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Braving the Blended Household -- When You're the Only Vegan
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Braving the Blended Household -- When You're the Only Vegan

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.

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  1. The Flaming Vegan Crew
    The Flaming Vegan Crew
    Wow! We love this topic, Tonya, and your candid exploration of it! Thanks so much for sharing! Please keep us posted-- we hope to hear a lot more from you in the future.
    1. Tonya Kubo
      Tonya Kubo
      Thanks! It's definitely not a topic I see addressed very often.
  2. Sunshine
    My mother sometimes acts like this, but I don't try to force it down her, or my sister's throat. (Not saying that you are) But I am now starting to buy all my own food, so if she chooses to eat the food I make, the she does and if she likes it, then she does. She's slowly been starting to eat much healthier because of my eating habits which I am grateful for. I noticed that when I had moved out for a short time her and my sister had pretty much started eating only frozen TV dinners; I was the glue that was holding the cooking part of the family together. But with anyone, I only ease people into my kind of lifestyle, I never throw them into it; it's like teaching someone to swim.. You don't want it to be a sink or swim scenario.
    1. Tonya Kubo
      Tonya Kubo
      I definitely believe in attracting flies with honey rather than vinegar. Have you found that when you make something truly delicious, your mom and sister can't help but at least try it?
      1. Sunshine
        Definitely; even when I'm cooking my mom can't help but to try the food I'm making. My sister just tries whatever I'm eating. She's not very big on eating meat to begin with, so she's tried meat substitutions before and has really liked them.
        1. Tonya Kubo
          Tonya Kubo
  3. RubyTuesday49
    I went Vegan at the beginning of July 2013. - in an attempt to help lower my cholesterol levels. (I refuse to take Statin drugs) My Mother & husband are both on Statins and just weren't willing to take the dive. I didn't want to have to cook two different dinners everyday so basically I make basic meals with meats or animal products to the side. I am very strict and eat no: meats, poultry, cheese, eggs, butter etc and to complicate matters, I don't eat SOY products! I eat what ever vegetables and pasta (non egg) or rice or potatoes and then I have one of my sausages (no animal or soy) - they are delish!! I have made some lovely white sauces with Almond Milk and I hope to create my own patties (again with no animal or soy). I don't allow myself to entertain the thoughts that "I wish I could eat that or that I "miss" eating something. I think it is easier to succeed if you don't make it too complicated. and I try not to get annoyed when others say "oh I'm sure you could eat this." or "I don't think it would hurt you to have just a little!" It's like telling an addict that one drink or one cigarette wouldn't hurt! :-)
    1. Tonya Kubo
      Tonya Kubo
      I agree with you on all points. Thanks for sharing what works for you. We're also a soy-free household. It definitely creates a complexity to plant-based living, but as you've discovered, it's not a barrier. What is your sausage recipe?


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