Going Vegan Nearly Killed My Marriage

I love trying new things, especially those around nutrition, fitness, or adventure experiences.  There’s nothing better than getting a new idea in my head and fantasizing about how that idea is going to exponentially change my life for the better.  Usually the changes never live up to the expectation I set, but they’re fun to entertain nonetheless.

Some of my past forays into self help life betterment include; bulletproof coffee, barefoot running, minimalism, cold showers, Paleo diet, intermittent fasting, yoga, gratitude practice, high fat diet, Wim Hof breathing, meditation, ayahuasca ceremonies, silent retreats, and crossfit.  I still include many of these experiences and practices in my life.  While many of these practices certainly improved my life, outside of maybe meditation, I can’t say any one thing drastically moved the needle for me.  Then again, it’s not about the destination, it’s the journey, right?

With New Years resolutions right around the corner, the following is a story of caution about how you interject big changes into your life.

Going Vegan nearly blew up my marriage.

If you’ve ever known someone who “is Vegan” or has “gone Vegan,” you will know that these are a super passionate group of people.  Whereas Vegetarians go about eating their salads and hummus quietly, Vegans are the equivalent of Jevohah’s Witnesses – they will knock on your door and let you know that the juicy burger you are about to bite into cost the world X amount of carbon emissions and that damnation will soon be upon you.  Additionally, Vegans like to wax poetic that after “going Vegan,” their brains now function like Hawking’s and their moves are like Jagger’s.  Basically, once you become Vegan, it’s a transformation that will save yourself and the world.

Jenny and I try to eat a veggie heavy diet, but our food certainly has its share of animal related protein with 3 eggs each for breakfast leading the charge.  Thinking about all the benefits that the Vegan Warriors and Vegan Goddesses dominate social media with and not wanting to let the world down, I thought I’d give it a try.  As with all things in my life, I pondered the change for 30 mins one night before going to bed.  Upon waking up, I told my wife, Jenny, “hey, I’m gonna try going Vegan.  It’s supposedly good for us and the world will be saved.”  My Vegan experiment had started with a flourish, or so I thought.

What I have failed to mention is that with the exception of breakfast, I don’t cook.  This is a bone of contention in my household as the pressure is always on Jenny to feed the family.  She’s an absolutely phenomenal cook and enjoys it, but I have consistently failed to pull my end and help out with these duties (a potential 2018 resolution, but if I’m being honest it was probably a resolution in 2017 and 2016 too).

Therefore, when I told Jenny that, “I was now Vegan Dan World Saver,” I effectively told her, “hey babe, don’t cook that good animal stuff anymore, ok?  Keep it green, capeesh?”  This is not how you want to kick off your vegan adventure.

Over the next three weeks as my body expunged years worth of animal products and my vegan credentials grew, my marriage was suffering big time.  Every time I said, “wow, I feel more energetic and light today,” secretly, Jenny was planning to poison the portabello she was cooking or at least spit in it.  Like the amazing wife she is, she was supportive to another one of my crazy life changes, but the toll of preparing food for a 3 year old, breast-feeding a newborn, and then cooking for herself and Vegan Boy (with a nightshade allergy) was just too much (rightfully so).  I have since repressed the memory, but I vaguely remember a “series of robust conversations” between the two of us.  As I meekly tried to defend the importance of saving the planet, I eventually saw the light and decided to save my marriage instead.

With that, I was a born-again animal eater and my vegan experiment was over.  I am happy to announce that after excessive apologies, presents, and slaying a cow in my wife’s honor, we remain happily (right, dear?) married to this day.

Some things to think about when you hear that next Tim Ferriss podcast about how an hour of cryogenic therapy or a day or eating a ketogenic diet is good for you:

  1. Do the benefits outweigh the costs?
  2. When is the right time to incorporate the change within your life (when your wife is pregnant or nursing – is NOT the right time)
  3. How is making this change going to affect the relationships in your life?
  4. Are there other ways you can make a positive change within your life that are not as drastic, but provide equal benefits? i.e., cutting out sugars before animals.

It doesn’t seem all that important now, but for the three weeks I ate a Vegan diet, I did notice some changes.  Positively, I felt lighter and more energetic.  Negatively, my brain didn’t function the best.  Specifically, one day in a meeting I asked, “where’s Jeff?”  To which my co-workers replied, “he’s right next to you.”  Don’t let this scare you though, give Veganism a shot!  You may actually save the world, you just might not have a spouse to share it with.

To all my Vegan readers – please note, no animals were harmed during composition of this blog post.

Photo is of a veggie garden in front of Glen’s Garden Market in Washington DC

Author Bio: Dan started Fired and Free in 2017, to provide his “truth” after being fired as CEO of the company he started and led. After a diverse 17-year career in management consulting and entrepreneurship, Dan now leads 3Sixty Leadership, where he provides coaching and consulting to business owners with 5 to 500 employees, helping them to work “on” their business not “in” their business.

11 thoughts on “Going Vegan Nearly Killed My Marriage

  1. Cookie Doe

    Caring about the environment and the future world of our children certainly warrants discussion and action. We don’t have to go it alone though– others have been creating some excellent resources lately:
    *The Chipotle Method, where each family member is eating the basically the same meal, with customized variations. In our house, ingredients only eaten by one person, such as onions, can be made once and frozen in small containers to have handy for future meals.
    *Cookbooks, such as Kitchen Divided, for semi-vegan households: https://www.amazon.com/Kitchen-Divided-Dishes-Semi-Vegan-Households/dp/157067292X
    *Communication books for semi-vegan households: https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Beliefs-Relationships-Communication-Vegetarians/dp/1944903305/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1501987661&sr=8-3&keywords=melanie+joy


  2. Team CF

    Guess you went in a little too hard (overboard even?) without researching the “right” vegan diet? We went primarily “vegan” about 3 years ago and are actually thriving on it (both physically and mentally). That said, we strive to eat a primarily whole foods plant based diet (not vegan, just for it being vegan), based on what current available science shows to be best for the “average” human body. That is if I may believe what the good Dr. Greger from https://nutritionfacts.org/ (independent, not-for-profit site) is showing.
    it does take a lot of effort, it is environmentally sustainable, financially interesting and supposedly the best risk management tool for your overall health. Perhaps it’s not a bad idea to (partially) try it again, but with more health science behind it to justify the efforts? Just a friendly suggestion 🙂
    P.s. we went on this journey together, took it slowly and the marriage definitely wasn’t negatively affected by it. Guess compromising is key here too.


    1. Fired and Free

      Thanks for the info Team CF and you’re right, I really should give it another shot. We’ve made a concerted effort to eat less meat in 2018. I’m guessing this will naturally lead to a trial with going veggie and then vegan. Overall, I should have tried for hitting a double, rather than swinging for the fences in my first at bat! Thanks again for writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jacq

    Dietary changes are definitely tougher with multiple people involved.
    Then there is my mom who has gone pescatarian and my step mom who doesn’t eat fish. Which just makes it tricky to recommend restaurants sometimes.
    My brother’s girlfriend is vegan and it’s been an adjustment getting my parents on the same page. Nope, no egg, nope no milk, nope no honey. I got dad and my step mom to do build your own tacos for Christmas eve dinner so it could be vegan optioned. Turned out really well! Mom did a coconut vegan fried rice and we added shrimp or chicken in the side as it suited our dietary choices. I think we are all learning to think outside the box. 🙂


  4. Pingback: The Silent Retreat – Agony, Ecstasy & An Asian Bell – Fired & Free

  5. Simona

    Hello, I am responding to my husband’s vegan conversion like your wife. I have felt it to be a rejection of my cooking, our time together over dinner, and my values about eating a balanced, unprocessed diet with high quality animal foods. I have really unstable blood sugar and even mash potato at 7 makes me hungry by 10 so higher fat and lower carb suit me. I thought my husband and I were on the same page about diet but I think he was just smiling and nodding to make me happy all these years. He started the vegan diet to lose weight and now he has gone full on animal rights. We never ate battery hen products or caged pork anyway. At least he cooks for himself, if he didn’t he would live on avocado toast. I really hate the whole vegan identity, it’s like nobody else ever ate a vegetable before.

    By the way, I do not think veganism is good for the planet, unless you want the planet to be a Monsanto monoculture business paradise, with little wildlife and infertile soil dependent on petrochemicals to produce any plants. We need more animals to shit on the earth and more perennial plants to put down deep roots to allow water to permeate further.

    Some people lose their health on a vegan diet – there are interviews on YouTube posted by an ex-vegan on a mission. See Lierre Keith for an alternative health and environmental view of veganism.

    Hi to your wife, it’s great to know someone else wan’t thrilled by having a vegan husband.


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