When Noah and I met, we were 21, in college, and we both ate quite differently. I was vegetarian–definitely confirmed after my first and last fried chicken meal on an American college campus–eating tons of vegetables but also feasting on dairy. Greek yogurt was my gem and part of every meal (because I was worried about not getting enough calcium). Noah was a carnivore–anything meat-related, especially if covered in a BBQ sauce, was fair game.
Knowing all of this, it makes me smile when people ask me if I could ever be with a non-vegan. The answer is yes! Because I wasn’t born vegan and neither was Noah.
Let me explain: When I was 21, I had toyed with veganism but never pulled the official trigger. I didn’t think about the dairy cow industry until I was in grad school and doing research on it. I thought that being vegetarian was “enough”–in terms of preventing animal cruelty and in terms of nutrition. (Turns out that’s not the case!)
I’m telling you all of this to show that even if today I’m through-and-through vegan–in my heart and in my mind–it wasn’t always like that. And veganism is not a membership club or a tag that people wear. It’s a personal, often philosophical and ethical process that individuals can decide to go through.
When I met Noah, and early on in my relationship, I never thought he would ever go vegetarian–let alone vegan. I shouldn’t have made those early conclusions. But I did because I was distracted by Noah’s clearly carnivorous habits. But I also know that I dated and married Noah because I knew he is a good human. I love him for so many things, but in light of this conversation, I always knew 100% that we share the same sensitivity and care for other beings. I could never marry someone who I don’t love, and I could never love someone who doesn’t care, feel, sense, and empathize.
So yes, I married a non-vegan. And then he became vegan. And it wasn’t a condition, it wasn’t a request, it wasn’t even a wish. I always just wanted us to have a mutually respectful relationship and to share the same fundamental values. And we always did. So when Noah went vegan, it was his choice, driven by his thoughts, reflections, and personal journey.
Would I have issues sharing my life with someone who eats animals? Yes, I would. But Noah has always been so much more to me than what’s on his plate.
More vegan love: Finding Love at a Vegan Bakery
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