Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Real Food Y'all

Sustaining a real food lifestyle living with your non-real food spouse

Recommended Posts

Just wondering if anyone else has been successful in following a real food/paleo diet (at least an 80/20 approach) for a very long time, while living with a partner who is fully committed to the S.A.D.!

 

My partner is not only uninterested in paleo, but is an EXTREMELY picky eater. He will not eat ANY vegetables other than white potatoes and mushrooms (Are those even vegetables?). Everything else he eats is meat and bread. Every meal is eaten separately, unless I cheat (which is WAY too often). He cooks his food, and I cook mine. We have a 3yo daughter, and I want to raise her to love real food, but that's difficult when her dad eats junk food alongside us. She does love some veggies and ALL fruit, but she almost always chooses to eat what dad eats.

 

Now, I have had some small victories with him. I truly think he dislikes veggies because of how they were cooked for him as a child, mostly boiled and bland. I have talked him into tasting a few things (roasted broccoli, for example) and he SAID he liked it, but then he won't ever eat more than that one bite he supposedly liked. And don't get me wrong - he is amazing, and is very supportive of my diet choice. He even talks me out of cheating sometimes when I want to! But I don't do well with temptation outside of the confines of the Whole30, and temptation is always around me and I can't change that. We do have our different groceries stored separately as much as possible, but that doesn't help me much when a craving hits.

 

We live in an apartment with a very small kitchen, no room for a deep freezer. It's very frustrating trying to accommodate both our diet styles and storing all our food. I also wish there were some way we could eat together as a family more often. (Without me sabotaging the diet *I* want to follow.) It's also very taxing on me to have to do ALL the cooking. (He does cook for himself, but it's all convenience food so he spends WAY less time in the kitchen than I do!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do this :)

 

One thing to accept is that you can't force someone else to change their eating habits. If you try, it'll be all compliant at home and binge eating somewhere else (that's not a healthy relationship with food either). Beware victories and battles, where attempts at behaviour change are being made, these aren't always good for relationships and it can be easy to step over boundaries if you're only focusing on food. If there's fighting over any of it, you may need some agreed food groundrules.

 

It *is* easier for them in the kitchen and they're not going to be inspired to do extra cooking for you or to spend more time cooking, if they're happy with how things are. It's always easier to cheat, but if it's occurring regularly, then not cheating may be too hard somewhere, but that doesn't mean he has to change to stop the cheating. Temptation will always be around, even if he was 100% compliant, you'll still be exposed to temptations everywhere you go.

 

Look for kitchen optimisation, faster cooked meals, not having to store as much food, less time shopping etc. Food jail is not mandatory! Work out what the trigger points are for cheating (tired, hungry, nothing prepared, etc) and address the causes behind each trigger.

 

Eating together and cooking times are logistics :) Neither of these require him to change what he's eating. 

 

A 3yo can't make their own food, if it worries you what she's eating because of dad's example, that's a conversation you can have, but it is still something that can be changed without him having to change what he's eating.

 

If you haven't found any yet, make sure you have a few places you can go out to together and eat. Even if you don't use them often, it's important to have a known "safe place" you can go to, without wondering if you can eat there or not (uncertainty can be stressful for you and him).

 

Picky eaters often have other priorities, like food they don't want to spit out or throw up :) A lot of picky eaters have sensory revulsion to textures and ingredients, etc, so trying to find things they like can be a lot of work (and very unpleasant work for them). They have to want to participate, or they're just eating horrible things under duress. There's a lot of posts in the kids section to do with sensory food issues, but they're just as common in adults.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you! I should have mentioned, I don't have any interest in changing his diet. Just looking to vent a little, and maybe find little tricks to make living alongside each other with limited time (we both work full time, often more) and space easier. All the times he has tasted any of my vegetables was mostly of his own volition. I do think he has a curiosity about it. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do this, and have for a long time. My husband eats like a 15 year old who decides to use his allowance to eat ice cream and party pizzas, only he does this on a daily basis. He can't live without cheese or bread. Just can't. 

 

But, he fully believes that paleo eating is healthy eating, more so than any version of SAD. This is definitely important as we have two kids. Is your partner this way? Does he believe paleo is a healthier way of eating? If not, you should ask him to get informed for the kid's sake (that's how I addressed it with my husband).

 

I've had to have very serious conversations with my husband on the diet we feed our kids. I asked him to tell me the reason he wants our kids to eat ice cream, pizza, grilled cheese, etc... with him. Then I debunked his reasons. Eventually, he discovered it had to do with his own emotional attachment, not his concern that the kids will develop an eating disorder if they don't indulge in junk food (this was a long battle, btw, to convince him of this).

I took it upon myself to feed my kids. I'm the one in charge of that. Yes, that seems completely unfair, but their health is that important to me that I will do it. I have to provide food for them even if I am planning to go out for the afternoon and leave the kids with him. Every. Single. Meal... unless I want them to eat junk. His agreement is to stick to what I make them.

 

He still eats his crap in front of the kids. My three year old was VERY bad about crying for other people's food, but we broke this by NEVER letting her eat anything other than what was on her plate, no matter how much she cried. She eventually learned this and honestly, this is a very good thing for her to have learned. Now she doesn't bug others for their food, which is just polite. So, this was a great learning opportunity for her. We can have burgers, my husband can eat his with cheese and bread, and she can have hers like mine. My other is a baby, btw...

 

As far as yourself, you have to decide what you want for you. Not what anyone else is doing. Do you want to eat a whole food diet? Then do this. No matter what your partner eats. It was a couple of years of back and forth for me before I finally just stuck to it. But, I have to tell you, the final straw was when I looked at my little girl after a McDonald's meal, her head slumped on the table in her food coma, when it struck me that it isn't about me anymore. I can't go back and forth. Back and forth for me used to also involve binges, and she was starting to come along for the ride. :-(

 

Long way of saying, it can done. It is really just about how much you want it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

living with separate diets, check! my boyfriend is vegan, so there's very little the two of us can eat together. our meals usually consist of sharing a veggie dish, and then each of us making our own entree. he keeps a lot of non-paleo food in the house (potato chips, ramen, oatmeal, tofu and seitan, etc); but then again i've got a lot of food of my own that's non-vegan (steak, steak, more steak). we both choose to share what we can, and we celebrate what we're both able to enjoy. we love going to the farmers markets and getting fresh fruits and veggies that we can both enjoy.

 

it is possible, no one said it would be easy. keep encouraging him to try new things and new methods. as we grow our taste buds change, so maybe he'll discover new things he never thought he'd like. and keep up the good work for yourself! you are a good example for your child - as a kid she will be exposed to all sorts of food, but your healthy habits will make an impression on her during her formative years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just browsing through old posts and found this & thought I'd share an update! (2 years later...)

 

My husband (we got married!) is still very picky, but he wants to do better. He has some health issues that western medicine approaches aren't helping. I think he realizes he needs to get healthier holistically, and is trying to get started by adding in exercise, quitting smoking, and drinking alcohol less. He says he "will work on" eating what I eat, but I have yet to see it actually happen. He will very sporadically eat a few baby spinach leaves with a meal, that's one veg the texture of which doesn't make him gag.

 

Our daughter (5 now) eats pretty much a half-and-half mishmash of my meals and his meals. And there is overlap there. I worry her sweet tooth takes after mine as most suppers are us saying "three more bites!" etc. until I feel she's had enough nourishing food to have a dessert.

 

I don't doubt my husband agrees that paleo is healthy way of eating, if not the healthiest way. He's seen how much better I feel eating that way. We don't discuss nutrition often, but he's never tried to argue with me that I should eat less saturated fat or anything like that. We have watched a few documentaries together, such as Fed Up, which led him to greatly reduce the amount of Coke he drinks.

 

We have gotten into a rhythm (albeit a clunky rhythm) with cooking and food prep. He made me a flourless chocolate cake for my birthday last week (from a recipe I chose) and said he enjoyed that and would like for us to cook together more. (I had helped with more "advanced" tasks, like separating the eggs.)

 

I went through a period where I was worried about us drifting apart. Staying focused on eating healthily takes a LOT of your focus and I sometimes feel it distracts me what from I DO have in common with my husband. I'm trying to think about food less but it's HARD. (Especially since I long to connect with people who share my goals, so I find myself hanging around here much more!) I feel like we have resolved some of this by trying to do more together, e.g. we are reading a novel together (we both enjoy reading a lot but each read our own things typically) and doing daily entries in a couple's Q&A journal.

 

So, I think the spark is there, just waiting for it to catch fire. Maybe it will 2 months from now or maybe 2 years. Who knows?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My husband has decided to do another round of HIS version of the Whole30, which is 30 days no alcohol. (He's a really big beer drinker.) I'm excited and hope he sticks to it!

 

He did this in January, and made it a little over 3 weeks, I think. (Which is still way better than the usual just 2 or so days he goes between beer binges.) But afterward he gradually slipped right back into his habits, just like I tend to do with sweets. Hoping for more magic this time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had this problem with my husband and I  think I fixed it!  I got an audio book of Wheat Belly and we listened to it on a two day drive home from Arizona.  It was interesting and he was a captive audience. When we got home, he started looking up web sites on his own about gluten free diets and to my astonishment, he decided to give up wheat and see it that got rid of a little belly he has developed as he neared 70.  He has always had good food discipline and no fat on his body until now. He has eaten the same "healthy" breakfast for as long as I can remember, a bowl of whole wheat cereal and a banana.  And he ate almost exclusively a piece of bread and cheese for lunch and spoonfuls of pb for snack.  Dinners we can share mostly as I cook them and he is too lazy to do another meal for himself.  But now he is eating flax and olive oil and fruit for breakfast with milk and brewers yeast, I am thinking yuck but it works for him. I will gradually move up the veggies and meat. The audio book of Wheat Belly is, I guess, very persuasive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had this problem with my husband and I  think I fixed it!  I got an audio book of Wheat Belly and we listened to it on a two day drive home from Arizona.  It was interesting and he was a captive audience. When we got home, he started looking up web sites on his own about gluten free diets and to my astonishment, he decided to give up wheat and see it that got rid of a little belly he has developed as he neared 70.  He has always had good food discipline and no fat on his body until now. He has eaten the same "healthy" breakfast for as long as I can remember, a bowl of whole wheat cereal and a banana.  And he ate almost exclusively a piece of bread and cheese for lunch and spoonfuls of pb for snack.  Dinners we can share mostly as I cook them and he is too lazy to do another meal for himself.  But now he is eating flax and olive oil and fruit for breakfast with milk and brewers yeast, I am thinking yuck but it works for him. I will gradually move up the veggies and meat. The audio book of Wheat Belly is, I guess, very persuasive.

 

I haven't read Wheat Belly - after having read It Starts With Food and Eat the Yolks years ago, I figured at this point it'd be like preaching to the choir. :)

But this may be a good one for our next book we read together. :)

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My hubby is a SAD addict, not to mention 67 years old, a type II diabetic, and 100 lbs. overweight. It was harder when our two sons lived home with us and I was responsible for family meals. 

 

Now that we live alone together, it's easier. My husband eats the same thing every.single.day for breaktfast: large, commercial bagel, cream cheese, lox (smoked salmon from farmed Atlantic fish). 

 

For lunch, no matter WHAT wonderful whole30 leftovers are in the fridge, he buys his lunch: a submarine sandwich, chinese food, pizza. JUNK! 

 

He nibbles at my beautiful real food meals at dinner, then makes himself foods to snack on all evening, including things like hot dogs on buns, frozen Hungry Man dinners, etc. He buys all his own junk food, as I will not buy that stuff.

 

I shop for and cook all my own meals. I make enough for both of us, and he nibbles at my stuff for form's sake. But mostly he lives on his his junk. 

 

He doesn't try to change me and I don't try to change him. It isn't ideal, and sometimes I get lonely and sometimes I wish he would appreciate the beauty of a meal that's full of colorful veggies and beautiful meat.

 

I've learned there are a few things we can share: he likes meat loaf and mashed potatoes, which I can build a whole30 meal upon. I've discovered that mashed cauliflower is a great binder instead of bread crumbs! He also likes meatballs so I can serve that with zucchini noodles. 

 

I would call the state of our mealtimes a negotiated peace...:)

 

Pea

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My hubby is a SAD addict, not to mention 67 years old, a type II diabetic, and 100 lbs. overweight. It was harder when our two sons lived home with us and I was responsible for family meals. 

 

Now that we live alone together, it's easier. My husband eats the same thing every.single.day for breaktfast: large, commercial bagel, cream cheese, lox (smoked salmon from farmed Atlantic fish). 

 

For lunch, no matter WHAT wonderful whole30 leftovers are in the fridge, he buys his lunch: a submarine sandwich, chinese food, pizza. JUNK! 

 

He nibbles at my beautiful real food meals at dinner, then makes himself foods to snack on all evening, including things like hot dogs on buns, frozen Hungry Man dinners, etc. He buys all his own junk food, as I will not buy that stuff.

 

I shop for and cook all my own meals. I make enough for both of us, and he nibbles at my stuff for form's sake. But mostly he lives on his his junk. 

 

He doesn't try to change me and I don't try to change him. It isn't ideal, and sometimes I get lonely and sometimes I wish he would appreciate the beauty of a meal that's full of colorful veggies and beautiful meat.

 

I've learned there are a few things we can share: he likes meat loaf and mashed potatoes, which I can build a whole30 meal upon. I've discovered that mashed cauliflower is a great binder instead of bread crumbs! He also likes meatballs so I can serve that with zucchini noodles. 

 

I would call the state of our mealtimes a negotiated peace... :)

 

Pea

 

Well this sounds exactly like me and my husband in 20-something years :)

 

How long have you been doing the Whole30 thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I first started eating Paleo around age 50, a decade ago. I was a dedicated athlete, long distance cyclist, Crossfit instructor!

 

Then I got Lyme Disease but it took me years to get it diagnosed, and in that time, I had 2 spine operations (probably due to undiagnosed Lyme pain!) and a host of other ills. I gained a lot of weight and had other life stressors (like an autistic adult child and another child with bipolar disorder). My eating discipline got lost in the shuffle. This is my third whole30 in the past few years and this time, it's for a real reset. Having been diagnosed with cancer this year, it's even more critical that I control what I can in my life, and eating well is one of those things.

 

This whole30, the magic was almost instantaneous. My hunger becomes physiologic instead of emotional. I stop thinking about food all day long. My bloat diminishes.....all the good stuff.

 

Makes you wonder what on earth would make me become careless when caring feels so good?

 

Answer: Caregiver PUT YOURSELF FIRST!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I first started eating Paleo around age 50, a decade ago. I was a dedicated athlete, long distance cyclist, Crossfit instructor!

 

Then I got Lyme Disease but it took me years to get it diagnosed, and in that time, I had 2 spine operations (probably due to undiagnosed Lyme pain!) and a host of other ills. I gained a lot of weight and had other life stressors (like an autistic adult child and another child with bipolar disorder). My eating discipline got lost in the shuffle. This is my third whole30 in the past few years and this time, it's for a real reset. Having been diagnosed with cancer this year, it's even more critical that I control what I can in my life, and eating well is one of those things.

 

This whole30, the magic was almost instantaneous. My hunger becomes physiologic instead of emotional. I stop thinking about food all day long. My bloat diminishes.....all the good stuff.

 

Makes you wonder what on earth would make me become careless when caring feels so good?

 

Answer: Caregiver PUT YOURSELF FIRST!

 

Wow, I'm sorry for all your troubles, but the fact that you've been doing this for 10 years gives me hope for my marriage. :)

Thanks for sharing your story - best of luck on your healing journey!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far the marriage goes, it helps to focus on the positive! Like I cherish the fact that my hubby thinks it's of course necessary and wonderful for me to eat an anti-cancer diet, rather than me focusing on what HE should eat. I focus on that he never complains that I buy expensive grassfed, organic local meat, and ignore that he buys Bubba burgers and deep fried frozen crappy crap for himself. 

 

We're in our sixties, and I am certainly not going to change him now. He has to change himself. That's always been true, it's just it's easier to accept now that we've grown older.

 

Good luck on your journey!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I (should have) suspected, his "Sober30" did not last long. Now he wants to do 30 days no smoking (he likes to puff on a cigar outside some when he drinks) while I do 30 days no sweets (he's not the only one with vices) - starting Monday.  Here we go again!  :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really struggling with not being a judgmental jerk today...

 

This morning my kiddo & husband had Fruity Pebbles for breakfast and I couldn't help but feel disgusted at the crap they were putting in their bodies as I prepared my Brussels sprouts and eggs. I kind of did this *shudder* thing when he was fixing it, and husband noticed and was understandably pissed.

 

I do not like feeling holier-than-thou. But the harder I focus on feeding myself well, the more I tend to get this way. I really wish I could turn this terrible part of my brain off.

 

I worry about my daughter. (I worry about my husband too, but he's grown & I can't control him.) I want her to grow up appreciating real food over processed crap but I also don't want to police every bite that goes in her mouth. I just want her to make healthy choices once she's old enough to make them herself. I know there will be school lunches, field trips, and pizza parties and everything else, and that's fine, but I wish I could get her at-home diet to be just mostly clean. But real food canNOT compete with Fruity Pebbles to a small child's palate! Grrr.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PopQuizKid -- I understand how you feel, my family is the same way. I've learned the hard way over time that the *shudder*, calling their food "crap", and worrying about their food got me no where. It took the focus from the food and put it instead on my judgements. At that point, the defenses are up and the battle is lost. It's hard, I know. 

 

We judge their foods -- over processed crap, mine is healthier, clean, real food -- all judging. But for some perspective, look in this forum for the threads about the other side's point of view. How many of us have had troubles with friends who call our diet crazy, say we're obsessed, poke fun at our food choices, try to sabotage our efforts? That is them judging us, and it doesn't feel good when people do that to us! So when I feel the urge to judge their unhealthy foods I take a moment to remember how I feel when someone judges mine. That brings me to a stop. 

 

The best way I've found to promote change in my family is to just do what I do, the kids get curious and want to try what I have, they emulate, and sometimes find they like what I have. And I'm happy with that.

 

It's hard, I know!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never eat cereal that changes the color of the milk.  I read that on a poster at the hospital. 

 

There's always someone watching every move we make.  The sideward sneers, rolling of the eyes, smirks or sticking of tongues out.  Nothing goes missed.

 

The good teacher leads the horses to water.  The excellent teacher make the horses thirsty first. You keep on with the trifecta...proteins, vege and fats.  Smile UP in there. One day, they'll need something good to take that sweet taste away.  Tool along, keep going.   They're watching you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Y'all are the best!

 

Back in the day when I was first laying the groundwork of my Whole30-esque habits, I would constantly remind myself that my way of eating is as big of an inconvenience to my husband as his is to mine. That he is putting up with me every bit as much as I'm putting up with him.

 

Somewhere in my more recent refocusing on eating well, I lost touch with that mantra.

 

I guess it's frustrating because the more time goes by, the more I see him wanting to make health changes, but struggling to keep his resolutions. (He's a textbook Rebel, if you're a Gretchen Rubin fan. I'm a Questioner but feel I have Rebel tendencies.) I keep hearing of people doing Whole30 alone, then months later, the spouse is inspired and joins in. I've been waiting YEARS for him to just quit smoking, dial back the drinking some, and try a couple damn veggies.

 

But I have to let it happen for him in his own time. Or accept that it may never happen. 

 

Either way - negativity and judgment is way more toxic than sugar, gluten, MSG, sulfites, and food coloring combined.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites