Dating is hard enough without adding another filter to include a dietary requirement, but can a vegan comfortably date a meat-eater? Should it even be considered as a deciding factor at the initial stages of dating like values and religion? I'm sure if you have met a typical vegan you would realise pretty quickly that dating a meat eater would be a big hurdle that they probably wouldn't even consider getting over. But are we culling potential matches too quickly, it's only food isn't it?
For me, I didn't initially become vegan for the animals, but I've discovered this to be quite an unusual motivation for such a perceived strict lifestyle. Whether you want to label me as plant based or vegan, my party line is 'I don't eat anything from an animal', and yes that includes cheese, fish and chocolate if you were wondering, no I don't miss it and yes I get enough protein! That usually answers most concerns people have when they find out I am vegan. I made the choice for health reasons two years ago so couldn't really be judgmental about someone tucking into a Big Mac in front of me when I was guilty of doing the same for years. In fact, it doesn't bother me if people eat meat in front of me, if it did I don't think I could ever leave the house! But I have what I consider 'mainstream' views on veganism. I don't want to see my instagram feed filled with slaughter houses, you won't find me throwing red paint over Kim Kardashian's fur coat and I'm not going to be asking for your signature at the local shopping centre to stop animal testing. However, the majority of vegans are living as they do because they don't believe in harming animals and as a result I think that it would be near on impossible for them to kiss a meat eater let alone have a relationship with someone that didn't share their beliefs.
Let's face it, there are enough rows stemming from deciding what to have for dinner and that's just choosing between a Chinese or Indian takeaway! Try adding no meat/eggs/milk, after work when everyone is tired and stressed and see whether they can agree on a restaurant! I doubt a vegan would even allow meat in their fridge, let alone cook it. But that is just the start, there is no denying that being a vegan seeps into every part of my life, food is just the start and it's so important to find someone that understands it.
Despite my reasons for converting, it didn't take long for me to jump on a few other band wagons. It started with a weekend tie-dying session in the garden, quickly followed by a few batches of homemade shampoo and conditioner and then throwing away all my make up that was tested on animals (an expensive sacrifice!). I think it was only natural that once I started being so conscious about what I put in my body, I would start to think about what I put on it. It started to make sense that if something needed to be tested on animals because of the chemicals in it, why would I want it on my skin? So at the risk of sounding like a complete hippie, I need someone that is not only going to tolerate those ongoing changes in my lifestyle but even adapt their own.
So forget what your tinder matches look like, where they live and their career.....all those things can change in an instant, but if anything my vegan ways are likely to get more extreme if the last two years are anything to go by and I need to find someone who can be accommodating to that. Vegans get a hard time for being patronising and preaching to anyone that will listen and I don't think a close relationship could survive that! Not that I think we are, another misconception from outside the community!
If nothing else, filtering your search options to include fellow vegans will help narrow down the search significantly and hopefully lead to more swipe rights! I even found some vegan/vegetarian only dating websites so there must be a market for it and the vegan community is growing everyday. For me, my criteria includes tattoos, being family orientated, kind, tall, dark and handsome and now the most important factor.... being a vegan or maybe even be willing to convert as it's not just food, it's a lifestyle choice :)