Vegan MoFo #15: More on Relationships

Vegan MoFoI was thinking about my Omni/Herbie relationships post. I realize that I am lucky enough to be in a relationship where my food choices are respected, but what if you’re a vegan who is not supported by your significant other? Or what if the fact that your partner eats meat around you really turns your stomach, or makes you upset? So I came up with some tips more so for those who have recently switched to a plant-based diet while in a relationship. Below are a few different scenarios and some examples of ways to deal with them – or at least ways I would deal with them. If anyone else has any suggestions or stories of how they explained it to their significant other, please share!

If you have recently changed your diet for health reasons:

Introduce your partner to some vegan athletes, like Brendan Brazier or Rip Esselstyn.  You may want to start by reading the books yourself, and pointing out any interesting facts you find. Sometimes it seems like my husband isn’t listening to me when I blabber on about cancer rates vs. milk consumption,  but every once in awhile I overhear him re-telling the same statistic to someone else, so I know it’s getting in there!

If you haven’t had the conversation yet, maybe your partner is worried that the way you are eating is not healthy, so information is key! Even if part of your reasons for eating a plant-based diet are for animal/environmental reasons, try focussing on the health first.  I know my husband relates to the health aspect more than the other reasons. For now at least.

If you have recently changed your diet for animal rights/environmental reasons:

If you have switched to a plan-based diet for these reasons, you need to make this clear to your partner as well. The most important piece of advice I can give you is to be strong and confident in your decision. Your partner may want to blow it off, or laugh about it, but you need to be clear right off the bat about what is or is not acceptable to you. Here are some lines that may help you:

“I know that this is different from how we were eating before, but now that I’ve made the connection between my food and animals, I just can’t pretend I don’t know anymore. I’m scared about this change too, but I know it is right for me.”

“I am not asking you to change the way you eat, but it makes me uncomfortable to have meat products in the house, the same way you were uncomfortable when…(using a comparison may help him/her to understand). What you eat outside of the house is up to you, but it would make me really happy if we did not have meat (or animal) products in the house.”

“Just because I have changed my diet doesn’t mean the way I feel about you has changed. I am doing this for myself, and I would really appreciate your support.”

Be kind, clear and direct. If after all this your partner is still not respecting your decision, well, you may need to do some meditating and decide if this relationship is serving you. One thing I haven’t talked about yet (I’m saving it for an upcoming post on raw food), is how changing your diet may affect your life. Eating cleanly can sometimes allow you to see things with more clarity, and this may mean recognizing when a relationship (significant other, friend, family member, teacher) is not working in your life. That’s been my experience anyway. Of course it’s more complicated than just saying sayonara to someone, I’m just sayin’ you need to respect your choices and know your limits on what you will or will not tolerate.

Next week I will be at a conference in Niagara Falls, so there will be some posts on eating well while travelling, and I’m also preparing a little something about coffee, a contentious issue I know, but one that maybe we don’t talk about enough.

Have a great weekend!

–Sarah

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About Sarah Tombler

I live in Ottawa, Canada with my husband and our twins. I work for the Public Service, and I have been a vegetarian for 18 years. Over the years, I have started to understand that what we eat effects us, through mood, weight and positive thoughts. I am working towards cutting most animal products from my diet, in an attempt to live a life of compassion, and to do what I can to help this small planet of ours. I also love letting people know that the secret to happiness may be as simple as what we put in our bodies. View all posts by Sarah Tombler

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