Managing a dual-diet household is all about compromise. And respect!
The other day someone told me about a friend who’s wife is going vegan (yay!), but her husband is an omnivore. That basically describes me and Dave. Since we’ve been doing this for quite some time, my friend thought I might have some ideas about how to manage two different diets in one household.
Since I bet we’re not the only couples balancing two very different diets, I thought I’d talk a little bit about how Dave and I make this work.
My husband is an omnivore. He does avoid dairy for health reasons, but he’s not strict about it if we’re out and there is nothing but real cream for his coffee. That makes things much easier when it comes to choosing milk alternatives. We keep soy milk and some sort of soy creamer in the fridge for our coffee, and that’s really it in the milk department. If he did do dairy, we’d have to talk about what we were both comfortable keeping in the house.
I tend to do most of the shopping and cooking, so we both eat vegan the vast majority of the time. Dave likes my cooking, and I plan meals that suit his tastes. My husband loves bean, grain or mashed potato bowls, so that’s our go-to most busy evenings.
One of the keys I’ve discovered when cooking for him is that vegan meat and vegan cheese do NOT go over well. Instead, it’s probably better to focus on more veggie-based meals: beans and rice, pasta, stir fries, dumplings. Sometimes I’ll whip up an easy lentil loaf. While that’s sort of a meat substitute, the results are never meatlike. They taste like grains and beans and veggies, just like lots of vegetarian cooks think a good veggie burger ought to.
When we grill, Dave does go for meat most of the time. He chose our grill specifically because it has two different areas on it. One is designated veg-only, and that’s where he cooks my Field Roast sausage or hobo dinner. His stuff goes on the designated meat side of the grill.
Honestly, our different diets haven’t been a big problem for us. Dave likes my cooking, and on evenings when he wants meat in his meal, we just order in or do a little coordinating.
Even more important than him liking my cooking, though, is that he respects my choices. He knows that I’m vegan for ethical and health reasons. He knows that I’m not judging his dietary choices, just as he’s not judging mine.
I think that in the end, it comes down to that mutual respect. No two people are exactly alike, and for a relationship to work, you have to be open to accepting those differences.
I’d love to hear from other folks out there! Do any of you have a situation like mine? How do you strike a balance?