Our family’s initial vegan experiment involved the whole family. Desperate to control my husband’s diabetes and hypertension without prescription medications, we decided to try the “Forks Over Knives” approach and adopted a diet free of added salt, sugar and animal protein.
We were in a “try anything” situation and felt that our daughter was still young enough to adapt easily to the diet change. I immersed myself in planning meals, testing new recipes and tried to make eating so exciting that nobody would miss the meat, eggs or cheese. I thought I was succeeding
Then we ventured into a restaurant. As we were perusing the menu, my then-2-year-old asked, “Can we have meat Mommy?” I told her no, that we didn’t eat meat any more.
Her response was to flag down a server while loudly exclaiming, “That lady can get us some meat!” My husband shrugged, adding that he could go for some chicken. And with that, all of the resolve I had collected over the previous six weeks crumbled. They had their chicken and I had my animal-free salad, feeling quite superior that I was not caving. I told myself it was an isolated incident.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks later and I was surprised to find during my regular fridge cleanout that there was almost an entire week’s worth of uneaten food in the fridge. The meals I had set aside for my husband and daughter to eat while I was away during the week were untouched. When I confronted my husband, he claimed he couldn’t tell what was what in the fridge. Then I found out that while I was gone, he was taking our daughter to fast-food restaurants and avoiding everything I had in the fridge.
He was done with this vegan experiment and wanted to go back to the low-carb plan lifestyle we had before. I was angry. I felt betrayed. I was spending every available moment scouring blogs for interesting recipes to make, batch-cooking every weekend so that he didn’t have to plan lunches during the day and dinnertime would be convenient. Despite all effort, he wasn’t sold on the idea and with us not being on the same page, our daughter was confused.
After a couple of emotionally charged discussions, we attempted a truce. I was willing to compromise at home if he was willing to stop taking our daughter to fast food, which we both agreed was not in line with our values. I had come to enjoy the extra money that came from not buying meat or dairy. It meant we could go from purchasing conventional foods to all organics. I didn’t want to give that up, but I was willing to buy one package of chicken and one dozen eggs each month for my husband to make when I was away.
Our truce is not perfect. I feel like a short-order cook from time to time as I make one thing for myself and something different for my family. My husband forgets to take me into consideration on his cooking nights, often leaving me to fend for myself. But for the most part, it’s working. We still have more animal-free meals than we used to and I have hopes that as our daughter grows up, she’ll follow my lead instead of her father’s.
Only time will tell.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.