So your live-in partner doesn’t eat like you? Bummersauce. What’s a vegan (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo or nut-free) to do?
Sharing a space with someone who is very different than you can be frustrating, but when food is involved, it can get even stickier. If you’ve ever found cheese in your tofu drawer or come home to a surprise fridge full of meat, then you know what I’m talking about. Food is emotional, sentimental, and important. And, if you’re someone set in your ways, well change is scary!
So how do you solve these issues and live in communal, mixed-diet bliss? Below are a few solutions to consider. Keep in mind that there is no universal solution. It’s a personal choice; Some vegans absolutely will not live in a house that has meat in it, while others (myself included) are alright so long as there’s no cross-contamination. Chew on the following options, chat it out with your partner, and figure out something that works for you as a unit.
Meat-free mandate – This is when the vegan (or the gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, paleo, etc) puts a meat ban on the house. The strictest of all solutions, this kind of mandate can cause friction, and not the fun kind. Not many people like being told what they can or can’t eat inside their own home. That being said, I know tons of vegans who won’t allow meat in their house. As a remedy, their compliant partners snag meat outside the home, on lunch breaks or when out to dinner. While I know this works for some people (especially those whose omnivorous partners are especially understanding) I’ve found that without a compromise, most of my omni partners have ended up disgruntled, feeling like strangers in their own space.
Cook is boss – In this scenario, the veg head takes the role of executive chef, therefor everything served up is vegan by default. I’ve done this one before, and it worked out pretty well. There was still some lunch meat in the fridge (nose wrinkle) for when my partner wanted to make his own sandwich, but everything was mostly meat-free, and that’s the way (uh huh, uh huh) I like it.
Separate but equal – The segregation situation often works best. Set aside a specific shelf for meat/dairy, a special meaty cutting board, specific pots and pans, etc. This makes cross-contamination less likely and allows both parties to eat how they want.
The roomies – this situation is also a peace-maker, but I find it to be a bit depressing. When you eat like you’re roommates, you basically keep and prepare your own food, often chowing down on separate schedules. I’m really into sharing meals, so this sitch makes me kind of sad, but I know tons of people that swear by it. You do you, I do me, and at the end of the day we can still do each other.
Shameless plug alert: Here’s a funny trailer for my book, The Lusty Vegan, that addresses this very sitch:
So, how do you resolve your mixed-diet living situation? Tips and tricks? Leave ’em in the comments!