How to stay happy when you’re vegan and your partner is not

Hello Friends!

This post will have to be written time and time again as my husband and I gain more experience, face more challenges, and live with this lifestyle a little bit longer. I’m excited about the growth that will happen! But for now, let me share what I have learned.

Before you read on, I have to insert a disclaimer here. I am passionate about the ethical reasons I am a vegan. However, my dearest and closest loved ones do not share many of my convictions at this point, and they are the dearest and most important in the world to me. So that being said, I still keep some animal products on hand in my home, ones that have been sustainably produced, and the animals treated humanely during their lifetime.

Now I shall continue. Just had to get that off my chest, and put that out there for my fellow vegans. My husband is such a good sport… He not only puts up with every new trend I try but he strives to show genuine interest. I love him. And not just for that. 🙂 He’s on board when I try new recipes, and has an open palette and will try just about anything. I am so grateful. This awesome quality of his has made the transition experience more enjoyable. And he will also admit he feels better on his “mostly plant-based” lifestyle.

We have been married five years and have known each other nine. That’s a lot of drive through and late night snacks on the couch. How would that look different now, we wondered? While it does change things, those changes don’t have to be complicated. And the key for us has been making sure that when snack attacks come, there are enough options in the kitchen that each of us can feel good about. We can both enjoy cheesy nachos together! Mine just look a little different than his do. 🙂

Here are some thoughts we have to share with those of you who might be wondering how to make it work.

  • We both like adventure. It’s been fun trying new things together. Maybe hit up some new restaurants and try some new foods! Expand your horizons! The world of real whole foods is incredibly diverse and beautiful!
  • Be the ones to bring the food to the party. When we get together with friends, we are finding that we have to be the ones to bring a big dish to pass. We love it! It ensures I will be able to enjoy myself there as much as he will and no one has to spend time worrying about whether they’ll go home hungry.
  • Learn to enjoy time together that doesn’t involve food. Go to events and do things that don’t fall over meal times.
  • Occasionally he puts some organic free range chicken in the crock pot at the beginning of the week and he has that available for the week to pack in his lunches or snack on if he feels he needs to. I also have been keeping eggs and tuna on hand, and a bit of cheese and yogurt. But we don’t go through it very fast, I’ll tell you that! It’s kind of nice.
  • He has his eating out budget and he can make his own decisions about how he spends that and I don’t judge. It just doesn’t come into the house.
  • Beloved Pizza night? Still have it. It’s easy to make pizza vegan, and it’s so fun to top it with garden fresh vegetables. Our son absolutely loves to help us top the pizzas with sauce and veggies. It becomes more of a salad on a crust, but it’s a delightful treat for the family or when guests come over.

Have this scenario in your life? Do you have any practical tips for how to share mealtimes with your partner or close friends if your diets are vastly different? Leave a comment!

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My first 10 Days Vegan

It was not all roses and cupcakes the first 10 days folks. I was a little nauseous, and extremely fatigued. One day I even slept from 6pm to 6am (with the exception of baby waking to nurse of course) . That’s right you heard me right. In the midst of that I didn’t regret my decision at all, but I will admit I was a little surprised I needed a whole 10 days of detoxing! I mean, I thought I had been behaving myself in my diet at least “ok”. But I guess I needed more cleaning up than I thought. Tons of greens suddenly invaded my body and started to do the repair my body had been begging for. Dairy left and my body cleaned out, good riddens. Preservatives and processed foods? Get em out! Meat left and my body said “ok lets do this!”

The final push to making this decision that I had already  been thinking about for over a year came when finally watching the documentary Food Inc. on Netflix. I know, I know, hardly glamorous, and you might even be rolling your eyes right now. Maybe you’re even going to proceed to tell me how half of that documentary is exaggerated. My response to that, is even if half of that documentary is based upon truth, I’m taking a hard long look at why I eat meat, ok? A year ago I started thinking about a vegetarian lifestyle after reading “The China Study”. That book impacted me greatly. There again, even if parts of it are overblown, even if only parts of it are true, it would still make me question my impact on the world, and how animal products affect my body and my lifestyle.

I had fears about how I was going to work this new lifestyle into my family smoothly and still leave lots of room for my husband and kids to make their own decisions. And of course, I didn’t know and don’t know if I’ll live like this forever and ever, but lets just say I do… what does that look like? I started having fears about how I would interact, hostess, hangout at cookouts. I told the couple of people close to me very tentatively, “I…uh… I’m going to lay off meat for a while and test it out.” When really in my mind I was thinking “I’m afraid of how they may judge me when I tell them what I’ve decided.” And even thinking “They’ll challenge my ideas and ask me all these questions I don’t know how to answer yet!” So yes, I was nervous. Actually, that still makes me nervous. As weeks come and go however I am becoming more comfortable with the decision I have made, convinced of it, and more education on the issues will come with more experience. And to top things off…. I’m feeling fabulous. Hoorah.

Are you plant-based or vegan? Do you recall having a detox time when you first started?

 

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Plant Based Diet: five unexpected benefits

When you begin a new lifestyle, try to form a new habit, or start a weight loss plan you envision the future and a how happy and healthy you’ll be! You visualize! When I decided to make the switch to a plant-based diet, I must be honest, I was just as attracted to the hippie lifestyle that might accompany it as well as the perceived health benefits. I don’t think I ever thought that even within 30 days of making the switch I’d feel as good as I do right now. My decision began with a conviction, not a lose weight fast strategy or pure curiosity. Like most vegans, my decision came from a research on modern agriculture and its impact on the world, as well as research on possible health concerns accompanied with consuming animal products. I wanted something better for myself and my family, a lifestyle as close to the earth as possible. Typically, by the one month marker on any diet plan I’d be eager and ready for a breather. But going plant-based has actually been totally freeing for me. That’s what I would name my number one unexpected benefit.

  1. Food Freedom. I know it sounds ridiculous, I mean look at all the foods I’ve “restricted” from my diet! I believe it all comes down to attitude. Veganism is an attitude, not a diet plan. That’s what makes this life change stand out for me. I’ve made many decisions to become healthier, and even tried many trending diet plans, but going plant-based has been long in coming for me personally, and I finally made the leap. I thought what better time to try it out than summer time when farmer’s markets are bursting with affordable produce!
  2. Faster Kitchen Clean-up! Who doesn’t want the dish washing to go faster?! Sign me up! This was a total surprise when I switched to a vegan lifestyle. All of a sudden my cleanup time was cut in half. I attribute this to not having to scrub my pans from cooking meats, eggs, and sticky cheeses. Working with mostly fresh raw food and lightly cooked plants and very little oil, cleanup is suddenly a breeze! No complaining here!
  3. It’s like a beauty treatment! You heard it here, folks. Being a vegan makes me feel like I’ve just left the spa. Lovely skin (even with a baby who won’t let me get a full night’s sleep!), stronger nails that grow faster than ever before, and my husband was the first to point out that even with my total lack of sleep as a mother of babes, the deep dark circles under my eyes are GONE. Last year I would have told you that was the number one thing I would change about my appearance if I could. Well…. done!!
  4. Better Little Eaters! My little preschooler has a much improved palette and his digestive system has vastly improved. My little J had a perpetual belly bloat and sometimes wouldn’t have a bowel movement for three to four days! At that point, when it came time to defecate the screaming was intense. Poor dear. I literally would have to make him angry and then he’d get it out. My brave little one. Now in hindsight I feel so sad I didn’t pull dairy from his diet earlier!! What a difference.
  5. I can still RUN! And I can even run faster! I am still training for my second half marathon distance, lifting, and feeling a good momentum. Seven months after the birth of my second child and switching to a plant based vegan diet I have run my second fastest 5k ever. But Don’t underestimate the detox period, however, and plan for it. I forgot to assume it would happen and spent the first ten days of my plant based diet completely exhausted and weak from detoxing. One night I even slept 12 hours! See my post about my first ten days vegan! After this it was an immediate upswing and I’ve felt better than “normal” since!

Do you follow a plant based diet? What are your favorite benefits?

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