I became a vegan in June, 2010. A youthful vegan-- I know. As I made the decision to change my eating style, I remembered a conversation I'd had with me soon-to-be husband while we were engaged:
Context: Just finished eating with a vegetarian friend at a yummy, expensive restaurant where there was virtually nothing she could eat.
Suz: So what would you do if I just stopped eating meat one day. Would that have been a deal breaker?
Paul: A deal breaker? Well, probably not if you had good reasons. It would be hard to eat together though, wouldn't it? We like to share food, so that would kinda suck.
Suz: Should we write that into the vows, then?
Paul: (slight smile and a chortle) Good idea.
That was about a year and a half ago. So eight months after Paul and I tied the proverbial knot, I did just what I never really imagined I'd do-- I stopped eating meat, all meat, and then I stopped eating dairy products and eggs too.
In the months shortly after my conversion, most people were supportive of my decision-- curious, but supportive. What was far more interesting, however, was their concern for Paul. "Wow, man-- how are you doing? Are you managing?" "So, you eating burgers for lunch every day? Heh heh..." "So are you dying yet, man?" All of our friends were concerned that Paul was wasting away now that I wasn't stocking the fridge with animal products. In fact, Paul was and is just fine.
Granted, Paul never said that becoming a vegan would be a deal breaker, but I think it also has something to do withe the way it started out was as an "experiment." That was my sweet way of easing him into the idea-- "no promises, I might have a steak tomorrow!"-- and I think that is why we're still eating vegan at home now with no ruffles in the feathers of our fledgling partnership.
On top of that, Paul is pretty adventurous with food, so it's not surprising that he's come along fairly willingly on this ride. He's utterly convinced that what I make will always taste good, so that is another check in the "being a vegan is okay" column. We've both enjoyed trying all new types of foods and sharing them with each other. Interest in trying new things, in fact, has sometimes led Paul to eat vegan at lunch. He's not a convert, that's for sure, but eating at home is a joint adventure.
He was right in our long-ago conversation that eating out together can be a bit of a bummer, but that's only because he wants me to try his meaty food, and I just can't. When we both order vegan or veg when we go out, which sometimes happens, this is a non-issue. A larger issue for eating out is that some of our favorite places just don't have a thing on the menu for vegans. Even the salads are meaty and cheesy!
In any case, Paul and I survived (so far) the vegan conversion. While I still sigh a bit at a really nice meal out (like our anniversary meal at Lee in Toronto), most of the time we find something we can share and leave it at that.
Step one of becoming a vegan? Check.