I first met my husband in the spring of 2013. We shared a meal at...Texas Roadhouse. I believe we both had steak. Fast forward 3 years and oh how the tides have turned! In November of 2016 Jerrod, the husband, decided he wanted to lose weight and being the supportive (and also obese) wife that I am I decided that I too would try and lose some weight. I vowed to cook healthier meals. After a couple weeks browsing healthy recipes online I came across a few vegetarian and vegan cooking blogs that I fell in love with. One was actually the blog of a good friend of mine, Cookie + Kate. The others are The Minimalist Baker, Love and Lemons, and Oh She Glows. If you haven't heard of these bloggers go check them out ASAP!
After trying recipes from theses sites it finally dawned on me that animal products are completely unnecessary for healthy whole food meals. Light bulb! At this point it was the beginning of December and my husband was starting to ask the dreaded "where's the meat?" question and so I had to confess...I am going vegan. He was upset, and not just a little upset, but irrationally upset. I had changed the game on him. The girl he met, and fell in love with over countless meals of steak and ribs and roast is giving up meat? And not just meat but cheese, eggs, milk, all of it? He was shocked.
I had to help him see how this was the best way we could be healthy. I started by doing my own research on plant based diets and the animal agriculture industry. I was shocked. What started out as a health kick had turned me into an advocate for animal rights, the environment, sustainability and the American health crisis. I had to show my husband what I had found out. We watched endless documentaries like Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, Planted Nation and many more. I talked to him every day about the evils of processed foods and brought up the gruesome facts about animal slaughter on a daily basis. He remained adamant that he's still a meat eater and that he hates the word VEGAN and associates it with 'extremist weirdos'. Easy fix, we no longer say meals are vegan, we just refer to them as Plant Based. It was incredible. Not only does he enjoy his new plant based diet he has even started singing it's praises to those he works with.
It took a long time, a lot of education (on both our parts) and persistence but we finally found a balance we can live with. I cook only plant based, animal free meals and he loves them. Then if he still wants meat he can either make it himself or he can order animal products if we go out to eat. Compromise, the key to a happy marriage! Then, just as I was settling into the idea that my husband was at least going to be vegan 90% of the time we went out for a treat to a bakery. I have been craving donuts for months. Going vegan I gave up my once a week donut habit. My husband then googled vegan bakeries and we were off to Green Goodies in Oklahoma City, about a 20 min drive from our home. We got there and unfortunately they didn't have donuts but I did get a really good cupcake and the best part of the trip...my husband chose a vegan cupcake over the traditional ones! Happy dance, this is working! He admitted that it tasted great "just like the real thing". I saw my opportunity so the next day we went to breakfast, he let me pick and I chose a vegan friendly coffee shop, The Red Cup in Oklahoma City. And again he chose the vegan option all on his own! He's still singing the praises of the vegan burrito and has declared we'll be going back next weekend!
I am not so naive as to think he's never going to eat animal products again but he's given me so much hope. He obviously believes in the things I've been saying and is doing an amazing job of respecting my beliefs when he eats with me. He admitted he can't even remember when the last time he ate meat was! I know he would never have come around to the plant based diet if I had declared that it was my way or starve. I am pretty sure the biggest influence on his new perspective of plant based food is that I make sure that we are having a variety of healthy and delicious dinners almost every night. This way we are enjoying the experience of trying new things together and learning what we like as we go. So my advice to all those meat-eater partners is patience, education and acceptance of your partners choices.