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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Becoming the only vegetarian in a household?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (26789points) April 29th, 2010

Alright, I’ll start with a little background. I eat a predominantly vegetarian diet already. Not on any particular principals… I just don’t really like to eat meat. I do like fish and chicken, but I don’t think I would miss eating chicken at all. I eat a wide variety of vegetables every day, and always have as far back as I can remember. I am also a fan of vegetarian substitutes, like Boca. My husband and his children, however, are meat & potato types. They want nothing to do with veggies. (except corn, of course.. that’s always the exception.) The boys don’t live with us full time, which usually leaves me and my very picky husband.

I suppose I’m wondering if it’s next to impossible for me to eat a 100% vegetarian diet and still prepare food that my husband will eat… without being wasteful or spending more money on groceries. Has anyone been in this position before? Being the primary cook in the house and wanting to eat a drastically different diet than the rest of the household? How did you manage it? Is there an easy way to prepare a meat based meal for one person/one sitting? (he doesn’t like leftovers, either… lol.)

I just feel a bit stuck, so any tips or suggestions are welcome (shy of suggesting that I tell my husband & the boys to fend for themselves in the kitchen.)

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22 Answers

Taciturnu's avatar

I have been a long-time-vegetarian-recently-turned-vegan. I married an omnivore (though since going vegan I’ve found it’s a little more difficult on various levels).

I never had a problem eating vegetarian and cooking for us both, but it is a little more work. If I made him shrimp scampi, I’d get a pan out and make vegetable scampi right along side it. It’s easy to make extra vegetables and starch. If you’re marinating meat for him, marinate some tofu for you. Or, just eat what he has for sides with a handful of nuts or edamame.

Goodluck. :)

charliecompany34's avatar

not an easy task and it takes a lot of vision and planning. you’ll be cooking for yourself and them. so two meals instead of one. how to marry the two and get them to go vegan? a challenge. they’ll have to experiment as you go meatless or just starve.

in any event, you’ll be doing double meals. and going out to dinner will be real fun. you are a minority and no one understands your drive to be healthy in a fast food world of cheese, pop, salt, sugar, pork fat, butter, bacon, etc etc…been there…

JLeslie's avatar

I think it is possible, but it might be a little difficult. Are you vegetarian for health reasons, or because you feel bad for the animals? If it is the latter it might become more and more difficult for you to prepare meat for the others in your family since it sounds like you are the cook. Otherwise, as long as your husband is supportive, I think you will be ok. Is he willing to basically eat everything you cook, and then you just have add meat to his dish? Or, are your taste buds very different at this point? I find most strict vegetarians have different tastes altogether from a meat and potatoes type person.

charliecompany34's avatar

yes, and i am the principal cook in the house. i cant count how many times i’ve made my meal separate from the whole household meal. being a training academy instructor i have to stay fit. being the cook in the house sets examples, but sometimes it takes a while for other family members to see what you see as far as a healthy regimen is concerned…

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@JLeslie I am an animal lover, and of course I like to be health conscious.. but the real reason is just that I don’t like meat. I have never been a big meat eater, in fact I would say that I spent most of my life being as close to being vegetarian as is possible without completely giving up meat. By that I mean, before I met my husband.. I might eat meat/chicken once or twice a month. My taste for meat, which was never very compelling, has dwindled down to nearly nothing. For example, if I cook chicken breasts, I’m likely to take a bite or two before it gets pushed to the side of my plate. I don’t have any issues with cooking meat, or watching people eat meat (maybe that’s not entirely true.. because I do get queasy watching someone eat a rare steak)... I just don’t have a taste for it myself anymore. And I recognize that if I cut meat out entirely, I’m going to have to make adjustments to my own diet to ensure that I am getting proper nutrition. So I feel almost like this would be healthier for me.. rather than pushing a chicken breast around on my plate, to actually take the leap and make the proper dietary adjustments to eat a balanced meal.

That was long.. sorry. :)

JLeslie's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie Well, I for one think if you prefer to be vegetarian go for it. Not having a taste for meat is a gift in my book. I have many vegetarians in my family, and my husband and I both are trying to cut back on meat. Animal is simply shortening my life in my estimation. When I cut my cholesterol intake my cholesterol levels drop significantly. But, enough about me. Probably many of your dietary changes won’t be a problem, because it sounds like you are more than halfway there anyway. What do you really need to do, add a little protein? Some legumes maybe? A little soy if you want? Are you planning on going vegan?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I don’t think I could take the plunge like that. I hold vegans in the highest regard, it must take major discipline. As much as I enjoy silk & rice cream… I like my daily glass of skim milk way too much to give it up. :) Hrm. And eggs, I like eggs too. The animal lover in me hates that I love these things, but I probably eat eggs at least once a week… if not more.

So yes, basically I need to be sure that I’m getting enough protein. I know that I don’t need much, but I’m afraid that I’m already lacking in that department. So in cutting out meat altogether, protein is my big concern. I have a malabsorption issue… which makes it difficult for me to eat much in the way of nuts and certain beans. I just figure there is little sense in me preparing meat dishes for myself if I’m just going to pick around the meat, when in turn I’d be much better off eating a well balanced vegetarian diet.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

Corn isn’t a vegetable, it’s a grain.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@tragiclikebowie good call. But you know, if you ask picky eaters what sort of vegetables they like.. the answer is always “corn & potatoes”. Sad, but true. ;)

chamelopotamus's avatar

Im the only vegetarian in a house of two other omnivores too. Whenever a meal is made for the whole household, it’s usually a meat and two other side dishes. I just eat the two side dishes and make myself a vegetarian main dish, typically a MorningStar burger of some kind, to go with it.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Where’s AstroChuck? He’s a vegetarian/vegan, right?

YARNLADY's avatar

Per the Extension interactive learning enviroment A vegetable is defined as a plant cultivated for an edible part or parts such as roots, stems, leaves, flowers, or seeds/fruit.

Corn can fit in different categories, seed corn = grain; sweet corn = vegetable

KatawaGrey's avatar

To be honest, I was a little dumbfounded when I read this question. I was raised that you ate what was put in front of you whether it’s your parent or your spouse who’s making it. I understand that you want to cook things your husband and his kids will like, but if you are the main cook, you have to lay down the rules. If he wants meat, he can cook it. There are plenty of foods that are not “weird” vegetarian foods that everyone eats like mac n’ cheese, baked potatoes, scrambled eggs, etc.

My ex-boyfriend’s dad and stepmom were in a similar situation. He did most of the cooking and was a traditional Italian cook which meant lots of beef. She was a vegetarian. Because she was not the main cook, she would make something different for herself if she couldn’t eat the meal, which was most of the time.

My answer to this question: Tell your husband that if he wants something that you cannot eat, he can make it himself. If that is not a feasible option and I understand that it might not be maybe make up a whole bunch of meat products for the week early, freeze them, and then you can just stick them in the oven or the microwave. You could also switch off who cooks. Maybe you cook four days a week and he cooks three days. Also, talk to him about what cooking when his boys are here. He knows them better than you do and knows what they like.

Ponderer983's avatar

I actually am limited as to what “meats” I eat. I mainly eat fish, and throw in some chicken for variety, but no red meat. I have actually had a good response to it, as my family started eating less red meat and ate healthier, and it filtered down to my boyfriend and friends. I think it does matter what kind of cook you are though. I am a good cook, so I can make things like ground chicken taste a lot like ground meat. I also make a variety of types of cuisine, so I tend not to make, for example, salmon the same way all the time. One night it’s with lemon and dill, another it’s mustard, another it’s a citrus salsa

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@KatawaGrey Though I understand what you’re saying, and I really appreciate your input… I’m inclined to disagree. I was also raised that you eat what is put in front of you, but I don’t really want dinner time in our household to be about separation. I like for dinner to be about togetherness… not everyone fend for themselves. I guess the point of my question was to find out the best suggestions for incorporating my new diet into the family’s regular diet. I don’t want everyone else to have to change because I’ve decided to change.
My husband works 2 jobs which means he works long hours. And I really ENJOY cooking for my family. That is something I don’t want to lose. So what I’m really looking for is a way to efficiently change my own diet without totally overhauling our traditional dinnertime. I hope that makes what I’m asking a little clearer.

JLeslie's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie If you are lacto ovo vegetarian (still eat dairy and eggs) I don’t think you need to worry for a second about getting enough protein. Legumes can still be a very healthy addition to your diet, a leaner source of protien than eggs or cheese. It doesn’t sound like it will be much of a change at all for you. I tell everyone, even meat eaters, to get their B12, vitamin D, and iron checked at their next doctors visit, so I will say it here since you seemed open to concerns about diet. I only know one woman who had normal D when tested.

Darlingwife's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie (my gorgeous friend) don’t forget about tofu, quinoa, and peanut butter for protien! i love pb but only the organic kind that you have to stir, heh.

some people don’t think they are eating a meal unless there is meat on the plate. guys can be the most stubborn, some see it as a weakness to not eat meat. it’s very weird :P

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@JLeslie excellent advice.. thank you so much :)

@Darlingwife I know what you mean. You know that I eat very little meat already, and I get so much crap for it. I just don’t understand that viewpoint at all. I love the natural PB too, it tastes so much better than the processed stuff. And yay, I am so excited that you joined :)

chamelopotamus's avatar

@Darlingwife I know exactly what you are talking about. It’s like a threat to the survival of the manliness tribe when one of the men isn’t eating any meat any more. Its like wtf, why do you care so much about what I eat? Aren’t you satisfied with wat you eat? Ok, then you eat it! lol Im not asking you questions or saying anything at all, you brought it up and im just trying to eat, so if youll excuse me…nom nom nom :P

For the first 2 years I had to explain a bunch of questions to people who were dumbfounded I didn’t eat meat anymore. It always ended with them brushing it off or making fun of it, like they asked just so they could find a hole in my logic or something…A vegetarian’s mere existence causes a guilt trip that has to be overcome by rejecting the vegetarian in some way. What’s funny is everyone attempts the same shame-covering joke: “Well aren’t you afraid you’ll hurt the vegetables?” I just want to slap them lol First of all no, second of all, what you’re eating is much more hurtful, so stop trying to make me look worse so you can feel better, and third of all, there are studies about the life of plants that plants sense when they are being cropped and they go into a state of numbness.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@chamelopotamus woah, that is really fascinating about the plants going into a state of numbness! I’ve never heard that before.

LouChic's avatar

my mum and sister are both veggies, but my brother dad and me eat meat,and my dad does all the cooking (yh weird, my mum cant cook) what he tends to do is cook meals that can be eaten with meat or without, say potatoes veggies and steak, for mum and sis he’ll take away the steak and do omelette or eggs instead! coz thats still a source of protein.Also, for lasagne or spag bol he uses quorn mince, like meat but not meat! It actually tastes really good, sometimes i have it instead of meat!

NaturallyMe's avatar

Aw…no, fortunately my husband falls in pretty well with my vegetarian diet, and he’ll eat what i eat almost always. Sometimes he’s in the mood for something meaty, so he’ll make himself spaghetti with his meat sauce (and i’d use the other half of the spaghetti for my non-meat sauce). He knows if he wants something meaty, he has to make it himself, i won’t do it.
So, how ‘bout the pasta idea? Nothing should go to waste there. You make a meat sauce and a non-meat sauce but you’re both still eating the same pasta.
OR! What if you do use soya as a meat substitute? I have a recipe for spaghetti bolognaise that uses soya mince, so it tastes like meat (or very close thereto, some don’t notice the difference, but you could claim it’s because of your new special spaghetti sauce or something, hehe). Ok, but you don’t really like meat though…but if it’s not too bad for you, at least you’re only cooking a single meal that you all can eat, and you may be able to get away with it if it tastes meaty enough for them?

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