I came across an interesting question at a pretty cool blog, Ask Nicole. Here’s the question:
As a strict vegan and animals rights activist, how do you reconcile dating meat-eaters? Do you find it acceptable to request your partner not eat meat in your presence? Also, how do you cope with individuals who feel it is appropriate to insult your veganism? Lastly, do you take vitamins and/or supplements? If not, do you use fortified products?
You Are What You Eat
Now, if you want Nicole’s answer, you;’ll have to go read her post. But if you want mine, just keep reading.
I’ll start with the easy part: I take supplements and I use fortified foods. The general recommendation for vegans is to either take a multi-vitamin (that has B12) or eat two servings a day or a fortified food, like fortified breakfast cereal, fortified soymilk, fortified orange juice, etc.
For the first year of my veganism I relied only on fortified foods. And I never had a deficiency. However, I wanted to cover my bases, so I started taking a multi-vitamin, too. I eat a wide variety of foods, so I have no trouble getting enough nutrients. But whenever the budget is tight, I’m traveling, or I have limited cooking options, I am thankful for my vitamins. They just make me feel secure.
Now for the harder part: When I dated meat-eaters I didn’t reconcile it. And that’s probably why it never worked out in the long run with a meat-eater. I ended up marrying a vegetarian.
But I did have long-term relationships with meat-eaters. I simply set up boundaries and asked them not to cross. If they crossed my boundaries, they were no longer a partner. These were literal deal-breakers. For example, I am uncomfortable paying for animal products. Another example, I don’t like dead animals to be cooked in my cookware. Most meat-eaters respected my simple rules. And sometimes I was able to find vegetarian roommates, friends, and lovers, which made it all easier.
In general, I don’t ask people to eat vegan foods. I offer them the option. They can chose it or not. However, I’m far more likely to join if the meal will be vegan. If I’m invited to join people at a steakhouse, I tend to decline that invitation. As a vegetarian, I was much more willing to compromise, but now that I’m a vegan I’m more honest with myself. I don’t enjoy steakhouses, so I don’t go to them.
The older I get, the more committed to animals I get and the less willing I am to amuse meat-eaters. If someone can’t handle one or two vegan meals, I’m simply not interested in being their friend. Sorry, but that’s how I feel. I’m not interested in befriending people who are completely hostile to veganism. It’s such a big part of my life that it will be a constant problem in our relationship.
People who are completely hostile to my veganism, the ones “who feel it is appropriate to insult” me or my lifestyle land directly on my sh*tlist. I tend to ignore those people and do whatever I can to stay far, far away from them. If I spend any time with them, it’s in a group setting, not alone. To be completely honest, I think people like that are dangerous.
However, I’ve heard some people claim that hostility is often a reaction of someone on the verge of changing their mind. In the same way that many homophobes are actually closet gays, many vegan-haters secretly wish they were vegan, too. Is it true? One has to wonder…