How can you live together with a vegan? I got this question a couple of times mainly from heavy meat eaters. I’m not a vegan nor a vegetarian. However, my lovely wife lives a vegan lifestyle for herself. Usually, my short answer is: very well. I will elaborate a bit more on this here.
Fortunately, we do live in a liberal, free part of the world. Frederick the Great (king of Prussia) once said: “Let everyone seek heaven in his own fashion.” (Jeder soll nach seiner Façon selig werden). Even in a happy relationship, giving both partners enough freedom is an essential key to happiness. Respect and support for each other are required to grow together. Enforcing certain life ideas onto the other will certainly lead to anger and frustration. A healthy relationship is finding a way to combine both individuals into a team.
Cooking for both
A great daily challenge is satisfying both interest and craving for delicious food. Our daily cuisine is mainly focused around carbs and vegetables. You can easily make the most delicious vegan paella or even vegan BBQ. Both recipes can be easily accommodated for non-vegans as well. Just our own imagination is the limit. I will provide a few recipes to inspire vegans and non-vegans at the same time over the course of the next couple of weeks.
However, some of the most delicious foods are vegan out of the box. Just imagine “Pasta Pomodoro” made out of ripe and sweet tomatoes, which have been roasted in the oven for a while or a delicious bowl Asian inspired stir fry vegetables sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. Both provide both of us with a full load of umami and rich deliciousness. If we talk about food and what we want to cook that night, we start with the vegetables. Do we want to have some broccoli? Cauliflower? Tomatoes? Squash? Mushrooms? Based on that scene we pick the starches, such as rice, noodles, or potatoes. Now, I can start my imagination what kind of animal protein would go well with this. Some fish? Some chicken? Many times I go with the vegan option as well and will be totally satisfied by the taste and texture of perfectly prepared vegetables.
Overall, I have reduced my meat consumption to twice a week from almost daily. My beautiful wife helped me to gain more consciousness about the food I eat. Learning more and more about the required resources for feeding animals to produce meat and the living conditions of animals in conventional farming helped me to make better decisions about what I eat. For example, every Saturday we go to local farmers markets and farms to buy seasonal and fresh vegetables. Most of the animal proteins I consume come from local and sustainable farms with good living conditions for the animals. This is very important to both of us.
Tofu and Seitan derived products are not an option for both of us. Most products provide a chewy, meat-like structure. However, their taste is nothing like I’d even consider eating if it would be of animal protein. My palate does not enjoy eating those products. Most of them are made out of chemicals anyway and are far off a healthy and sustainable diet.
Another challenge includes fine dining. Especially in modern upper-class restaurants, consciousness about the food we eat is an essential part of their concept. In late 2016 we visited Noma in Copenhagen, famous for their Nordic cuisine focusing on local produce and seafood. Before serving the first course, a waiter walked around the restaurant stopping by every table showing a plate of life seafood. This exposed quite a challenge for a vegan and animal lover. Since then we have been to other fine dining places, which I have tested before to avoid similar situations. Nothing can be more frustrating to ruin a beautiful night with a bad choice for a dinner restaurant.
Vegan food can be made super delicious, that as a non-vegan you can be totally satisfied and enjoy a lovely meal with your loved one. In a great relationship, it is essential to support and respect the life ideas of both to grow together.