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  • Hi Matt, I’ve been enjoying your posts as a new vegan athlete – new on the vegan part since Jan 2014. So far I have made the transition completely, enjoying the new foods and cooking, and even just beat my 5-yr old PR in a half marathon – cool! However…my spouse is not on board with no-meat eats. He has no interest at all in “converting” at least for now. So my question is, do you have any links or resources or even recipes for a “combined household” where both of us can be happy? Other than cooking complete separate meals which kinda stinks. Maybe an odd request I know. He just doesn’t care for the recipes I’ve made that are vegan -that I’ve really been enjoying. We also have 2 kids which is a whole other story as you know. Thanks for any tips! Nancy

    1. Hey Nancy, as someone who eats with meat eaters sometimes i can suggest a method which works well :). The idea is to produce a similar end result but add the meat/dairy/cheese in after you take your serving out and use vegan alternatives to end up with a very simple dish that BOTH enjoy. As your not trying to change him, this method is non intrusive and over time he may see your doing great and getting even healthier. I make a mushroom bolognaise with spaghetti and canned tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic etc but add avocado and chickpeas in too so its hardy enough for yourself, then simply add his seperate cooked mince/cream/cheese/eggs etc 🙂

  • It all started with lent…
    This sounds like exactly how I started the way to healthier eating. In 2011, I gave up meat for lent—not chicken broth, not gelatin, just meat. Sometimes, I’d get chicken noodle soup and pick out the chicken. Talk about low commitment! I also took Sundays off, in case the desire for a hamburger overcame me.
    Three years later, and I’ve gone from no meat to vegetarian to strict vegetarian and now working my way to veganism. (I eat all vegan foods, but still working on transitioning out of leather/wool/silk and buying cruelty free household goods—it’s been a long process.)
    None of it seemed overwhelming over the course of three years. And now, we’re teaching our housemates how to cook vegan foods. Even one vegan meal a week is awesome! One housemate switched to almond milk, another bought tofu for the first time ever—all steps in a great direction!

    1. Lent! Yes, I’ve used that too! I’m probably a 90% vegetarian, struggling to transition into that final 100%. For the past two years I’ve made it my goal to completely give up all meat during the time period of Lent. I really do think that focused time period has really helped me to slowly increase my progress towards that goal of becoming 100%.

  • These are awesome tips! I was raised a whole foods vegetarian and don’t have any problem with it, but getting my partner on it was tough. So we used one of these tactics (we followed Mark Bitman’s VB6) to help him transition. We ate strictly vegan, organic and unprocessed until 6 pm each day. Then, we could eat whatever we wanted. It worked great! These days we eat vegan and unprocessed most days and so the occasional batch of chicken wings is no big deal. Thanks for the great tips!

  • These are great tips and I will be sharing thm with my friends and family. My family is vegetarian, kids more vegan than veggie. I find it is easier to maintain the veggie lifestyle with kids around coz I don’t want to mess up their taste buds or confuse them eg hubby eats fish occasionally but never around the kids coz we feel they are too young to understand the concept of transition/80% veggie etc.

  • Excellent post! When you said you’d offer 3 “easy” ways to change, I was skeptical. But YES! I love the idea of the challenge and making it fun! And setting the start date and end date reminded me much of how we train for races. Really great ideas. Thanks!

  • Hi Matt,
    Your Tips are great. I startet to be vegetarian this february and did really well so far however there was an incident last week. My friends invited me over and I didn’t want to be rude or an extremist so I ate chicken with them but felt really bad afterwards. How do you deal witch such situation?

    1. Hi Jens, I’ve had similar experience and have been a part of this lifestyle for about the same time as you. Just out of curiosity, when you ate chicken with them, you mentioned you felt badly afterwards. Was it physical discomfort, or more of the intellectual/emotional feelings you had? Personally I know I felt physically ill as well as almost “guilty” for not sticking to what I know has been a good decision for me. So for me I think it’s a matter of being confident in your own choices, and being willing to take the “heat” from friends and family that aren’t buying into the healthy lifestyle choice you’ve gone to. I’d be interested in Matt’s feedback as well. Good luck!

  • Hi Jens, I also had this problem and for a very long time let it hold me back from eating in a way that made me feel good and happy. I never wanted to make people uncomfortable or feel guilty for giving them extra work, preparing special food for me. Now I make a point of taking a plate to share so that in emergency I am not forced to compromise my decision. You will find that those around you that understand you will be supportive and the others, does it matter? Stay true to yourself. It’s only food 🙂

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