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Dating a Vegan

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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Published on June 24, 2012

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193 Comments

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  1. Lyza says

    Katie I TOTALLY RELATE to this entry!! LOL my boyfriend isn’t vegan at ALL, total meat and potatoes boy, and he cringes when I even mention the word tofu LOL!!! I have baked some successful vegan muffins and cookies for him, but it is extremely tough to get him to make him a vegan dinner he’ll actually enjoy, mainly because it’s just not my forte yet!! If my dad prepares him a vegan meal (although dad isn’t vegan either, he is a great cook) or we eat out, he’s always enjoys the meal, so I’ve won some battles but we have a long way to go, he is so picky and his favorite foods all seem to involve cheese or some type of meat!! He doesn’t even order marinara at italian restaurants, it’s ALWAYS ALFREDO LOL!! I don’t even know what to do with this boy!! I would never want to convert him but it’d be nice if he’d be more open to trying other foods and was a little less picky!! Today we got Mexican and he got this gimongous burrito filled with unmentionables. I got a lovely veggie quesadilla. LOL his favorite restaurant is this huge forboden steak house but he’s been too nervous to bring me in there, so yes we do have our conflicts LOL. I told him go ahead, I’ll just order some side dishes like french fries and beans or something. He immediately was like, “No I am just going to go with Tom (his friend)”!! LOL he would love it if I ate meat but it’s just not going to happen, I’ve completely lost my taste for it, it would just feel so wrong and unenjoyable at this point!

  2. Kim Allison says

    From looking at the posts I don’t think anyone’s touched on eating preferences being different, even if you’re both vegetarian, vegan or both eat meat.
    My husband and I both eat meat but I would say that when we first got together what we considered a good meal was quite different. Over the last few years I’ve become increasingly health conscious so our meals at home have also changed – I make everything from scratch and use no packet mixes, which we used to live on (cringe!) when we first got together.
    Through the whole thing he’s been very open-minded and supportive, which I think is the important thing – growing together.

  3. Ellen @ Scrumptious Gruel says

    I had never dated another vegetarian until recently and was actually disappointed not to have someone to take me to a steak house. I know it’s weird fr a vegetarian to want to go to steak houses but I think those places are actually great for vegetarians because they have awesome veggie sides…but I feel like at least one person has to be ordering meat to merit going to one so I never tried to get the fellow veg boy to take me…

  4. Karen says

    My husband took me to Barcelona for our 15th wedding anniversary. We easily found a gelato store with non-dairy options including chocolate!! I sooo wanted to move to Barcelona. It was a lot easier to find dairy free food options there compared to here. I’m excited to check out Paciugo’s Gelateria but I’ll need to pester them to get them to come to my city!

  5. Anonymous says

    I am currently dating an omnivore. But he is completely, totally open and supportive of me being a vegan. We often go to vegan/vegetarian restaurants — he had a tempeh bacon grilled cheese panini once and LOVED it! I made him vegan eggplant parm the other day, using tofu ricotta, and he said it was the best eggplant parm he’s ever tasted. I’m definitely not going to try to “convert” him to vegan (though I am trying to get him to eat healthier, whole foods — unlike what he used to eat in his college apartment), but it’s great that he’s so open and supportive of my lifestyle.

  6. Kari says

    Judging from the comments you’re in good company!

    I’ll just say this. My fiancé and I have been together almost 6 years. A year into our relationship he was listing tofu as one of his top 3 fears. He’s still an omnivore, but now hell hang with my vegan meals like a champ. Good luck!

  7. Dahlia says

    I’m a vegan and my partner is a carnivore. We’ve had lots of discussions about veganism, and he certainly appreciates and admires the reasons behind veganism. He has agreed to our family being vegan, and doesn’t eat any animal products during our family dinner – he actually only eats them out of sight of the three-year-old, as the little boy got a little freaked out when he saw a fish being prepared for a meal one day. I think veganism is more likely to stick if you embrace it of your own accord.

  8. Jennifer says

    A few years ago when I was only vegetarian, I was dating someone who had no respect for it (though, it soon became clear that he had no respect for me in general, either), and I could never be with someone like that again (for multiple reasons, obviously). Now I am vegan and in a long-term relationship with someone who isn’t but he was never a “steak and potatoes” kind of guy and actually now eats 95-98% vegetarian, and about 80% vegan. I know I can’t be with someone who believes he *has to eat meat. Our values would be completely incompatible. And values are a big deal. Being vegan is a spiritual, ethical, and moral thing for me, and to be with someone who has no respect for animals or who can’t at least see the health benefits (although the respect thing is a bigger deal for me) of not eating animals will just be impossible.
    I may sound crazy, but I make no apologies for believing that vegan is absolutely necessary for me spiritually.

  9. Katie says

    my partner and i do tend to have fairly different food interests. he’s very meat and potatoes and heavy carbs, and i will pretty much eat anything that’s not red meat and/or traditonally american, mac and cheese nonwithstanding. however, after the last 5 1/2 years i’ve found a pretty good balance between the two of us. it turns out he loves stir fries and most homestyle japanese dishes, which is pretty much all i ate for the first few years of my life. so we just eat a lot of asian inspired food and i slip in lentils and tofu when i can get away with it. he’s been pretty easy going when it comes to my issues with red meat- i can’t handle conventional beef and i can’t really afford organic, so i just don’t cook it.

  10. Rachel Gutierrez says

    I live in Dallas, too! I’m married to a non-vegan, althought I wasn’t a vegan when we first met. I became a vegan almost a year ago and he’s been extremely supportive and understand! (I’m a lucky girl) 🙂 It was difficult at first, but we’ve learned that compromise is key! We, too, like Penne Pomodora and you MUST take you’re new boy to Sundown at the Granada! You will love it and there’s definitely options for your meat-eating other half, too! Congrats, by the way 😉

  11. Alicia says

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for 3 years, and his eating habits are a lot different from mine! He shuns veggies and most “healthy” foods, whereas I try to eat healthily. We compromise when we make dinner at home, but we don’t have to when we go out to restaurants, fortunately! 🙂

  12. Punkcoleman says

    Story of my life, not the vegan part, but the different diet part. Im always faced with criticism of my healthy eating habits and my training program. And while my bf is supportive most of the time, his family (being of Italian background) are not so much, and because he has this background it makes it hard for him to see things from my perspective. So its a constant battle of trying to explain why this lifestyle is important to me and I dont sit there and judge there lifestyle choices and I definitely could if i wanted to.

  13. Flik says

    I’ve dated both vegans and non-vegans and I think it’s definitely a lot easier to date a vegan. But I think finding a partner is hard enough as it is, so I wouldn’t discount someone based on their diet.

  14. Anna says

    My nutritional habits have never been the same as my partner’s. We often eat our meals separately, but that’s also partly because we are often not home for dinner at the same time. It really isn’t an issue for us as our lives don’t revolve around food. We’ve been together over a decade so it’s definitely not a deal breaker!

  15. Hillary says

    My boyfriend is one of those guys who (and I quote) “don’t consider anything without meat a meal”. It’s WAY different from me, who was raised a vegetarian since birth! He’s a complete sweetheart though and doesn’t have any problem with me being a veghead. 🙂

  16. Anna @ The Guiltless Life says

    I’m super happy with you and thanks for sharing! It’s so much more fun to read about the people behind the recipe posts from time to time, as great as the recipes are :).

    I, sadly, have not just never dated anyone who was vegetarian too but have never dated anyone who was even marginally respectful of my eating habits. My last boyfriend made a big point of making a huge plate of chicken breasts one night (literally just a huge pile) and sitting and eating them with his fingers in front of the TV, without any sides or anything. Sigh. I have never had the best taste in men! (This was particularly cruel seeing as he knew my choice to be vegetarian came entirely from an animal rights perspective. It wasn’t until later that I started to get into the health benefits of vegetarianism.)

    One day, I tell myself, one day!

  17. Annette says

    My hubby was a meat/potatoes guy – I’m the complete opposite. Sometimes we’re black/white, ying/yang. Guess what? He still likes meat after 20 years, but after 20 years of slowly easing him and fighting Type 1 diabetes, plus watching his siblings and parents struggle with their health, he’s all over green smoothies and a plant-based diet. It’s also helped to encourage him to watch Food Inc., Forks over Knives and Frankensteer. 😉

  18. Holly says

    Cook him up some tofu! I am an ex-vegan, and my husband is from Argentina…HUGE beef eater. I’ve made him tofu on a number of occasions, and he is happy to eat it. He probably wouldn’t eat it every week, but he does like it.

  19. Joanna says

    Great post!
    I turned vegetarian/vegan near the middle of my last relationship, though I have always been on and off with the diet back then. There were times where my choice was respected but it was more so laughed and ridiculed at. It was also difficult for us to share food with each other. For reasons other than that, the relationship ended.

    But I’m with Rick now (who I talk about all the time in my posts, lol) and we were both vegan when we learned more about each other two years ago. He and I are still going strong and loving every part of our vegan lifestyle!

    By the way, that gelato looks amazing. There’s a place here in San Diego called Chuao and they are veg-friendly with their chocolates and gelato as well. =)

    Take care. <3

  20. Erica { EricaDHouse.com } says

    This is so funny … my bf and I just got into an argument last night over vegetarians dating non-vegetarians! I have been for 5 years and he has started eating significantly less meat then before but still cooks it at the house once a week.

    Our biggest hurdle will come if we decide to have kids. Do we raise them my way, or his?

  21. Ruth says

    I’m pretty much the odd one out here, but I would never have meat in my home, and I certainly wouldn’t buy or cook it! When we were dating and for the first few years that we lived together, my husband wasn’t vegetarian, but he only ate meat when we ate out, and even then he’d sometimes have something without. He became vegetarian round about when I became vegan. I’m not strict about other animal products in the house, as I don’t find eggs and dairy inherently cruel or disgusting in the way that I do meat or fish, but I still wouldn’t cook them for him, not now. He eats what I cook and I cook vegan. I’m very glad that he chooses to be vegetarian and often vegan outside the home, but I don’t do a happy dance every time he respects that I will not take part in what I consider to be unethical eating habits, because that’s just fundamental respect.

    If you’re vegan for health reasons, you are making work for yourself if you act like a chef in a restaurant instead of the home cook you actually are (and if you have kids, would you do the same for them? It’s setting a bad example.) If it’s for ethical reasons I can’t understand it at all.

  22. Janae @ Bring-Joy says

    I am married to an omnivore & I’m vegan. All four of our kids are vegetarian, nearly vegan, but I don’t sweat it when we go to a gathering & somehow someone slipped them a non-vegan cupcake (I learned early that there are things to stress about & things NOT to stress about).

    Even if I wasn’t vegan though, my husband & I would be on opposite sides of the spectrum. He likes 3 foods. I like 200. He doesn’t like mushrooms, cabbage, squash, eggplant & only likes strawberries in a jam or raw or in a smoothie, but not baked in a pie. We’re a funny eating couple, but he completely defends & supports my veganism, especially when talking about it with others. I don’t pressure him to change & he’s willing to try a new vegan dish I’ve created (even though I know it terrifies him, since he’s kinda picky).

    It definitely can work–my husband & I are proof of it. Makes life, & your relationship, interesting, that’s for sure!

  23. Diandra says

    The BF would happily live on McD* food, or a cow and a bag of potatoes, every day. While I am not even a vegetarian, I try to live as healthy as possible, and only cook meat maybe once or twice per week. He is not always happy, but I have also noted that recently, when he goes out with colleagues for lunch instead of taking leftovers, he always complains how the fried stuff does not taste good at all. I am winning him over to the dark side. ^^

  24. karen says

    this so spoke to me – the guy I’ve been seeing is not a vegan, but he is so respectful of it – I tell him not to worry about where to go to eat that I can always find something. Example – he wanted pizza the other night and we opted to go to Uno’s – I figured the worst that could happen is that I would have a salad – it was late and I wanted something light anyway – to my surprise, they had a bean burger on the menu, so I went for it. He even tried it. Based on his reaction, he won’t be a vegan anytime soon, but I wouldn’t want him any other way than the way he is.

  25. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes says

    I’ve never dated someone with different eating habits than me, but I have a lot of friends and family who are vegetarian. It’s no big deal to just leave the meat out of a dish! Vegan is a little more difficult though…

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