Interdietary Dilemma

Choose Your Own Adventure


Remember those amazing choose your own adventure books that were around when we were kids? They'd be like "Turn to page 5 to battle a blood sucking turtle monster or turn to page 42 to save an old lady from a purse snatcher" and if you were anything like me (fabulous) you'd always go for the blood sucking turtle monster. Sorry grandma,  you just can't compete with the awesomeness of possibly defeating a turtle monster and saving the universe (insert girl flipping hair emoji here).

Well that's how I approach this whole inter-dietary dating dilemma. The question "So what are we doing for dinner?" would pop up and I'd immediately turn into a sweaty, stressed, mess of a human, crying on the floor as I cracked under the pressure. Okay, so that may be a little dramatic but I definitely hated that question.  Until I learned to let it go, and get smart.

Tip #2: The only way  to survive in the food world these days is to choose your own adventure. When it doubt make tacos or pizza.

Two of the easiest meals to tweak to fit any diet will always be tacos and pizza, they also happen to be my two favorite foods. Let's look at a basic taco: shell, protein, grain, veggies and condiment. Most of the time all you'll have to do is prepare two different proteins, and even then you can use the same spices, or marinade.

Try this marinade on tempeh or chicken and let us know what you think.

Basic Taco Protein Marinade:

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 3-4 tbs. fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Dash cayenne or Sriracha
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Few dashes liquid smoke (optional)

You can literally throw all of this into a little food processor and blend together or chop your little hearts out and mix together by hand, in a bowl.

Chicken Directions:

  1. Lay the chopped chicken (about 1 lb) on a small baking dish and pour half of the marinade on top. Refrigerate and let sit for 1-2 hours.
  2. Preheat your skillet with a little bit of coconut or olive oil and remove the chicken from the marinade and add the chicken to the pan. Discard used marinade. Cook chicken until it's done. Don't eat raw meat, that's gross.

Tempeh Directions:

  1. Break your tempeh brick in half and steam for 10 min.
  2. Let it cool just a little bit and then break it into little crumbles, using either a pastry cutter or your hands and a fork.
  3. Heat your skillet on medium heat, add coconut oil or olive oil and toss in the tempeh. Cook and stir for 3-5 min. In the last 30 seconds of cooking, add in the rest of the marinade and just stir until the crumbles are coated and turn of the heat.
  4. FYI this taco is even more amazing if you add some butternut squash to the mix!

To make the tacos, warm up your tortillas for 30ish seconds and then add your filling of choice (about 4 oz.) to the center of the shell. Sprinkle with your favorite garnishes, cheese if you're into that kind of thing and salsa. Garnish with a little lime wedge and enjoy. I like to keep a few tbs. of the marinade aside to drizzle on top of the taco for a little extra citrus flavor kick.

Read more about the nutritional benefits of tempeh here.

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Intro to Interdietary Dating


I think we've all been there, you're coasting through the first date like a champ and having the time of your life, then all of a sudden it comes time to order. You get the salad and your date goes straight for the steak with a side of unrecognizable fried things smothered in gravy, and without evening trying to hide it you go all  Ramona eyed on him, sneak away to the bathroom and never come back. No shame, I myself have done it a few times, but rest assured it didn't have to end that way.

Truth be told I've been vegetarian for as long as I have been dating (over a decade), and not once have I ever frolicked through fields of daisies holding hands with a fellow veg-head. As a lover of all things leafy and green, and apparently carnivorous, I've learned that the struggle is real when it comes to interdietary dating but it's totally doable.

Interdietary Dating simply means, dating someone who has a different diet preference than your own, so for example, vegans dating carnivores, or vegetarians dating gluten-free folks and so on.

At first glance this may not seem like the biggest of deals but throughout history food has been at the forefront of courtship and still today plays a very important role in relationship building. From that iconic spaghetti kiss in Lady and the Tramp to the mind-blowing scene in When Harry Met Sally ("I'll have what she's having!") food has been known to bring couples together. And as if dating wasn't already hard enough after navigating through hot topics like religion, politics and cleaning habits, now we have to consider dietary preferences too? I thought choosing between creamy or crunchy peanut butter would be my biggest battle!

Tip 1: As with other differences couples face (who has to clean the litter box or the best way to load the dishwasher), tolerance, compromise and a blind-eye are a must at the diner table.

Join me on this journey through love, life and cooking as I share my tips on surviving and thriving in an interdietary relationship..... oh yeah, there's going to be awesome recipes too!

Peace out, Dean