You may think I married a vegan. I didn’t. When Stephani and I met, she reluctantly ate meat. She still beheld the power of cheese. And I’m not sure she knew what gluten was yet ( I certainly didn’t). So when I say I married a vegan, I really mean I married a lady who became a vegan.
Narrowing down the diet Stephani eats today has been an evolution that has given me a firsthand look at the phases of vegan life.
Phase 1: Mocking
This is where some people stop. These people are garbage. Or boomers. The mere idea of giving up meat is appalling to these folks. I don’t really know what else to say without offending someone, so I’ll stop now.
Phase 2: Reluctant Acceptance
If you can get boomers past this stage, you’re doing well. I’ve found this is where many of the people in our life fall, although Stephani may disagree because she’s nicer than me and might drop “reluctant.” Regardless, most people don’t want to give up meat, but they’ll shrug and move on as long as you don’t mess with their carnivorous ways.
Phase 3: A Netflix Documentary
At some point, your vegan partner will show you a documentary. There will be blood. From animals, I mean. I suggest starting out with something a little less intense than the docs that show the flesh of live animals being torn from the bone on an unceremonious assembly line and opt for one about an overweight Australian guy juicing.
Phase 4: Trying a Vegan Recipe
This is the quinoa stage. Everyone knows what quinoa is now, but Stephani stopped eating meat about 6 years ago, so quinoa was still new and cool (this is coming from a guy who didn’t know what an avocado is until his 20s, so I may be completely wrong here). In this stage you’ll realize that food can be filling and tasty without meat, and you may even think, “sure, I could do this if I had to.”
You’ll also realize that tofu is nothing but a flavor sponge, and the idea of a Mexican or Asian recipe with meat seems silly.
Phase 5: All the Netflix Documentaries
There definitely will be blood. You’ll binge them all. You’ll go nuts. You’ll get to the point where your partner wants to watch more, but you’re cowering in the corner sobbing about all the delicious animals you’ll no longer eat because it’s too sad.
Phase 6: Eating Less Meat
You’ll begin eating grass-fed beef. You’ll start supporting local farms. These will be good things. You’ll start feeling superior to people who mention “meatless Mondays,” because you’ll have entire meatless weeks.
Phase 7: Veganism
At some point, it happens. You stop eating meat and your abs look great. I’ve never gotten here, and probably never will.
My journey has stalled in phase six, and it’s unlikely I’ll ever move into being completely vegan. I love meat, but I try to treat it like a luxury. We spend more money on higher quality meat, which forces me to eat it in moderation.
You may never take this journey, but I can say from experience that everything will be okay if you do. Your partner may not approach you about veganism. Maybe they want to be gluten-free. Or dairy-free. Or lectin-free, which I still don’t understand, but none of these need to upend your world.
Stephani and I eat dinner together every night, but most of the time we eat different meals. It works. Just take the journey. You’ll be fine.