I think we can answer that question — with a YES!
Like all relationships, issues must be worked out. Some issues will get agreed on quickly and moved out of the way. Some issues will attend the whole life of the marriage, or partnership.
Food and Drink
What is more basic than what we eat and drink? Few things. I can’t even think of one while I am sitting here writing this, except breathing.
Food and drink keep us alive. Without life what else is there?
With vegans our perception of the value we place on life is different from the rest of the world’s in some very basic circumstances.
What is a Vegan?
The dictionary says:
a person who does not eat or use animal products.
“I’m a strict vegan”
using or containing no animal products.
“a vegan diet”
That sums it up. Here’s a longer view. The Vegan Society defines being vegan this way:
“A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
Born a Veggie
I was born to two hippy type, vegetarian parents. There was a bit of dairy around but not for me because I was allergic to it. I was a challenging baby for a mother who wanted to nurse her child.
Being a vegetarian was never an issue for me. At school I ate the vegetables and not the meat. The cafeteria ladies would give me extra veggie in place of the meat portion. I was lean, athletic and hardly ever got colds or flu.
In High School I wanted to join in at hangouts and order a burger like everyone else. But I just couldn’t do it. So I got my usual french fries and a coke.
When I got to college I went to a lecture where veganism was discussed and immediately got hooked. It sounded revolutionary, exciting — much more exciting than what I was already doing, and much more far reaching. I felt it could change the world in a way simply being a vegetarian didn’t. So I set off on my vegan journey from that very moment.
Enter the Carnivore
Then I met my husband to be, a carnivore if there ever was one. A totally dedicated carnivore too. He was puzzled about vegans; didn’t understand them.
His fear was that our totally different philosophy about food would destroy any future he hoped we would have. He knew he wasn’t going to ever give up meat. And he knew in his heart of hearts I for sure wasn’t going to start eating animals.
I still have a letter he wrote me about it after we’d been dating awhile.
“Some animals eat other animals, and some animals don’t — they graze. Looks to me that happens with people too. Some of us eat animals; some of us don’t. Maybe the animals who don’t eat animals, and the people who don’t eat animals, are higher up on the evolutionary scale, or higher thinkers, more spiritually evolved or something. I don’t know. What matters to me is, how much does it matter to you, because I love you and don’t want to live without you. So we’ve got to work this thing out.”
We discussed it quite a bit, but never really argued or anything. And we certainly never tried to convince the other one to change. It is just too basic to both of us. And I hate ultimatums, don’t you — if you don’t do this, or won’t do that, then we can’t be together. Especially when it comes to something like this, where no deals can be made. Or can they?
When my husband proposed marriage, we agreed to try this — we were going to have a mixed marriage. When it came to children we decided that we would start them out vegetarian until they were old enough to decide for themselves, then see.
We got married.
After a few months, it was obvious we needed to renegotiate the deal.
I couldn’t stand to have meat in my house, seeing dead flesh wrapped up and bleeding in the refrigerator made me nauseous, even though I tried damn hard to look past it. I just couldn’t. And of course there was no question I would ever be asked to cook it. My husband cooked it. But still. The smell alone gagged me.
Then I got pregnant. That was a big game changer! So we decided to do things this way.
The house would be a meat and dairy free zone. He could have all the meat and dairy outside the house but none in it. This actually worked really well, because he only ate his evening meal at home which was vegan and which he really enjoyed, cause I am a really fine cook! Plus he isn’t anti vegan or anything, just didn’t want to do it all the time, day in and day out.
That was 13 years ago. It took a bit of ironing out, but it still works for us.
I’m not saying this is how anyone else should do it. Just giving our example. Hopefully it will inspire other couples and families to work out a deal of their own.
Friends and Family
Yes, what about friends and family? They know — all of them know — that they are getting nothing but vegan food and drink at our house. This hasn’t mattered one iota because as I said before, I am a good cook, and besides vegan food is truly delicious.
Astonishingly, my husband’s best friend, who is an athlete, just went vegan. But not his wife! He is the cook in their house, so it is so fun because we are always exchanging recipes.
My mother-in-law became vegan this year. Started off as a New Year’s resolution and she fell in love with it. My father-in-law is not too happy about any of it. Thinks it a load of “old tosh” and not healthy. They are working it out at their house as we speak.
My daughter came out with these words of wisdom for him, “You can never hurt yourself by not hurting animals, Grandpa.” Out of the mouth of babes. Isn’t that the sweetest?
Oh. One last thing. I hate, HATE meat breath. So when my husband comes home with meat smells on his breath, I make him gargle with a big shot of whiskey before I let him kiss me, which he doesn’t mind at all.