Monday, September 21, 2020

Partners and Going Plant Based

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Often, people would tell us “If your husband can go vegan ANYONE can”. And essentially that is what the article is about – people who really do have a hard time going vegan for one reason or another. Most people told us it would be impossible, but today my husband is completely on a plant based diet and has been for 3 months. And he’s allergic to plants and nuts.

My husband has a condition in which he has very bad physical reactions to ALL raw plants/fruits/nuts and some other random things as well. When I decided to go plant based I knew that I would be cooking separate meals from then on out, that we’d be buying separate groceries, and that eating out would be challenging.

I quickly realized that for my health I could not have things in the house. For instance, cheese. I just couldn’t have it there. I talked to him, and he understood right away that there were things that if he wanted he’d just have to have out or at the office, because for my health and my willpower, they could not be in the house.

But the funny thing is that slowly he started to try things that I’d make – like tofu scramble, and he’d try some of the milk alternatives. And little by little he’d read what I was reading, we’d talk about plant based diets. He saw me go from a very fragile, sick, and almost losing my life diabetic to wanting to wake up early every day and absolutely loving every moment of life. One month he was worried that I might give up on life and the next I was off of diabetes medications and thriving in life.

He also saw the tons of people I was meeting with the same stories – not all diabetics, some with heart problems, acne, depression, cancers, being tired all the time, all who went plant based and all who had healed themselves.

He started eliminating things slowly – red meat, pork first and then all dairy (he actually really saw the dangers in dairy before almost anything else). And then he eliminated turkey, chicken and lastly fish. Most people are shocked when he tells them he’s vegan and he’s allergic to a lot of things. And I’ll say it again – if my husband can do it ANYONE can.

And he eats a very diverse diet. I make things with tofu, seitan, LOTS of beans, tempeh. He can have cooked veggies and fruits (well some) so we make stir frys with lots of veggies, burritos, we use brown rice for everything. I make red pepper sauce because he’s allergic to tomato (in any form). He has buckwheat pancakes with agave and cooked fruit toppings.. We make sushi with veggies. We even make a baked mac and “cheese” that is DELICIOUS!

My husband is not the type to just change something over night or to make goals even, but slowly he changed the way he ate over time, and now he can’t imagine it any other way (I’ll let him vouch for that).

People often tell me that they can’t go vegan or be healthy because of someone in their household. And I have a few things I’ve learned (especially over the past year) that I hope will help…

1. Tell them the truth.

If you are addicted to something you need to be honest, especially with the person you love. Tell them that you just can’t have cookies in the house, or cheese, or whatever it is that you sneak. Tell them you know it might be hard for them, but for your health and future well being it would really help you out for it not to be in the house.

2. Buy more good stuff.

Fill your pantry and fridge with good foods. This will not kill either of you! Brown rice pastas instead of white pastas, more whole fruits and veggies, grain pancake mixes. Chances are you want your partner to be around with out illness for a while, so making changes to your kitchen is generally a good idea.

3. Learn to cook new things together.

Find some good vegan cook books – I love Isa Chandra! Find some good ‘homecooking’ kind of meals to learn. Tofu scramble is a great gateway food into veganism! As are pancakes!L learn to make stir fry or chili with out animal products – but just as tasty. Make macaroni salad, or pastas. Try making a sandwich with portabello, hummus and other veggies. The key with helping someone (and generally guys) is to really make sure that there is a hearty amount of food. I think most people associate vegan with not eating, or only eating carrots. When that’s simply not the case.

4. Don’t advertise that the meal you made is vegan.

Just make a stir fry using mushrooms, peppers, onions, baked and cubed tofu or seitan, lots of spices, brown rice or some kind of rice noodle and serve it. I think often we tend to label things when there is no need to label them. And for goodness sake – DO NOT gloat that the meal is vegan after they eat the meal and enjoy it – if they ask what is in it you can tell them, but it’s best not to gloat (even if you really want to)

5. Ask for help.

This is something that I actually have done with my brothers. They LOVE to cook – but it’s generally very fat filled animal product Italian meals. So when they are over I ask for help with cooking and their advice on dishes that I’m making. My husband is not much for cooking, but asking him what I can add or take away from a dish really helps him be involved in the process, and come up with a meal creation. Do not be offended if they don’t like something, just ask what they would try and then make it together!

It might be hard to think about getting healthy if your partner is not so healthy – however keep in mind that it is good for both of you, and that the reasons for changing extend way beyond the emotional attachment to cheetos. Start making strides to be healthy together – even if that is slowly. And really be honest about what you can and can not have in your house!

My husband made the point that sometimes your partner might need to know what you are up against. They might think that going plant based is ridiculous, but on the health side might not know that it can help to prevent or eliminate things like diabetes and heart disease- and they might need to know that diabetes causes things like blindness or amputations and the dangers of having heart disease. Sometimes I think we are hesitant to share our fears, but I think it’s really helpful for both people to understand where the other is coming from.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Denny

    As you probably know, my husband recently switched to a completely vegan lifestyle a few months ago. You also might know that this did not come with out it’s challenges, he has pretty bad allergies to all raw fruits, vegetables and all nuts! But he has been fully vegan for 4 months now, and loving life.

    This past week we were at a family reunion and I was really amazed by the amount of people who pointed out to him that he “never used to like vegetables” like when he was 8. I found it kind of funny, that there were some who might have thought that being vegan was not consistant with who he was as a person, that somehow his dislike of vegetables (which turned out to be a pretty bad allergy all a long) would alter his view on being vegan into adulthood.

    He had this to say after someone was having a hard time talking to her husband about being vegan… He writes about it from the male perspective, but really, I think this is something that we all have struggled with in the decision to become vegan.

    ” I chatted recently with someone who was having a hard time convincing her husband to go vegan. Being a husband who went vegan, I’ve got a few opinions about this. I think that the choice to go vegan for a lot of guys is much bigger an issue. It isn’t a matter of simple persuasion and facts. Sure, the facts help: learning about all the health implications, the environmental side, the ethical side – all of it makes a convincing case. But for most guys, that’s not enough. In fact, even to get to the point where we can accept those facts, a few fears have to be addressed first.

    When we’re talking about giving up meat we’re talking about doing something that makes us inconsistent with how people have always known us, and in turn, how we have always known ourselves. So there it is. Consistency. The one quality guys value more than anything.

    Why consistency? Because as husbands, fathers, coworkers, bosses, we’re awarded by society for being reliable and consistent in our personality and choices. Food choice is a big part of that.

    So how do we get past the issue of consistency? I think the key is to find a way of defining your new food choices in a way that’s been consistent with your character all along.

    “I’ve always been interested in my health, this is just one more step I’m taking to make sure I’m around for a good long time.”

    “I’ve always loved animals, and once I learned what was happening in the food industry, I couldn’t continue eating the way I was”

    “I’ve always been passionate about the environment. Changing my food choices is the single best thing I can do to lower my carbon footprint”

    “For a long time I’ve been concerned with how corporate greed has affected our food supply. By going vegan, I’m taking a stand against the abuses that have hurt our society the most.”

    In each statement, you’re demonstrating to those around you that what you’re doing now is an extensions of what you’ve always been. You are consistent and your new actions, though drastic, prove it.”

  2. Linzey

    Thank you for this! I’ve been vegan for a year and 9 months (and 3 days) and my husband is still a hard core meat eater. I’ve shared with him the health aspects and the moral aspects and he doesn’t seem to care about either. It can be discouraging. You have given me some new things to try with him! Thanks for sharing your life with us! 🙂

  3. John

    Hi everyone!

    Being the mentioned husband I thought I’d share my two cents.

    A couple things I would add is that Natala never tried to make me feel bad for continuing to eat the way I was. There wasn’t any guilt or obligation, nor did she try to frighten me into eating well. I never respond well to fear, obligation or guilt anyway and it’s something that we’ve carefully avoided in our relationship. But when it comes to food choices, that was particularly important for us, and I’d say most families.

    There’s tons of great facts about going vegan. As Natala’s health began to dramatically improve, we ended up talking a lot about what she was doing and why. I ended up getting a crash course on all the major aspects of veganism through those conversations. And in the end it’s the facts that matter.

    For me it was about knowing that if I start making these changes, at my own pace, I’m greatly reducing my chances for heart disease, diabetes and a whole host of other health conditions that I assumed I would eventually get.

    I began to understand the corporate side of it too, being a bit of an anarchist at heart, I was furious at how the food I was eating was prepared. Going vegan was another way I could stop participating in a faulty system. Over time I had more than enough reasons to try cutting out red meat, and maybe switch to rice milk and on and on.

    But the key for me was that I could do all of this without fear, obligation and guilt.

  4. Hanlie

    My husband so badly wants to see me get well and lose weight that he wouldn’t dream of bringing anything that would derail me into the house. He still has a sandwich at work every day, but bread does not enter our house because it would set me off on a binge as surely as the night follows day.

    When I first found the plan I wanted to follow, I gave him the book to read too and he was immediately on board. As we fine-tune our lifestyle, I give him more info to read and he understands what we’re doing and why. In August I went on a 21-day raw food challenge and I thought that I would have to cook him something from time to time, but he was quite happy on raw food.

    He is now thinner than he’s been since doing National Service 15 years ago… thinner than when he was running marathons and ultra-marathons. And he’s very healthy.

    I’m losing weight slowly but surely and just this week my gynecologist told me to keep doing what I’ve been doing and I might actually become a mother, despite turning 40 in a couple of days.

  5. Cristy

    I think this is the number one response I get, which is “I could never be vegan”. It isn’t that they “can’t”, it’s just that they “choose not to be”. It’s awesome how your husband was sooo supportive. It is very sad to hear people say their partners are not supportive. But I know, where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you want to go plant-based, it is possible! Seriously, look at your husband.

  6. sagan

    It’s kind of neat how other people in the house start to adopt our eating patterns after a while. It’s a good thing if we’re eating healthy!

  7. Alex

    My boyfriend was very resistant when I first decided to be vegan. He swore that there was no way I would get him to eat tofu, or stop him from having his cheese, bacon and eggs.
    11 months later he makes the best tofu scramble you can imagine, as well as a killer humous and cashew ricotta. He recently learned how to make almond milk and would not go back to having dairy milk in his cereals.
    And he wasn’t particularly into cooking before…

    He is not completely vegan (although he is vegetarian now) but given the choice he will definitely go for the vegan option anytime.

    All that to say that some people just need the time to adapt and get over their fears and misconceptions 🙂

  8. the vegan

    Your blog is so inspiring, I wish my family would read it. My brother has cancer (was bowel, now liver), and my father Type 2 diabetes.

    My brother has made the wise move and gone vegan, but despite my mothers concern about dad’s diabetes she doesn’t believe a vegan lifestyle can really help and actually kinda mocks it.

    I would love to get her a book that deals entirely with vegan diet and diabetes and see if that helps. Did you read anything that was particularly useful at telling you how to come off your meds?

Nat
I went on a plant based diet after diabetes almost took my life. Now, almost 2 years later not only have I reduced my type 2 diabetes symptoms, I have lost close to 200 pounds (and still losing). This is a place where I write about my journey as I continue the quest for health, and living a good life for today, and long into the future. Get hold of me on nat@cleanseplan.com

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