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Dating a Vegan

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I’ve been quietly dating someone for the past two months. Since this is a recipe blog (and for privacy), I wasn’t sure if I should even mention it on the site. However, his name might come up in the commentary or comment section, so I tried to casually introduce him a few posts back. (That turned out to be an awkward way to bring it up.)

I’m not really planning to elaborate much, unlike with my last relationship.

When I look back on those posts from a few years ago, I cringe with embarrassment at how I went on and on (and on) about “Sports Store Hottie.” (Yes, I really did nickname him Sports Store Hottie for the blog. What was I, twelve??)

I know one question will come up, though: Is he a vegan? No, not at all. And yes there are some challenges when you’re a vegan dating a non-vegan. But dining out isn’t one of them; at least not in this case. It’s easy to find things we both like at restaurants such as Pei Wei, Clay Pit, or Penne Pomodoro. Last night we made it really easy and just went to Whole Foods for dinner! Classy.

tofu spring rolls

I started out with the veggie spring rolls. Their peanut sauce is my favorite part of the dish, and I could slurp it through a straw. Too bad that wouldn’t be ladylike.

Ladyike is overrated.

whole foods hot bar

Above, a bunch of other random foods from the hot bar. There’s quinoa hiding somewhere under the peppers.

No photos of the boy’s dinner: I wasn’t about to snap photos of his meal; I felt self-conscious enough taking pictures of mine! Also, his food was very un-vegetarian. And no, I don’t have any secret plans to turn him into a vegan. I do, however, have some not-so-secret plans to get him to at least try tofu.

Unfortunately he already knows the secret in my Chocolate Bar Pie.

After dinner, we went over to the mall to catch a movie, but everything of interest was either sold out, had already started, or wouldn’t start until much later. So we settled (settled?) for ice cream instead. Paciugos Gelateria (which has 40 locations across the US) offers at least two dairy-free flavors every day. Yesterday’s flavors were Mixed Berry and Chocolate Banana.

vegan gelato

Obviously I went with the Mixed Berry. (Right…)

Question of the Day:

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone whose eating habits were completely different from yours?

I was already a vegetarian when I met my first boyfriend, so I’ve actually never been in a relationship where we’ve seen completely eye-to-eye in terms of eating. However, I don’t think it’s right for one person in a relationship to expect the other to change or compromise his or her ethics. If a guy respects you, he’ll respect your right to hold different beliefs. And it’s a two-way street.

*I’m not counting my middle-school “relationships.” Sorry, but is it really a relationship when your mom drives you both to the movies and his dad sits two rows behind you and then takes you home? 😉

Link of the Day:

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Chocolate-Chip Love Cookies

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. Lauren says:

    It’s nice to get a peek into your life, as uncomfortable as it can be for you. It makes you more approachable, in my opinion. I’ve definitely been out with guys who ate differently than myself, and it can be incredibly awkward, especially if they are insensitive. It’s nice to find someone that accepts you and doesn’t judge you. Thanks for posting this Katie!

  2. Samantha says:

    Good morning! Nice post.

    So I have never dated another vegan. Not even another vegetarian. I lived with a non-vegan/non-vegetarian for 10 years. Our diet differences were only a problem when he made it one. And I always reminded him I was vegan when he met me. No one else in my family is vegan and I don’t feed my pets vegan so obviously I am comfortable around animal products regardless of my opinions on some of them.

    I will admit I had some non-negotiables: no live crabs, etc. that would be dropped in boiling water, no veal, etc. And I paid attention to the “source” of the animal products, free-range etc.

    Have fun and I hope he is a great guy!

    1. Samantha says:

      And PS. Respect is the issue. I don’t care if it is family, friends or an intimate relationship. I have minimal patience for diet comments since I keep mine to myself.

  3. Maddie says:

    YES! I wasn’t a vegan or vegetarian when I met my boyfriend (we’ve now been dating two and a half years), but over the last six months or so I’ve really been trying to slowly ween myself into becoming vegetarian (I did it once before for an extended period and then had to go back to meat). I find it’s been very difficult for him to accept, and that he doesn’t really understand my reasons. However, I simply prepare my own food when I’m at his house, or choose a restaurant with plenty of vegetarian options when we’re out.

    Now that I’ve written this I realise it pales largely in comparison to your situation, and that it’s not even really relevant to your question at all…..
    In any case, that’s my situation haha. Loving your recipes, have been passing on your blog to lots of my friends!

    1. tiffany says:

      I have that kinda situation too…I was a vegetarian for 7 years but switched back to include meat…now that i want to go back to vegetarian or vegan my bf really doesn’t want me to. I want to switch back because meat and dairy actually make me ill, but he’s the kinda guy who eats a huge steak and i have to force him to eat veggies every night so it’s quite a pain sometimes.
      When i was a vegetarian i had a bf who was really good about it (i wasnt one who would complain about them eating meat infront of me and i think that helped lol) his mom would actually make nice vegetarian meals for me when i was over..it was really nice of them.

      1. Anna says:

        If the meat and dairy is making you sick it may be the quality of them and/or digestion track issues. You may want to look into making sure your gut flora is balanced-especially if you’ve ever used antibiotics or other medications. The Weston A. Price Foundation has some good information on diet. The problems you are experiencing with the animal products may just be a symptom of something else that will still be around even if you eliminate the meat and dairy.

        1. tiffany says:

          oh it is a symptom of something else but it helps to eliminate them since my issue will never go away. It’s not just animal products that affect me either, but it does kinda force me to eat a rather healthy diet which is a plus lol.

          1. Anna says:

            Ah. I see. I don’t know your condition, but I wish you well and hope that new helpful information will come your way! You never know what may be discovered or be of some assistance:)

  4. Anna Banana says:

    I’ve dated a lot of guys who were darn sure they wanted to eat MEAT at every meal, almost exclusively. I’m not even a vegetarian, although I do cook quite a lot of vegan and vegetarian food because I like the idea of reducing my environmental footprint. I am finishing up veterinary school (less than a year left to go!) so I am very passionate about animals and I have visited many farms and a few slaughterhouses. It was incredibly important for me to know everything that the animals go through before I buy them in the grocery store. This really enabled me to make a diet switch to something that is primarily vegetarian because I think pretty hard about the meat I cook.

    To that end, I can’t make everyone try the things I cook with tofu. But my policy for friends, family, and significant others that if they refuse to at least try it when I make them dinner, it’s the last time I will do so. Nobody says they have to like it, but it’s really closed-minded to hate things on principle. Often, they are surprised. It’s also nice to see a little about your personal life other than just your diet. We like you for more than your recipes!

    1. Lynne T. says:

      That is very interesting. Eat the tofu or this is the last time I will make dinner for you? Does placing ultimatums within intimate relationships make you an open minded person? Do you eat meat if someone else makes food for you, even if that person does not care about their environmental foot print or the plight of animals in slaughterhouses? I am curious, not snarky.

  5. Tanya says:

    I was a vegetarian when I met my boyfriend. Half a year later, I became a vegan… and at the same time, he became a vegetarian! Without having tried to turn him into one, though. He simply read some of my “vegan magazines” and stuff, but I didn’t even tell him to do that! After reading it, he said, okay, I am also vegan now 😉

    (He actually became a vegetarian, almost vegan. I never though he would though! He used to be so found of meat!)

    1. Julie says:

      Tanya,

      That’s pretty close to my story. My boyfriend was omni when I met him (though very supportive of my being veggie) and I was vegetarian. Shortly after we started dating, he made the switch to vegetarianism I made he switch to veganism. Now we’re both vegan. He had dabbled with vegetarianism and veganism before we met but I think eating great, healthy veggie food with his partner really helped him make the decision to ditch meat for good. Ironically, he’s the reason I went vegan, because he showed me an article he found on how egg laying chickens are treated, and I knew I couldn’t support that industry any longer.

  6. sarah says:

    My husband is a HUGE carnivore. I’m not sure what I am, but I don’t eat meat often at all, and I grew up vegetarian, so had no idea how to even cook it. He’s one of those that doesn’t consider a meal a meal unless it has meat in it. It’s been an adjustment, especially since if I don’t cook for him, he’ll end up eating chicken wings for dinner with no veggies at all. So I’ve had to learn how to handle and prepare meat – out of love for him and his health. I try to make sure he eats organic and that in addition to the meat, he gets a hefty portion of veggies too.

    1. Tiffany says:

      You just made me realize I should probably do the same for my omnivorous husband. Right now we mostly eat out so we can both eat what we want, but he usually chooses red meat and white rice or bread. I could at least get him to eat healthier and more humanely if I cooked for him. Thanks!

  7. aw I’m so happy for you:) None of my family, or friends, are vegan either, and I find eating out to be easiest too. Although, whenever we’re all together, they all want me to cook for them because they all follow my blog haha….so yeah. Great post! peanut sauce is my fav too!!

  8. Charlie says:

    I am a vegetarian going on vegan and I’ve never dated anyone with the same diet as me. I’ve only met two guys who were vegetarian/vegan! And one was gay. Luckily the boyfriends I’ve had as a vegetarian were both very open to the idea of trying vegetarian foods, and were always considerate in choosing veggie-friendly restaurants 🙂

    I am always proud to tell people I’m a vegetarian/vegan, and I’ve only had one person have an adverse reaction to it…most people don’t seem to think its weird. Most people either say, “wow, good for you!” or “How do you do it?” The most annoying part is when people ask me things like “Where do you get your protein?” That’s like if I were to ask them “Where do you get your fiber? and your Vitamin ABCDEFGHIJK?”

    1. If they’re asking out of curiosity, I spout off a whole long list of “where I get my protein”s ;).

      But if they’re asking to be snarky, I do exactly what you mentioned. I ask: Where do you get your 5 servings of veggies a day? Where do you get your Vitamin __?
      And pretty much every snarky person who’s ever tried to trick me with the protein question has absolutely no clue how to answer.

      So then they just move on to the obvious next snarky question: But trees have feelings too!!
      And by then, you just have to laugh. (And silently roll your eyes.)

  9. connie munoz says:

    yes im married to one, and let me tell you it is so hard to try to cook for someone who hates veggies, i have to cook two separate meals alot, i have gotten him to eat a couple things and the things he does end up liking we eat a couple times a week. alot of veggie chili going on here in our house…He does like beans which does make it easier, he never grew up with vegetables and so in 10 years of marriage, i have gotten him to eat salads now, cabbage and turnips, i make alot of veggie currys also to hide some, i was going to try that new book that is out by “ellen” cook, maybe i can slowly get more dishes into him…

  10. Laura M says:

    I have dated a meat-eater who didn’t really understand my vegetarian lifestyle, but my boyfriend now is really great about it. He eats fish, and some meat, but loves it when I cook and says it’s so delicious he doesn’t mind that it’s always vegetarian! (And I totally agree that Whole Foods is a great date!)

  11. Michelle says:

    I became vegetarian over 2 years ago, husband wasn’t…so for 11 months he ate meat, I didn’t, then it was him that said 11the months later let’s go Vegan! Huh? Lol we’ve been Vegan ever since

    1. Michelle says:

      Btw I love that sauce from whole foods too!!! Yum

  12. Annilee says:

    yes! my husband! I’ve always had digestive issues, and he’s been with me since they started! He comes from a family of people who have stomachs of steel and can eat anything anytime!
    I’ve since pinpointed my issues to gluten/dairy/sugar. In no way do I expect him to change his eating habits – but I do expect a certain amount of understanding when he suggests we all go for fast food quickly… sorry dear! He can, but that defeats the purpose of it being “fast” when we need to go to two places.
    Anyway – At least I’ve been able to educate our boys about some things… in society, we generally eat too much wheat, meat, dairy and definitely sugar – so as least I can teach them a bit about it at an early age. Our one son can’t tolerate dairy/eggs either – hence why I LOVE your blog!!
    I do cook everyone the same meal for dinners, things like pizza night require a bit more work, but small price to pay!
    Anyway – short answer to your question is “yes” and we’re happily married!

  13. Taylor says:

    I’m vegan and my fiancé is not. Luckily for me he will eat just about anything and he claims all of my food is amazing. Ha! So, he gladly eats tofu, tempeh, veggies, green smoothies, and all of my (well, your) healthy vegan desserts! I will make him eggs or turkey sandwiches occasionally but I don’t ever cook meat for him. If he wants to have chicken or turkey burgers for dinner he will make them and I don’t mind. I know he will never go vegan but that is okay with me as long as he is happy with the meals I make 🙂

  14. Big Bread says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but this is the first time I felt compelled to comment! I’ve only been vegan since January, but I’ve been with my partner for three years and when we first met (because we were living in a country with a really meat heavy local diet) I ate A LOT of meat (even though I was ordinarily vegetarian- meat eating overseas was just out of convenience really). I think me going vegan shocked him, but we get on just fine with him being a meat eater and me being vegan.

    I think the key is compromise: sometimes we go to vegan places, sometimes we go to “ordinary” places (and I’m not shy about ordering off menu to get something vegan). Our main issue is that he prefers to eat halal meat and I don’t think it’s necessarily humanely slaughtered- so he tends to stick to chicken or fish. It’s not ideal, but it’s as much his right to eat meat as it is mine to be vegan.

    1. I like your idea about compromise. We haven’t eaten out super-frequently (I’ve only been dating him since April), but I can only imagine we’ll do that as well. I can easily find something on many menus nowadays (or call ahead if I need to). And if I take him to a vegan place, he in turn can easily order something “not scary” like a salad and a pb&j, or a pasta dish.

  15. Miriam says:

    Dating a non vegetarian was super fine until we moved in together. Then we cooked together most of the time, but I made the grocery list and obviously wasn’t going to cook meat. His job got very demanding and I was cooking most of the time and he started complaining about not having meat for dinner. I tried to create meals where he could make some chicken to go with it but he only took me up on it once.

    It definitely became a tense spot in our relationship until we got married and I offered to change my name only if he stopped eating meat when we are together. People thought this was crazy but so far its been 9 months and going great!

  16. Jules says:

    When I started dating my first boyfriend, we both ate meat. A few months into our relationship, he read a book on veganism and decided to at least go vegetarian. One year later, after having lived with him for a bit, I decided to try it myself (heck, I was practically vegetarian myself for all the times we ate together at home, just to see if I could do it.

    Five years later, we’re a married vegetarian couple. 🙂

  17. Katie says:

    I’m a vegan and my boyfriend is a meateater. We have been living together for about 3 months and have been dating for alot longer. There have been no problems at all with our differences. To be honest he eats out almost every night (drive through, yuck) and I always cook. But he has tried at least one bite of everything I eat and has found out he loves tofu! And on his days off if he decides to cook be makes something vegan so I can eat it too =) and then he brags about his vegan food to other people because he gets so proud of himself. I could see him becoming vegan or vegetarian one day because he is extremely interested in it, he even reads my vegnews magazine!

    But in the past I have had problems with men being completely disrespectful of my diet.

  18. Marla says:

    I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian and have been for about 20 years. When I met my husband (16 years ago!), who is not vegetarian, he told me that he kept a vegetarian home and just ate meat out. That worked for me! He’s occasionally had some meat in our house, but he’s never made it with me around and/or never bugged me about it.

  19. Skayea says:

    I won’t eat any soy products unless their fermented for reasons that the Weston Price foundation details. As attractive as the vegatarian/vegan lifestyle is, that choice represents even fewer choices without the inclusion of soy or wheat products. I wish people would investigate the potential impact upon their health before including these items in their diet and concluding that they are living the healthiest lifestyle possible. http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert

    1. Sheree says:

      Skayea, there is another side to the soy story, in case you’re interested:

      http://zenhabits.net/soy/

      1. Erica @ Cult of Kale says:

        Great source Sheree! ^_^

        1. Rachele says:

          Sheree, thank you for posting this link. I have heard some of these health statements, both negative and positive, and have been mystified. How could soy be both healthy and unhealthy. Either it is or it isn’t. The link you provided, not only cleared things up concisely and objectively, but also provided many more links to other sources. Thank you!!

    2. veganlinda says:

      I hope you’ve looked deeply in to Weston A Price Foundation. I’ve read his book (he’s dead now, of course and he was a dentist, not a nutritionist and his travels and work was at a time when we knew very little about nutrition so he made huge assumptions) and they have really taken his work and turned it on its ear. I bet he would be rolling over in his grave to see that instead of promoting whole foods they are attacking soy and people who follow a veg diet. Most of the people working for WAPF have close ties to the animal farming/meat industries.http://www.vegsource.com/news/2009/11/reflections-on-the-weston-a-price-foundation.html

  20. Gabrielle says:

    I agree with the first comment – no need to overshare (which you obviously never will), but I do like the little glimpses into your life. You’re essentially a celebrity, so hearing life details from the horses mouth makes your blog that much more fun to visit.

    You have such a mature (in my opinion – though I’m hardly mature) view on relationships and I think that idea that you shouldn’t expect someone to change their beliefs can really apply to more than just food.

    I also just wanted to say – how awesome is it that you get such detailed comments!? Looking above, people really care about you and your opinions! Must feel good.

    Gelato looks mouth-wateringly good.

    -Gabrielle

    1. Thanks, Gabrielle! I completely agree about the comments, and I think it’s one of my favorite parts of blogging. It’s like having hundreds of pen pals :).

      I know some people don’t even read their comments. They’re missing out!

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