Being vegan can be a struggle. Never mind buying and preparing food for yourself, what about your beloved, carnivorous, significant other? I witnessed this battle between my brother and sister-in-law; he ate bacon everyday (livin' the dream) and she was vegan. She would cook his meals and then prepare her own. Now, she is nearing the end of a 6 year battle as my brother has almost completely transitioned to a vegan lifestyle. I am at the beginning of my own battle. I have no desire to change my boyfriend's ways, he can do that on his own if he so chooses, but what is he open to eating? How do I afford it? How do I manage my time? Is the only option to buy double the food and spend double the time? No one has time for that. I've developed skills in feeding my carnivore, and hopefully, they can help you feed yours!
1. Figure out what plant-based food he is open to eating such as veggies, fruit, smoothies, cereals, rice, beans, pasta and so forth.
Then you have to address his need for meat, eggs, and dairy and what that means for your grocery budget! Meat is the most expensive thing to buy (stupid carnivore expenses). Yes, buying Organic products, TVP, nutritional yeast, and dairy-free cheeses and "meats" can be more expensive, but you typically do not buy them as often as produce because they create multiple meals. Stay aware that produce expires quickly, which is why efficient recipes are essential for supporting your two-diet life. You may find yourself at the grocery store more often, but you will be spending less money and less time there.
2. Find universal recipes, that your carnivore will eat, with the option to double or triple the recipe for lots of leftovers.
For instance, cook up some pureed tomatoes, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, avocado and potatoes and then throw in liquid smoke, salt, pepper and garlic and you have a delicious chili even he will enjoy! Filling up both types of stomachs on a budget can be difficult...but it's doable if you find ways to cook for both of you simultaneously! Using rice and potatoes with a side of veggies for you and some chicken strips for him is a great, easy way to make a meal to please both of you! Make tofu-eggs and then his real eggs (why are eggs so hard to get off of pans?! So annoying...). It’s easy to make a vegan meal and a carnivorous meal simultaneously by using the same spices. Some of my personal favorites are salt, pepper, garlic, smoked paprika, liquid smoke, turmeric, onion salt, and nutritional yeast. These are great options for keeping your food flavorful and delicious.
3. Make time for prep. It can be tedious making vegan food but it can be easy.
Veggies cook much faster and there is no need to defrost. WINNER WINNER VEGGIE DINNER. If you really want any delicious, quality food you have to put in time. Granted, this goes for any type of diet, but now you’re fitting in both. Time management skills are a must especially when it comes to basic survival skills — like food and nutrition. This is where recipes with lots of leftovers come in handy!
4. Always try new things.
Thankfully, my carnivore will try anything and he likes his food heavily spiced and flavorful (no complaints here). This makes exploration fun and easy — even if you’re always staring at him like a psycho because you’re anxiously awaiting his verdict. His response is always honest, sometimes brutally, and he usually gives notes on what he feels is missing or why he doesn't like something. Honesty is essential to learning your carnivore's palate and it can help you guess if he'll like something before he even eats it. Keep in mind that he may get annoyed when you repetitively ask how something tastes...but then again who wouldn't. No regrets. You want him to enjoy his food.
5. Final tip: acceptance.
You can't try to change anyone's diet. They eat what they want to eat. I'll never force him to eat a plant-based diet and I've accepted his carnivorous lifestyle. It's helpful that he's always open to trying new things but I will continue to buy what he wants to eat so that he can enjoy his meals as much as I do. I have accepted that he's a velociraptor and I'm a veggie-saurus and we will live happily ever after.