I was always daunted by the idea of having a partner who didn’t have the same plant-based diet as mine, or even the same views about the meat, dairy and non-organic food industries. I thought there would be a lot of questioning, prejudice, and stressing around meal times. But as plant-based eaters make up only 5% of the United States population, the possibility of me potentially dating a “meat eater” was quite high. Anxieties like “how am I going to prepare and cook meat?” and “how am I going to kiss my partner after they have eaten meat?” frequently whirled around in my mind.

Then, it happened: I started a relationship with a “meat-eater.” And, like the keys to every loving relationship, we need to respect each other, to let go of expectations and, to go at things with an open mind to make it work. See your relationship as “one.” Don’t see yourself as a tree hugging hippy, and don’t see your partner as a cold-blooded meat eater. Begin by eating for optimum health. Use your and your partner’s health as a mutual interest.

1. Discuss How Particular Fruit and Veggies Can Benefit Their Health

This is the best tip of all! As we all want our loved ones to have the best health, showing interest in their well being should make them feel good. For example, you could tell them how studies have shown that fiber is key to long term health, and how sweet potatoes and dates contain a lot of it! And, if your partner is prone to dry skin or eczema, then cutting dairy may be a good idea as dairy triggers eczema, and show that by upping the intake of high Omega-3 foods like beans and leafy greens,  it will relieve the dry skin.

2. Try Not to Be Pushy With Your Views

When meeting “meat eaters” for the first time, stating that you are either vegetarian or vegan brings up a lot of questioning. “But, why? Why wouldn’t you want to eat cheese?! It tastes amazing!”

Plant-based eaters get shot down, and this horrible feeling can make you feel isolated. But, out of spite, it makes you want to eat more plants than ever before. So, when you are exposing shocking facts about the dairy industry to a non-vegan, be mindful of the way you are stating the information. If you’re too pushy, and make your partner feel criticized for their lifestyle choices, and it may put a barrier up between the two of you.

3. Watch Eye-Opening Documentaries About the Meat Industry Together

Learn how food can prevent disease together! Watch these 10 Documentaries that Will Make You Rethink Everything You Thought You Knew About Food and Health. Learn, discuss, debate and share the information that you learn. Watching documentaries and discussing them can help us learn the facts and use them to make better choices in what we eat and buy.

4. Impress Your Partner With Flavorful and Filling Veggie Meals!

Enjoying good food as a couple feels amazing. And making delicious food for your partner feels even better! What I’ve learned from my friends who eat meat is that they see a meal revolving around what goes with the meat and don’t see veggies as a big part of it. When, plant-based meals are incredibly tasty and full of flavor. But, you have to see it to believe it! So change their thinking with this super tasty tortellini with a nut cream and wild mushroom sauce, or this vegan BBQ lentil meatball sandwich with a sweet miso coleslaw. If they’re craving the meaty texture, try these tips to make plant-based foods taste meaty.

5. Share Scientific Research About the Health Benefits of Plant-Based Eating vs. Meat Eating

Sometimes, we need to show the facts for our claims. Take out books from the library, load some scientific papers onto your laptop, or read articles together. Some people may need a lot of convincing to go from a salad-doding, burger lover to eat a superfood salad and a lentil burger! Start by reading 5 Amazing Health Benefits of Plant-Based Nutrition and Why You Never Really Needed to Eat Meat in the First Place.

6. Be Respectful to Their Diets

We have had our diets dissed one hundred times over, so we know how it feels. Don’t fight fire with fire. Don’t criticize. Respect one another, and support each other’s path to leading a healthy lifestyle.

7. Treat Your Partner With Tasty, Vegan Desserts + Snacks

How do you make a cake without butter, or a cheesecake without cream cheese? Plant-based desserts taste good – in fact, they’re even better than dairy based desserts. And, they are better for our health! Blow them away with Raw Brownies with Pecan Nuts, a Chocolate Mousse, or a Chocolate Mousse Tart with Lemon Cashew Cream. The proof is in the pudding!

Image Source: David Cooper/ Flickr