The Lusty Vegan: The White Elephant in My Refrigerator

My usual fruity fridge population...

Last week I opened up the fridge to a bit of a surprise. In addition to the normal contents (produce, almond milk, tempeh, a pineapple the size of my head) there were some interesting new additions: Eggs, two kinds of lunch meat, cheese, and butter.

I did a triple take. I had been away for 7 days, and it seemed as if my roomie had done a bit of shopping while I was gone. I sat down for a moment to consider how to deal with the situation. You see, I live with my very omnivorous boyfriend. When we moved in together, we had a conversation about what our household would look like, me being vegan, and him…well…not. We decided that the house would remain mainly vegan, save for a bit of cheese that he could buy himself for adding to the vegan dishes I cook. A compromise, right? Well, it seemed as if while I was gone, manfriend had reneged on our compromise. Ironically, I was in LA promoting my new book, geared toward vegans and omnivores trying to date each other. Ha!

I waited until the boyf got home to issue a line of attack – er, I mean, to bring up the subject with him. I explained where I was coming from: In addition to being a bit scheeved out about all of the animal products in the fridge, and I was bummed he had gone back on our compromise without first opening up a dialogue.

He explained that after a year of living in a vegan household, he missed eggs for breakfast and deli sandwiches for lunch. He realized this while I was gone, as he was suddenly left to fend for himself for the first time since cohabitation began. So he took to the store and picked up his old stand-bys, as well as his own cooking pan so none of his animal stuff would contaminate my vegan fare. I have to give him points there – it was very thoughtful to get his own pan.

Relationships have an ebb and flow. Like the moon affects the sea, when a person changes, so will their relationship. If you want your connection to be long-lasting and successful, you need to be able to change as well, or at least be willing to compromise.

For me, the ability to change meant listening—actually listening—to my boyfriend talk about how he missed eating animals in the house. It made me sad to hear it, because it highlighted how different we are. It made me want to stamp my feet and throw a tantrum, because it wasn’t what we agreed on in the past. But at the end of the day, I love my guy, and I know compromising goes both ways.

So now there is a white elephant lurking in my refrigerator – a drawer with animal products in it. I don’t open it, stock it, or acknowledge it in any fashion other than to take it as a lesson in flexibility and compassion. Eggs and all.

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About Zoe Eisenberg

Zoe Eisenberg is a writer, editor, and published author.
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4 Responses to The Lusty Vegan: The White Elephant in My Refrigerator

  1. Vegan Chic says:

    Awe, I feel bad for you however i’m in the same boat..I’ve been married almost 30yrs. when I met my husband I ate seafood, eggs and cheese and didn’t read ingredients..did that from 79-92. Then I started eating turkey nov of 92, then chicken shortly after. Then 10/01/2010 I went Vegan cold turkey. Well I still have this Omni husband who isn’t feeling my vegan lifestyle so I don’t push it on him and I don’t fight his Omni lifestyle. You have to pick your battles unless you are just totally against it. Me i’ll keep my spouse and let him deal with his diet and animal right and i’ll deal with mine. It’s no big deal to me really. I hope you guys can stay together despite your eating differences.

    • fanya says:

      To the woman married 30 years, go on youtube and look for “The Last Heart Attack.” You might be able to make changes based on health, and the tests profiled on there are for vegans and non-vegans alike.

  2. Carrie Epps says:

    I’m in a similar position. Other than his once-a-week orders of meaty, cheesy pizzas, he’s mostly content with living in a vegan household. Right now we’re in a studio apartment, but I imagine that with more space, we’ll have a set-up like yours, Zoe.

  3. Stephanie Dreyer says:

    I am still trying to figure this one out – almost 5 years being vegan and married for 14 to a man who is not, raising 3 children who are not. As the primary grocery shopper and cook for the family, all of us have had to compromise. I am finding the delicate balance between what I can and cannot live with in my kitchen and at the meal table. It has been a slow, gradual process, but as long as I feel good about what I cook and eat, I realize they have to make those same decisions themselves.

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