Living with other people is never easy, and anyone who has ever lived in a college dorm, uni halls or a shared flat will know that. Living with other people will get even harder when you and those other people disagree on fundamental issues such as ‘should we, or should we not eat dead animals’. However, until veganism becomes a larger percentage of the world population, we will have to arrange ourselves, so here are five tips for living with non-vegans:
5 FUNDAMENTAL TIPS FOR VEGANS LIVING WITH NON-VEGANS
1. DECIDE FOR YOURSELF HOW MUCH YOU ARE WILLING TO COMPROMISE.
You will probably have to compromise in some aspects, but it is important to decide what you are okay with and what not. Are you okay with having animal products in the house as long as they are kept separate from your food? Are you okay with the same pots and pans being used for your food and animal products if they’re cleaned properly? Are you not comfortable with any animal products in the house? It is important to draw those lines for yourself before proceeding to tip number 2!
ESTABLISH GROUND RULES.
As early as possible, so either when you decide to go vegan, or when you move into a new place or with new people, establish a set of rules that works for both of you. Ask your flatmate/ roomie / boyfriend / spouse /parent or whoever else you’re living with to please respect the lines you’ve drawn for yourself in tip number one, and if they can’t or don’t want to, try to find solutions. Maybe think of buying separate pots and pans. Maybe suggest they have a mini fridge for they animal products so you don’t have to have dead stuff in your fridge. Whatever it takes to make this living arrangement work for both of you, agree on it NOW to avoid later arguments.
WOW THEM WITH YOUR FOOD.
You and me, we both know that vegan food can be amazing! The person you live with probably still thinks of it as tasteless salads and raw veggies. Let your inner chef take over. Cook them the most amazing meals they have ever eaten. Even if they don’t immediately go vegan, you might inspire them to eat a little more conscious!
DON’T JUDGE THEM! EDUCATE!
Very few people have ever changed their ways because someone has told them they were being s***. Instead of judging, pointing fingers and yelling murderer, try to patiently and gently educate whoever you’re living with on the environmental, animal rights and health aspects of veganism. Try to remember that once upon a time, you didn’t know any better either, and that they have grown up on the lies of happy cows and humane slaughter that all of us have been told.
If they start to take steps towards more conscious living, no matter how small, encourage them! Not everyone goes vegan over night. Maybe the person you live with tries to eat vegan a day a week. That’s a great step! Maybe they just start trying to source more ethical animal products. Thats a baby step but still a step! You planted a seed and it is growing. Don’t discourage it by pushing too much, just keep on being supportive and cooking them amazing cruelty free food.
You might not turn everyone vegan, and that’s okay. Change always take its time but the most important thing is to fight the stereotype of the self-righteous vegan and show people that our lifestyle stands for compassion. With a bit of luck, the horror of living with a carnivore becomes the joy of showing someone how to live cruelty free. Just keep planting the seed – one roommate at a time!
Dea is passionate about pursuing gentle, pure living in all its forms. She’s a veg and fruit foodie, who loves to explore the healing properties of plant-based foods and then fully indulge in their sun-filled taste. She believes that “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”