Perhaps you saw something. Maybe it was Forks Over Knives. Perhaps you read something. Maybe a book by one of the growing number of plant-based doctors or influencers piqued your interest. Either way, you feel ready to embrace a plant-based lifestyle. But you are not the only person in your house. You have a partner—a husband, wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend—and they are not on board. Despite your excitement and newfound knowledge of the benefits of a plant-based diet, you’re met with a frown from your partner every time you bring up the subject.
After a while, your feelings of disappointment turn to sadness and your excitement feels dulled. You might even start to wonder if making the switch is worth the trouble. Fast forward a few more days or weeks, and your sadness turns to anger and resentment. You think and say things like, “Why can’t you just give it a try?!” or “How could you keep eating that junk food when it’s so easy to eat food that is healthy?!” While it’s understandable for you to feel this way, it doesn’t do much for your relationship. In the end, it could push your partner further away from a plant-based diet than they were to begin with! Rather than slipping into a “house divided” mentality—which could create serious obstacles in your relationship (not to mention elevated cortisol levels from the constant daily stress)—try these tips.
Don’t Force It
Have you ever asked your partner to do something that’s important to you, and for whatever reason they never find the time? Your honey-do list always seems stuck at the bottom of their list—until you stop asking. As soon as you stop pestering your partner, your honey-do list is magically done!
If you continue to pester a reluctant partner about trying a plant-based diet, they may never get on board. Perhaps mention it once and see how it goes. Then start making more plant-based foods in the house and don’t talk about it. Let them ask you—and when they do, tell them you are trying some new ways to make meals and you are really excited about it. Remember, they love you. Let them see your excitement and maybe…just maybe…they will think you are cute and give you a smooch. Smooches are always a good way to start a plant-based lifestyle.
Have the Conversation
How often do you look your partner in the eye and tell them how important something is to you? Life gets busy and often we send a text to communicate. Sometimes we only send emojis, for goodness sake! This subject, however, requires a bit more attention and deserves some good old interpersonal communication. Go on a date with your partner, away from any normal life distractions, and hold their hand and talk to them about your thoughts. Look them in the eyes and explain to them that you love them and can’t imagine doing this without their support. Maybe your conversation would sound like this:
“Honey, I have been doing a lot of research on plant-based diets lately after watching this movie, and I think I want to give it a try. I know it’s hard to make such a huge shift, but we can at least give it a try together. I am doing this because I want us both to feel great, be more active, and not feel so sluggish and worn down. I also want us to be around for a long time, and I feel like this lifestyle change is the answer. Will you please come with me on this journey and give it a try for at least a few days?” Your few days can turn into a week. The key to keeping them on board is to make the foods they know and love, with a few minor adjustments. For that we move on to the next tip…
Prepare Delicious Meals
There are tons of whole-food, plant-based recipes out there that are as satisfying if not more satisfying than their standard American diet counterparts. In fact, WFPB mashed potatoes are incredibly easy to make when you have the right basic ingredients. Baked apples are a delicious side item for any dinner. The right seasoning can go a long way to turn bland into grand with just a few shakes of the spice!
Ultimately, communication is the key when taking any new leap together as a couple. If you are able to respectfully communicate with your partner to create healthy dialogue along with healthy meals, then your relationship and your family will continue to win not only today, but every day for the rest of your life.
Ready to get started? Check out Forks Meal Planner, FOK’s easy weekly meal-planning tool to keep you on a healthy plant-based path.