I help ambitious women struggling with chronic gut health imbalances overcome their symptoms.

Help! My Partner Isn’t Plant Based.

October 21, 2022

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I’ll never forget the day I realized that my partner might never go 100% plant-based.

I was both confused, frustrated, and worried.

How on earth was I going to manage my symptoms, progress in my gut health journey, try new plant foods AND make two meals for both of our needs?

The answer? I wasn’t.

Something had to shift.

And for all of you amazing women out there who fear the same things I did when I was in this awkward transitionary period, you might be surprised by what I’m about to say:

1. Stop pushing, start leading: Seriously, stop telling them that X plant food is going to benefit Y part of their life, and instead, start leading by example, and SHOW them (vs telling them) how you feel with your shift in symptoms, energy, and tasty meals you create. Humans, especially those who are close to us, don’t often internalize and then apply things they’re told. We started blocking this kind of sh*t out when we were in high school. Our parents lectured us enough to keep us feeling numb to that form of learning. Our entire lives we’re told to do this vs that and we get exhausted by it quickly. But on the flip side, if you start showing them how radically different you feel and how much you now love and have fallen back in love with food, in time, they’ll get it.

2. Get them involved: Yes, they need to get their hands dirty in the kitchen, even if it’s just small tasks. Even if you’re doing all of the cooking (ahem, make sure you ask for some help so you don’t burn out!). I don’t care who does most of the cooking in your household, get them involved in the process, otherwise, they’ll remain detached from the food that you choose to bring into the house. Better yet, get them involved in the grocery shopping. You’re welcome.

3. Stop making two meals! Of course, if your partner has a severe nut allergy, don’t shame them for having to make a separate mac and “cheese” dish that’s cashew free, BUT you should not be slaving over the stove all day making your meal in addition to your partner’s steak and potatoes. Yes, it will be a process getting them involved and on board with the changes you’re making to your lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cook more indulgent plant based meals at first to make the meals more familiar to them. Be patient, but stop enabling. Seriously, stop enabling. At some point, you’re going to have to put yourself first, and if you’re dealing with a host of gut health issues, you’re probably that person who puts everyone else before your own needs—and how is that working for you? At what point do you put your foot down and recognize that you need to fill your own cup because it’s damn near empty?

4. Have a serious conversation with them: I had to sit my partner down, and have a heart to heart conversation with him about why this is about SO much more than food to me, WHY this journey is critical to my overall wellbeing, and how we can meet halfway in a way that serves us both. You don’t need to be controlling of your partner, especially when eating out, etc. but they DO need to respect you enough to support you in your goals too. Truth be told, for those who don’t have gut health symptoms (is it just me, or is this is a husband/boyfriend/partner thing where one person has an iron gut and the other…well…doesn’t), food is just food. It’s not complex to them. So when you begin to change all their traditions around food in the “name of health” you’re going to trigger them because they won’t be on the same playing field as you. This is where communication is CRITICAL. No conversation = recipe for disaster and all kinds of conflict. Just have the damn conversation. It needs to happen in order for you both to move forward.

5. Be kind: As much as I want you to put your foot down so you’re not wasting your time and energy catering to two different lifestyles, you also need to be kind and patient. They’re going to feel confused, isolated, and overwhelmed just as much as you will be (in a different way). Listen to their concerns, ask questions, but always always always be kind. They’re going through a lot of change too, remember.

6. Recognize their effort: They may never be 100% plant based or 100% committed to this journey (remember, to them, it might *just* be food), and you need to be okay with that. Just as much as they need to meet you where you’re at, you also need to meet them where they’re at. If they end up eating 90% plant based at home, CELEBRATE 🥳 THAT. You need to be realistic here, and for them, that 90% might be something they end up feeling proud of and you need to recognize that without expecting more.

I hope this was helpful, friends. And I hope you can manage your symptoms as well as you can manage your partner’s needs when it comes to food!

Talk soon,

– Ros

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