The Lusty Vegan: How to Avoid A Food Fight

Keep the pie in your belly and off of your face...

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 Follow her on Twitter @Sexytofublog


About Zoe Eisenberg

Zoe Eisenberg is a writer, editor, and published author.
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7 Responses to The Lusty Vegan: How to Avoid A Food Fight

  1. Mel says:

    To avoid the conflict I try not to bring up my lifestyle to other people. I try to just eat what I can that doesn’t contain animal products. Many times people will question me. I politely say I’m vegan without much explaination. Is there a way to get over my shyness? I feel like people will attack me. Lucky for me my new boyfriend is vegan friendly. He mainly eats a raw diet but will not consume any soy products. My family has the worst problem with me being a vegan. Is there a polite way to educate them? Every time I bring up veganism my mother starts ranting about all the people she knows that ended up being sick from not eating meat. sidenote: I always thought my mom was crazy .

    • Great questions! I often also feel people will attack me, and so I feel out the situation pretty thoroughly before talking about it with omnivores. When I say I’m vegan, if people ask why, I often give something general like “So many reasons-ethical, political, nutritional…” And weirdly enough, most don’t press much further than that, probably because they are afraid I will preach to them. If they do press further, and it’s at an awkward time, like around a table of 10 when you’re the only vegan, I often say “It’s not all table friendly talk! Ask me later.” Because while I do LOVE talking about veganism, I only want to talk about it if they really, truly are interested. Not if they just want to be combative.

      As for your mom, when people bring health concerns up I say something like “It’s true, if you don’t make healthy choices, you can get very sick. That’s why I make sure to get enough b12, etc etc.” And also, you could pull your fam members aside and say something like “I’m not sure why you have an issue with me being vegan, but it would really mean a lot to me if you could be supportive.” They can’t really say no without seeming like an asshat. My dad also gets annoyed with my veganism, even though he has been vegetarian at points in his life. Go figure. He still refers to my non veg days (when I was like, 12, mind you) as “the good days.” Sigh.

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  3. Mel says:

    I hear you Zoe parents are fickle. I rather not engage my mom in the food fight. I end up pissed or crying. I’m a newbie to Veganism but I’ve been a vegetarian for off and on for years. My friends already know not to plop some poor cow on my plate, my boyfriend knows the only meat I will put in my mouth is his. But I get tired of fighting this fight. I have too many other fights that are bigger.

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  5. Melissa says:

    My parents are finally used to me rejecting everything they taught me – so no probs there 🙂

    My boyfriend is a stubborn omnivore. At home I do all the cooking and he never complains about the fact that I refuse to cook non-vegan stuff. When we go out we almost always go to non-vegan restaurants (with vegan options, obviously). This is sometimes a bummer when we’re traveling because there’s usually some awesome sounding raw vegan place that I want to try (I live in AZ, so our options for veg dining are somewhat limited), but overall a good compromise (and he relents sometimes). We were together for ~8 years before I went vegan, so all in all, he’s being a pretty good sport about it. Despite my extremely hot temper, I haven’t lost it with him, yet. But he gets to hear me yell about pretty much everyone else we dine with.

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