Photograph credit: Ian Howorth
Dating a vegan may come with negative stereotypes and a bad rap. From being ‘too annoying’, to having a ‘dull diet’. Veganism can be a restrictive diet, not only in the sense of meat but also dairy, eggs etc., as all animal products are off limits. However, veganism has been on the rise and within the last decade is has grown 360 per cent in the UK alone.
Joshua, 24, decided to become a vegan for moral and health reasons after watching a lecture by Gary Yourofsky called the most important speech you will ever hear. “I decided to be vegan in 2015, my family from Brazil they showed me the lecture and by the end of it I was like why am I eating meat?” says Joshua. The lecture covers ‘everything’ and gives an insight on the benefits of being vegan not only environmentally but also for personal health.
“It’s now common knowledge that there’s a certain amount of pus and blood allowed in milk.”, he then adds. According to the Animal Aid, a litre of milk can have up to 400,000,000 somatic cells (pus cells) before it is considered unfit for people to drink.
However, it is not necessarily easy to just switch to veganism overnight. It can for some be a challenge. Especially for someone like Joshua, whose family is Brazilian, where their food culture is heavily meat based. “I grew up in south London and chicken is a massive part of that culture, so my diet was chicken and chips for my whole up until to that point, and then one day I was okay I’m not going to eat meat anymore.”
If Joshua was more ‘introverted’, he would have struggled in the dating scene as a vegan but he was verbal about his dietary and his views. “When I first became vegan, I was vocal but I was also vocal about a lot of my views, whereas now I’ve just hit the point where I’m aware that people can be stubborn and really set in their ways.”, he says.
With the rise of vegans in the UK, meeting people who are vegan or even vegetarian has become more common compared to 2015 when Joshua first became vegan. “A lot more people in our generation are becoming vegetarian and vegan, so the people I’m meeting tend to be vegetarians.” However, for someone who’s more of a shy vegan would be the ‘altercations’ or the ‘backlash’ they would face. “It’s a fun talking point for some people. It can get tiring.”
According to a study done by EliteSingles vegans are more likely to go on a date with a meat-eater with the figures showing 82% and with 72% would begin a serious relationship with a meat-eater. Whereas, when the tables are turned only 69% of meat-eaters would be willing to go on a first date with a vegan and 61% will be open to a serious relationship.
Although Joshua’s girlfriend is a vegetarian, he is a part of the 72% who will still be happy to be in a relationship if she were to be a meat-eater. “The main issue with dating a meat-eater would be to do with morals. The big thing for veganism is you have certain morals with how people are treating animals and the whole industry. Where a meat-eater may not be aware of those things or doesn’t care so then it becomes a whole thing of having severely different morals and that could become and issue.” Joshua says.
From the old ages to our modern-day society, the dating scene has revolved around eating out; dinner dates, chocolates, coffee in the morning or even brunch. Finding a partner who has similar values or even finding a place to eat together can be a challenge for vegan couples. “Before we go and sit down anywhere, we have to look at the menu and make sure there are vegan options”, says Joshua.
Compared to when Joshua first became a vegan, restaurants and eating out places have evolved in regards to having vegan options on their menus. In those five years alone, veganism has impacted the food industry. “There are now places which are specifically catering to veganism, or restaurants are at least adding a few vegan options on their menus.”
However, dinner dates are not the only thing that change after you become vegan, chocolate is also a massive part of the dating culture. “Now there is an alternative to chocolate, there is a bar called Vego Bar and it tastes like Nutella in a chocolate bar, but it’s completely vegan and it’s incredible.” Dark chocolates are also an option where it’s just naturally vegan.
London in general has a massive chicken culture, however, the impact veganism had on the food industry speaks volume as now there are multiple chicken shops which are primarily aimed for vegans. Some of the restaurants are: Temple of Seitan which known to be one of London’s vegan fast food restaurant, and another popular restaurant is the Chick’nrestaurant on Baker Street.
There aren’t drastic changes to the dating scene regardless if you’re a meat-eater or a vegan. However, with food playing a big role within the dating scene it can still be an obstacle. “Only thing that has changed is food really. Going to restaurant, just making sure there are vegan options. I wouldn’t say being a vegan has a massive impact on your dating life any more than it does on your personal life.”