Valentine’s Day is a time to express love to a significant other. Exchanging gifts, going out for dinner, or staying at home and watching movies are great ways to spend the national day of love. And, similar to many people, I like spending time with my friends and family on February 14. However, I’m vegan, and I don’t have any other vegans in my life. So what’s a vegan girl looking for a cruelty-free Valentine to do? Create her ideal vegan Valentine—that’s what.
My ideal vegan Valentine is someone who is compassionate to others and is aware of what is happening around the world. My Valentine supports me when others try to admonish my veganism as a means to hurt me and the cause I find very important. Above all, my Valentine is not afraid to be who he is around my friends and family even though they might not agree with veganism.
Because I’m 17 years old, I can’t do anything with my vegan Valentine until I ask my mom to stay out later than usual (10:30pm would be ideal). Sadly, this year, Valentine’s Day is on a Wednesday (a school night), which means this might be harder to accomplish. Regardless of the curfew my mom would give me, I would then have to ask my parents for permission to spend my date alone—you know, without a chaperone?
For my vegan Valentine’s Day date, I will opt for a place with plenty of vegan options but that also isn’t too expensive (I need to save money for grad night). My ideal dish is noodles with tofu and hot sauce, but if I am not in the mood to go out for dinner, we can always get a to-go meal (because I don’t want my mom telling me to wash the dishes after dinner) and watch Okja, a movie about a young girl who rescues the animal she loves from the hands of a meat-industry tyrant.
This Valentine’s Day, I am planning to wear something simple yet not too casual—like skinny jeans with a long-sleeve top and my cute necklace from Jewels By SBJ. This look does not take much time to put together and is super comfortable. For my date, I would like him to wear a v-neck shirt with jeans as well because, you know, #couplegoals. This look is super simple to put together as well.
I like to give vegan goodies such as cookies, chocolate, or candies. My favorite vegan cookies are Lenny & Larry’s because I can find them at many gas stations or pharmacies at a good price. For chocolate, I recommend getting some Jokerz chocolate bars, which taste just like a chocolate bar that rhymes with “knickers” but without the dairy and animal ingredients. I also love giving accidentally vegan Swedish Fish and Oreo cookies. However, if I have some money to splurge on a special someone, a vegan wallet from Eve Cork, cruelty-free jewelry from Jewels By SJB, or shirts from Vegetaryn might find their way into my gift basket. Whatever I choose, the items can’t break my bank—remember, I’m saving for grad night.
Nothing says “I like you” like making food for that special someone. With this in mind, I just might invite my Valentine to my house for a vegan taco party. We can prepare beans, rice, salsa, guacamole, chips, and lettuce for the perfect dinner. And, if we’re not feeling extra, we can order vegan pizza from a nearby pizza place.
Has it ever happened to you that you are stumped for ideas to talk about? Me too! A good conversation is key during a date night or when hanging out with friends, which is why I like to talk about exchanging cool vegan things we found on the internet or saw on YouTube, how our parents are dealing with us being veganism, the environmental benefits of being vegan, and sharing cool recipe ideas we can make together in the kitchen. Talking about taboo vegan topics—such as the impact the dairy and meat industries have on climate change and the ethics of not eating meat for the animals—is important, too, because it helps defend yourself when a non-vegan begins questioning you about veganism and nutrition.
Ana Sofia Rodriguez is a vegan teen journalist who likes to write about fashion, culture, and anything else her mind can come up with.