Relationship clash

The Vegan Doctor

Dec 2, 2018
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  1. Vegan
I have been a vegan for about six months, prior to which I had been vegetarian since around the age of 12. My younger daughter has been vegetarian for almost a year. My wife has increasingly adopted a substantially vegetarian diet, after exposure to much brutal information about the farming and meat industry, and while occasionally she will eat meat or fish outside of the home, we have been a completely meat free house for the best part of a year. Only my elder daughter has been untouched by the horrors of meat and animal production, and uses ever opportunity when she is out of the house to eat meat, almost obsessively.
My wife has never been particularly happy by my transition to a vegan lifestyle. I think she sees it as inconvenient, especially when eating out as her family gravitate towards pub eating where the choices are often poor. However, she does most of the cooking (I work full time, she doesn’t work) and generally produces vegan food, or if making vegetarian food for her and the girls, I will make my own.
However, recently my wife used the heat of an argument about nothing of any real consequence, to determine that she would not be cooking vegan food anymore, yet more alarmingly was going to start buying meat again, principally for the elder daughter’s benefit (who is her favourite) and cooking it at home, and that she expects me to clean it up and wash up after it (I do all the washing up, or it simply would never get done). I’m really not happy with this suggestion - while I did clean up this kind of stuff in the distant past, it repulsed me and after a year of being a meat free household I don’t want it in my fridge, let alone be expected to clean up after it.
How should I play this?
Hi Doc -

First off - I'm sorry you're going through this. And I should note I'm a single parent, so I get to make my own rules, rules that I'm particularly attached to, so take anything I say with that grain of salt, so to speak.

But hey - don't you get a say in this? I mean this is half your home, so it shouldn't be run like a dictatorship. At this stage in my vegan "journey" (whatever that means), I would absolutely not allow any meat in my kitchen, and there is absolutely no way I would clean it up if it were there. My first concern, aside from being utterly grossed out, would be of cross-contamination. Isn't it true that the majority of foodborne illness happens in the home because of that? If the dishes didn't get done, so be it. I simply wouldn't touch anything that had touched [dead animal flesh]. If I had the means, I'd maybe buy a separate fridge for the meat and store that in the garage, b/c I wouldn't want it in the fridge with the rest of the food, but that doesn't exactly solve the problem of having to deal with the smell of it cooking and seeing it on the table. Have you ever thought of going on strike? I'm only halfway kidding, b/c there is no way I'd be cleaning that up. None. It seems to me like you're the sole breadwinner in this family so you absolutely get to make at least 1/2 the rules.

I'm sorry I'm not much help... I would never live with a carnivore again. I'm not sure I would even date one. The only time meat enters my home is when my teenage son very occasionally gets a fish burrito as take out and brings it home to eat. That is the only animal product he consumes, and we never have it/cook it at home, so I try to be as accommodating as possible, especially since he recently gave up all eggs and dairy (he's never eaten beef/pork/chicken/etc his entire life and has no desire to start now). ...I just don't see how any of this is fair to you at all. It's one thing to have an disagreement, but these sudden demands are just plain disrespectful, and I wouldn't be inclined to accommodate/allow them at all.

I'm sure you know this, but your wife needs to know that she's not doing your daughter any "favors" buy feeding her meat. It's certainly not going to benefit her health. Does she not care about that, at least? ...This honestly sounds like a time you might need to "put your food down," as the saying goes.

It's their bodies, their choice, their right. They're not forcing you to eat meat. Nothing much is changing for you, just make your own food. If you would be single you'd have to do it too. And if you eat more raw (salads) it will make things a lot easier and faster and you'll be healthier. See it as an opportunity to be more tolerant, more understanding, more loving than ever. Don't make a problem out of it, the only problem is in your head. It's just a change.