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Musings From a Mixed Domicile
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Musings From a Mixed Domicile

Musings from a mixed domicile

So, what is it about a spouse or boyfriend that turns them into a master of sabotage when you decide to make your diet healthier or lose weight? Really?

I was a vegetarian when I first  hooked up with—let's call him, Jim. And, that was okay with him, the carnivore. We had agreed that at home, we'd eat vegetarian and when we ate out, of course, it was just fine if he ate critters. You can guess that we ate out a lot. But, basically, for years, that rule worked for us rather well. I wasn't militant—and being an ovo-lacto vegetarian helped—and he didn't complain, especially if I was doing the cooking—and as the years worn on, that was all the time.

In the meantime, he accepted a job so he wasn't working from home anymore and he began going to an office every day. Gradually, things started to change; mostly, his attitudes. Was it just that we were so long at being a couple that he didn't feel he needed to compromise anymore, or had being around different people for lunch everyday changed him? I mean, they are a bunch of well, "regular" people. You know those who still think granola bars are health food, bagels and French fries are one of the main food groups, pizza is religion and watching your diet means getting a diet soda instead of one with sugar. Did I mention most of them are also diabetic?

So, somewhere at about the tenth-anniversary mark, he started complaining –loudly—about the lack of "protein" in "our" diet. Now, this is a man who had meat in his sandwich every day for lunch and often stopped for a breakfast burrito with meat in the mornings on the way to work. But, now all of a sudden, if we didn't have a dead critter on our plate for dinner, he didn't think it was dinner—or that he was getting enough protein. When I tried to explain that the guidelines he so faithfully recited were 40 years old and had been suggested by the beef industry, he accused me of being a revolutionary and touting a conspiracy theory agenda. It didn't matter to him that I had gotten paid to write about nutrition and sustainable food issues or that I'd read almost everything written on the topics. He stubbornly clung to the old wives' tales and cultural dietary rules that he had grown up with and learned as a kid.

Well, I don't enjoy arguing or unrelenting confrontation, so I did what most women my age do—after several years of nagging, I caved in. I couldn't eat red meat because I had lost the enzyme that made digestion possible, but I started making chicken or seafood several times each week. It had also become prohibitive financially to make two dinners each night—although, it would've been better on the budget if Jim had switched to a vegetarian diet. Dinner time was now more peaceful but not on the inside of me. I didn't complain when my digestive track came to a screeching halt or I had no energy. I didn't mention the hungry kids in China when I left more than half of my portion of dead critters on my plate. (The dogs were really happy about that!) Then, all of a sudden, I had symptoms of reflux that had previously just been Jim's problem. I had also developed high cholesterol, which was also something new. And, I was told that I was at the beginning of heart disease. In just two or three years, I'd caught up with him on the number of daily medications I now needed to take. And, I felt lousy. I had no energy. I had gained a lot of weight.

When I came out of the cardiologist's office that day, I announced I was going back to my former vegetarian lifestyle. Jim rolled his eyes and told me that my new plethora of health problems had nothing to do with my diet but rather family history and age. Happy birthday. It was just a "coincidence." Coming from a man who doesn't believe in coincidence, I translated this as fear that there'd be tofu on his plate now instead of dead critters. (Tofu used to be fine with him.)

So, I quietly changed my diet back not only to just veggies—but vegetarian with a vengeance. I did get militant—but only with myself. I strive to be a fat-free, gluten-free vegan. Try doing that and living with someone who thinks that ordering a pizza with no cheese (as opposed to extra cheese) is one of the seven deadly sins. (You guessed it; gluten is the one thing I WILL compromise on sometimes.) I've lost some weight, although not enough yet, and most of my energy is back. I've also discovered that when I'm gluten-free, all of my reflux symptoms disappear and so does my "chronic" cough.

It's actually easier now making two dinners, since most of my diet is raw or near-raw. I've subscribed for a share in a Community Supported Agriculture project (CSA) and have plenty of organic fresh choices for balanced salads, which I eat daily.

But, the battle isn't won yet. The other day, he had a business day trip to a town several hours away that has a really good bakery. You guessed it, he brought home glazed doughnuts and apple fritters. I've never eaten these anyway, but he announced they were for "both" of us. "After all," Jim summed it up, "that's why we work out, so we can eat this stuff." Now, it's my turn to roll my eyes.

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Leave a Comment

  1. Akanksha
    Akanksha
    It was very encouraging to read your story 'oooowow'. There are so many people out there who would rather face health challenges than prepare 2 different meals. Coming from a non-vegetarian family myself, I can understand you. Cheers to your commitment!
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    1. oooowow
      Hi..Thanks for your comment! Well, I want to live to be old--but old with a decent quality of life, not just old for the sake of a number of years..and for me, that means eating healthily. Maybe that's a blog for another day! Thanks for your kind note.
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      1. Akanksha
        Akanksha
        I feel the same way. Will be looking forward to your next one. Following you now!
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  2. Veganara
    Veganara
    Voted. Yes, I second Akanksha, you are doing really well, and I know myself that it is not easy. No one in my family is vegan, or vegetarian, so I have to go it alone, but it is worth it. You may be in interested in my latest post, Reasons To Be Vegan, which covers some of the same points. If you like it, please vote!
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    1. oooowow
      Hi..Thanks ! I WILL read your blog..thank you for pointing me to it....
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  3. Tatterhood
    Tatterhood
    Why do carnists have such a need to defend eating rotting carcasses...animals that they had no hand in killing themselves? My question to most of my carnist friends is, "If you had to kill it yourself, could you, and would you still want to eat it?" Most say no. I know I couldn't kill an animal...I even veer around frogs jumping across the street on a rainy night (on back country roads, mind you). Most people never see or experience the killing process and are so removed from it...disconnected. I suggest you ask him to dig a little deeper if he truly cares about you and your choices. Even if a spouse or bf decides to remain a carnist, I think he needs to be supportive.
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    1. oooowow
      Funny, you'd say that! He's the first one to say that he wants/needs to think as a beef as something that comes in a styrofoam tray wrapped in plastic and wants no reminder that it was a live, breathing animal. There's a future blog post in that, I think. I used to live where there were lots of frogs and I, too, would avoid hitting them. I also avoid large black roaches that are plentiful where I now live. So, I can relate.
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    2. oooowow
      Hi..I just wanted to let you know I have another blog post.....I hope you migh enjoy...thanks..hope you're having a great day...
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  4. Kate Noel
    Kate Noel
    Great blog! My husband is also omni but when we eat at home, he eats like I do. He's very good about it but every once in a while he likes to joke with me that I wasn't vegetarian/vegan when we met. I was going through a relapse but I had been vegetarian for many years before that. Then I went vegatarian again to full on vegan 3 years ago. He's been supportive though, so I'm sorry to hear you don't get that as much. It's great you're commited though and it seems your health is thanking you for it, too.
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    1. oooowow
      Hi Kate! Thanks..My improving health is my testimony, rather than nag or argue. We can only change ourselves...for some people, though, I think it's like suicide by red meat--and you just can't live their lives for them...sound harsh???
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    2. oooowow
      Hi Kate..I just wanted to let you know I have another blog post that you migh enjoy...hope you're having a good day..thanks...
      Log in to reply.
  5. crabbymamma
    crabbymamma
    I love this post. My husband is an omnivore and I am a vegetarian. Anything at home is vegan. But when we go out he usually orders meat. He has always been very supportive of it. He goes out of town for work occasionally for a few months at a time. When he went to Denver he came home nearly vegetarian himself. When he went to New Orleans, he came home wanting meat at every meal and making cracks about the vegetarian lifestyle. I was really frustrated by his change in attitude. We are still working on it.
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    1. oooowow
      Thank you for your kind words..I've posted another entry you might enjoy..hope you're having a great day..thanks again...
      Log in to reply.
  6. Skip Stein
    Skip Stein
    What you describe is one of the most common situations we have seen over the past 3+ years in our Nutritional Vegan Health & Wellness practice. It typically IS the lady/woman who chooses the healthier nutrition, not the guys. There ARE exceptions. One of our classes a while ago, we had a terrific man, Al, who's wife was a carnivore but he wanted to better his health. At 65+ he decided that nutritional vegan was the way to go and turned out to be one of our top students in our cooking classes; he still frequently asks for help/guidance on new ventures in vegan cuisine <smile>! He ans his wife (gradually converting...) will join us on our annual Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise early next year (http://www.wholefoods4healthyliving.com/health_products/holistic_cruise.html). We see the duality of nutrition all the time. Even our lovely daughter continues to be a carnivore (her husband is wonderfully accepting of Veganism and willing to try most anything). You just cannot force people to change, but you CAN refuse to change back to a carnivore diet, once you have experienced the vitality that Veganism offers. Peer pressure is a HUGE impact on so many people; not sure why but it really is. From early childhood we are taught/forced to 'conform' and that continues into adulthood; unfortunately! Self reliance and independent thinking has been suppressed (another topic I'm afraid) and this in turn weighs heavily on people who don't have the self confidence and fortitude to chart their own course. I know, over 18 years ago when I quite drinking alcohol, it was difficult to 'socialize' but learned to always have a club soda or tonic water with a twist in my hand, simulating a vodka tonic. People left me alone. At business functions, it was a distinct advantage being the only 'sober' one and overhearing all the loose lips <smile>! The same has occurred, but even more so as we have focused on Vegan Nutrition. It is harder to 'hide' the fact that you are ordering vegetables and not the steak when dining out with carnivore friends; we seldom do these days. We find that our social circle has changed dramatically to a more health conscience group of friends. We feel sorry for our old carnivore friends but you just can't force people to change; they have to want to! The best advice we seem to be able to offer is to lead by example. In the case described here, the blood test results, weight balance and overall vitality should speak for itself. This is the approach we have taken with our family members who continue to eat poorly (we love them dearly but you just can't force it!). For holidays, we do cook two meals or when invited out, bring our own main course (usually a vegan can do just fine on the potatoes, vegetables at a regular meal). We bring a Gardein turkey breast wrap (easy to cook in the oven after the host's main meal is ready). When people are over, they eat Vegan, but we try to prepare common 'normal' foods like pasta salads, vegan lasagna or other 'neutral' meals that don't have a 'meat' focus. It works most of the time and folks seem to enjoy the variety! As we have gotten healthier over the years, loosing weight, looking younger, having more energy than we know what to do with, at 65+ my wife and I just try to be good examples of Health and Wellness. Having been diagnosed with prostate cancer several years ago and my wife with significant arterial blockage which have both pretty much disappeared, certainly helps! We have found more and more restaurants and people in general are more accepting of a Vegan Nutritional approach as the American people get sicker and sicker. Everyone knows someone close who now suffers from cancer, heart disease, diabetes 2, obesity and other lifestyle diseases. As we improve OUR health and wellness while others continue to be sick/dying, we hope to encourage others to see the light and simply change their diet! After all, it really IS a matter of life and death; AND it is SO EASY to DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cheers and good fortune, Skip Stein
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    1. oooowow
      Wow, Skip, that could've been a blog post all by itself!! You might enjoy my newest bog post...thanks for your support...hope you're having a great day...
      Log in to reply.

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