Him: “I’m going vegan”.
Me: “You’ll last a week” (ever the supportive spouse)
Him: “We’ll see…”
My OH doesn’t do anything by half, being an all-or-nothing bloke, and true to his word, his beloved cheesy pizzas stopped right there. I watched, amazed, impressed, aghast, as cartons of Soya milk turned up (“doesn’t that taste like damp cardboard?”) and he started doing that thing that vegans do, the give-away behaviour in supermarkets – staring intently at the ingredients lists on packaging and before declaring “nope, egg white” before replacing the offending biscuits with a flourish.
Like many, I had previously been an omnivore and turned veggie later in life, but my OH had been a vegetarian since he was 17 and, when he was young and fit enough to run away from the huntsmen, had been an activist too – so being a vegan was a logical step for him to take. I on the other hand hadn’t thought it through like he had, and maintained that not eating meat was doing the animals a big enough favour, so I carried on with my fried egg sandwiches. Then one day I picked up a PETA newsletter that my OH had left lying around and read it. That’s how I learned about the dairy industry. My heart sank. The lid was off and there was no putting it back on again. If I really gave a stuff about animals like I said I did, I was going to have to go vegan.
So off I went. But I am not all or nothing. For two years I tried to give up cheese, that’s how hooked I was. It was like trying to learn how to ice skate, with more trips, falls and banged knees than I can remember… Like getting to the end of a long day and reaching for my favourite thing in the Whole Wide World (cheese on toast) and then feeling bad about giving in. Again. But I got there, slowly. Finally, eventually, I learned how to cook vegan meals and I managed to kick cheese. That was four years ago; being vegan is just normal and easy now, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my husband for his role in all this. He never once cajoled me, lectured me or mocked my need for those cheese fixes, and never guilt-tripped me by yelling at me about the calves. He just made it easy for me to find the information I was missing and let me find my own way.
Thanks, chuck. Me and the animals owe you one.