Sharing Your Kitchen
So you’ve become a vegetarian, but the rest of your family are still meat eaters. Don’t worry – we’ve got your covered! There are ways to share the kitchen to avoid animal products being in your food and they are simple: Respect and Compromise.
Family members may not understand why you want to be a vegetarian. They might also believe that you will get sick if you do not consume meat products. You may feel that they aren’t listening when you explain the health and environmental benefits, along with your other reasons to becoming a vegetarian.
The important thing is not to try and convert other family members. Just like you wouldn’t respond to their attempts to convert you back to eating meat, don’t expect them to adopt your vegetarian choices.
Find farmer’s markets near you that you can go to with other family members, as they will have amazing regular and exotic vegetables that the merchants can tell you how to prepare. Farmer’s markets will often have some pre-packaged vegetarian items such as tamales, pastas and great ethnic dishes that you can enjoy together as a family.
When dining out, there are a lot of fantastic vegetarian appetizers that you can enjoy together, such as buffalo mozzarella with tomatoes. Everyone can then enjoy their own entrees. For other suggestions, please see our dining out article.
You will need to compromise with the meat eaters who share your kitchen and work out fair rules for everyone. You will have to decide if thoroughly washing a pan or sanitizing it in the dishwasher is acceptable to you or if you want to purchase your own kitchenware. If you do not want meat touching your vegetarian ingredients, designate a space in the refrigerator specifically for vegetarian products.
At first, make it easy for your family to identify vegetarian foods such as pasta, quinoa and seven layer dip and share their ingredients so your family knows what you consider vegetarian. For instance are you still going to consume dairy and eggs? Let them know! You’d be surprised at how quickly they will want to eat what you’re eating and how often they will prepare it with you or for you! They can also make their own meals and utilize your vegetarian creation as their side dish.
Share our free app, NowFindVegetarian, with your family, so they know what products in the grocery store are safe for you, so they can help out with the shopping. Show them how to use the filters within the app to custom select products that fit your vegetarian lifestyle.
You can also prepare meals that have a vegetarian base where meat can be easily added. For example, prepare an Indian curry with vegetables and have your carnivore prepare chicken in a separate pan to add to his portion of the meal. Same goes for breakfast. You can prepare your pancakes and eggs while your carnivore adds a little bacon or sausage to their portion. See if you can agree to always use vegetable stock as a base so there’s no reason to worry that meat got into your soup or rice.
The biggest compromise will be doing the dishes. A lot of vegetarians don’t want to feel the left-over meat and oil in the sink as they are washing the dishes. A dishwasher solves a lot of these problems, but talk to your meat eaters about washing their own pots and pans.
With a little respect and compromise, sharing a kitchen can be easily done and stress free.