“We can’t go to that restaurant, they serve meat!”, “I’m not having dead animals stored in my fridge…”, “You’ve killed a living creature for that food”, “Milk is actually really bad for you…”
My girlfriend has never used any of these sayings, apart from the last one (which I agree with but that’s another topic). These sayings are some of the typical things you would expect from a die-hard vegan activist. But the truth is, if your partner has just turned vegan they aren’t going to develop this blood thirst to kill all meat eaters, albeit it is possible, it’s not very likely. If you start a relationship with a die-hard vegan activist, then you should expect these sayings, and good luck to you. But turning vegan doesn’t make them crazy.
My girlfriend wasn’t fully vegan when we met, and she still isn’t now. Just like if you’re dieting for a competition or a holiday, you’re going to have cheat meals, and so would most vegans (I’m assuming). She definitely doesn’t go out for a 16 oz steak every weekend, but she might have a dollop of cream with dessert, or a bit of cheese on a pizza, THEY ARE NORMAL PEOPLE, just their eating habits are slightly different.
There’s not much of a difference at meal time in our flat. Pretty much every recipe with meat has vegetables in it too, and all I do is cook the meat separately from the vegetables/sauce, and I add the meat onto my plate. It’s really quite simple. A homemade curry – cook the chicken separately, homemade spaghetti bolognaise – cook the beef separately, stir fry – cook the fish separately, full English breakfast – cook the meat separately, Sunday roast – the meat’s already separate, easy peasy.
We still go to the same restaurants, like, exactly the same. Even Nandos has vegan options. Steak houses have plenty of delicious vegetarian and vegan sides that we all eat. Now I don’t drag her to steak houses every week and we do check that everywhere we go has vegan options, but who doesn’t check the menu before they go somewhere these days?!
I 100% have changed my eating habits since living with a vegan. That doesn’t say I’ve turned vegan whatsoever, but my eating habits have changed. First is that I eat a hell of a lot more fruit and vegetables. From cooking vegetable-based meals and adding some meat means that my recipe will be mainly vegetables and some meat. Whereas before I remember with my old housemate we’d chuck in a kilogram of minced beef, 1 onion, 1 pepper, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, and devour the whole pot of bolognaise that night! We always have plenty of fruit in the flat, like a never-ending supply. So now I’m getting a lot more minerals, vitamins and greens into my diet.
The second thing that’s changed in my diet is I’m eating different protein sources. Meat is a well-rounded protein source with a strong amino acid profile, but just like your training you have to keep changing it otherwise your body will adapt to it (Broscience at its finest). I’ve added stuff like chickpeas, lentils, and beans into my diet which I’d never eaten before. All of which are also rich in fibre meaning nice healthy toilet breaks. I wouldn’t dare eat a meal without meat before. But now if I come home and she’s prepared something vegan for me, as long as I see plenty of beans in the dish, there’s my protein source so it doesn’t bother me if there’s no meat.
The last thing that’s different is that I choose my meat from better sources. I used to be obsessed with finding the cheapest meat I could. I remember the back-alley butchers in Leeds sold chicken breast at £3.60 per kilo (good quality stuff I know), and another shop sold 30 eggs for £3, perfect for student times. After watching a few Netflix documentaries (and being reminded by the Mrs) I’m more inclined to go for free range products. Some of the conditions these animals live in are terrible, so I do shell out a few extra quid for free range meat and eggs, and I would encourage you to do the same.
What I think of veganism
If anyone goes vegetarian or vegan for ethical reasons (they don’t want to harm animals) then good on ya. We are removed from the horrible practices that occur in the meat and dairy industry. When you find out how that chicken breast or pint of milk gets from “farm” to your fridge, it might put you right off. That being said, when anyone watches one documentary and immediately proclaims on Facebook and their Insta profile “I’M VEGAN” it pisses me off. If you’re ready to change a life-long habit after one hour on Netflix, good luck getting through life… and the rest of Netflix. I do think it is popular at the moment to go vegan, and this is why most people are doing it, following the trend. I’m not against going vegan, just do your own research and make your own mind up. Don’t make a decision based on some Z list celebrity or one video you watched on YouTube.
All in all my life hasn’t changed much from my girlfriend going vegan. Yes I eat less meat but my protein intake is still the same, so what’s the difference. If you find yourself a “No meat in the house” vegan, good luck with that. I’ve even picked up a few vegetarian clients as now I know what diets they can follow whereas before it would’ve been alien to me.
So if a family member or your partner’s transitioning to become a vegan, it won’t affect you, so just let it happen. They can be very passionate, so if you’re getting into a debate, get your guns ready. And if you’re still on the fence about milk, always remember what Arnold said, “Milk is for babies, drink beer”.