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Meatlover in Metamora

  • Posted on April 17, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Dear Christine,

Please share your thoughts.  My wife has recently gone vegan.  She is assuming I’m on board and will follow. She suddenly is insisting we have no meat, dairy or eggs in the fridge.  I am not OK with that.  I’m fine with her choice for herself but I can’t agree to remove all offending food items  from our house.  We are at odds on this subject and can’t seem to understand each other’s positions.  Holy cow I need a burger now!  

Signed, Meatlover in Metamora

Dear Meatlover,

A lot of people have “special diets” these days, some eating vegan, some Kosher, others no gluten, and then there’s the no milk products, or the people who eat paleo.  And so on!  I’m one of those people too, with several food sensitivities to common foods (lactose, fructose) which can make eating at other people’s homes or restaurants challenging.  My wife eats anything she choose, and though I can’t eat yogurt or cheese, onions, tomatoes or pears, she keeps all of these on hand for herself in the fridge.  My food sits next to hers in the fridge and on the table, though we don’t cook them in the same pan.  She’s been kind enough to sometimes make 2 separate meals to accommodate her differing tastes and my limitations.  When I go out to a friends’ house and even to a restaurant, I will often bring some food for me that I know I can eat, in case the menu is mostly Mexican or Italian!

Vegans are usually healthy people, so good for your wife for making a healthy change in her life!  However, it sounds sudden and it sounds like you don’t really understand why she’s made this change and why you have to eat the same way, to the point of not keeping non-vegan foods in the house.  A conversation is needed to find out what her concerns and fears are about keeping meat and eggs and dairy in the house.  This is where she needs to sell you on her diet so you really understand what the problem for her is.  I don’t see a problem putting a cup of yogurt in the fridge next to my quinoa, but that’s me!

I did work with a couple many years ago.  He was vegan and she was ok with that, but not as militant about as he was.  All was ok till they had a child.  He wanted all meat kept out of the house for ever.  She wanted to be able to expose her child to some meat, so when he was old enough to go to birthday parties, he would be able to participate in eating hotdogs or hamburgers or pizza and not feel left out.  To my surprise, the man said “if I find a piece of meat in our fridge, I will divorce you!”  I had never heard that threat before!

Turns out he did divorce her, many months later, but it was over her alcohol addiction, not meat.  In fact, I always wondered what happened to that child’s diet…

Your wife needs to explain clearly to you what her aversion is to having non-vegan food in the fridge and house.  I can’t imagine what it is, but she has got to enroll you in this issue, or it’s going to create a bigger problem between the two of you.  Right now, it seems unnecessary to me.

I am not Jewish, but I often go to Jewish friends’ home for Passover.  Being a “goy”, they usually “sell” me all their food that is not kosher for Passover, anything that has yeast, bread or leavening in it.  They give me a symbolic dollar, and put all those foods in the garage for the week.  I don’t usually stay more than a night or two, not the whole week.  I’m sure they put everything back in the cupboards after Passover.  Jews who keep kosher will even have 2 sets of pots and pans, dishes and silverware, one for meat meals and one for milk meals.  Then they would have a 3rd set used just for Passover.  But as far as I know, the food is in separate containers and stored in the same kitchen, just not mixed together in cooking or eating.

Good luck with this.  I hope you both can find some common ground, as keeping special diets is challenging enough!
Christine C Cantrell, PhD