Been vegan a long time and planning to move in with non-vegan friends? Or are you about to go vegan in a non-vegan roommate situation?
Whatever the situation, sharing a home with friends who have different preferences can feel tricky to navigate. To avoid any awkward moments or annoying issues, follow the five simple tips below.
Set Clear Boundaries
When it comes to living comfortably with non-vegans, it’s really important to set clear boundaries from the start - don’t expect your housemates to read your mind. While one vegan might be fine sharing their pots and pans with the rest of the house, another might cringe at the thought of bacon in their frying pan.
Being clear about what you do and don’t find acceptable means fewer misunderstandings later down the line. Be friendly but firm, saying things like, ‘I’m happy to share cutlery but I’d like to keep my chopping boards for fruit and veg only.’
If possible, chat about boundaries before moving in to make sure that everyone is on the same wavelength.
Allocate Fridge, Freezer and Cupboard Space
Don’t fancy going to the fridge for some tofu and grabbing a block of halloumi instead? Splitting the fridge, freezer and cupboard space up so that there are a few vegan-only sections is a good way to keep things simple.
Depending on how roomy your kitchen is, you could have storage space for each housemate, or just keep animal products to one area and vegan items to another.
The best solution will vary according to your household, so chat with your housemates and take everyone’s preference into account.
Make an Effort to Cook Together
Do your housemates think that vegan food is weird, bland, and overpriced? Prove them wrong by cooking a tasty meal for the whole house. You could make a mixed bean chili, a tasty vegan lasagne, or a delicious vegetable curry. If things go well, you could make it a weekly routine and take it in turns to cook for each other.
This is a fun way to show that vegan food is tasty and fun - and it’s also a great way to bond with the people you’re living with.
Be Respectful of Your Housemates
While you might be passionate about your vegan beliefs, there’s a good chance your housemate doesn’t want to hear about the evils of the dairy industry while they’re enjoying their cereal. Try to avoid forcing your views on the people you live with, and lead by example instead - by being kind, respectful, and understanding towards others.
Rather than criticising your housemates and creating tension, do your best to show that vegans can be fun, friendly and relaxed.
Be Willing to Compromise
Living in a houseshare always involves some level of compromise, and things are no different when you’re vegan. Decide what’s really important to you, and be willing to let other things go.
Maybe your housemate occasionally puts their stuff in your freezer drawer, but has also given you half the cupboard space? It's probably best to let the freezer issue go.
Living in a non-vegan houseshare can feel daunting, but it’s easy as long as you set clear boundaries, respect your housemates, and stay open to compromise. Baking the occasional tray of vegan brownies to share probably won't hurt either...
Image credit: Photo by Evieanna Santiago on Unsplash