posted May 11, 2021
by Cherie Hans, VLCE
I have a greater chance of winning a Mega Millions jackpot, or about the same probability as being struck by lightning, than marrying a vegan. I am not settling for being wed to an omnivore.
My optimistic Jewish mother advised me to “just accept the fact that you’ll probably die alone.” (Thanks mom!) However, in the fall of 2012, after a decade as a divorcee, I met Al. He was easy to talk to and had a kind heart.
We discovered common interests such as the Mets, both being owned by cats, and that I taught at his high school alma mater. (Normally this is frowned upon, however, there was no impropriety since I arrived 20 years after he graduated.)
When we met, Al had a pet bird, cat, fish, and snake. He’d previously had a dog too, who’d crossed over the rainbow bridge. My spouse found his cat as a four-week-old kitten in a car engine at work.
Once my husband found a baby squirrel trapped in a drain pipe. He got Rocky out and brought him home. Rocky was bottle-fed and kept in the house until he was strong enough to go to an animal sanctuary to live out the rest of his life.
How does a self-proclaimed animal lover eat meat? The connection is missing. We went to an animal sanctuary together. My husband is 6’2” and cows his height rubbed up against him and were able to move him with little effort. He saw firsthand that they are just like any other domestic pet at home.
My husband, and most humans, have been led to believe that animals were meant to be slaughtered for food. I often get the “what if the egg did not come from a factory farm?” argument from him.
Bantering with the man I love about this topic is as exhausting as a political debate. If I want to live with him, I have to let it go. I have learned to cope by not discussing this topic with virtually everybody else.
While listening to Victoria Moran and her daughter Adair in their September 2012 podcast with Chef AJ, Adair told us that her husband still eats eggs and cheese (this was 9 years ago—I don’t know if it is true today or not). It resonated with me when Adair said, “we can only control ourselves.” I agree one hundred percent!
Upon starting the Main Street Vegan Academy (MSVA) with 20 fellow vegans, plus Victoria Moran, our instructor and mentor, I started to get antsy. I called my best friend of over forty years to vent. My BFF told me that one person cannot fulfill all of our needs—it is impossible.
The fact that opposites attract is debatable; however, my husband and I are both kind, generous, and thoughtful people. My husband’s laid-back demeanor offsets my, at times, fiery New York City roots.
I feel safe and loved every day. My spouse does not criticize me, but rather, builds me up. Al says he loves my energy, enthusiasm, sense of humor, my altruism, that I look out for him, and that I am a great cat mom to our eight rescued cats.
“Why do we belong together?” I asked Al. “It just works,” was his response. I have always heard that a relationship should never feel like a huge endeavor. Our marriage does not cause me anxiety or stress, but, rather a sense of peace and love.
How do I cope? Honestly, some days I don’t. Being in the MSVA had me questioning the dichotomy and hypocrisy. A presenter, and graduate of MSVA, said “we don’t live in a vegan world,” and that gave me solace.
We have separate shelf space in the fridge and cabinets. I do not cook for him since he does not eat what I do. We eat our own food at home and have found the few restaurants that will make me palatable vegan options when dining out.
I confessed to Al on our first date in 2012 that I was a vegan. I believed our idiosyncrasies were comparable.
For our second date, Al surprised me. He searched for a nice restaurant with fabulous vegan options. No man had ever done anything that thoughtful or kind for me. This act spoke volumes that night and every day thereafter.
Cherie Hans is a retired teacher and vegan since 2007. She became a vegan for the animals but found the health benefits an added bonus. After graduating from the Main Street Vegan Academy, Cherie became certified in the Starch Solution program with John McDougall, M.D and is current attending Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s Plant-Based Nutrition program at Cornell University. She grew up in New York City, but now lives in New Jersey with her husband and eight rescued cats.