The ideal life-long relationship =
Romantic and easy – where both parties are loving, happy, and compassionate toward one another everyday. To have the same morals, life goals and enjoy the same hobbies, but also have enough unique differences to open one another’s eyes in new directions. essentially equaling happiness with no effort.
Everyday I live this dream. Jay is a true confidant and an amazing person to share my life with. We both share the same morals and views on the world, enjoy happiness in many of the same things, and support one another’s goals for ourselves and our future family. Heck, he even holds my hand in the car, watches Desperate Housewives reruns with me, and tells me I look beautiful every morning when I wake up. Notice something I haven’t mentioned yet: He is NOT a VEGAN!
When Jay and I first met living next door to each other in Los Angeles, he held the same misconceptions about the vegan diet as I did prior to my transition to solely plant-based foods. He asked the typical questions: “How do you get your protein?” and “What do you eat all the time?” Rather than putting down his carnivores diet, I empathized with the fact that he was misinformed about the facts of nutrition, health and what our bodies need to run optimally. He was just like I was prior to my health scare. (Read ABOUT for details). Prior to meeting me, Jay was a Division 1 College Football player (Defensive End), who ate as much animal protein as he could possibly get his hands on. He was (and still is) the ultimate “man’s man,” loving to work-out, sit silently and watch sports for hours, and eat a greasy, cheesy pepperoni pizza at any given moment. He had spent his whole life living in a world that glorified high-fat animal products in mass quantities. Let’s just say, talking about the vegan lifestyle felt a lot like I was speaking a foreign language to Jay.
Slowly, through cooking kick-ass vegan meals and gradually explaining the health consequences of the lifestyle he was living, Jay began to understand why eating vegan was so important for me. Because we lived next door to one another, I cooked a vegan meal dinner for us to share, every night unless we went out to eat. By no means did he make a transition to eating completely vegan, but he did eat about half of his meals under the vegan diet. The biggest eye opener for him was how much better he felt (after an initially detox period of feeling like crap)! I knew the detox period he faced when cutting back on his carnivorous diet was an indicator his body was feeling withdrawal symptoms from high-fat, non-nutritional animal foods. Jay eagerly acknowledged the differences he felt in his body, energy levels, and overall attitude when eating vegan. Eventually, he became comfortable enough to cook meals for both of us.
Since our time in Los Angeles, we have relocated back to South Carolina…the land of Cracker Barrel, Paula Deen, and everything cooked with bacon grease. The transition back to The South has been pretty seamless for me, but initially Jay was basking in the glory of cheese grits and fried everything. Currently, Jay is eating about 75% vegan. I never cook food at home that is not vegan. Some of his favorites are soy chorizo from Trader Joe’s, Mushroom and Tofu Lettuce Wraps, Almond Butter, Boca “Chicken” Patties, and anything made with TVP. The best change in Jay’s diet has been the increase in his vegetable consumption. He is eating fruits and vegetables he had never heard of, let alone consumed, prior to his exposure to a plant-based diet.
Do I wish Jay ate completely vegan for his own health…yes!
Do I cringe on the inside (and sometimes on the outside:)) when he orders a steak at a restaurant…yes!
Do I appreciate the effort he has put forth to understand and semi-try a lifestyle that is so contrary to what he believed true his entire life…DOUBLE YES!
Sharing new experiences together is an important aspect to any relationship and I am so thrilled I got to share in Jay’s experiences trying and learning about the vegan diet. I see him evolving and learning everyday that diet does directly affect how one feels and has a major impact on many facets of your life. No matter how many times one hears this or reads this, the most powerful lesson comes from gaining the understanding for yourself through your own experience. I see a direct example of that in Jay.
Most importantly, Jay and I have grown together through this experience. I have opened his eyes to a new world of health and nutrition through the vegan diet and he has shown me that education takes time…it does happen over night. I am reminded once again that the best way for someone to change their views on anything, especially their diet and their nutrition, is for them to have the life experience and draw their own conclusions, rather than taking information from a medical article or a book. Jay is a reminder that we can all make a difference in the lives of others to create a healthier world, just as I did in his life, by educating those who will listen and leading by example for those who will not.
I am looking forward to continuing our growth together and educating each other on our individual passions, as they arise throughout our lives. Whether or not he ever commits to being 100% vegan, I know he will always support my passion for the vegan lifestyle. I thank him for teaching me how to teach others!
If you are living with someone who has not committed to living the vegan lifestyle wholly, remember to give them the opportunity to experience the transformation that you went through when you decided to become vegan. Any nutritional facts, medical studies, or stories of how great your own experiences have been can be enhanced through providing them a wonderful experience with great food, a great attitude and a healthy lifestyle.