Vegan dating omnivore: omni no more?

Posted: September 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

Well, kids, Earthlings may have turned my omnivorous fiance veg.  I don’t know for sure, but I think that Rad Guy is going to change his eating habits after viewing it.  A couple nights ago, after watching Food, Inc, which is relatively tame compared to Earthlings, we went upstairs to grab leftover tofu po’ boys (Thanks, Veganomicon cookbook!)  and saw some of my roommates ground beef in a package next to our yummy treats.  “I just can’t look at that the same way,” he said, gesturing toward the beef.  “I could definitely do away with red meat.  I mostly just eat chicken.  Chicken is my favorite food.”


Image by mubblegum via flickr

The next night, last night, we tried to watch King Corn on Netflix via my laptop, in keeping with the Big Ag documentary theme, but my wireless connection was acting up, so we just watched the silly comedy Waiting.  I had a copy of Earthlings from Netflix still in the red envelope, and I said although I couldn’t watch it again, I think he should watch it, so unbeknownst to me, he took it home with him after I fell asleep and watched it last night.

This morning I got these texts:

“You can change your queue.  I watched earthlings last night

“I was floored.  I’m glad I know what goes on in certain areas of animal life but I really think I need to adjust my eating habits.  I had to look away numerous times.  Shocking.”

“I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing most of the time.  I’d love to get some coffee and discuss it with you.  Hard to text about something so unbelievable.”

Now, we have a movie or coffee date set up for tonight after work.  I feel like there is a little pressure on me during this date to make a case for veganism or at least vegetarianism.  We have discussed our future marriage (next week is the wedding!) and raising children (vegan at home and packed vegan lunches, but they could eat meat outside the home if they choose to, just like Rad Guy could), but he never said he would stop eating meat.  In fact, when I first said I was going vegan, he said “I will totally support you, but I will never become a vegetarian.”  Never.

So, I sort of put “converting” him to veganism out of my mind.  I figured, hey, I will cook delicious vegan food (Seitan Piccata last night), I will live my life as animal-free as possible, and if he comes around, great.   If not, at least he will be drastically reducing his consumption of animal products.  I do talk about animal rights with him.  For example, I showed him the PLRS undercover investigation that PETA did, and he wrote emails to the companies involved to encourage them not to use that lab.  Even before I went vegan, he loved our dog and hated rodeos, so maybe a vegetarian awakening was just the next logical step?

I actually refrained from talking about factory farms very much.  I once mentioned how prevalent pneumonia is in pigs who are slaughtered, and he brushed it off with an, “eh, maybe they are just really susceptible to pneumonia.”  I didn’t really talk about it after that, other than a very mild comment here and there.  I would always pipe up when I saw a vegan star on screen or heard a vegan musician on the radio, but I kept it pretty mild.  I never really said anything when he’d order meat at a restaurant.  I just cooked healthy, animal-free food, using recipes from Veganomicon and Vegan on the Cheap.

But a picture truly is worth a thousand words.  I could have made a case against all the abuses depicted in Earthlings, but maybe unless you see it for yourself, it seems unreal or even reasonable.  Once you see how these animals are treated, you can never look at a hamburger the same way again.  Maybe you justify it, or maybe you just don’t care, but you can never look at meat and say that nothing bad ever happens to these happy cows .

So now, he knows.  Now, he told me he wants to “adjust” his eating habits.  Now, we are going out for movie or coffee tonight, and I feel a bit of a burden to nudge him all the way to vegetarianism or veganism.  What do I say?  How do I not turn him off from the prospect?

Basically, my case will be that now he knows how animals are treated on factory farms.  If he doesn’t want to support that industry, I am already vegan, so I don’t think it would be that much of a stretch for him to just eat what I make and pack a vegan lunch to take to work.  Going vegan would be pretty easy for him to do, and it feels good to vote with your wallet.  Multiple times a day, by not eating animal products, you do something good for yourself, the environment, the poor, and the animals.  There’s really nothing that makes you feel good about eating meat, except that it tastes good.  However, there are vegan dishes that taste great, and there are mock meats that can fill that texture void if desired.

I would love it if my fiancé went vegan; I would love it if many, many people went vegan.  However, I don’t want to be manipulative.  I will just listen to his response to Earthlings, and I will state my case honestly.  I haven’t been this nervous about a date in a long while!

  1. ailanna says:

    I’ve heard a lot of vegans say that they could never date someone who wasn’t also vegan, so it’s good to hear your perspective. Your fiance sounds like a great person, tolerant and willing to change his position when presented with new information. I’ve never made it through all of Earthlings. I should try watching it again. Like your blog, by the way. 🙂

    • theradgal says:

      Thanks for stopping by, ailanna. I can learn a lot from my future husband; he is truly open-minded, a real independent. I tend to be much more settled in my ways and opinions. As for vegans dating non-vegans, I can surely understand vegans who would be uncomfortable dating someone who still eats meat. Had I been vegan when we met, I don’t know if I would have dated him, and I really would have missed out! The New York Times ran an article called, “I Love You, but You Love Meat,” a while back, and I think it touches on a few important issues related to dietary differences.

      To be pragmatic, a female vegan might have a hard time finding a vegan or vegetarian guy. I can see myself being pretty close-minded to dating a meat-eater (if I was single now), and I would probably be okay with just being on my own. But again, I would have missed out! It’s a tough call.

      As for Earthlings, I am glad that I watched it, but it is very disturbing. I recommend watching with someone. I watched it alone while my dog snoozed nearby, and I kept bugging him with hugs and misplaced apologies.

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