How a single family with two carnivores, one vegetarian, and one almost vegetarian manage day-to-day

A lot of people are juggling households with multiple dietary preferences.

One parent is an almost vegetarian while the other eats meat. One child is a strict vegan while the other eats fish.

It can be complicated.

So I asked someone whose family consists of two carnivores (he's one!), a vegetarian, and an almost vegetarian to tell us how they manage. And, he did!

How We Manage Two Carnivores, a Vegetarian, and an Almost Vegetarian in the Sisson Household
By Mark Sisson

It often surprises folks to learn that while I'm Mr. Carnivore (with a few caveats), there are several different dietary styles going on under my own roof. My wife, Carrie, was a vegetarian for decades before introducing fish back into her diet. But she's still mostly veg. My daughter, Devyn, and I both enjoy daily meals of clean protein - meaning organic, grass-fed for those Omega-3's, and free-range, making sure to stick to small portions - and my son, Kyle, has never tasted a bite of flesh (not even fish) in his entire life. That's right, Sisson's son (a fine athlete, too) is a complete vegetarian. We're all healthy and fit. Though I recommend animal protein, it is possible to enjoy good health if you take the right measures. Here's how we do it in our household - and how we manage to eat meals together, something that's very important to Carrie and I.

Make vegetables the base of your diet (and the bulk)
Whether you eat flesh or not, vegetables are clearly meant to be humanity's main source of fuel. Before the introduction of grain agriculture (and the subsequent plague on humanity known as sugar), humans lived primarily on produce of all sorts. We scavenged for flesh and picked mussels and clams and oysters where we could, but the bulk of our diet came from valuable roots, tubers, shoots, greens, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber is sorely lacking from our modern processed diet, and we have the predictable health problems to show for it. In our household, meal times are not too difficult despite the different lifestyles, because we all rely primarily on vegetables. In fact, every weekend, we prep a week's worth of tasty greens and salad ingredients like tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, artichoke hearts, chopped bell peppers, and mushrooms. We have special drawers for each ingredient, so all we have to do is toss what we individually like into our big salad bowls. That's the healthiest lunch imaginable, and we all love it. I personally grill chicken or break out the tuna most days of the week, while Carrie and Kyle typically go for minimally processed soy products like tempeh. We all avoid processed proteins - for myself and Devyn, that means bacon and sausage; for Carrie and Kyle, that means faux "mock" meats and wheat-based proteins.

Nutritious fats work for everyone
Omega-3 enhanced eggs, olive oil, flax seeds, flax oil, nuts, avocados and seeds are big hits around the Sisson household, and they're incredibly good for you. Healthy fats reduce inflammation, help me manage my osteoarthritis from the running days, and help us all stay alert and balanced. The scientific literature proving the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids is overwhelming. If you want to fight depression, lower blood pressure, reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol, and stimulate cognition, be sure you get these vital fats. I make sure Kyle gets plenty of Omega-3 eggs and olive oil and nuts in his diet, and Carrie does eat wild salmon and tuna in addition to fish oil supplements.

Choose smart proteins
A primary concern for me with Kyle, and Carrie, too, is that we're all getting enough quality protein. Of course protein is not really a single nutrient, but a macronutrient comprised of many amino acids. For Kyle, this means sources like eggs, organic dairy, and sugar-free protein shakes. Since he doesn't care for milk and mainly uses eggs in recipes, we make sure he drinks a shake nearly every day.

Focus on what you have in common
Though we each have slightly different preferences, we're generally all on the same page in terms of putting health first. We have a strict no junk food rule in our household. We focus on what we have in common - lots of veggies, some fruit, lots of good fats - and add in our proteins of choice. Breakfast is easy, as it's usually eggs or protein smoothies with fresh fruit and flax. Lunch is a salad with everyone's particular protein choice. For dinner, we almost always do vegetables of some sort. I typically grill or bake fish, and Kyle gets tempeh or tofu or beans. We don't do sugar and grains, choosing instead to focus on phytonutrient- and vitamin-rich produce as the bulk of our diet.