How to Feed an Omnivore in a Vegan House

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, and 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 a complete 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 usually keep almond or soymilk around and some sort of soy creamer. It wouldn’t really be that costly to keep some organic dairy cream on hand for coffee and a small jug of organic milk, if he did the dairy thing.

I tend to do most of the shopping and cooking, so we both eat vegan the vast majority of the time. If Dave wants a steak or something like this, he either orders in or makes one for himself, and I make a separate meal for myself. When we’re doing separate dinners, we try to coordinate so our food finishes at the same time and we can still eat together.

Honestly, it hasn’t been a big problem for us. Dave likes my cooking, and on evenings when he wants meat in his meal we just do a little coordinating.

One of the keys I’ve discovered when cooking for him is that fake meat and fake 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 something from the Magical Loaf Studio. While that’s sort of a meat substitute, the results are never faux-meatlike. It tastes like grains and beans and veggies, just like lots of vegetarian cooks think a good veggie burger ought to.

So, 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?

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13 comments on “How to Feed an Omnivore in a Vegan House
  1. That’s a good question, Becca! I’m sure there are some who do, but I don’t. If Dave wants meat, he either picks food up or makes it himself.

  2. Sarah – It’s not rambling at all! I love the great discussion happening on this post!

    Betty – That’s amazing! We actually just picked up a box of Mimicreme (they stock it at Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe online, if you can’t find it in the store), and it’s great! It’s soy free and uber creamy. It’s a little pricey, but I think it also lives up to the hype!

  3. I am so lucky!! When I decided to go Vegan three months ago my partner (much to my great surprise and delight) decided he would do the same. Which really an added bonus for me because he does 95% of the cooking. I have had zero trouble giving up meat and almost all dairy, However I cannot find a good substitute for the half and half in my coffee. I tried soy and coconut creamers and both make gag… not to mention the price for a little pint container. I use rice and almond milks for everything else, I just don’t like these in coffee. Anybody have any suggestions?

  4. Hi Becky, just catching up on your posts! My husband is omni and we make it work in a similar way as you. Slowly, over time, my husband has become more health conscious so is happy to cut back on meat and rarely eats cheese. The funny thing is that he loves most meat substitutes. Over here, in the UK, we have vegetarian products called Quorn and he loves them! I’m happy because at least he’s eating less meat. I would LOVE for him to be vegan but I know that’ll never happen. Anyway, enough rambling on! Love your blog x

  5. It’s definitely tricky at first…so many veggies are about preparation, and taste is a really personal thing. Example: I only like green peppers on their own and raw or sauteed/roasted until they’re almost burnt. Weird!

  6. My boyfriend (Dave!) and I are very similar… He’s pescatarian, so he’ll only eat seafood and fish, dairy, eggs and veggies. I’m much more of an omnivore, although I have definitely decreased my meat consumption since I’ve been with him. (Both because of his eating habits and generally trying to cut back for environmental reasons.) I have been trying to look for more strictly vegetarian and vegan meals to work into our rotation occasionally… I’ve gotten pretty good at making dal. We both like most of the fake meat options. Unfortunately I’ve always been a pretty picky eater and I don’t like the taste or texture of a lot of vegetables, although I’ve gotten better and there’s more I like now. It’s a continual experiment to find more veggie foods that I really enjoy and look forward to eating.

  7. Yup this is totally my boyfriend and I. I cook most nights and he’ll try anything, and has severely reduced the amount of meat/dairy he eats. But our biggest issue tends to be like yours – eating out! He gets more anxious about it than I do!!

  8. Yes this is me and Marc. We do like you do. He’ll eat my food if he likes, if not he’ll cook for himself. It works out pretty well. And a good thing is that he’s always willing to eat out at a vegan place which I so appreciate!

  9. My mom’s house is mixed vegan/vegetarian/calorie-restricted/omnivore/picky. When I’m there, we spend a LOT of time discussing recipes, foods etc. We cook together often, and food has become central to how we communicate. It’s actually a lot of fun, especially since we’re all very tolerant of each other’s diets.

  10. Yes! That is exactly our situation. I think it’s really like anything else in a relationship, you just have to strike a compromise. Sometimes, we have to sort out logistics, but for the most part it’s as easy as managing things like sharing our car or house-cleaning stuff.

  11. That sounds exactly like me and Nick. He’s a meat-crazed Texan who, thankfully, normally likes my cooking. Actually, he reminds me of the way I was when I as 15 or 16–I liked to eat a lot of “brown foods”–you know, blandish, meat and carb-based diet. So I have hope for him growing out of it, and he *is* fairly adventurous, so that helps. Our arrangement when I move in in a few months is that I’ll do most of the cooking, but when he wants meat, he has to cook it for himself. Seems to work out ok now, so hopefully it will then! Plus I’m getting him into the local, organic, happily raised animals, so that’s always a better thing.

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