No matter how steamy your relationship, suggesting your partner go vegan can trigger some fiery resistance. Our significant others may have strong emotional attachments, and possibly perceived cultural ties, to what they put on their plates. When we venture down a vegan path while in a relationship with an omnivore, we may dream of them joining us in our cruelty-free commitment. But meat-eaters often dig in their heels when it comes to going plant-based. Fear not! We’re sharing some simple tips to inspire your partner to go vegan along with you.
1. Don’t preach
Whether you are motivated by ethical, environmental, or health reasons, your decision to go vegan is a big win-win-win for everyone. Nevertheless, avoid taking a holier-than-thou attitude with your romantic partner. Sharing your journey is one thing, but when we become evangelical and tell our loved ones what to do, we lose their interest in our causes. Be a happy vegan, but don’t make other people miserable while they’re finding their way.
2. Inspire by example
Setting a great example can be a fantastic form of advocacy. So, if you want your significant other to follow in your plant-based footsteps, it’s important to be a healthy and happy vegan. Nourish your body with nutrient-packed plant-based foods, like a hot and spicy Chimichurri Bowl and this perfect-for-fall super-simple pumpkin soup. When we take care of ourselves, we inspire others. The best way to show someone the benefits of a lifestyle change is by demonstrating how well it works on yourself.
3. Prepare delicious food
When we cut out the animal products and go vegan, we discover the wonderful abundance of plant-based foods available to us. The only thing better than diving in for ourselves is sharing all of that vegan goodness with the people we love, so make an effort to take over the food prep in your household. Start by getting up early to surprise your partner with a homemade lunch to take with them to work. Then get creative and serve your plant-based interpretation of their favorite recipe for dinner. Not only will they appreciate your effort, but they’ll be tasting for themselves just how fantastic vegan food can be.
4. Arm yourself with facts
Another great way to convince your partner to go cruelty-free is to know your vegan facts. Whether you’re sharing information about the ills of animal agriculture, such as the conditions animals endure on factory farms, or why plant-based eating is more environmentally sustainable than an omnivorous diet, your brain is one of your greatest tools. Read the hottest new books about veganism (such as Ageless Vegan and Eat for the Planet), and watch all of the documentaries (check out The End of Meat). The goal is not to bombard your partner with your knowledge of veganism (see tip #1), but to be prepared if they ask you about it. Be ready to share what you know when your partner comes to you with their first curious questions, such as “Why shouldn’t I eat cheese?” and “Where would I get my protein?” You’ll show how legit your choice is by being able to quote concrete examples in any conversation.
5. Support every little step
Once your partner is curious and voices their interest in going plant-based, you may opt to support a “kaizen” (Japanese for “good change”) approach. This philosophy values step-by-step improvements, rather than one great dramatic change. Some partners will dive into veganism, and some will start by eating a bit more plant-based here and there on their quest to total veganism. Though our dream may be for our omnivore partner to instantly transform into a plant-based powerhouse, for many, the change takes time. Have compassion and patience as you support your partner in going through this change. Not only will your lifestyle differences no longer be a point of contention, but your veganism will become a building block in your loving relationship.
Isabelle Steichen, who is originally from Luxembourg, moved to NYC five years ago, and is the founder of The Plantiful Podcast.