that was eliminating animal products from my diet. My husband thought it was a fad, that it wouldn’t last, and that I’d eventually “come to my senses”.
After a few months passed and he realized that this wasn’t just a “trial” thing for me anymore, he became very supportive of my new diet. He still didn’t want to go vegan, though.
It was very difficult or me to continue preparing animal products for him and our 2 young children, but I didn’t want my diet to be something we fought about, so I continued… for another month or so. Then I told my husband I couldn’t do it anymore—he had to continue cooking animal products if he wanted to eat them.
Not long after that conversation, he watched Forks Over Knives, and that was it! He switched to a vegan diet in December 2013 and hasn’t looked back since.
Even though we only had separate diets for about 4 months, those 4 months were HARD, but I did learn a lot through it all.
Here’s what I learned:
1. Don’t try to “convince” your spouse to go vegan.
What we eat is a very personal thing. When someone tells us that the things we’re eating are gross or that we’re wrong for eating what we do, we automatically get defensive. Even though you enjoy eating a vegan diet, because it’s delicious, healthy and cruelty-free, don’t try to push your diet on others. All that does is push them away. Eat the way you normally eat, and more often than not, people will eventually start to ask questions. And THAT is when you can talk about why you eat the way you do.
2. Prepare vegan meals, and have them prepare non-vegan food if they want it.
If you really don’t want to cook any animal products at all, then your spouse has to take on that responsibility as their own. Prepare large enough vegan meals that your spouse can enjoy them with their meals as well. If they want meat or other animal products, they’re in charge of preparing them for themselves.
3. Eat vegan at home, but go out for meals where they can eat whatever they want.
If having animal products in your home is a big no-no in your mind, talk to your spouse about it. Explain your feelings, but don’t try to get them to agree with you. Try to sort something out so that you only prepare and eat vegan food at home, but when you go out to eat, your spouse can order whatever they want.
4. Let the results speak for themselves.
Sometimes, it’s better to say absolutely nothing at all, and let the results of your diet speak for themselves. When people see that you’re losing weight, have a clear complexion, have bounds of energy and are, overall, a much happier person, they will start asking you questions! When this happens, you can gently suggest they try eating a vegan diet to achieve similar results. Don’t push them, though. Just mention it casually, and let it go. If they want to make a change, they will do it because they want to, not because you told them to.
5. Serve faux foods occasionally.
When all else fails, serve faux foods (such as vegan meat and cheese). You shouldn’t rely on these foods as a regular staple in your diet, because they are highly processed, but they’re a great way to get your spouse to try vegan food. When I first transitioned to a vegan diet, Daiya cheese shreds were a lifesaver, since cheese was the one thing I missed badly. When my husband switched his diet, he loved the Gardein “chicken” strips (our kids love those, too!). There are many great vegan products on the market that taste very similar to their non-vegan counterparts!
Having a spouse at home that is not sharing the same diet as you can be tough, but it is certainly possible to live together without going crazy! Try out one or more of the tips above and I think you’ll find that it’s not so bad at all.
About Cassie, Our Blogger Friend
I’m Cassie – vegan food lover, money saver and blogger. I live in Vaughan, Ontario, right near the big city of Toronto, with my husband, our 2 kids, 3 cats and a dog that thinks he’s a cat, too. I love to cook and share delicious vegan food with everyone I know.