My roommate and I share a lot of things, but food isn't always one of them. I love everything dairy and meat, but she's lactose intolerant and a vegetarian by choice. Truthfully, I don't know how she does it. Before deciding to room together, we didn't think much of how our dietary habits could affect one another.

Living together for about a month now, we've had a couple minor struggles. We learned how to deal with these struggles, however, or at least tried to through compromise. 

wine, coffee, tea
Jennifer Elias

How She Deals

Sunday morning is my day to cook bacon and eggs, and that obviously leaves our apartment smelling like bacon. I personally love the smell of bacon in the morning and would support burning bacon scented candles all the time.

Natalie will usually comment on the smell as well. Last week's comment was: "Honestly I like the smell of bacon. I think it smells good, but I'm not enticed to want to eat it." This girl has a lot of willpower and has been a vegetarian for about three years. To touch on the power time has on our habits, she told me: "I haven't had {meat] in such a long time so I don't really crave it."

When I asked her if it bothered her when I cook chicken or make a meal with cheese or butter, she replied that it doesn't bother her either, but occasionally she does get cravings. Natalie says, "I know cravings pass. I wish I could have ice cream, but I know there are other alternatives (which don't taste as good [to everyone else]) but to me, they taste good because I don't know what "good ice cream" tastes like anymore." 

corn, vegetable, sweet
Jennifer Elias

Instead of butter, she uses coconut oil or olive oil, and she sticks to a diet of mostly vegetables, carbs like potatoes or rice and LOTS of popcorn (sea salt only, of course). She is also a fan of cheese substitutes like Daiya and ice cream substitutes like Arctic Zero. I can't personally accept either of these as replacements for dairy, but more power to her for enjoying them. 

We've only had two incidents. The first was after I bought a four cheese tomato-based pasta sauce, while Natalie opted for a tomato basil sauce. She accidentally used mine and spent the rest of the day in serious pain and some time in the bathroom (sorry girl!). The second time was when she didn't realize the popcorn she bought was buttered. 

How I Deal

I haven't had to make any major sacrifices because Natalie isn't bothered by my dietary inclusions of dairy and cheese, just like I don't mind hers. We have compromised by agreeing to use almond milk instead of dairy milk. This substitution I actually love. I still occasionally cook with butter, make bacon some mornings, and continue to snack on yogurt. But when I roast vegetables, I just have to remember to use olive oil instead of butter. 

carton, box, butter
Caroline Ingalls

I recently channeled my inner Martha Stewart and made banana bread, but without thinking it through used butter. It was only after I finished making the batter that I realized Natalie wouldn't be able to share it with me. But next time I plan to find a dairy-free version so Natalie can enjoy it, too. 

To be honest, I would say Natalie has the short end of the stick in this living situation. I don't know what I would do without dairy or meat in my diet, but I give Natalie five stars for her willpower and passion.