I'm still off on the East Coast enjoying my time with Chelsea until Saturday so I have another guest post for you from Lisa who blogs over at Lisa the Vegetarian (link to her blog below in her post). She happened to stop by my blog thanks to one of my Weekly What? posts and graciously offered to guest post for me. I love the topic we chose for her to write about because I think a lot of us can benefit from reading about how she has adapted to living with (and having a relationship with) someone who doesn't share her diet preferences. I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did and that you show her some love!
Hi everyone! My name is Lisa and I run the blog Lisa the Vegetarian where I write about food, fitness and the random adventures of life. I'd like to thank Amy for opening her blog to me today! As a quick introduction,
I'm a 29 year old software engineer from the Boston area, and I live with my boyfriend of almost 4 years -- a boyfriend who just so happens to be a meat eater.
Despite what some might think, being a vegetarian in a relationship with a non-vegetarian isn't as difficult as it might seem on paper. In fact, in the history of my life, I've never dated another vegetarian or had a close friend who was a vegetarian, nor is any member of my immediate family a vegetarian. You could say that I'm well acquainted with being the only person around who will opt not to eat meat! It's just the norm for me, and now that I've been a vegetarian for more than 16 years, I've found that it doesn't have to be a problem.
Of course it hasn't always been easy. When my boyfriend, D, and I first moved in together, we did find it to be a bit of a challenge trying to cook and plan dinners together every night. Before that, were were in the habit of going out to dinner on dates and having a home-cooked meal together every once in a while. It's a whole different ball game to be cooking every meal together while living in the same apartment. A lot of times, we would end up cooking two completely different meals, which was a pretty big hassle, especially considering the size of our kitchen (two people cannot under ANY circumstances be in the kitchen doing things at the same time).
Then we figured out a technique that made life a whole lot easier. Nowadays, here's what we do:
First, we come up with a basic meal idea that both of us will enjoy that night (pasta, Mexican, soup, etc.). Next we figure out how to make a veggie version out of it, as well as a meat version. If we both have the same base meal, we can switch up one or two ingredients to make the other person happy. Doing this makes things MUCH simpler and we don't have to spend much time in the kitchen at all.
One of our recent favorites that incorporates this idea is the homemade burrito bowl. I wrote about it here, but the basic idea is this: We saute some beef (or turkey) for him and separately, some soy chorizo (or tempeh) for me and use that as our protein base. Then the entire rest of the meal is shared between the two of us: tomatoes, lettuce, beans, cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, etc. We use this same basic recipe for tacos and quesadillas as well, depending on what kind of Mexican meal we're in the mood for.
As another example, two nights ago we followed a similar principle, except we had omelettes. His included ham and cheese, while mine included cheese, tomatoes and some spices.
When we have burger night, we pull out the grill pan for both of us and cook up a beef burger as well as a veggie burger.
If we want to make our pastas more interesting, I cook up a soy sausage and he makes a regular sausage.
And every now and then, I can actually convince D to have one of my veggie concoctions. More often than not, he enjoys it! Vegetarian food is not all about bland tofu and flavorless foods. I don't know about you, but I LOVE big flavors and spice, so that's the way I make my meals. The soy chorizo I mentioned above is one of my favorite things to cook with because it is jam-packed with flavor. D even agrees that it tastes exactly like taco meat!
The moral of the story is this: a person's food preferences don't have to get in the way of relationships! I love getting creative in the kitchen, and it can be a fun challenge to create meals that are both veggie AND meat friendly. There are so many options out there and there's nothing wrong with exploring them all.
There are more recipes (plus lots of other fun stuff) over at my blog. Thanks for reading and thanks again to Amy!