The short answer is most definitely yes if there is love, acceptance and a desire for the other person to be satiated/nourished how they would choose to be, not how you would choose. Throw away all notions that you must sit down at every meal together and eat the same food.
Different diets and different food intolerances/health issues
Last night I had bolognese on some left over gluten free spaghetti from Andrew’s dinner the night before. Andrew is my husband. He’s vegetarian (long term choice because the thought of meat and fish disgusts him) gluten free (coeliac) with cheese and I’m gluten free (wheat hurts me) low-carb (to control my weight since I turned 40 and the fat woman in me got really determined to bust out of my body) without cheese (migraine sufferer) exploring non-extreme ‘Paleo for women’ currently (because I want to eat healthier and beat my time of the month headache issue plus wanted to know more about paleo as my body is one that demands heaps of protein – yes, should really have had rice with my Bolognese) so we’re always eating different things to each other which we don’t feel is a big deal. Some might. Perhaps it is about attitude.
In fact apart from the short time I tried to be vegan and failed, of being together (most of that six years living together as we moved in together really fast) thus far I’ve still eaten fish and meat at home as well as lots of vegetarian dishes. Andrew would often cook me a cheese free version if necessary.
Our diet was not always so complicated. I started avoiding wheat first and then Andrew 2 years ago was diagnosed with coeliac disease so at least we’re almost the same when it comes to carbs (i.e. gluten free choices) and so there’s common sympathy there. This is except due to recent reading I’m believing more and more that grains and legumes are not great for the human body, especially worse for some of us and therefore trying to eat less of them. Soy I cut out already, when I read how evil it was, with great health benefits yielded immediately.
Andrew sometimes does a special detox and fast for 3 days to sort his gut out when he gets digestive issues. He’s not been able to talk me into any coffee enemas I can tell you, however wonderful for your system they may or may not be, I don’t believe in too much unnecessary messing about – especially if there are any possible side effects. I don’t fast and besides it is a bad idea for women because of our pesky hormones.
Here is how dinner works. We’ll say what we were each thinking of making and often share elements such as kick ass quinoa. What we don’t seem to share is the same attitude to choosing what we will eat. It would be boring if it were all roses and symmetry, wouldn’t it? My choice is dictated by use-by-dates in the fridge. Perhaps this stems from an East European drive (I’m of Polish heritage) not to waste food, make do and mend.
Andrew is purely motivated by what he fancies which can be a very bad thing. Not only because I’ll suggest a perfectly good meal or even three for me to cook for us us if he’s tired, but he just won’t be ‘feeling’ it so I give up trying to hit his lordship’s button and eventually driven by hunger he’ll come down to have something random such as leftover mushy peas on toast with mango pickle. But also because in ignoring my more ordered use-by-date approach, he had a long life gluten free chickpea curry 5 months past its use by date the other week and we both paid the price with flatulence galore affecting both our sleeps that night!!! However sometimes he does compliment me for rustling up a tasty meal for us both out of leftovers he’d have never thought of, which he thoroughly enjoyed eating.
It can be fun being in the kitchen cooking together, a happy bi-product of eating differently to each other, and we always eat together in the lounge in front of a recording of one of our favourite TV shows. I know we should be eating at a table but that’s how we unwind after a busy day and there just is not enough hours in the day to do everything we want to do, so it kills two birds with one stone.
Lunchtime (we both work at home all day running an ecommerce site selling ladies belts together but each have our own office so get our space) he’ll have been focused on having protein shakes at the precise time needed after working out, so I just get on and have my lunch whenever I feel like it. I might make some extra salad for him if he asks me to. If something is going in the oven I may ask if he wants me to put something in the oven for him too.
We don’t feel compromised but here are the compromises
There’s no resentment or wishing the other ate the same (okay may be when I have cooked something carnivorous that tastes out of this world I would love to have him try it, this statement then does not ring true). We just work with and accept whatever each person’s current flavor of the month diet is (as long as we do not think it is unhealthy) within the boundaries of I’m not allowed to cook smelly fish at home (I have tinned tuna, smoked salmon, pre-cooked salmon/trout or oven bake frozen fish fingers/cod fillets instead) as he hates fish smells plus he is not allowed stinky cheese either (gag) or to cook certain spicy food when I’m at home as it affects my breathing.
Pans and utensils get cleaned very thoroughly. Andrew may even clean the pan again to be satisfied that disgusting meat and fish won’t be bothering him. I think it helps a little that I try to choose meat that is high quality, sometimes organic and certainly from animals allowed freedom to roam, grass fed therefore and not fed crappy stuff that then passes into the food chain and out of us in our excrement into the water supply, so when it cooks it doesn’t ooze the yukky stuff a cheap burger would for example.
We don’t feel like we have to eat what the other is, not that he’d be eating meat or fish anytime ever (even as he works towards a six pack) and as 3 days of migraine would follow, there’s no way I’d touch anything with cheese. It would make his life and mine so much easier though if I could eat cheese. I tease him of late sometimes that the muscle growth would be more forthcoming if he had a nice steak but it is just banter. I often opt for what Andrew is making because he’s an amazing cook and I actually find cooking a real chore but I do adore good foo. For us it works really well in that we both feel that we eat like kings at home and that we have not compromised. We’re all good.
Girl’s top tip for choosing a partner to spend your life with: find one that cooks like a dream whether vegetarian or not!