4 Ways to Cook for a Multiple Diet Household Without Losing your Mind

What to do when your wife suddenly goes vegan

“What do you even eat?”

“So like, does that make you a vegan?”

“Wow, you must really love her.”

“How do you cook for the two of you?”

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These are the statements and questions I hear the most when talking about the two distinct diets that exist in our household. Hi, by the way, my name is Tim and I am Christina’s husband. As you all well know by now, Christina is a vegan and I am, well, how do you say? Not.

There seems to be this perception out there in the dating/love world that partners who have different eating habits are often less compatible than partners who have similar tastes in food.

“Julia, do you and Mike want to go out and get pizza?”  “Oh, Mike doesn’t eat pizza…” “He doesn’t eat pizza?! Umm, is he even human? Julia, you can’t date a guy who doesn’t eat pizza. It’s a total red flag.”

Or in my case: “Dude, she doesn’t eat meat? How does she live? Does she eat cheese?”

“No.”

“Slim Jim’s?”

“No.”

“Cheesy Gordita Crunches?”

“Not that I know of.”

“Dude, you must really love her.”

The fact of the matter is, I do love my wife, beyond anything in this world. And bottom line, I am willing to make our diets work together so that we both can enjoy the foods that excite us and nourish us.

When I found out that Christina was becoming a vegan, I struggled. Long gone were the nights of stuffing our faces with chicken tenders, having wine and cheese nights, eating sushi-filled love boats in single sittings at our favorite sushi spots. At least that’s what my initial thought was. Then something happened.

At the time, I was really starting to hone my cooking skills. I wanted to learn how to cook delicious food so that, secretly, I could really impress her family. And as Christina started to become vegan, a challenge arose in my culinary education. How would I cook for the two of us and create a menu that incorporated plant-based, vegan food as well as meat, cheese, fish, chicken, pork, butter, lard, beef stock, heavy whipping cream? Oh my god I freaking love meat.

Because we are still married, you can assume I figured this piece out. But for those of you who are struggling to make this work with your partner, whether they are vegan, keto, gluten-free, soy-free, paleo, strictly candy-only, I am going to give you 4 tips on how to find enjoyment and deliciousness in a multiple diet household.

 
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1.Flip your perspective on food

Right now, you are probably thinking meal time is a struggle. “Damn. We are going to have make two meals for dinner now.” “How about…? No that has meat in it. Ok, umm, how about…? Nope, full of cheese. Umm, what about…? Crap, it has a chicken base. Is there anything in our fridge that is 100% vegan?”

 Tacos - the best dish to make a crowd of picky or different dieters.

Tacos - the best dish to make a crowd of picky or different dieters.

I’m going to ask you to do some pretty weird stuff in a second so bear with me:

Take a deep breath.

Close your eyes.

Tell yourself,

“It’s just food.”  

It’s just food! Why put some much negative energy into something that is so life-giving and nourishing? Don’t get so hung up on the details. Do yourself a favor and tell yourself that this situation is another way for you and your partner to grow closer, try new things, and ultimately, eat delicious food!

2. Find vegan or whatever-diet-specific recipes you enjoy

Come in with an open mind. Find some different, diet specific recipes that look good to you and cook them. If you like them, great! Make them a staple in your house. If you don’t like them, move on.

For those of you in my situation, I recommend Christina’s Cauliflower Vegan Buffalo Bites (with deliciously creamy, blue-cheese dressing for the non-vegan in your life). Sign up for Christina’s newsletter below and she will send you this glorious recipe!

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3. Think Outside the Box

If you like to cook, this tip is for you. One of my favorite things to do is to figure out how to make the most meatiest, cheesiest dishes vegan so that Christina and I can both enjoy them. I’ve been able to come up with: Vegan Nachos, Vegan Potato Skins, Vegan Chili, Vegan Steak Dinner, Vegan Shepherd’s Pie, Vegan Gumbo, Vegan Mac and “Cheese”, Vegan Country Fried Steak, Vegan Pulled “Pork” sandwiches, just to name a few.

And if I’m really hankering for some meat, I’ll cook a little on the side quickly or add it into my meal prep so that I can enjoy in on my plate. You just have to be creative.

4. Remember the most important thing

Food brings people together.

When we make food out of love and care, it’s felt by everyone who eats it. If you approach your meals with this in mind, you will always eat well.

Thanks for you time,

Tim