It takes a real asshole to ignore the facts of animal cruelty in the food industry. I read the books, I watched the documentaries, I listened to the activists and continued to eat meat like a true asshole.
“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” Even as close to two years ago, there wasn’t a single person who could convince me to give up meat and adopt a vegetarian lifestyle. That change had to come from me. From within.
I woke up one morning in early 2020—maybe January, which always feels like a good time for personal developments, and made the grandiose announcement to the only one it effects: my fiancé, also known as the chef of the house.
More specifically, I eliminated red meat from my diet. I’m still down for chicken, turkey, fish, and seafood. I was never the biggest meat-eater but beef often ended up on my plate for dinner, followed by pork bacon for breakfast in the morning. Now it’s turkey bacon for me.
When I dropped this dietary revolution bomb on my fiancé, I expected his butthole to clench in stress and frustration. I expected him to worry about how my choice might affect our relationship moving forward.
As the solitary culinary master in our household, my vegetarianism became his responsibility. He handles the food, the grocery list, the meal prep. So, yeah, I felt guilty at first and prepared myself for a somewhat negative reaction.
And then the opposite happened.
Share and speak up about your cause
Vegetarian or not, we must all do our small part to make the world a better place…as corny as that sounds. I would never and will never shove my newly-found vegetarian beliefs down someone’s throat yet stand firm on eco-friendliness.
It just so happened that my fiancé agreed to partake, at least partially, in vegetarianism because he, too, believes in its positive impact on the planet.
In a household across town, your partner might not be willing to change their diet—and that’s fine. We cannot demand or expect our actions to inspire others. Rather, reach a compromise in which you both take the necessary steps to help a larger cause.
- Use recyclable and reusable products (bags, bottles, straws)
- Save electricity with energy-efficient light bulbs
- Create a compost pile to dispose of food scraps
- Walk, scooter, or use public transit versus driving
Don’t harp on your partner’s decision to eat meat. Instead, kindly suggest an alternative way for them to join your cause.
Contribute and offer help for a smooth transition
After so many years as a meat-eating couple, your partner may suddenly feel confused or culinarily stunted by your vegetarianism. “No more meat and potatoes for dinner. What would you like instead?”
Now would be an awful time for you to say, “I don’t know.” Clearly, your partner needs help with a fresh set of grocery store items and kitchen brainstorming ideas.
I may burn toast and forget pieces of eggshell in my omelet but I can still contribute! And so, I tapped into my Pinterest and social media talents to find step-by-step vegetarian recipes. To this day I bookmark dishes that speak to me and send my fiancé the link with a breakdown of ingredients and their measurements.
At the start of our relationship, we agreed that my fiancé should grocery shop alone because it makes him faster, more efficient, and more focused. Me? I frantically run from aisle to aisle, picking up double-stuffed Oreos, Pop-Tarts, and Cookie Crisp cereal and swapping them out last-minute for healthier options.
My lack of direction and concentration at the grocery store drives my fiancé crazy. He tackles that beast on his own—but I provide the weekly grocery list! I make it as specific as possible down to the quantity of produce and brand names. Ex: avocados (2), Adams All-Natural Peanut Butter, Nature’s Own Whole Wheat Bread, lemons (3), etc.
Start with small substitutions to your favorite meals
While I felt ready to jump into vegetarianism two-feet first, my fiancé hesitated, nervous about his protein intake now that we nixed red meat. Give your body time to adjust to meaty protein replacements, such as eggs, tofu, tempeh, and vegan meatballs.
To seamlessly incorporate vegetarianism into your life, make small adjustments to the meals you already know and love. Say you love shredded pork tacos with guacamole, cheese, and the whole nine yards. Keep 90% of the same ingredients minus the beef and replace it with chopped up tofu, tempeh, or jackfruit.
Did I lose you with jackfruit? Hear me out. Green jackfruit (one that hasn’t fully ripened yet) provides a similar texture to shredded pork in that it’s firm, chewy, and has those little strands when pulled apart. A fully ripe jackfruit that no longer has green coloring won’t perform as well.
Previously published on medium
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