Uhm, any vegans out there dating a non vegan? How many of you have NEVER dated another vegan? According to our super scientific iEG research, that is about 60 percent of us—yikes! If you’re a vegan dating an omnivore, chances are your veganism comes up. A lot. I find in my own relationship, veganism most often makes an appearance around mealtime. And as someone who loves food, well I can get pretty passionate (read: bitchy) about what is on my plate. What can I say? I am fiery! To combat this personality trait, I have spent a lot of time figuring out how I can avoid fighting about my food. Of course, it doesn’t always work out…
A few weeks back, my guy and I were headed out to eat at some burger bar my boyfriend found that has a reputably good homemade vegan burger, along with regular fleshy fare. On the way, we walked by ‘Snice—a vegan eatery I have been wanting to try for a while. I suggested we go there instead, and P made an offhand comment about wanting to eat “real” food. At this point, I was beyond hungry, and extremely irritable (see: hangry) and I really let him have it. In public, no less! “If you want meat, just say you want meat, don’t tell me the food I eat isn’t REAL!” I was hyperventilating on the side walk.
This wasn’t exactly fair. While his comment was pretty rude, I know P didn’t mean to offend. He likes vegan food, and normally is more than happy to eat it. But he had been excited to eat at this burger bar, and was as hangry as I was, and so I was raining on his super-meat parade with my visions of smoked tempeh and soy sausage.
If you want to avoid quarrels like these—and for the sanctity of your relationship, I hope you do—read the following tips on avoiding food fights.
Choose your battles wisely. If your partner isn’t vegan, and you still want to date them, then you are inadvertently accepting their lifestyle the way they hopefully accept yours. Making comments about their food choices at every meal will mean they will dread table time with you, and cause tension. That being said, it’s fair to want to educate your partner, or at least want to discuss something you are passionate about. But if I started talking veganism at every chance—in AND out of my relationship—I would just be that annoying vegan girl who won’t shut up about her sriracha peas and man-made boots. So I only bring up topics I think are really important, or that have the possibility of actually making a difference on someone’s point of view. For instance, my guy has heard about animal cruelty at factory farms ad nauseum, so I don’t bring that up often. However, he recently wondered aloud why we don’t eat honey or wear wool. This is the kind of stuff I hold out on my long winded rants for.
Time it right. I try not to talk to my boyfriend about my vegan beliefs at mealtime. Superior nutrition, animal rights, animal husbandry’s affect on the economy and environment—you name the topic, I avoid it while we’re eating.
Don’t fight on an empty tummy. I broke this rule outside of ‘Snice. I was so hangry that I snapped at my guy—in public, no less—which didn’t help my cause, and made me seem like an angry PETAphile. When you’re hungry, you’re irritable, you’re less rational, and your brain isn’t functioning properly. This is not the right time to talk food politics. Wait until you have a happy belly full of sweet potato sushi rolls and THEN lay into the whole vegan protein debacle.
Don’t force feed. The airplane tactic only works on toddlers. Insisting that your partner eat your vegan food will only make them resent you. Instead, work on polishing your recipe repertoire, and cook up eats that are so delicious they will be begging you to repeat them. Or at the least, they will be satisfied with eating vegan and won’t put up a fight next time you say tempeh is on the dinner menu.
So how do you avoid fighting about food? Have you ever shrieked about protein per serving on a crowded sidewalk? Because I have…
The Lusty Vegan is a lifestyle and sex column focusing on living and loving as a twenty-something year old vegan. More rants from Zoe Eisenberg can be found at www.sexytofu.com. Follow her on Twitter @Sexytofublog