Here it is. The million dollar question. The one so many vegans & non-vegans ask me. How on earth do I co-habitat as a vegan, with a non-vegan?
Firstly, it must be said that, as with all relationships, there is love and there is compromise. Secondly, all of us are different and maintain different relationships, what works for me might not necessarily work for you & yours and that is completely alright.
Before I start though, I feel like this one requires me to share a little back story about my journey to veganism, and then I’ll get into how I do this with my partner, and soon to be husband.
COMPASSION IS EVERYTHING.
I initially became a vegetarian because I didn’t want to harm innocent animals, because I believed I could live a full life without doing so.
Today, I still believe this, and live a fully vegan lifestyle. However, for me, this belief has grown to encompass far more than solely avoiding the harm of animals.
I now try my best to live fully and compassionately however possible, which means finding compassion for all, in every scenario, to the best of my ability.
Which for the most part, means I live my life like most everyone else. I’m far from perfect, I just do a little more diligence when it comes to certain things.
I still like to get pretty and wear makeup and I love to play with fashion because I’ve always loved clothes. I like to go to cool new restaurants and have girls nights just like the rest of the world.
However, all my products are vegan and cruelty free. My clothes are vegan and I am no longer buying fast fashion garments… I try my best to scour thrift & consignment shops for clothing and accessories or support sustainable, ethical brands to reduce any harm or negative impact on not only animals, but also people & the planet.
I try my best not to participate in gossip, to check myself when I feel judgement towards others, and to live with love and not hate.
My take on veganism is similar to ahimsa, which in Hindu and Buddhist tradition means the principle of nonviolence toward all living things. Except I replace nonviolence with compassion.
I aim to live fully and compassionately in all respects.
So yes, as an angsty vegetarian teen I do re-call being rude (and looking back on it, hurtful) to my parents and siblings about how awful they were for continuing to eat meat while knowing it was harmful and unnecessary.
And yes I STILL have moments when I am saddened to think that people DO continue to eat meat, drink milk, wear leather etc. I’ll watch a documentary and feel outraged. All my ‘reasons’ for going vegan bubbling to the surface in sheer hatred of others for not following suit.
But here’s the thing. We are all love. I believe in my heart of hearts that people are innately good. We are all being and doing the best we can. We are all on our own journeys, believing that our way is best and trying to make a change or create a difference.
Being vegan is an act against the unnecessary harm of others. So, I challenge you to think of veganism as an act of non harm to all. An act of compassion.
I promise you, when those angry feelings start to well up, it helps to remind yourself that we are all doing what we can. Everyone is trying in their own way.
With that I have to touch on this: Preaching. In my experience, preaching has never resulted in a positive outcome. It’s hurt people I love and pushed them away. I believe the only way to evoke change is to be the change. By doing and being. Eventually, you may notice people will take an interest in your lifestyle and may even ask for advice…
Seriously, as a vegetarian in elementary school I had kids throw salami at me at lunch because I was weird. As a teenager I was interrogated at countless dinners and engagements. And as a vegan, I’ve been accused of being a malnourished extremist… The list goes on.
But, I also never thought eating vegan would be the trend diet it is today. Or that people would think I was ‘cool’ for saving animals from mass murder… That I’d live in a city with more vegetarian and vegan restaurants than I can count. That I’d be able to order a vegan latte from nearly any coffee shop on the block.
I’m not tooting my own horn, I’m just saying, as I’ve evolved, so has the world. It’s been incredible to see it happen, to see the shift. To be the change, and then, to see the change.
I’m going to marry a non vegan
For Gabriel, I choose love.
I have never met a funnier, more generous man, who is constant in his conviction to learn, do, and be better. We both love self development and challenging ourselves with new ideas, perspectives and ways of thinking. More often than not, we see things VERY differently. As such, our relationship is a true testament to how two very different people can live a great life together, not in spite of our differences, but BECAUSE of them.
This is not to say that at times, it isn’t trying… Our love takes work. But if anything should be worth a little work, I believe it may as well be the relationship I’m banking on lasting a lifetime.
Gabriel treats me like gold, he takes care of me. He pushes me to be a better version of myself and to try things I’m scared to do. He also bends when he needs to. Because we ALL NEED TO BEND AT TIMES.
When I went vegan he wasn’t stoked. It meant more planning of our date nights, reading menus pre-booking, less shared dishes, less eating out at restaurants in general…
It also meant more compromise. Like a lot.
We generally buy our own groceries and cook separate meals and that’s kind of weird. But it’s our weird. It’s our normal. Sometimes I cook and he’ll add meat to his dish at the end. Sometimes he’ll eat exactly what I make.
He definitely eats more vegan food than he ever did before me. He rarely eats cheese or dairy. In actuality we mainly eat vegan paleo foods. AND he is very conscious about the meat & dairy he chooses, which evolved over the course of dating me. We have fun trying to think up meals we can both eat together.
I buy the majority of our home and cleaning supplies and ensure these are all cruelty free and vegan. I don’t buy him non-vegan goods. And when it comes time to replace something in the home that might not be vegan, we search for something that fits within the vegan guidelines.
He is always game to eat at vegan restaurants with me, he sends me vegan products and recipes he finds online on the daily… And he is fiercely supportive of me, in fact he has taken nearly all of my blog and instagram photos.
I recognize that veganism isn’t his journey right now, and that it may never be. I choose compassion when it comes to him, like he does for me. I see his heart and the way he treats people and animals (HE IS AN ANIMAL LOVER thank goodness). And he does a lot in his OWN way, most notably with 7 Figure Entrepreneur.
So. I choose to see the love and kindness HE brings to the world, to focus on the good and how we can change the world together, but apart. Just by loving and supporting each other exactly as we are.
I hope this helps some of you vegans navigate your new world amongst omnivores and gives you some perspective when you find yourself having those hard conversations with your loved ones. I hope this resonates with you and gives you hope.
Feel free to share your thoughts, comments and/or struggles in the comments. Sending you love xx