Dating, the Vegetarian Way

By Alexandra Caspero on February 13, 2013

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow! Which either means you are gearing up for a fun night with your sweetie, or rolling your eyes at the calendar.

I admit, the holiday itself is pretty silly, but I never miss an opportunity to enjoy good food (and wine) with BL.

That being said, I was thinking the other day about our vegetarian life and the impact it has on our relationship: If BL wasn’t a vegetarian, would I be OK with that?


To be fair, neither one of us started this relationship with many dietary restrictions. I was a fair-weather vegetarian. Something I started in college and waned from every now and then. I went from being a strict vegan to eating chicken and back again. I did that for quite a few years, exploring the relationship between my thoughts on animal rights and my love of burgers and grilled chicken.

About four years ago, I decided that I couldn’t ignore my feelings anymore, and went full-on vegetarian. I have never regretted my decision and am never tempted by meat. I still cooked, and BL enjoyed our meatless meals with the occasional piece of chicken on the side. It didn’t bother me too much, he did his thing and I did mine.

Sure, I shared my thoughts and feelings, but I don’t believe in bullying someone to change their ways. After reading “Eating Animals”, BL also made the switch and I’ll admit, I couldn’t be happier!


Knowing how passionate I have become on this subject, I think it would be hard to have a omnivore partner. For those of you who have a partner who eats meat, how does it affect your relationship?

I remember reading somewhere that 25% of meat-eaters would consider it a turn off to date a vegetarian. Really? I almost laughed at the ridiculousness. Until I considered if the tables were turned, I would consider it a turn off to date a non-veg. So, I suppose that our dietary choices reach more than the dinner plate.

I guess at the end of the day, to love someone means respecting their dietary choices, even if you don’t agree with them personally. If you do find yourself lucky enough to date a veg, here are a few dating tips:

– You already do it: If you like vegetables, fruit, grains, nuts, seeds, & beans. Congrats! You already enjoy lots of plant-based foods. Favorite, non-scary meals include: vegetable fajitas, pasta primavera, stir-fry, and salads. The first meal BL cooked for me was mushroom manicotti, a delicious choice for even the most hard-core carnivores. 

– It’s not you, it’s the dish. Consideration is the cornerstone for a healthy relationship. Now, the smell of cooked meat makes me sick. I respect that others eat it, but it upsets my stomach if I’m around while it’s being cooked. If your significant other is the same way, I would bet she’s not turned off by you but the smell.

– While most restaurants are very accommodating, a lot aren’t. Check the menu beforehand to make sure there are at least 2-3 vegetarian or vegan choices. If you don’t see any, call the chef or choose another place.

– Just as you wouldn’t want to be pestered on your belief system, don’t do it to theirs. I would rather starve than spend an entire meal defending my meal preference.

I’m so curious to know your thoughts on this subject. Hope you have a wonderful V-Day!

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. melanie
      February 15, 2013 AT 8:45 am

      To me, I just don’t want to date someone who has complete opposite values than I do. It’s not fair to me to date an omnivore and expect him to change, although there are many anecdotes of this happening. I just don’t want to date someone who hires someone to cruelly raise, kill and dismember animals on his behalf. For vegans who do it just for health reasons, I could see that not being a factor at all.

      1. DK
        February 16, 2013 AT 12:33 pm

        I completely agree. I think if I was single before I made the change things would be different. I am happy that it turned out the way it did- BL changed too and our relationship is better, and easier, because of it. Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it!