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.