World Vegan Day: What happens when you’re vegan, and your partner is not?

It's great if both you and your partner are either foodies or dieting freaks, but it doesn't always happen! On World Vegan Day, let's find out a little about vegan/non-vegan couples.
Sparring over your dietary preferences? Find a middle-ground! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Radhika Bhirani Updated: 1 Nov 2021, 19:31 pm IST
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As real or strange as it may seem, ‘veganism ruined my marriage’ is a real query in Googleverse! Yes, my dear, as more and more people get attracted to following a vegan diet, it is becoming a bone of contention between dating or married couples. The struggle, like the search query, is REAL for couples where one person is vegan and one is not!

Reshma Khanna, 32, turned vegan a few months ago to pursue her desire for weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. But her husband Rishabh Khanna loves his butter chicken, chicken tikka and naan. And everytime they plan a date night out, they end up in a fight over ‘where to go?’!

People who eat vegan and vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

One former couple realised during their courtship itself that their different dietary preferences weren’t going to be healthy for them after all!

So, it makes us wonder what is the secret recipe to make a relationship work when it comes to different eating habits among partners.

But first, let’s talk a little about being vegan.

What is a vegan diet?

If you follow a vegan diet, you will have to exclude all animal products (that are meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy, eggs, and honey). With this, the practitioners are not just able to manage their weight efficiently, but can also contribute positively to reduction of global greenhouse emissions, and ward off ailments such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

While there are multiple benefits of a vegan diet, all nutritionists would agree that a diet based mostly on plant food sources can cause nutritional deficiencies. So, dietitian It is also important to note, that for people who are just starting out, a vegan lifestyle can be a big jolt to overall health. Therefore, it is important to start slow and monitor yourself on a periodic basis.

So, Priya Palan, Dietitian, Zen Multispeciality Hospital, told HealthShots previously that before choosing any kind of diet, it is important for people to know about various sources of nutrients to avoid missing out on the daily dietary requirements.

If one partner follows a vegan diet, and one does not, does it hamper a relationship?

You can overcome this. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Are you confused whether to say ‘Yes, it may’ or ‘No way!’ to this question? We probed a mental health expert about it, and here’s what he said!

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Also, take this quiz: Are you ready to go vegan? Take this quiz to find out

According to Dr Samir Parikh, Director, Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Fortis Healthcare, there cannot be a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question.

He drew an interesting anomaly to explain his point. “It’s like Partner A likes action films, but Partner B likes comedy, and so they can never watch films together! That will also bring differences between them, unless they start doing it for each other,” Dr Parikh told HealthShots.

At the end of the day, it’s about respecting your partner’s choices, and “being a part of it… even for a thing like diet”.

“Conflict around diet happens when you take a hard stand, and when one partner tells the other, ‘Tum ye mat khao’. But that applies to everything in life.

Sharing is caring when it comes to being a vegan and being in a relationship with a non-vegan person:

Living with a non-vegan partner may not be easy initially for a vegan person, but remember that the effort needs to come from both sides. You may try certain tips to see what works best for your relationship to make living together a joyful experience despite different eating preferences.

HealthShots reached out to Avni Kaul, nutritionist, wellness coach, and founder of NutriActivania, Delhi, to get some quick tips.

1. Morning tea

Morning tea could be tricky for you if you look at it from the milk point of view only. But there is a way you can do it differently. Simply make the liquor of the tea separately. And then add normal milk to your own tea as you do while in your vegan partner’s tea, add alternate milk such as almond or soya or serve them the black tea if they prefer so. This way, you and your partner can enjoy your morning cup of tea at the same time.

Make your morning tea a healthy cup of tea for you. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
2. Make one of the meals a vegan one

Eating together nourishes bonding. This is one reason why so many families still eat together. In today’s hectic life, meal planning is difficult. So, at least ensure one meal a day, preferably your dinner, to be vegan. Eating a vegan meal would be beneficial for you as well in case you’re non-vegan, since the food won’t be heavy on your stomach before you go to bed, especially when you compare it with heavy non-vegetarian-based meals.

3. Use a vegan dish as a base meal

This is actually one of the best methods to cook together. For instance, if you are preparing a stir-fry for dinner, you can add noodles, the soya sauce, and all the vegetables first. Then at the end you can separate the dish into two groups and add tofu and your partner can add their preferred food product. This is another way of saving time and money both as you are using almost the same ingredients.

The last word

A healthy life is not just about eating healthy, it also means a healthy relationship. “In fact, living with a vegan partner could be a life-changing experience for a non-vegan person as well,” Kaul added.Like Dr Parikh mentioned, at the end of the day, it is about respecting one another’s choice, and not imposing your choice on the other!

True, that!

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About the Author

Radhika Bhirani is a journalist with close to 15 years of experience in the Indian media industry. After writing extensively on health, lifestyle and entertainment, she leads the English content team at Health Shots. She has a special interest in writing on mental health and wellness. ...Read More

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