Can't we all just get along: how vegans and omnivores can live together

Updated Oct 12 2015
I am vegan, and my girlfriend is not. We are looking to move in together, and I had always had this (now unrealistic) idea that my home would be a vegan one.

How have other veggies and meat-eaters gotten along, and what are some tips for making everyone happy food-wise?


Great question! For the first 12 years of our relationship, my partner was vegan and I was not. Our wedding cake was actually TWO cakes (one vegan, one not) woven together.

Honestly, the vegan/non-vegan cohabitation thing was pretty easy for us, primarily because my vegan partner was the one who liked to cook, so when we were home, I ate vegan. We did have two different cartons of milk, and I had my stash of cheese — neither of which bothered Andreas. (Well, ok: it sorta bothered him when I would grate cheese on top of my serving of vegan food.)

For the most part, however, the dynamic worked for us because the vegan (Andreas) was also the one who liked cooking, and the non-vegan (me!) was happy to eat whatever food he put in front of me. As I see it, the non-cook/omnivore doesn't get to be demanding. I can eat anything, including delicious vegan food!

I'd be curious to hear from Homies who've been in this situation, though — what about when the primary cook is the omnivore? What about when it's not just a stash of cheese, but a stash of bacon? How can the vegan and the omnivore peacefully share both a kitchen and a meal?

  1. My friends Robin (vegetarian) and Pete (omnivore) co-habitat, its seems to have worked out similarly to Ariel's situation. Robin likes to cook and grocery shop far more then Pete. She cooks vegetarian meals and he happily eats whatever is in front of him.
    I think he continues to eat McBurgers when he is out (he used to live on them). When they grill outside he cooks meat, and a veggie patty/mushroom alongside for her.

    With Chris (omnivore) and I (wheat/dairy allergies), we stay mostly wheat-free dairy-free with some exceptions. We both eat brown-rice-pasta, wheat free bread, Toffuti-cream-cheese, soy-ice-cream but Chris uses cow milk and I use soy-milk.

    • Totally off-topic. I'm gluten/dairy free too. If you haven't yet, there's a coconut milk ice cream called So Good–it tastes more like ice cream, which my partner enjoys more than soy ice cream(since, regardless of what I make, he must have his dairy).

      • YES! I was so happy when I found that at the grocery store!
        I have a dairy allergy too and I buy Amy's Cheese-less pizza, I love it (I put extra sauce it). Before my fiance and I moved in together, I used to cook the pizza for both of us. It wasn't until we moved in together that he told me that he hated it, that he was choking it down. I couldn't believe that he was eating it for over a year and hated it! But mostly I couldn't believe that I was sharing my pizza with him when I DIDN'T HAVE TO! So now he has his meat lovers, double cheese pizza, and I have my cheese-less!

  2. I grew up eating a huge slab of red meat almost every night, but ended up moving into a house with a vegan in college. We would rotate who cooked every night, and we always cooked vegan, but with things like cheese available on the side. (like Ariel)

    For me, it's a respect thing for the vegan's decision, and I actually don't like eating meat too much anyway. It's a small step from vegetarian to vegan.

    I think the trick is not to try to create omnivore/ vegetarian dishes in a vegan way- vegan mac n' cheese is…. erm…. nothing like cheddar. Stop trying to think: "oh this is my favorite dish, how can I substitute out the animal products?" but rather: "mmmm veggies in a yummy curry sauce! (that happens to be vegan)"

    Another trick is to find ways to make vegan things taste "richer." You can food process cashews & water and add the cashew cream to blended soups for a creamy/ fatty taste. There are tons of other ways to bring the flavors that omnivores love to vegan meals. Check out vegan cooking blogs (I like or look for cookbooks at the library. I'm obsessed with Mollie Katzen- many of her recipes are vegan, not just vegetarian.

    Good luck!

    • I love the cashew idea, never would have thought of that! Also you need to try the vegan mac'n'cheese at our local sustainable eatery – I love it even as an omnivore. πŸ™‚

    • This! I am an omnivore, though I have been reducing my meat consumption by making a lot more veg* entrees. However, I hate vegan food that pretends to be "just like" the meat version. It is nothing close! Once I made a sandwich that was supposed to replace tuna salad, I think it was mashed chickpeas w/ kelp flakes or something like that. IT WAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LIKE TUNA. Veggies burgers are nothing like burgers. And vegan "cheese" is blasphemy. But there are totally a lot of veg* dishes I love that aren't pretending to be like meat – in particular stir fries and curries.

      I think people with very different diets can live together no problem as long as they are both respectful of one another. In that situation I'd happy eat vegan when we were sharing dinner, but I'd probably have eggs, bacon, tuna, cheese and so forth in the house for when I wanted a sandwich or would be cooking for myself.

      • I totally agree! My husband is a chef and used to work at a vegan and gluten-free restaurant. They had a "cheese pizza" that was flatbread with creamy cashew spread and raw kale… That is not a cheese pizza! And all their dishes were like that, with arbitrary names that had nothing to do with what the dish actually was.
        It was funny, though, because I actually really -liked- most of the dishes… if they'd just put "flatbread with cashew spread and kale" on the menu I probably would have ordered it and been happy as a clam. But I hated that they felt like they had to pretend it was somehow a pizza!
        As to what the original post was asking: I think that vegan and omnivores can definitely make it work. I would be really clear about what your expectations are though – especially if you've always expected to have a vegan home. What are her "must-have" non-vegan foods? Can you deal with them being in the home?
        I would also set aside time each week to plan menus, just so everybody's on the same page. Think about who is going to be home on what nights, who is going to have time to cook, and what you are planning to eat when. That way you're not just haphazardly going grocery shopping, and you know you'll definitely have food that fits both your eating styles.

    • YES! My husband and I are both vegan so we don't have an issue at home, but as far as not trying to replace traditional omni dishes with vegan substitutes, this is key! Whenever we go to his parents' for dinner, they always make two separate meals–one omni-style and one with vegan substitutions. Which is fine, but it just seems like so much more work for them! When we go to my parents', my mom usually just makes a big bowl of pasta with roasted veggies, or beans and rice, or veggie chili or something that everyone will eat and not miss the meat!

  3. Hmm. Interesting. I've been vegan about a year and a half and hadn't thought about this. I live alone so it's a no brainer that my house is vegan.

    My boyfriend is an omnivore but like Ariel he loves to eat the vegan food I cook and like Andreas I love to cook! My man is at my house often and always eats vegan there and doesn't keep any non-vegan food around. He once had eggs for some reason that he stashed in my fridge for a day but I asked him not to cook them at my place and he didn't.

    My dad (omnivore) is married to a vegetarian and he's not fussed about it. He just orders a burger when he goes out. My mom (vegan) is married to an omnivore…I think they just each fix their own food. She's not bothered by nonvegan food being cooked in the house so pretty much a nonissue there too.

    I think this probably depends on how staunchly "for" eating meat the omnivore is. If she's moving in with a vegan I would think/hope that she wouldn't be a chest-thumping must-have-meat-at-every-meal, give-me-bacon-all-the-time type. So it may not even be a major issue, especially if the vegan likes to cook.

    I'm thinking now about what I'd do if my boyfriend was moving in. I think we'd have to have a talk about food expectations beforehand for sure. And we'd each have to lay out our dealbreakers and what we could compromise on. For myself, I could handle milk or cheese in the fridge probably….but I couldn't handle cooking meat or eggs in the house.

    As far as specific tips beyond talking at out? I dont know.

  4. well hello! ive been vegan a while. on and off we shall say, since i was 14. solidly for a long time though. i have dated exactly ONE vegan. the rest, even cohabitants, were all omnivorous. it is quite easy to do, if you can get past the initial woes. i personally have not dated anyone since the vegan. and knowing the joys of having a completely cruelty free household.. i will never go back. however, for those of you who can.. its quite easy.

    rules?- we haz em.

    -establish if the products containing animal ingredients can be brought in the home at all, or if they must be consumed off site.

    – if non vegan products are allowed, where they will be stored, who will prepare them, seperate cookware and cutting boards, etc. not everyone needs those limitations, i just found it easier.

    -if you are the vegan, get your oven mitts on, and that fancy cookware out! cook awesome omnivore friendly things, and do it often. do not bitchslap your partner with too much tofu right off the bat. that is the biggest johnny raincloud for any omnivore to hear. become friends with chili, sloppy joes (both made with tvp), how to bake a seitan loaf you can cut into lunch meatz, and daiya mac n cheese. make the living situation easy.

    -dont be a condescending dick or militant about your lifestyle. if you cant accept them for their lifestyle choice, you should have held out for a vegan. if you are living with them, chances are it wont kill you.

    -if your partner is interested in making the change, present them the facts that are POSITIVE.

    i repeat… POSITIVE.

    let them know they are saving families, doing the enviroment, themselves, and world hunger a favor. anything you can think of to shed a positive light. they know they are eating a dead animal. it didnt stop them.

    good luck babies, and may your household be a peaceful one πŸ™‚


    • As a pretty staunch meat-eater (I actually love a lot of vegan and vegetarian dishes, but a couple days of that and I NEED my red meat/bacon/etc), this is exactly how I would like to be treated in this situation. I think I would be a LOT more inclined to understand vegan eating, to try new meals, etc, if you follow these hints. Otherwise, I might feel that we're going to have a battle every time I crave a steak, and it might start to wear on both of us. I really like the idea, if you're the no-meat-in-the-house type person, to give them some days where you eat out and they can order meat/non-vegan food, or maybe let them pick up a burger on their way home from work, and you just eat by yourself that night. Things like that. πŸ™‚

      • I agree so much. I'm the omnivore and he has been vegan for one month. I've tried the vegan dishes so far and I can't say as I care for most but it is still early. Respect, BOTH ways, goes along way.

  5. I became a vegetarian after my husband and I married. He was fine with it and I didn't push him to change. I did the cooking and he pretty much ate what I made. It wasn't a big deal. I did most of the shopping and the fridge was mostly vegetarian friendly. I have no cravings for meat, so seeing it sit in the fridge occasionally not some painful experience for me. He did have a tendency to eat a lot of meat when I was out of town.

    In the six years since, my husband has given up all meat but fish. He's had no problem raising our son vegetarian either. I suppose we'll see what happens when two year old is ready to decide for himself what he eats.

  6. I've been a vegetarian for 4 years now and my husband is a devoted omnivore. It can be a bit of a bummer that we can't share as many food dishes together, or enjoy all of the same restaurants, but we generally make it work. Here are some things that help us:

    Have a collection of recipes that are easy to adapt by cooking the meat separately and tossing it in at the end for one partner. For instance, if I make pasta, I'll steam some shrimp and add it just to my partner's serving. Grilling is also an easy way to prepare an individual meal of meat or non-meat for each person without much extra work.

    Speaking of, it's helpful if you can be a little relaxed about meat/animal products in the house. I know not everyone's worldview (or health) allows this, but it makes life easier here. I am laid-back about sharing the grill/fridge space/dishes etc. with meat products even though I choose not to eat them. My husband will usually handle any meat cooking (some of it kind of grosses me out), but once in a while I'll cook meat for him. It helps him feel cared for and valued even when our choices are different.

    There are also some pretty decent meat substitutes out there that my partner actually enjoys. They're not cheap, but it's a good middle road sometimes.

    Also, embrace leftovers. I enjoy cooking more than he does. Whatever either of us cooks, we usually make enough for leftovers. That makes it more justifiable to cook an entirely separate dish for one person, and makes it easier for us to eat what we like even when the other person is doing the cooking that night. We probably eat fewer "matching" meals than many couples, but I've accepted that.

    Not eating meat (and being generally picky) sometimes limits my restaurant options. We have plenty of places to visit together, but I also recognize that sometimes my husband wants to go to a meat-heavy place that I just wouldn't enjoy… so I'm 100% okay when he goes out to eat with another friend.

    The best thing you can each do is keep an open mind. Try new vegan/vegetarian recipes together that you might both enjoy, give yourselves permission to not share every meal, and make the best of it.

    Also, no judging the other person's choices. I think it would be better for his body and the planet if my partner ate less red meat… but that's his decision, not mine. He thinks life would be easier if I just ate meat once in a while. Nagging just turns mealtime into a battle. It's not worth it to either of us. My relationship is more important to me than my principles about eating animals.

    • Lately we've talked about taking some cooking classes (via community education) together. I'm really looking forward to it–it might give us a larger set of meals that we both like to cook and eat.

    • Big up Grouch! Just want to say I love the new Z&G album. I've been lookin foarwd to it for quite some time. It's funny how you are on the healthy diet tip cuz I just recently decided to change my eating habits as well. That song definately made me think about my diet foreal. That's why Im stoked ya are postin these recipes. Anyways, thanks for the recipe and all the good advice throughout the years. oh n ya know what's on my wish list Z&G&E! See ya soon. One love

    • Totally agree with the tip about adding meat in at the end. It also works the other way around–I hate meat substitutes and would rather just eat veggies, so we add them in at the end for my partner, who loves that kind of thing.

  7. +1 to everyone' suggestions about rules and a discussion of expectations. When I moved in with my now-husband, I was vegan and he was not. He's since gone vegetarian and then vegan, but when he was omni, we basically agreed to respect each other's choices. I did most of the cooking, so he ate vegan at home. I didn't mind his cheese in the fridge, but he knew I wouldn't cook animal products for him. If he wanted to eat meat, he cooked it himself and washed the dishes so I didn't have to deal with it. When we went out to eat, we each ordered whatever we wanted. Eventually he went vegetarian and then vegan so it's a non-issue now, but while he was omni, that's what worked for us.

    Also: Cook together! He is the best cooking buddy I could ask for. Even when he was omni, he was great about helping me choose recipes so we'd both be eating something we liked. It's hard to snark at someone about dietary choices when he or she has just helped you prepare a meal that you chose together.

  8. I love this post! My hubby and I eat mostly vegetarian/ dairy-free. He used to live on processed junk and fast-food and when I started cooking vegetables and whole grains for him his body rebelled! We have found that the Ariel method works for us. I cook and if he wants meat, he cooks it and adds it later (while I try not to be offended that he added ground beef to my delicious veggie dish). Mostly, though, he doesn't bother! Good luck!

    • I agree, that person is awful; however, for every preachy vegan, I see at least one of the obnoxiously in your face meat eater who giggles and says things like "You sure you don't want some bacon?" "Mmmm… look at this delicious dead animal." "So are you sad you used to eat meat? What was your favorite meat when you ate meat?"

      Don't be that person either.

      • Yes! Thank you Elizabeth! My FIL got me a "present" the week after our wedding. It was a sign that said "Vegetarian: An ancient word for bad hunter" *headdesk*

      • Yes! People do the same thing when you tell them that you don't drink alcohol. "Are you suuuure?", "Just try a little bit, it won't hurt you". I believe in everyone's freedom to make their own choices, but don't try to make someone change their core beliefs just because you have a different view.

  9. I'm a vegetarian and my husband is an omni. We've lived together since 2007, and this very rarely ever causes problems. Basically my initial (and current) position was that I'll never buy or cook meat, but if wants to he's more than welcome. If he wants me to cook dinner then he'll just have to deal with everything being vegetarian. We both enjoy cooking, and pretty evenly split up dinner duties. Luckily he is totally fine eating all my "weird" veggie food, like tofu, tempeh, etc. In fact, he's better at cooking up tofu than I am! I think he was pleasantly surprised how tasty my vegetarian cooking was, after being used to a Midwest meat 'n taters lifestyle. I still distinctly remember a moment a month or so after we started dating, after basically constantly being together for weeks. He said "holy shit, I haven't eaten meat in four days! I need to hit Taco Bell!" If you don't make a big deal about it, I think many people don't realize how recognizable and tasty most vegetarian food really is. It's more the stigma of it being "hippie" or whatever that makes it undesirable to many.

    Basically we always have veggie dinners, and he is welcome to supplement his with meat if desired. Sometimes I do need to give him direction on vegetarian entrees, because it's harder for him to come up with things to cook that don't have a central meat protein. Now that we're busy professionals, we do rely on some pre-packaged veggie "meats" and Trader Joe's frozen meals and sides more than I'd care to admit, but that's life. The only meat usually in our house is lunchmeat for his sandwiches during the week and maybe some frozen bacon/sausage for him to cook up on the weekend. He'll almost always order a burger or something similar at restaurants, but I honestly think he's happier making those type of things "treats" instead of always having them around the house.

    I have a few rules to prevent meat gross-out: 1) he has to do any meaty dishes, like pans, cutting boards, etc. 2) I won't kiss him within an hour of him eating meat, unless he brushes his teeth first. Neurotic, but the idea of meat breath seriously grosses me out!

    I try to think of eating choices as something really similar to religion, in that it's none of my business what others do. That has served me well in the 10+ years I've been vegetarian and works in my own home!

    • My vegetarian husband asks me to brush my teeth post-meat, pre-kissing too. However, I won't kiss him right after he eats his morning yogurt. So it all evens out in the end. Compromise, we can haz it. πŸ™‚

      • This is totally tangential, but I won't let my husband kiss me after he eats chex mix. It is one of his favorite snack foods, but I can't stand the flavor or the smell. It's my one, hard rule. So not wanting to kiss someone after they've eaten something you find gross seems perfectly reasonable to me.

        • I won't kiss my Viking after he drinks Scotch. But he likes the really, really…uh…strong Scotches. I got used to the coffee and the beer, but I cannot deal with the smell/taste of his Scotch.


          • I won't kiss my husband if he's been eating cool ranch doritos. Hell, I don't let him eat them in the car or within 5 feet of me. Grossest smell ever.

    • The tooth-brushing thing doesn't sound neurotic to me at all.

      I'm an omnivore, and there are still times when I won't cook certain types of very standard meats, like hamburger, at home because the smell repels me. I'd probably be even more sensitive if I didn't like the taste some of the time.

  10. Oh, I could write a whole post about this – still might. I am a vegetarian and my husband is not only an omnivore, he is a hardcore "I only like beef, chicken, potatoes, and bread" omnivore. He is NOT ok with just eating whatever I cook. There are like, two vegetables that he will eat, and he won't eat any beans or other vegetarian protein, and he is not ok with protein substitutes. However, I am still the one doing the cooking so I have to find ways around it. I think for us what really makes it work is that I am ok with cooking meat for him. He doesn't even know how to cook, so it's good that I'll cook it for him because he would starve if i didn't. I usually cook things that can have meat thrown in at the end (like spaghetti) or big meals where he eats a few of the things and I eat a few (example: if I cook chicken, potatoes, and peas, he eats chicken and peas while I eat potatoes and peas.) Sometimes we eat similar things but mine is a protein substitute (hambugers/veggie burgers and hot dogs/veggie dogs.) He has also learned that while I will cook meat, I also try to make healthier choices for us as a family – so he is getting used to eating beef maybe twice a week instead of once a day, and we have meals that we both like that are vegetarian (grilled cheese, etc.) My biggest advice is just that you HAVE to be ok with animal products in your house. As someone said above – you chose to be with this person, so you have to accept this part of them.

    • My household is the same way. I am a veg (no dairy but will eat some eggs) and my husband is a beef, chicken, potatoes, carrots omnivore (and cheese, lots of cheese).

      We created some rules so we can both be happy.

      1. since he LOVES meat and can't cook i agreed to cook meat. But if I had to cook it then the meat has to come from a local small farm or co-op.

      2. we cook whole meals. So we do a large main vegetarian dish and meat is always a side dish.

      3. He agrees to try everything. he doesn't have to like it or even finish a plate but he has to try it. Which has led to him loving tofu stir fry, edamame, soy milk and bison.

      4.we both agree to never complain about what the other person is eating even if we find it "super gross."

    • I don't think you HAVE to be ok with animal products in your house. It depends on what kind of omnivore you have on your hands. And what your relationship is like.

      I personally could not live with meat in the fridge and I'd need anybody living with me to be ok with that. Some people would say they must have meat in the fridge and would need anyone living with them to be ok with it. Me and that person are probably not going to cohabitate unless one of us can change our position.

      • that is fine if having meat in the house is a dealbreaker for you as you date people, but if you were to be with an omnivore, just as you want them to respect your life choices, you need to respect theirs as well. its a two way street, and a no-meat-in-the-house rule is very much a double standard, skewed in the vegans favor, if you ask me.

  11. I'm surprised I haven't seen this iteration – I'm pesce/vegetarian and my husband is an omnivore. He likes to cook, and I do not. What this means is sometimes bacon shows up in the broccoli, and I bitch and don't eat it, which makes him sad. It's hard to find a middle ground. I did make him very happy when I found out that his wing sauce is so amazing that I had to eat…chicken wings. It's a weird blip in my behavior, but I still have to finish with some Chick'un Wings at the end. I eat fish, otherwise, so I guess it's not a huge stretch to find chicken ok sometimes? Seriously, this situation is hard, and we eat out a lot to make it easier on both of us.

    • My friend and her boyfriend are like this…she's the veggie, but he's the cook. He cooks veggie most of the time, or he adds his meat in at the end. However, she is a veggie for moral reasons, so she has started to eat meat that was ethically raised…"happy" meat, we call it. So far she has eaten Thanksgiving turkey (after her mom special-ordered a free-range grass-fed turkey from a local farm) and has eaten "happy" bacon and "happy" ground beef. There are some veggies who are opposed to eating meat at all, and those who would if they could be assured that the animal in question had the best life possible before being turned in to meat. So if you are that kind of veggie, you could look into local sources of "happy" meat. Yeah, it's pricey, but if your already not eating it that often you may be able to squeeze it in to the food budget, making both of you happy!

      • My aunt is vegetarian, but when she feels compelled to offer meat options for events she hosts, she buys kosher. She figures that buying some kind of humane/responsible meat is a good compromise.

      • My husband & I are both omnivores but I will only eat 'happy meat' (we also use this phrase in our house, along with 'Dodo-Friendly'). I am lucky in that I have access to wild venison so we often have that. We also live in a rural area with a good market where we can get local free-range meat & sustainably caught fish. If we go out for a meal & the menu doesn't have something Dodo-Friendly on it, I'll eat the veggie option.
        Hubby does not care where his food comes from. However, he loves venison & respects that I won't eat some meat. We agreed when we moved in together that if I am home, there is to be nothing factory farmed or intensively reared in the house. But when I'm away, hubby can eat what he likes as long as it's gone by the time I get back. So he can have his favourite chicken wing bucket or whatever & it's also a bit of a treat for him as he doesn't get to have it often.
        It does cost us a little more in food budget but this is manageable, mostly because we are lucky to have the resources we do. I think if I lived in an area where good meat was more expensive, I would end up eating veggie meals more often. I think different eating habits can work as long as each party respects the other & sets some ground rules from the start.

  12. I've been vegan for 5 years and my fiance is an omnivore. It works because he respects keeping a vegetarian kitchen and I don't say anything about the fact that I know he eats all kinds of things I find terrifying when he's out with his friends or family. The only time it's ever really an issue is when we're out together and he wants to eat meat (fish I can handle, but anything else really grosses me out). It's kind of awkward, but we deal with it. Do I wish he would have a sudden change of heart? Of course! But I also make a point to never ever push the subject. No one wants to come to being lectured about food.

  13. I'm an omnivore, and my husband is a vegetarian. We split cooking duties fairly evenly, and I have to admit that this was a big concern of mine when we first moved in together because most of my recipe repertoire was built on the meat + starch + veggie standard. It doesn't bother him when I cook and eat meat, but I'm usually not willing to make two separate meals, and cross-contamination is a big concern since it can make him really sick. To further complicate matters, I'm soy-sensitive. Our solution was to cook vegetarian dishes at home, and if it called for tofu or meat, they would be cooked separately and added during plating. We make lots of stir fries, curries, and pasta or rice + mixed veggies dishes. I also make soups, lasagnas, and casseroles. Usually he won't cook meat for me, but he sometimes makes exceptions for special occasions or when he's feeling guilty for something.

    We also follow some of the other strategies mentioned. I sometimes have meat dates with friends, and the one night a week when my husband works late, I often cook meat (and then wash the meat dishes). He sometimes goes on lunch dates with friends to the vegetarian restaurant that I'm not crazy about. We have soy milk and regular milk in the fridge.

    The key for us was focusing on flavors that we both enjoyed (cheese! broccoli! basil!) and then building out from there.

  14. My husband and I are both omnivores, but we actually eating a surprising amount of vegan and vegeterian dishes. We've had to cut back on our meat intake becuase of our budget but it hasn't been so hard. I think the words vegan and vegeterian can scare an omnivore but when you get down to it there's tons of non-meat/animal dishes that omnivores enjoy. I mean omnivores eat anything, so maybe compromise and let him supplement a vegan dish with non-vegan items.

  15. My husband loves his meat and I'm vegetarian. By default he is basically a vegetarian because it's easier to cook one meal instead of two. When he is feeling particularly meat consuming we have a bag of frozen chicken breasts in the freezer that he'll toss into whatever it is that we are eating.

    I don't usually handle his meat but I will put together a rub for his steak or mixture for his burgers but he'll have to actually do the handling of the meat. I grew up in a meat and potatoes family and learned how to cook meat well so I want to share that with my husband even if it isn't something I consume. Having a grill in our back yard has been amazing for him to fix his meat separate from the rest of the dinner and allow us to have the whole meal completed in time.

  16. My husband is an omnivore and the household cook. While I'm a pretty flexible eater I stopped eating pork a long time ago. I think the most important thing here is respect. He respects the reasons I don't eat pork and knows how important it is to me. Food choices are often founded on basic values, so understanding and respecting those choices is key to finding a compromise that everyone is comfortable with.
    Because my husband respects my reasons and eating is a really social activity for us, he cooks meals that work for both of us. I have no problem with him cooking pork for himself, but I won't cook it and he wouldn't ask. He also has some omnivore food buddies so if he really wants some pork ribs or spicy garlic pork he calls them. That way I don't have to sit through it complaining that there's nothing I want to eat and he still gets to enjoy with others who appreciate it.

  17. My sister WAS vegan for quite a while, and her boyfriend, who she lived with was an omni. My sister also grew up in a family of omnis, so she understood the omni mentality.

    I think the key thing is to be understanding, and she understanding of you. You need to understand that she may not totally be into veganism, and she needs to understand that you aren't going to join the meat train anytime soon.

    How my sister and her boyfriend worked it was like this:

    Cook a veggie/vegan meal initially. Does the omni want meat/cheese/whatever with that? Then they may cook/add that separately after the dish has been prepared.

    My sister knew she couldn't force her boyfriend into being vegan, and she wasn't going to because that's just cruel. And he knew to keep his meaty-ness to himself. And it worked splendidly while she was vegan.

  18. My roommates are both more-or-less vegetarians. I'm an omnivore trying to eat less meat. Things work out well for us. I keep my meaty things separate and when I cook it I promptly clean it up.

    These are probably good rules for living with roommates generally, though. πŸ™‚

  19. I'm a vegetarian (was vegan up until pregnancy, then heartburn necessitated going back to dairy). My husband is a devoted omnivore.

    Honestly? I think it depends on the couple. I've known vegans who so strenously object to meat that no relationship with an omni will work, because they won't allow it in the home. What I'd suggest is start by assessing your reasons for being vegan – health? ethics? If ethics, how strong are they? Could you live in a home with meat? Are there particular products you find especially objectionable? For example, my husband knows that foie gras, lamb, rabbit and other foods just are not okay with me, full stop (if he wants to eat them, out of respect to me, he does so outside the home). In compromise, I'll accept beef and chicken (his religion does not allow pork, so it's a moot point).

    A big thing for me has been trying to explore vegetarian/vegan foods together? We made it easier by me promising to explore Middle Eastern food (my husband is Arab) with him. Falafel is vegan and awesome! Does your girlfriend come from a background with ethnic food traditions? Try to explore her culture for vegan food, so you both feel like you're bonding.

    For the practical stuff, I'd suggest trying to cook stuff that starts off vegan and let the omni add the "forbidden" stuff at the end sometimes. We make a lot of tacos, rice and bean dishes, falafel and pita, etc. I'll prepare it as far as it goes staying vegan, and then take my portion and the husband will add meat or cheese to his portion. This can be done with lots of dishes. Overall, trust me, vegans and omnis manage to make happy lives all the time – it's not very hard. You just have to be open with each other. And don't be afraid to ask for practical stuff – like maybe keeping the non-vegan stuff in a separate area of the fridge.

  20. Im what you would now call a flexatarian and my partner is omni. When we moved in together everyone was convinced that I would push him to being a vegetarian like I was at the time. It went the other way around I got pressured into meat eating. I dont like it. But what can I say? Im a co dependent eater?

  21. I see a lot of variations on the "we establish rules, but overall no meat in the home" theme, and that's basically how it went with us. When I started living with my now-husband, I was a vegetarian and he was an omnivore. He woukdn't bring meat home out of respect for me because it bothered me so much, but eggs/dairy weren't an issue. Slowly we evolved together, and now I'm a vegan and he's a vegetarian. We have a vegan home, again out of respect for my morality.

  22. I was raised omni and my husband has been veggie since birth (religious reasons). When we moved in together, since he DOESN'T cook, he asked that I just not cook meat in the house. Out of love and respect for him, I agreed of course. As time went on I realized the difference in how I would feel when I would eat meat when we went out and I have transitioned into full veggie. But I know I would have had a much harder time if he had been vegan. I love me my milk.

  23. Honest question: Why does it bother some Vegans to have someone else cooking eggs or meat in the house? I'm seeing comments that reference how wonderful it is to have a "cruelty free" house and then turn around and say, "Don't be condescending." Not letting someone else cook their own food in a house that is their home too does not sound like compromising to me.

    • Well, for some vegans, keeping a cruelty-free kitchen is an ethical issue roughly equivalent to keeping kosher. One doesn't go storming off to the local steakhouse to protest the bacon-cheese stuffed potatoes. But the standards for one's own kitchen are a deal-breaker.

      At the same time, going "No cheeseburgers for you because God loves me best. Nyah Nyah!" would tend to repel rather than attract people.

      It's really mostly a matter of what a person's deal-breakers are. If dead cow in the kitchen is a deal-breaker, I'd rather the vegan say so, than offer a compromise that s/he finds repugnant and will want to rescind.

      • True, I'd rather the person be up front about it than be resentful. I'm still confused though, because I have no experience with being uncomfortable about food. I was taught as a kid that keeping Kosher was God's way of keeping Jewish people from eating dangerous stuff that could kill them in ancient times (shellfish and pork can cause some nasty diseases if not cooked properly), or from making poor farming decisions (don't boil the kid in the mother's milk translates to: don't eat more than what your livestock can steadily supply). But vegans aren't avoiding food for health reasons, so contamination isn't an issue. It's an issue of not approving of someone else's actions and the situation makes them uncomfortable. I just can't imagine being so uncomfortable with someone's habits that I forbid the person from having the right to be themselves in their own home.

        • First off, that is ONE explanation for the laws of Kashrut. Another is that the laws were meant to create a distinction between Jews and other people. Or just, G-d said so and thus you do it. It doesn't matter what his motivation was.

          You can't imagine being so uncomfortable around food that you would care what someone else was eating. What about other issues? Many people are very strongly against spanking their children, for example. Should a person who is anti-spanking still allow their pro-spanking partner to spank their child?

          Non health reason Vegans believe that the meat (et al) industry is actively harmful and morally wrong. For it to be in their home (or purchased from shared funds) could make them feel like they are helping to support something they find morally reprehensible.

          Also, a lot of vegetarians and vegans just find meat to be gross. Imagine looking in your fridge for a snack and instead finding a giant cockroach. Or a pile of poo. Or anything that turns your stomach.

        • Well, if food safety was the only issue, there'd be little reason to keep kosher in the U.S., but decent numbers of people still do.

          The reason I chose a religious analogy, though, is largely that I was thinking about the moral and ethical dimensions of food choices (which some vegans feel strongly about) and how people have different boundaries about "my religion is me, yours is you" versus "our home needs to be founded on common beliefs and practices."

          So it's not exactly "I will not ALLOW my partner to do X" as "I need to be with a partner who agrees that our home is founded on certain shared values that rule out doing X and call for doing Y."

        • Hey all, sorry for starting an argument. I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed in general so I keep venting my angst on the internet, which is totally not healthy. I'm not even affected by this issue in my life, so I shouldn't have felt the need to voice a strong opinion. I apologize if I offended anyone.

        • you look at a piece of meat and see food; I look at it and see a life snuffed out. I am sure you have your own set of ethics. Maybe you disagree with hitting children, for example. I would never allow a person to take a belt to a child in my house. To that parent there is nothing wrong with hitting a child. To me, it's abuse and it's wrong and thus, upsetting to me. I don't want to be around it. I don't make a fuss in an omnis home, but my personal home is 100% cruelty free.

          I hope I have offered an explanation without being offensive.

    • For me the reasons I can't have meat cooked in my house are not all ethical. I actually find it unbearably gross. The smell really affects me (eggs too).

      I avoided describing this in detail before in order to avoid sounding obnoxious but since you asked….I can't bear to look at dead animal body parts in the fridge or smell them being cooked.

      • Although I'm an omnivore, I can relate. Tuna turns my stomach in a way that I can't bear. I once tried eating it and couldn't even swallow it. This has nothing to do with ethics, as I don't mind most seafood, but the smell, texture, and look just freaks me out

  24. I've been a vegetarian in a mixed house (my dad was veg at the same time I was; all my brothers & my mom ate meat. Then I started eating it again in college and my brother went veg. Now everyone eats meat.) and it's never a big deal. I think that what someone puts in their body is their business. As long as you're considerate of each other and your girlfriend doesn't cook, say, a steak dinner and expect you to eat sides ("except the mashed potatoes, I put butter in those,") then you're cool.

    On a similar note, my husband and I are huge foodies – we bonded over food and cooking – and he's been trying to lose weight by going low carb & low sugar, which sounds like TORTURE to me. He's very disciplined, which I admire, but I find myself eating pasta and ice cream whenever he's not home because I've been cooking all these Atkins-y meals!

    • After the first two weeks it's not so bad. Giving up pasta for (veg*s turn away now…) butter poached steak isn't a tough tradeoff.

  25. For the first half of our relationship, I was a vegetarian and my now-fiance was an omnivore. I'm the primary cook, but we also cook together a lot. Generally, if he wanted meat with something he would just make it on the side in a separate pan and mix it into his food at the table. That worked out pretty well for us! I was never hardcore about not wanting to use the same pans or anything, so that never bothered me… but if that bothers you, just have designated veggie and non-veggie pans, separated out in your cupboard, to make sure you don't cross-contaminate. πŸ™‚

  26. I am a veggie and my husband is an omni and primary cook. He just makes us both veggie food, he doesn't bother eating meat unless we go out to dinner or get fast food. I don't even think we have meat in the house. Except the raw meat for our dogs!

      • Ah, that's where I differ. I'm a vegetarian but wouldn't insist that my cat be one, because his body is completely different from mine. He loves his raw food (Sojos brand) and by husband is delighted to have another meat-lover in the house.

        This could be a whole separate post, though–lots of viewpoints.

        • I'm right with ya. I refuse to have our dogs veggie. His mom's dog is and is also grossly overweight and has random severe skin ailments. I don't understand how they don't see the connection… We adopted a couple barn cats and I give them both dry AND wet food. The wet food freaks the hubby and his mom out but I solely deal with it. When we go on vaca we hire a pet sitter rather than have my mother-in-law feed the animals. I respect their beliefs but I will NOT sacrifice my fuzzies health because they believe it messes up their karma (I'm an atheist so there's a lot of cheek biting when it comes to my mother-in-law. Old and outspoken. Believes every other 'path' is wrong **sigh**). ANYway. Long story short, my dogs and cats eat meat and my birds eat the occasional scrambled egg. They're happy and healthy. I'm happy.

        • I hear you there. I never expected my cats to be vegan because I felt that they had to kill to live. I eventually came to understand my own body this way after some health struggles with veganism. (With that said, lots of folks can be healthy vegan, I'm just not one of them.)

  27. My spouse is an omnivore and I'm vegetarian. Respect and compromise are important for us — he's always looked for vegetarian-friendly restaurants we could go to ever since we began dating; I'm okay with him ordering meaty tacos and steaks when we go out and don't mind him eating meat at home. I think it's good to find foods you enjoy together as well, not just for practicality, but as a way to bond over food tastes and choices you have in common. It's nice to see yourselves not just as "vegan and omnivore," but as "mutual lovers of quinoa."

  28. i've been a vegetarian (not vegan) for 17 years and i've always lived with meat eaters. i practive a live and let live policy about my food choices in general. it's my choice to not eat meat and i have no right to tell someone else not to. i also feed my cats raw meat so it is in the house. as long as an omnivore roommate doesn't make me clean up their meaty mess, i'm cool. i also really appreciate it when my roomy makes the effort to cook bacon and other smelly things when i'm not home or at least cracks a window and turns on the fume hood fan. breathing really strong meat smell annoys me after a while. most roommates i've had have thought this was very reasonable and were happy to comply since i don't bitch about their eating habits. protip: meat should always be stored on the bottom shelf of the fridge. if it leaks it's less likely to drip blood and grossness on my organic veggies or leftover hummus

  29. My husband and I are both omnivores, but we eat a lot of veg dishes anyway β€” we'd been in our new apartment for a couple weeks when one of us commented to the other "you know, we haven't cooked meat here yet…". Mostly, food isn't that big of an issue for us β€” we both like to cook, so we split the cooking fairly evenly (although I do a little bit more of the cooking, since I love it more than he does…). There are some things that one of us likes, and the other doesn't β€” he doesn't care for raw tomatoes, cilantro, or mushrooms, whereas I could live off raw tomatoes, with a side of cilantro, or sometimes a pile of mushrooms, all summer. So, I chop up a tomato on the side, or occasionally make an additional dish that has mushrooms. Cilantro I can generally add just to my serving. Not exactly the same thing, but I guess the same principles would work β€” depending on tolerance for each other's food.

  30. I'm a carnivore. (I do eat and enjoy veggies but realistically most of my meals are built around meat and eggs.) So I'm coming at this from the other side. The most considerate thing a veg*n can do with one of my ilk is to not cook us anything with Qorn, TVP, seitan, or anything else that imitates a different food. Fake foods taste like butt**. It's not good. A veggie dish made with *real* veggies is infinitely tastier and much more likely to win over omni/carnivores.

    Just a message from your friendly neighborhood T-Rex.
    **This doesn't just apply to veg*n substitute foods. I've tried plenty of low-carb "bread" recipes that were just. not. good.

  31. Left to my own devices, I'm perfectly happy being flexatarian, or eating fish or poultry a couple times a week, but when Viking and I moved in together I was eating meat almost every day and it was not a good idea for me. Viking isn't healthy WITHOUT eating meat (I know it sounds weird, but he tried going vegetarian once and it was all kinds of bad. He did it properly too, making sure he got all the protein and everything. It just did not work for his body. Bodies are weird). Also, I don't eat pigs and I prefer not to eat cows, which made it harder for him, since he mostly does the cooking.

    A lot of the time we just made our own food, or he would make meat for himself in addition to whatever else.

    One thing I haven't seen mentioned is how y'all divide up paying for groceries? Viking and I would trade off shopping trips, and he bought meat when it was his turn, whereas I rarely bought meat on my turns, because I didn't eat much.

    • Whenever I tell people that I can't not eat meat they tend to either think I'm joking or that I don't know what I'm talking about. Nice to see somebody else who recognizes that this is a real thing.
      Add the fact that I'm allergic to soy, and I'd have a hard time living with an uncompromising vegetarian.

    • As i mentioned in my comment, i am a vegetarian who lives with 2 omnivores. when we do the grocery shopping we divide it up eaqually, and will sometimes each buy something seperate for ourselves… i get the biggest say in the shop as i am the one who cooks, but i dont stop them buying meat. it all evens out as they occasionally get meat and i get meat substitues and various fruits and vegetables that they wouldnt eat so it doesnt seem to be much of an issue.

  32. A similar although not the same issue in our house: My partner loves pork and shellfish, and I keep kosher. We've established rules for our house. We don't cook non kosher foods in the kitchen, except he has a small set of "treif" pans and a plate, bowl and fork, in which he devours pork and shellfish when I'm out of the house (mostly, he only cooks it when I'm out of town, as he knows I hate the smell of bacon, and when I'm home, we plan meals for the both of us). We discuss our kashrut, and our house is perhaps less kosher than I would prefer (we don't do separate plates for dairy and meat, etc), so when we have spaghetti and meatballs, he can grate all the cheese he wants on his, and I can grate no cheese on mine.

    When we eat out, he almost always gets pork or shellfish. I love to share food with people when I go out to eat, but I'm ok with the fact that that doesn't happen when we go out to eat. In fact, I'm usually urging him to the pork.

    It's a matter of respect and compromise, I think. The house might not be vegan, but maybe the cast iron pan which doesn't get washed with soap is. Etc.

    • We are in a similar situation. I'm Jewish and have always kept (somewhat) kosher at home, he is an atheist who never knew any Jews before me. When we moved in together, he agreed to keep (somewhat) kosher at home if I did all the cooking.
      Unlike Ariel and Andreas, I did not like cooking, or at least I didn't know I did because I had never done it before. But it seemed fair that the more restricted person should be in charge of the cooking. And now I like it!
      We have made some compromises. Non kosher food does not get cooked in our kitchen but if his guests (who are pretty ignorant of Jewish stuff) bring non kosher meat to a bbq, we use foil on top of the grill. That seems better to me than embarrassing them (and Judaism is pretty clear on the embarrassment issue). We eat non kosher takeout on disposables (although after 3 years, I still have to remind him).
      This has helped him feel not-deprived. Also, my cooking has gotten pretty good, so that helps! On top of the kosher situation, I just don't like cooking meat, so everything I make is vegetarian. His family is pretty meat-and-potatoes, but he is thankful enough to have a warm, tasty dinner put in front of him when he gets home. He's happy to eat anything at that point!

  33. We are both omnivores but with medical dietary restrictions and I think it applies. Cross contamination is simply not an option.
    We do mostly layered meals and interchange ingredients as necessary.
    Build your own tacos, pasta bowl, stir fry and pizza are weekly fixtures.

    And since we need leftovers for lunches its not wasteful of time or money to make 2 different pastas or 2 different pizza crusts etc…

  34. I am vegetarian and my Fiance and our flatmate are both omnivores. and wwe never have an issues as i am the one who cooks, and we often sit and eat ameal together.

    But when we do things like BBQs or get take-away they get meat which i am acctually ok cooking, i just wont eat it.

    As you said in the article, its fine when its the vegie or vegan is cooking…. but whilst i lived at home both me and my sister were veggie and our parents wern't, most of the time we cooked for ourselves or our dad would cook us an alternative to the meat part, or im my case i just ate everything that wasnt meat, so christmas dinner often consisted of a plate heapped with veggies, just how i like it.

    i dont think it is as difficult as people imagine, if you love someone your willing to accept them and their diet, and accomodate it.

  35. For medical reasons I have to eat mostly vegan, and my BF is a real meatosaurus. Since I get to cook, I get whatever food I want without difficulties, and I have no problem making the occasional extra burger or steak for him. I think it is important to realize that these lifestyles are a personal choice (unless they take place for medical reasons, and even then… I might just as well take steroids instead), and that no one can push the other.

  36. I'm in a similar situation, my fiance is vegan, and I am an omnivore. He's been vegan since before we met. I've always been a bit funny with meat, I can't eat steak unless its well done, I hate preparing it, cutting chicken grosses me out and it always has. As a kid I was always the one that somehow ended up with the 'bad bit' of chicken or steak. Turns out, fatty bits are supposed to be good eatin' and the rest of my family just ignored and ate chicken blood vessels. (yuck.)
    Since Kyle and I moved in together, I haven't cooked a single piece of meat (except some chorizo once when my parents came over for dinner). I'll eat it when my mum cooks it and I'll eat meat when we go out to a restaurant, but I'm more than happy to cook vegan every night of the week (I do the majority of cooking). The only exception is the stash of cheese and milk I keep in the fridge.

    Also to Rose, who asked about other people cooking meat or eggs in the house? Even though some people give up meat for ethical reasons, the majority of them are happy to let everyone else eat whatever they want! It's nice though not to come home to the kitchen stinking of cooked bacon, so much so that the bacon grease is still hanging in the air! (Had some former housemates who cooked a lot of bacon and eggs, and this was a common thing!)

  37. I've been a vegetarian for a couple of years, and my partner is an omnivore. While we used to eat meat on a frequent basis while I was an omni, his meat consumption at home has decreased dramatically to maye one meal with meat per week. But he does eat meat for lunch at work, or when we dine out.
    We didn't set rules of any kind as we are both respectful of each other's choice: I don't mind him buying and cooking meat if he wants to, he doesn't me buying and cooking vegetables he hates if I want to. That's all.

  38. I lived at home with my parents for about 6 months between jobs. My mom is over cooking since the kids left and can't begin to imagine how to cook for a vegetarian. So I did most of the cooking. My parents would sometimes add precooked chicken to their own portions. In that time my dad's cholesterol dropped significantly. Unfortunately, they went back to their meaty ways when I moved out.

    I have been vegetarian going on 5 years and my boyfriend is vegan for the past two, discussing our diets was actually how we met. It is a relief to finally date someone who is supportive of my self-imposed dietary restriction. He also has no problem if I eat cheese or ice cream, etc. in front of him.

    We do have one issue though, or sort of a future issue. He wants to have a veg/vegan household when we marry and start a family. I know that we both chose to be veg as adults and I do not want to impose my choice on future children. I don't want to make meat taboo for fear that they might then seek it out like I did with pop-tarts and candy when I went to college.

    His argument is that if we both know that a veg life style is healthier why wouldn't we want our kids to be healthy too. That is a valid argument. I know that with us cooking the food will be primarily vegan anyway and we can just provide occasional meat an dairy so they know what its like. I realize this is premature for us but I would love to hear how other veg couples have handled living with omni or veg little people.

    • Since there's no meat in our house (I'm veg, husband is pescatarian but were both omni when we married) it really isn't that hard. We have decided to raise our son vegetarian but as soon as he's old enough to ask for meat he's free to have it. However, I'm not going to cook it for him. So, should he one day ask for it, it still won't be a norm in our house. We will not, however, act negatively if we see him eat meat.

      So far, this hasn't been a problem. (He's almost 3) He is not used to eating meat and finds it a bit gross. He's always declined it if anyone has offered it to him. I think he will at some point try it, but I've had meat in my life too. I'm not hoping to raise a purist and want him to make his own decision (just as his father and I did). I'm hoping to set a healthy habit for him as he grows.

    • That was a big thing when the man and I became exclusive. He said he didn't mind if I ate meat (just not at home) but if/when I became pregnant I'd have to go veggie and the kid(s) would be raised solely veggie. Since his is a religious reason, it's would have been a deal breaker. Since we've met I've watched his veggie grandkid grow up (yeah, he's a BIT older than me, :P) and she's healthy and the most active and tallest kid in her class. I have no problem adhering with the veggie law of the land. I mean, he's been 100% veggie since birth as have all his grown kids and the grandkid.

  39. My husband is the vegetarian (still eats eggs and dairy), and I'm a "flexitarian" (also eat fish and chicken or turkey once or twice a month, beef about twice a year). However, I also have religious dietary restrictions, so that makes things even more complicated, especially since we also have two omnivore roomates with no dietary limitations at all to share a fridge with. I do the majority of the cooking for the two of us, and our compromise usually involves cooking vegetarian when we're together, and I'll eat meat out or for a meal we don't have to share, like work lunch. My wonderful husband has no qualms with my (or others) eating habits or food storage, although he won't kiss me after I've eaten meat. It's actually tougher for me with the roomates who bring home some sort of religiously forbidden food, and proceed to store it right next to my own stuff that CAN'T be touching it. Gar. Ultimately, I feel that unless I'm willing to be the super bitchy roomate who tells grownups what they can and cannot put in their own fridge (I'm not), I have to suck it up and make a stronger personal effort to limit potential cross-contamination. My philosophy is, I know that I'm making the most effort I can to follow my dietary restrictions without impinging on other people's lifestyles, and that's all I can really be held responsible for, religiously. Luckily, we're planning on *finally* getting our own place next spring, so it shouldn't be an issue anymore. And once we have our own storage space, I'll be sure to keep all of my own meat products separate from everything else my honey might want to eat as well.

  40. I've been a lacto-ovo-pesco-vegetarian since I was 13 (I eat dairy, eggs, and fish). My husband eats meat and enjoys occasional junk food, which I don't. What works for us is cooking vegetarian in the house but meals he doesn't eat with me are fair game. He buys lunch meat for his sandwiches which doesn't bother me in my fridge, and when we go out he often eats meat. I hate the smell of cooking meat and don't like my pans covered in meat grease (it grosses me out to clean them) so he only cooks meat when I'm out of town. He says he doesn't miss it because the food we cook is so good. Seriously, other people coming over to eat are more annoyed by our houses lack of meat than he is.

    • I had someone tell me that I had pulled a "dirty trick" when I served meat-less chili. What?? Thing was he enjoyed it until he realized…

  41. In college, my partner and our two other housemates were all vegan- and I was not (although, I was vegetarian). Somehow, though, I did end up doing most of the cooking, since I was always the first home around dinner time. We all shared groceries, so they were not comfortable with their money going toward dairy products. Because of that, I was vegan at home. We ate vegan, I cooked vegan (I've never been vegan but ALL the cookbooks I own are!). I think I had wanted to cut a lot of dairy out of my diet, anyway, and learning to cook in a way where I could accommodate the dietary needs of many different people made me feel good. I really didn't mind cooking vegan (although I DID mind the death stares I got from my partner the few times I brought home my own cheese…). I think my advice for non-vegans is: be open to trying new things and don't expect vegans to buy or cook anything for you that they wouldn't eat. My advice for their vegan counterparts is: don't be super judgmental when they bring home a hunk of cheese. Getting upset with them over this won't encourage them to want to eat vegan.

  42. If you go on Amazon, or to a book store, look for books that cater to going vegetarian for meat lovers. There are also some books geared toward on Vegetarian, and one Omnivore. I want to get some, since I'm trying to convert. I think they're written so that you have two meals with the same base, but one will have meat, and the other a substitute. That way, it can be cooked with the same ingredients at the same time.

  43. Another iteration- I am omnivorous, my partner is vegetarian. I do 90% of the cooking. I have no interest in cooking food she won't eat so I just cook vegetarian food, which is fine for me. I've lived in vegetarian households before and I would say I am an advanced cook. I finally stopped missing it… When she was like, I think I would be fine eating a small amount of local meat. Roasted my first farmers market chicken last week- it was delicious. We only buy local animal products, except for imported cheese occasionally, and are not religious about the whole thing. It works out. If she'd been vegan I think it might have been a deal breaker. I would have felt resentful. My BFF is vegan and I love her but. Earth balance is not butter. I am not going to replace eggs with powdered things. Coconut cream is not cream. I wouldn't want to do it every day, as the cook in the family. If someone else was cooking I wouldnt care. But I am sure I'd compulsively eat animal things at every opportunity.

  44. I was omni until I moved in with my college roommates, both of whom were vegan. They had no problems with me buying or cooking meat, dairy, eggs, etc. in the house, but to be honest it made ME a little uncomfortable, probably because in the process of obtaining my Animal Science degree I've become increasingly uncomfortable with the animal food production industry. So, after 5 months, I went vegan and never looked back.

    I now live with three omnis and it's basically a "do whatever makes you happy" philosophy. Obviously I'm outnumbered and can't make a big stink about what they bring into the house, but honestly it doesn't bother me. Veganism was a personal choice for me, and I hate preachy vegans just as much as the meat-lovers do. πŸ™‚ Now if I were to marry an omni, I don't know how comfortable I'd be using shared funds to buy non-vegan foods or cooking them for my partner, but I'd certainly be tolerant of them in my fridge (properly contained, of course).

    And I would never feed my pets vegan (except for the horses), as they have no choice in the matter and they are best equipped to survive on animal protein. But there's opinions all across the board on that, too.

  45. Step one: All meat goes on the bottom of the fridge, so that it can't accidentally drip onto any non-meat food. That's just basic food safety, but it will help to smooth the way for other issues to be sorted out.

  46. I was the only vegetarian in my house growing up, and so I cooked a lot from a young age. At this point, I'm pretty good at it. My partner is omni, but was previously married to a preachy vegan, so he had to learn to fend for himself if he wanted him some steak. So I guess we two had a pretty easy time of respecting one another's dietary choices.

    Since moving in together, I've developed an intolerance to gluten, so we're still kind of navigating that one. I bake a lot of GF bread now, and he is NOT a fan. Says it's got a texture like "really wrong scrambled eggs". lol

  47. i think the biggest thing to remember is that if you want her to respect your choices being vegan/veg/whatever, you have to respect her choices to also eat whatever she deems acceptable.

    i think a blanket "no meat in my house" rule is very much "everyone has to believe as I believe" and I think its very unfair and demeaning to the other partner.

    • I disagree. I don't want meat in my house. I don't think that has anything to do with "everyone has to believe as I believe". I have quite a few reasons for why I feel the way I feel but people are free to eat and do however they choose with no judgement from me.

      However, it is very important to me that my own household remain 100% vegetarian. It is my right to keep my house however I choose. I am not trying to impose anything upon anyone else but if someone wished to move in with me I would need them to either share my values or respect my limits. That's just where my personal boundaries lie and I don't think there's anything "demeaning" about that.

  48. I am vegan and my husband is vegetarian, although he wasn't when we met. I would not allow meat to be cooked in my house because your home is your safe space where you should feel comfortable. I don't eat meat for all the reasons you could possibly think of, but it also grosses me out when I smell a hamburger cooking or barbeque or other strong smelling meat.

    If it was a roommate situation for one year or something then I guess we could have separate pots and pans, but for a long term relationship there really is no way I would compromise on that.

    My husband stopped eating meat while we were dating, but he still eats dairy – but not at home because we don't buy it.

    The most important thing to me was that our future kids not eat meat, and that is the only serious conversation we have had about the topic.

    I disgaree that it is "demeaning" to hae a no meat rule. It is your house and if you are willing to put your lifestyle beliefs first – then that is your choice. Your partner can either choose to be with your or not!

  49. I'm vegan and my husband's an omnivore so we have a kosher kitchen.

    I'm Jewish and I really wanted a kosher kitchen, not least so that more religiously observant Jews can eat at our house and we can take things to pot luck dinners at the rabbi's house. I let my husband decide whether to go with a dairy or a meat kitchen as I don't eat either, but I'm glad he went with diary because there are some things which are vegan but classified as dairy because they're made in a factory which uses milk. Most of the time when we eat together we both eat vegan because it's not worth making two separate meals, but hubbie sometimes adds cheese or fish to his and he has butter on his toast for breakfast.

    I'd recommend to find vegan recipes that will please omnivores. I love all her cooker books.

  50. I was vegan for two and half years and I successfully kept house with my omnivore husband because he's supportive and has the patience of a saint. We ate vegan at home, and when eating out we ate whatever. Successful relationships require you don't try to control the other, and I think we were alright in that regard.

    I'm an omnivore now.

  51. We are an omivorous household, but we often sit down and eat a delicous homecooked dinner to realise afterwards "Huh, that was actually vegan!" One aspect that has previously scared me about veganism is that there seemed to be no recipes, I had this vision of vegan being a boring and lonely salad on a plate. I now love eating food that happens to be vegan since we started cooking Morrocan and Indian foods with an emphasis on chickpeas, lentils, beans and vegetables. Yummy, ingredients that are available, and a huge variety of recipes! I think my point is about education, so people know that vegan meals can be delicous and easy to make and therefore accessible and not so scarey and can easily be a part of normal home life.

  52. I think you've got to treat different dietary choices like people's religions: Don't try to shove yours down people's throats, and don't take offense when somebody's is different than yours.

    Having meat in my fridge doesn't mean I have to eat it. I'm not going to be offended because someone eats meat in my presence.

  53. I know i am coming in on this so late but this is why i love this site, wouldnt get this anywhere else and it be so fairly discussed!
    I was brought up by a vegan mum, vegetarian dad, and i have been vege all my life. This means if i eat meat (tried a few times out of curiousity) i get sick.
    My husband is a meat eater, but like most others who have commented we do the I cook, but wont touch raw meat but can cook it, have it in the house. 90% of meals are soya mince spag bol/vege chilli etc but when we have burgers etc he has meat ones. Everyones happy.
    I guess the trouble happens when we have kids, its going to be a bit of a debate (just like home education or school, i was home ed) but i think vege til they choose is best?!
    Also holding out for him 'seeing the light' one day, but i wouldnt bully him into it, like said before i knew this when we got together!
    <3 This site and the comments, allways makes me feel less weird πŸ™‚

  54. I am vegetarian, and my husband is an omnivore. We share several vegetarian dishes, like Indian-inspired curries and daal, homemade mushroom pizza, tofu and bean burritos, and breakfast for dinner. He's more likely to be satisfied by a warm spicy meal, so I try to avoid salads and lighter fare because then he craves a burger later…

    However, about once a week he cooks and eats meat for himself as an addition to a vegetarian meal. I feel okay with it as long as he keeps it frozen until the night before he cooks it, he makes sure it defrosts on a plate not the bare shelf in the fridge, and it isn't above or too close to any raw veggies in the fridge or prep area. He doesn't waste anything, and he also does the associated dishes. These things decrease the meat ickiness factor and exaggerated food safety fears I have, so maybe they will help someone else.
    As for veggie products that meat eaters like, I've found the Morningstar sausage patties (NOT links) and the chickn' patties are acceptable.

  55. I didn't know where to turn for support and I found this post. I was under the impression that vegan/vegetarians ettiquette wise should either bring their own to someone's home or eat side dishes and not preach to omnivors…but that it was perfectly okay to NOT serve meat in my home or allow others to bring it when I invite people over for a meal I'm cooking. Meat or not, if a host invites you over, asking if you can bring your own stuff, unless it's for a special diet (meatless, milk allergy, gluten free, etc.) I feel that's out of line anyway…but my mother made it clear that she disagrees.

    I had my family over last night. My mother, who has said that she supports me though she has no interest in going vegan, my stepdad, my 2 brothers, and one of my brother's girlfriends, came over. My brother asked if he could bring meat. I politely told him I preferred not, and he asked for some form of protein other than the veggies in the pasta. I asked if he would be willing to try a tofurkey sausage, he was happy to try it. From the minute my mom walked in it was a struggle. She asked me to hide the packages from the sausage and seitan that I used. When I told her I had discussed it already with my brothers and that they were fine with it, I can't describe her response as anything other than disappointed.

    Apparently my brother's girlfriend is taking a nutrition class and naturally her book says that you need meat based proteins because they claim they have things vegetable proteins do not. I had this conversation about a week ago my brother and I explained to him that it was not the case. When he asked why the book said that- I told him that because the government has a hand in the meat and dairy industry as well as pharmaceuticals, it was pretty much a big vicious cycle. Fast forward to last night. My husband heard my mom whispering to my brother's girlfriend asking her if she told me about the meat proteins. Seriously? At my house you want someone to come lecture me??! Anyway, his girlfriend told my mom that Michael already did and that I pretty much told him it was the government covering their asses. My husband said my mom acted very surprised and said "She said what?!" At some point I was outside sitting next to her as she smoked a cigarette. She pretty much told me that I was a bad host because I wouldn't allow meat in my home. When I explained to her that it was against my beliefs to serve or prepare or allow it in my house, but it wasn't against her beliefs to have one meatless meal, she got even more defensive. She told me that if she has to support my family note eating meat that I have to support her eating meat. When I told her that I won't ever try to "convert" her (this is what SHE has been calling it) but that I cannot and will not SUPPORT her eating meat, she just went silent.

    At dinner, everyone tried everything I put out. My mom picked around the seitan in her pasta with broccoli and commented about how she didn't want "that" on her plate. She told me the pizza rolls tasted like nothing. She told me my ziti was too creamy. Too creamy? Cheesy pasta (vegan cheese of course) too creamy?!!? My brothers ate and liked everything (except the sausage, but he didn't complain. He just said that he wasn't a big fan of the texture, but that was it. No complaint, no dwelling on it. One word and done. My mom had complaints all dinner. When Leah told me she wanted more sausage but didn't like the seitan (she likes some but not all seitan and that's a typical kid) my mom was thrilled. "She doesn't like that stuff." She happily reported like a friggin 6 year old. Then at dessert, the vegan chocolate cake that I served from Whole Foods left a film on her teeth and didn't taste good. She made a big show of mashing it on her plate and saying how bad it was, that you "can't mess with her chocolate" because she "knew better." She wouldn't even try the vegan coconut coffee cake that I made. All she did was ask what happened to the crumbs that were supposed to be on top. Both of my brothers tried and loved both cakes, by the way.

    She explained to me as we were standing in the kitchen that she knew that animals were tortured and beaten, but that it was FOR US TO EAT THEM and that if we didn't eat them someone else would. When I tried to explain supply and demand she wouldn't listen and then told me that she didn't care because she didn't want to think about what happened to the animals because she liked the taste and doesn't want to stop eating them, and went so far as to suggest that maybe I should just stop reading and watching videos about what happens to these beautiful animals and that would make it easier for me to just let people bring meat into my home.

    Before she left, she made a big thing about telling me again how it was bad of me as a host to not allow meat into my house and that was why they haven't been eating meals with us or hanging out with us. Then she made plans with Leah (my daughter) to take her today to buy a pair of Tom's (shoes) and made a big thing of how she "couldn't feed her anything" because she "isn't allowed to eat anything."

    As she walked out my front door she told me that she was "going home to eat a skirt steak."

    I just don't know what to do. Someone please help me. I'm so discouraged and disappointed that my mom is being that person. Tim is a vegan too (my husband) and he stands by me but he thinks I'm wrong for not allowing meat into our home. He isn't an "ethical vegan" and hasn't seen any of the animal rights materials I have. My mother managed to cause a mini fight between Tim and me after she left over this.

    The fact that she walked into my house and attacked me and the food I lovingly prepared for my family and made a family gathering all about attacking the belief system I have and food I feed my family rather than just enjoying each others' company..The fact that she made me feel like a freak in my own home, made me feel alone in my belief system …I really don't want to be around her anymore. This is my own mother. What do I do?

    • Wow that's terrible! This was probably posted ages ago so I don't know whether you'll see this reply or whether it'll be helpful, but it sounds like you really need a significant talk with your mum.

      Since she raised you and eats meat, I would guess she raised you to eat meat. Now you don't, and you say eating meat is unethical. To her, that may translate into "the values you raised me with are wrong and I reject them and you!". Of course this isn't the case, but if she's feeling defensive and rejected she's probably not thinking too clearly. A big family dinner with a focus on food isn't the setting for a meaningful discussion about it, but if you can arrange a neutral time and place and explain to her how you feel and how her actions made you feel, and then ask for her side of it and why she feels how she does, perhaps things can get better.

      I can only imagine that her behaviour stems from misunderstanding, bewilderment, a feeling of rejection etc – because what you described was unbelievably rude and hurtful. It might be worth talking to your siblings about it too, to get their perspective. But be careful: you don't want your mum to feel that you're all "ganging up" on her or that you're somehow trying to get them to side with you. However it might be useful to have their advice as they seem to be more supportive. Good luck.

  56. I feel I should add that I am what people call an "ethical" vegan (not vegan just for healh reasons but also because I have very strong feelings against animal abuse, eating animals, and toward the huge detriment producing animals has on the environment. Therefore, serving or purchasing or allowing meat in my house would go against my belief system. I never bring it up yet anyone who disagrees feels the need to tell me I'm an extremist and try to convince me I'm wrong. I never preach or try to get my family to "turn" or "convert' as they call it. I only defend myself when they insult me (which is EVERy time we get together).

  57. In my relationship, I'm the cook, omnivore and more adventurous eater. While I do sometimes cook meat at home, my vegetarian partner doesn't mind. But, honestly, I only cook non-veg food when we have other omnivores over for dinner. Too much work for just one eater in my opinion!

  58. Hi everyone, I'm coming at this topic from a slightly different angle. I'm an omnivore and my boyfriend is vegetarian, we've lived together for two years and I do 99% of the cooking and food shopping. I buy and cook vegetarian and only eat meat when were out or eating with my family. My boyfriend has recently decided to become vegan and I'm struggling on what to cook. I don't enjoy a lot of the vegan things i've tried and everything seems like so much effort I hardly enjoy cooking at all. I feel so restricted not just by what I make for us but where we go out to eat too, my favourite restaurants are off limits because they offer no or very little vegan options. We have tried cooking separate dishes but this makes me feel so unconnected! I know it's selfish to want him to not be vegan but I feel like it's driving a wedge between us. Any advice?

    • Hey Hayley!
      When I went vegetarian, and later vegan, my roommates and family were in a similar situation to yours. To quote my mom: "I don't know what to feed you!" I think one of the things that has helped them (and me) is for them to understand that I haven't made this decision lightly; a lot of thought goes into this sort of lifestyle change. Have you had a serious conversation with your boyfriend about why he's going vegan? It might help if you know where he's coming from. (Also tell him about your concerns! Find out where his boundaries are and where he's willing to compromise. Maybe he wants a meat-free kitchen, but doesn't mind if you keep cheese in the fridge. He might not realize what kind of stress this is putting you under.)
      As for cooking, I choose to see vegan cooking as a fun challenge rather than a chore. I've gotten so much better at substituting and throwing a meal together out of nothing since learning to live without meat and dairy. First, try finding those dishes that are "accidentally vegan" or that you can easily veganize (by trading milk for soy or butter for margarine, for example). You might not like something the first time you try it, but don't give up, and try new things often. My roommate used to hate tofu, but over the last year she's learned to love it the way I cook it.
      I hope that helps : )

  59. Hi everyone, I am omnivores and my husband has starterd being vegan since four years. He tried very hard to raise our son(3 years old) to be vegan but actually my son really loves eggs and fish, also some chicken wings.(Yes because I let him try everything, I think that's his right.) But all of these things bothered my husband and he always looked really annoyed and unhappy,even very angry when our son eats fish or even gummicandies. It hurts me when our little son was trying to tell Papa how much he likes the Salmon or the eggs, the father showed always a disgusted face and told him it's really bad that he's eating those things. Many times this behavior of him made my son cry and very confused! He all the time tried to give me and our son alot of pressure during the eating time, he forces us alot to eat vegan like him. He even dares me that if I don't become vegan or raise our son to be vegan, he will leave us. In fact his whole family(Parents, and two brothers, one sister in law, they all eat alot of meat and milk products.) I tried to compromise alot not to annoy him and create a nice and peaceful atmosphere at home, coz I want no stress in front of my little child. But he's always overreacting, his parents and I think he doesn't know what's respect and tolerance. Please share some opinions with me, what should I do? Should I get a therapist for him or should I keep communicating with him after a million times? I would be really thankful if any of you could give me some tipps or how you think of this. Thanks for reading. Qian

    • Qian. This sounds much like my ex-husband. He is a vegetarian, and I am an omnivore. We have four daughters, twins who are 10, 8, and 5 years of age.

      My ex transitioned to being a vegetarian in his early 20's. I was raised omni- but then, at 12, chose to become vegetarian. Our daughters had been raised on a mainly yogic diet, no eggs, meat, fish, poultry, garlic or onions, up until we separated (I left the USA when our youngest child was 6 months-old, wanting to move back to my home country, and also to leave the marriage).

      I started eating fish again in 2010, and eggs the same year. In December 2011, I became pregnant with my partner's child, and he requested that I start eating meat. I didn't have to, and it did gross me out a fair bit, but since then I've been completely omnivore.

      About 10 months ago, I started to offer meat to my daughters. My eldest didn't want to try it, and is still vegetarian, which is fine. My younger three daughters were more experimental, and now I have two children who love meat.

      We try to only eat pasture-raised, free range meat and eggs (which isn't hard to source as the demand is so much greater), and if we can buy organic we do.

      My ex-husband has threatened many times to the girls that he will leave them and never come back. He yells at them about eating meat (including at the vegetarian child), and scares them. He constantly emails me about how I should not be eating meat, that I am being disrespectful to him by offering the girls meat in the first place, and tells me that he'll leave permanently and not have anything to do with his daughters.

      Now, I wouldn't mind if he buggered off completely (he spends 5-months of the year in total travelling out of the country), and my twin daughters would much rather he wasn't around. But my younger two girls love their dad, and ultimately he is their father. I've told him that I would never force the children to eat meat, but I will offer both a vegetarian and an omnivore option in my home for them.

      It's all rather insane. The girls resent being threatened, and it is damaging to their well being.

  60. I love this post, and it's something I deal with too! I go through phases of vegetarianism for health and taste reasons but my poor husband is a through and through meat and potatoes man. He's nice enough to deal with a few vegetarian meals a night or a vegan smoothie for breakfast, but really we both compromise. I do ALL the cooking in my house (down to making his sandwhiches to take to work) so trying to run a vegetarian house would be out of the question, he would hate it!! I cook meaty meals a few nights a week and either just soup/salad/side dishes myself or eat a substitute (veggie burgers/ soy "chicken" nuggets). Because I eat vegetarian just out of taste prefrence I don't think it's fair if he's the only one that has to give in, often the omnivore didn't seek out a vegan/vegetarian specifically so I think people have to keep that in mind when cohabitating with someone with a different diet

  61. Due to some life circumstances (seven months ago) I found myself living in a vegetarian household even though I'm not (I'd go out for burgers or chicken every now and then).

    Last week I was diagnosed with severe Anemia, and if it gets much worse I could need a transfusion. My doctor told me I now had to eat meat, fish, eggs and fowl every day, effective immediately. It was clear I had to move out but in the meantime, I needed a change at home. My room mate turned me down flat, saying I violated "the rules" and even though my life was at stake he wouldn't bend, forcing me to eat out and incur more expenses, which really angered me.

    He then came after me for another month's rent, claiming improper notice and breaking "the rules." I was furious. We've had two major fights since then. I've had to go to the police for emergency counselling and I still cannot eat what I want. Two days ago he told me I could eat cold cuts and boiled eggs but I cannot cook anything. While I'm mad, I'm not going to antagonize him by cooking burgers in the kitchen. Suffice to say I no longer feel safe here and pray that some funding will come through soon so I can get out of here.

    • That's a tricky situation. But if the anaemia's that severe it's not going to improve quickly – it can take a month or two to raise iron levels, depending on the individual and how deficient you are, and that's not even considering your body's efficiency at absorbing iron from the diet.

      Has the doctor prescribed you an iron supplement? I would have thought that would be the first thing they'd do, if it's that serious, in which case you wouldn't be relying on food so much. It's true you don't want to have to take tablets forever but they would tide you over until your living situation is more settled, plus there are plenty of vegan sources of iron (eg dried apricots, black strap molasses, even baked beans – there are lists online that give iron amounts per 100g) that the doctor probably wouldn't think to mention as they aren't usually trained nutritionists. I hope this helps anyone else who finds themselves iron deficient too (it's very common even among those who eat meat, especially women).

  62. In my twenties I lived in co-housing on an organic farm. My roommates hated the smell of meat and I hated the smell of pot, so we made a deal– I wouldn't cook meat in the kitchen and they wouldn't smoke pot in the house. We lived together relatively peacefully for five years.

  63. Dump her. The production of meat, dairy and eggs requires the enslavement and murder of animals. To condone and contribute to this is gross moral turpitude. Never compromise in the face of evil.

    • I see where you are coming from, Samuel. But also, the production of pretty much everything that we use (including the computers or phones and the internet connections and the electricity that we are all using to discuss this very topic, right this minute) requires the intense exploitation of humans, animals, and the planet. I completely understand making choices that align with one's ethics, and I also understand if someone wants to partner with someone who shares that worldview, but it actually is simply impossible to "never compromise in the face of evil." Under capitalism, we must make such choices and compromise every day. You have drawn your line in the sand, and that's cool, bro. I have mine, too. But I know there are all sorts of things that are evil that I participate in, whether out of exhaustion or out of being a flawed human being who succumbs to desire or out of genuine necessity.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.