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Encouraging Your Partner To Go Vegan

encourage partner vegan

by Katy Malkin of Learner Vegan

Living in a mixed-diet household can be tricky to navigate. Indeed, we have what I like to call a ‘tri-diet’ in our household – with an omnivorous husband, vegetarian daughter, and a vegan (myself).

I’m now an expert at cooking multiple dishes at once and writing strategic shopping lists. We make it work, but it’s not ideal. I dislike the smell of meat in the house, meals take longer to make, and our 3 year old asks a lot of awkward questions about why daddy eats fish.

Something that made things a lot easier recently was my husband taking part in Veganuary. Not having any meat in the house for the last 3 weeks has been a blessing.

What was it like? He said, “I thought going vegan for a month would be really difficult. There have been times when I’ve had to be more conscious of decisions, such as buying beer or picking meals when eating out. But I’ve also been lucky that I don’t have to do the majority of the cooking so have great meals provided. What I’ve found is that I haven’t missed eating meat. The ‘conscious’ decisions have started to become more natural as the month has progressed. I’ve had to deal with some peer pressure and ‘the questions’ around veganism but I feel better in my body, and heathier. I’m not sure yet if I would convert to vegan, but who knows!”

So how can you encourage your partner to take a step in the right direction? Here are 6 top tips that worked for us!

Don’t be a nag

Does nagging really work for anybody in the long term? You might get your significant other to give a vegan lifestyle a try, but they will be doing it for the wrong reasons, half-heartedly, and more than likely give up.

Launching into a speech about animal cruelty whilst they are biting into a chicken burger only inspires guilt and conflict, not change. Instead, try educating and informing. Ask if they’ll watch a vegan documentary with you (we’re going to give What The Health a try soon!). Share the benefits of a vegan lifestyle, rather than the pitfalls of an omnivorous one.

Lead by example

When a lifestyle appears to be attractive, it then attracts others to it. It sounds obvious, but many people’s actions don’t match up. Veganism should be a positive act, all about adding fun things to your diet and having a great impact on the world. Moaning about the lack of options at a restaurant, or how you miss Brie, simply makes a plant-powered life look like a chore.

Show how you feel healthier, happier, and excited to try the new vegan steak that’s being released in your local store – that gets people sitting up, taking notice, and joining in.

How can you encourage your partner to go #vegan without being pushy? This article has plenty of tips from someone who's been there, done that. #plantbased #vegetarian

Appeal to their likes

What’s your partner’s favourite food? If they hate tofu, don’t try to win them over with tofu scramble for breakfast. Big pizza fan? Go out and buy the best vegan mozzarella you can find. If they’re a gym junkie, buy sample sachets of vegan protein powders for them to try out. Greet them with a cruelty-free shake after their workout. Dating an animal lover? Visit a farm sanctuary together. My husband loves carb-filled fast food (he balances it out by trying to be healthy), so I’ll often make him a hot and spicy ‘chicken’ burger with all the trimmings and sweet potato fries. Currently his favourite meal is really simple – vegan kebab meat and salad in wraps. Yum!

Integrate them into the vegan community

Most local areas have social meets of some kind – just check Facebook or Google. Vegan foodie nights, cooking classes, festivals and fairs – they can all be a really fun way of meeting other like-minded people. Plus, they show your partner how many of us there are out there, which normalises the plant-based lifestyle and prevents isolation. It also means you can pick foods together, take them home and enjoy making a meal from them as a couple.

Check in with them

What concerns your significant other about going vegan? Have an honest chat with them. They may be worried about what others will think, how awkward eating out will be, or getting the right nutrition. The worst thing we can do is scoff or roll our eyes – it’s demotivating. But we can talk through their fears with them. Show gratitude for what they are doing and tell them you’ve noticed and are proud, regardless of whether they are perfect or not.

Be patient and provide them with the tools they need to make a change. Veganism is all about compassion, and this extends to our loved ones too.

Ask for what you want!

Have a heart-to-heart and explain why this is so important to you. Pick a good time – when you’re both relaxed and feeling happy. But don’t be disheartened if they don’t feel the same way – we all have different outlooks and boundaries. At the very least, your honesty will plant a seed for the future, and may even inspire a change in the right direction. The last thing you want is for your discussion to turn into an argument or nagging (see step 1!). Each person must develop on their terms, in their own timeframe.

Most of us were not born vegan. We had a unique journey through life that led us to veganism. I’ve been vegan for 6 years, and I’ve slowly seen my spouse’s eating habits change. Enjoy that journey and learn together, regardless of the twists and turns it may take. You never know, maybe someday your partner will sign up to Veganuary too!

 

Katy Malkin is a writer, whole foods enthusiast, and the creator of Learner Vegan. She is passionate about making veganism accessible for all.

This article first appeared in issue #3 of Seedling magazine. To check out more amazing articles about veganism, sustainability, spirituality and more, read the issue here. It’s free!


6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Great post! This is something I also struggle with, as I am married to a non-vegan. He’s often good about eating vegan food I prepare, but he’s a meat-and-potatoes kind of person, so he eats a fair bit of meat. And cheese. 🙁 Compounding the issue is the fact he has cystic fibrosis, which involves him not fully digesting everything he eats or getting enough nutrients from his food. He struggles to keep his body weight up, which is essential in helping him fight off lung infections. So he was brought up on a high-calorie diet that involved eating a LOT of dairy and meat, so he’s used to that now and it’s tough to get him to do anything else.

    I am like you–I don’t care for the smell of meat cooking in my kitchen. I am not thrilled about opening the fridge and seeing meat and cheese there, either, but there is really nothing I can do about it.

    I try to stay focused on the positives–my husband is very happy to join me in animal rescue. We’ve saved some lives together, including three roosters who likely would have been killed had we not taken them in, and that means a great deal. He’s a kind, good-hearted person–when I commented the other day that by removing our wood pile from our garage to our house, we were displacing the mouse who was living in it, he built a little wooden box to put in the corner of our garage for the mouse to live in instead. Most people would have been upset at my encouraging mice to live anywhere near our home! He was also very supportive when I nursed an abandoned or orphaned baby mouse to adulthood and then released him. Again, many people would have pitched a fit over the idea of saving a baby mouse.

    It’s frustrating that he loves animals but still eats them, but I cannot make the choice to be vegan for him. He’s always very considerate of me, so it’s hard for me to get upset at him. It saddens me sometimes, but it’s just the way it is, I guess.

    Thanks for another great post! 🙂

    1. This post was actually written by Katy, a contributor to my magazine. But really glad you enjoyed it. Your situation sounds tough 🙁 My partner eventually went vegan about 18 months after me and it was such a relief! It’s great that you’ve managed to see the positives though 🙂

    1. I missed that – for a second I was thinking “I didn’t know she had a husband and a kid” lol. I wonder if Katy could persuade her husband to have a no meat household now? He seems open minded. Maybe you should go for it Katy!

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