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I am hoping for some support or advice. I used to be about 90% vegetarian. About 3 months ago, I went 100% veg and 95% vegan. Most days, I actually cook in the Superhero category. Before I went full vegetarian, my husband was very supportive of my vegetarian choices and healthy eating. The recent shift has created HUGE problems for us. We used to cook together every night and share our meals in restaurants. Now my husband has stopped cooking and so I cook every night. He eats my meals, but when I ask how they are, he shrugs and says "Ok." At restaurants, he insists on a meat option, so we no longer share. He does not respect my food boundaries and often tries to entice me into eating meat when we are out.
I have tried really hard to make delicious interesting meals and share with him my thoughts on the issue. I even brought up the topic with our therapist, who turned the tables on me and told me I was selfish for making a unilateral decision that impacted our relationship so much. I did try to talk with him before I made the switch, but he would shut down.
My husband has read the book and is an avid environmentalist, so I am not sure why he is so adverse to my improved lifestyle. Things are so tough and discouraging with him, that it seems to threaten my resolve to remain 100% vegetarian and mostly vegan. I want this to be a permanent change. I also want to stay married to my husband. Any thoughts? Suggestions? Words of encouragememt please?
I have been doing the Kind Diet for a month and my husband is also on board, but there are somedays that he says he is really craving something more "meaty". So I have found some fake meat that looks like ground beef or chicken. It is made with eggs though. But I will make spaghetti or tacos things like we used to eat and that seems to help. Maybe you could try some of those. Good luck! I know it is hard to please everyone, but remember you are doing a good thing and don't let anyone especially some therapist tell you that you are being selfish. Your doing good. Hang in there!!
I could be totally off base so feel free to tell me to shove off. :-)
In your post you said "... so I am not sure why he is so adverse to my improved lifestyle". I found that I was really alienating some people in my close circle of family and friends because they felt that I thought I was better than them in my lifestyle. Maybe your husband feels like he was a part of an "old" lifestyle with you that you've discarded for something "better". While it is more kind to other living animals and better for the environment, I've learned to still remain passionate about what I am doing and willing to share my thoughts and feelings with the people I care about while being careful to not become elitist with my lifestyle.
I had started to eat completely veg a few months before Alicia's book came out, and it really pushed me to realize that I could do so much more for myself and the environment by becoming totally vegan. What I didn't realize was what a change that would be for my friends and family. There are a lot more restrictions on what I will consume and that translates in to a change in to places we go out to eat together, what beer I grab to bring to a party and what kind of cake I want for my birthday. It's more than a food change and I realized that it is taking my family and friends time to adjust as well.
I do think your therapist was kind of an ass to say that it's inconsiderate of you to make that choice. A relationship is about partners respecting each other's boundaries, choices and feelings. I really hope that your husband will understand that this is important to you, that he is still very much a part of your life and you still love and respect him even if he's not vegan, and that things will improve for you.
This community here rocks, too. You can gain loads of support from people who are on similar paths and have similar triumphs and struggles! Keep your chin up - you're doing something amazing. He'll see that soon...
I'm going through something very similar with my boyfriend! At first he was totally freaked out and opposed to it when I said I had stopped eating meat. But now he's calmed down a bit. My situation was similar to yours - I've always eaten a lot of vegetarian meals and he didn't care at all, but for some reason, when you put an official label of "vegetarian" or "vegan" on it, people get all freaked out! I think, at least in my situation, my boyfriend feels threatened because he thinks it's going to be more of a sacrifice than it actually is. Maybe you could try making the same foods that you two ate before you were vegetarian and just take the meat out? Like, if you used to make beef tacos, make beef tacos for him but then you can have beans instead of meat, and you'll both be happy. Obviously I don't know you or your husband personally, but I imagine that if he's like my boyfriend, he's just scared of having to leave his comfort zone, so maybe if you slow down and make the change a little more gradual, it will be better. Good luck!
Jessica Hartwell is pointing out something that I also have experienced with family/friends. They indeed think you try to be better than them, and it makes them angry (and filled with a sense of guilt?). I was just thinking about this yesterday and I still maintain my answer: You don't have to be vegetarian if you don't want to, but if you ask about why I'm a veggie, then I will tell you.
My longtime boyfriend also wants to keep eating meat, because he loves it. I must say that when I wasn't a vegetarian, he usually cooked meals. This past month I have cooked more times than during the 6 months before! :) Maybe it's an idea that you cook your vegan meals and that he cooks his own meaty meals? It can be fun to be in the kitchen together (and you used to cook together?).
Other than that, I can only say to stay focused and to come to this forum and meet fellow vegetarians and vegans. Keep up the good work!
I just had the same conversation with my husband! We have always eaten healthy with mostly vegetarian fare, but now that I am exploring the idea of being a full blown vegetarian and flirting with veganism, my husband is flipping out!. He keeps saying "Don't do it! It is a bad idea!"
I told him he doesn't have to follow anything, but for some reason he finds this whole thing very threatening.
So, lately I just don't tell him something has no meat when I make him dinner. I use a lot of faux meat substitutes, and generally he doesn't seem to notice. For example I made this tasty enchilada casserole with vegan meat crumbles and veggie shreds cheese. He never knew the difference.
Just my two cents...
My guess is that it is not the actual food that is the problem, but some underlying feeling, like Jessica mentioned. He misses the old traditions or closeness that comes with eating together. Maybe he is hurt that you aren't interested in his cooking anymore. Maybe he feels like you don't respect his choices regarding HIS lifestyle. Guys need to feel respected just like we women need to feel loved.
Also, don't be afraid to be flexible. Working on saving your marraige is more important than being overly strict in your vegetarianism. If what sparks things for him is sharing a meal, just do it, and let him have the bigger half of the meat. :) But seriously, as you two work out what is going on between you, I am sure he will relax in his efforts to stonewall you as you go veg.
This is conversation I have been looking for!
I have the same problems with my husband. I have been mostly veg for the past 3.5 years. That means, occasionally I have some fish. This has been working fine, but recently I have explored going full veg and even eating vegan whenever I'm at home. This has affected my husband greatly. It is a huge change as you change your kitchen and we have spent lots of quality time sharing meals. In a marriage, you share mostly everything! So, it's almost as if one aspect of your relationship is gone. We have a great marriage and this has taken some work.
He is open to eating vegan/veg sometimes, but got really frustrated this past weekend declaring he will never give up meat. And then just this morning, I asked him what we wanted for dinner, and he said, "Fine babe, you can cook, but I have to have some meat." Comments like this make me cringe, because I know he doesn't need it! He eats a lot of meat. Way more than is even healthy, so I worry about him a lot. But I also don't want to be a turnoff, or else he will just back farther and farther away from the way I eat.
He is scared that I am going to become some preachy, annoying person, who starts to talk about being a veg and the planet over every meal. Most vegetarians he has met have been a major turnoff for him.
My method with him is just to go about my business and instead of talking about it (I do sometimes), I try to lead by example. If he wants to join, he can whenever he wants.
I am married and have three children ages 2 to 5. When my husband married me, I was a meat eating, cheese loving, Doritos every day with lunch kind of gal. I have been on huge journey with regards to healthy eating since having and nursing my children. My husband has been right there with me. But vegetarianism and veganism are pretty huge lifestyle changes, especially if it is not your choice in the first place but one imposed on you. I like that Alicia encourages small steps and really supports that each individual has their own path to follow and that small steps still matter. Personally after reading The Kind Diet, being a vegetarian (flirt?) is easier for me than I would have thought and it is fairly easy for me to incorporate my lifestyle into my family's (2/3 vegan and 1/3 vegetarian). With many of our old meals, I can still share these with my family - the veggies and starch/carb are the same and I just add in a meat substitute instead of a chicken thigh or what have you. Sometimes I just fill in with beans in place of the meat. My husband really enjoys fish and this we usually eat when we have our date night meals on the weekend. So tho' I was inclined not to eat any fish, I have changed my mind for now for the sake of not making too many changes too soon for my family and husband. This flexibility in turn encourages flexibility in my husband...ie, he'll say "What's Alicia suggesting cooking up now?" And he wants to share my vegan meal with me (and so do my children). Also, I started with Alicia's dessert recipes too and I do not make big annts that things are vegan (but my husband is catching on). Also, tho' I really prefer not to eat dairy, I have some when I eat family meals to ensure continuity and not too many changes at once (ie eating our fave veggie lasagna).
So just a few ideas for what it's worth and hope it's of use to someone.
Thank you KLers for all your advice and support. I printed out your responses so I can have some support when I need it. Actually, things have improved significantly over the past week. My husband has made it back into the kitchen and is starting to cook vegetarian meals again with me. In general, he seems more supportive and definetly more willing to eat my dishes. When we go out, I don't push vegan and will often eat fish so we can share with you. I agree, my marriage is more important than veganism. There has been a lot of stress for him lately and the major stressor has recently been resolved, so I think that he is better able to cope with other changes in our lives.
As for the therapist, I was floored the day she said that. I have been going to her for awhile and really like and trust her, so that was out of left field. It has made me a little cautious with her. I am still going to her and probably just need to confront her about her comments and my reaction to them.
I apologize for the delay in responding. And sorry about the double post in the forum categories- initially, I wrote in ask Alicia and didn't get any responses, so I got sad and lonely and posted in the support category.
Thanks again for the support, it really made me feel validated and less alone!