Sally Kingston

Husband claims no benefit

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I did my first whole 30 about two years ago, and have continued to eat this way on and off since then. I've noticed a WORLD of difference when I'm strict, even compared to 80-90% compliance, so ideally, I'd stay strict almost all the time.

My husband, however, claims to feel no real improvement when he does a whole 30. He doesn't have major health complaints anyway, being one of those obnoxious people who is generally athletic and lean regardless of what he eats. Has never had a cavity, never needs to go to the doctor, gets a mild cold about once a year, etc, etc. He does notice experiencing less gas and less irritation from things he is allergic to (cats, pollen) when eating clean, but in his opinion, the benefits of eating clean do not compare to the pleasure and convenience of beer, beans and rice, cheese, etc.

I can't figure out how to balance our different experiences and come up with something that works for the whole family. He does most of the grocery shopping and cooking and, amazingly, is willing to buy and prepare compliant foods for me (occasionally he marinates meat in something full of sugar and doesn't understand why I'm upset, but 99% of it is clean). But it's really hard to stick to eating the way that I know is good for me when he's eating whatever he wants right in front of me, and its incredibly frustrating to feel restricted when he isn't. On the other hand, it doesn't seem fair to ask him to eat this way just because it helps me.

The second problem is our kids' food. They are probably 50% paleo. He makes them oatmeal for breakfast. They eat gluten-free, but vegetarian/not paleo food at their school for lunch, and their dinners, snacks, and weekend meals are usually totally paleo. He is, because of my work schedule, responsible for their food most of the time. Again, it seems a little intense for me to insist that he take extra effort to pack lunches and make paleo breakfasts because of the way MY body responds. We haven't ever done a whole 30 with the kids to see whether it makes much difference in their bodies.

I am obviously SO SO grateful for the lengths that my husband already goes to to ensure that I'm able to eat what works for my body. I guess I'm looking for advice on transitioning our kids to paleo without him being 100% convinced. Also, does anyone else know someone like this who is seemingly impervious to the negative effects of sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes? I will admit that a part of me doesn't believe him or thinks that he just hasn't really given it a real shot (totally unfair, I know).

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Your situation sounds really similar to mine; my fiancé' does the majority of cooking and a lot of the shopping. Like you, he's naturally athletic and lean and doesn't really notice big differences from the Whole30. He like to support me so he will make my meal compliant but he also includes cheese, etc in his food and the kids.

I do believe that he doesn't experience big differences . . . he does experience some differences but they are pretty mild. The biggest difference that we both talk about is we both are able to be more patient with our kids when Whole30ing. He's a redhead, so that's saying something!

What it has come down to for me is that I am the only one who really can take care of me... if I want to be Whole30 most of the time (which I do) I have to set some rules for myself and stick to them. In reality I struggle with that, but I don't think it is fair for me to ask him to be compliant just to meet my needs. I have to not eat toast at breakfast and not put the cheese on my (Paleo) chili.

It's not fun, and I'm not saying I'm good at it, but I think it's life.

Sorry, I'm afraid I'm not much help... you aren't the only one, at least!

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I totally get this. My husband will never try a Whole30 or eating a paleo diet. He did it for one week (actually, what he did was a zero-carb paleo diet for one week, which is a terrible way to try paleo). After that week, he said he never wants to do it again because it would make him angry. It doesn't matter what I say about that, he is convinced. Whatever, his choice.

But yeah, he can eat whatever he wants and be in mostly perfect condition. I say mostly because I've seen him go into sugar/wheat comas but he doesn't think this is a problem or abnormal. It's just a part of eating to him.

Luckily, I do a good chunk of the cooking and have more say of what our 2 1/2 year old daughter eats, but we still have a huge problem there. When he feeds her (which is a few nights a week) he will feed her bread or pasta despite the paleo dinner I have made. He also is very against her going paleo completely because he is certain this will cause her to have an eating disorder later in life. He has made it clear he will not bend on that. I know the real reason is because if she goes paleo like mom, he will have to clean up his diet in front her to help her stick to it. You can't eat bread in front of a two year old without sharing, or you'll have a huge fit every time. Plus, what does that say to the kid? Basically, we feed our daughter garbage so he doesn't have to be more responsible...

As far as I go, I have a ton of food sensitivities and allergies. I pretty much have to eat this way in order to be well. My husband does realize this and believes this is true for me. He also thinks it is a rare problem that I, alone, have. I try to convince him that it can be genetic and our child could have food issues too (and that he himself may have a sensitivity to wheat he doesn't realize he has because I and our doctor thinks he does have this). I try to convince him to just let me try a 30 day elimination diet and reintroduction on our daughter, just to see if it does any good. Won't hurt, right? I think he says no because he knows that I want to make paleo eating permanent for my daughter and agreeing to 30 days would be inviting this.

Anyway, I think for yourself, you know what's best and should really stick with that no matter what. Trust me, I know it is hard sometimes when he's eating whatever he wants right in front of you! I go through that too! For your child, I think you may suggest trying the 30 day elimination diet, just to see, just as a fun experiment. Won't hurt anything, right? And do it exactly as we should do the Whole30 - with the correct reintroduction period. See if you two notice any changes in your kid. Perhaps that will convince him?? I'm still trying to figure this out myself! Good luck!!

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I feel for you. I live with my 24 year old son. He cooks his own meals, eats a really unhealthy diet and will not consider changing it. I can only be responsible for what I eat. He's an adult and makes his own choices in life and yes he seems disgustingly healthy. As to whether he really is underneath or not, I couldn't say. I have friends who have always seemed really fit and healthy, now in their 50s are developing many health problems. It's not always possible to tell what's happening inside our bodies, many things take years to develope.

As far as the kids go, as Casey suggested, would it be possible to get him on board to letting them try eating this way for 30 days as an experiment to see if there's any change in them? If they're already eating paleo 50% of the time they're probably doing better than an awful lot of kids nowadays.

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I can't offer any advice, but at least we're not all in this alone? My husband pretty much refuses to try a Whole30 (or even just go actually paleo for a while), but he will cook paleo dinners (if it's for both of us). He has some health issues that I'm convinced a paleo diet could really help, but he could never give up pizza and soda. But, to anyone who doesn't know him, he seems like a perfectly healthy in shape guy.

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Sally, I think you and I are married to the same man (except for the naturally lean part--my husband is about 15 pounds heavier than he wants to be) and live in the same household!

We actually had a big argument about this 2 nights ago. My daughter developed a gluten allergy (which was very painstakingly documented and unfolded in another post on the Kids forum) recently and since then I noticed him really pushing me on letting her have things like rice and beans and on my own diet. She eats anywhere between 50-90% paleo on any given day and I would really like her to eat more like me (I do eat some dairy, but I really watch it). Finally after him basically trying to force me to admit that oatmeal was "healthy" I got him to admit that he didn't want V to eat paleo because the idea of limiting her further bothered him--he felt like the allergy was already cheating her out of some enjoyment of being a kid and he was afraid that if we discovered she had further allergies that it was going to even further complicate her life (and our's). He doesn't want to invite a Paleo diet into our life because he feels like we have so little left that we can enjoy that's 'fun' as a family (like rice and beans with a gluten free fish tacos, for example) that eating paleo would be the final straw. He also cooks a lot and has been very helpful with preparing Paleo or Primal food for us, so I, too, feel bad being a jerk about insisting he fix food a certain way.

I decided the only thing I could do is just eat the way I want and look for recipes that are Paleo for him to fix. I also use my slow cooker a lot (there are some really good paleo slow cooker cookbooks on Amazon) and help him cut stuff up the night before so I can "monitor" what goes in them. When he puts rice in my meatballs or uses honey in some recipes I just suck it up sometimes. When he prepares stuff that you have to put together (aforementioned fish tacos) I try and make sure what I eat is as clean as possible. As far as the kid goes, well, I make sure the breakfast she eats and the lunch I pack for her are as paleo as possible. Some nights I just cringe internally and eat what he makes even if it is far from paleo. At least we're not eating crap from a box or fast food.

Good luck!

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Robin, my heart hurts for you on this! I think you are doing an amazing job with your kids! Teaching them to eat well is invaluable. It sounds like your husband is using the kids to express his own fears. He is worried about your daughter not enjoying her childhood but I read that and it sounds like he is concerned about not enjoying adulthood. I would sit down and talk to him more about what is really bothering him. That he can never have said thing again....Make a compromise. Maybe 1 or 2 nights a week y'all have a planned "off" meal. Honey and rice every once in a while is rather benign, and if having it every now and then brings peace to you and your house then I say it is well worth it.

This is only my opinion, and I don't understand everything about your situation, but these are just my thoughts. Take care

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I hear you on this, my husband and I just finished our first Whole30 and he swears nothing changed for him. He does admit he is less bloated than he used to be but he can't wait to go buy cookies and have pizza. I want to keep eatting Paleo and since I cool dinner he will too at least for that meal, lol. It will be hard having the sweets in the house though because we haven't for 30 days and it's been great. He is supportive and has agreed to stay gluten free (but I'm sure his cookies have gluten in them!). He is overall very supportive so I'm sure it will work itself out, I just wish he had a better outlook. The Whole30 was my idea, he only did it to be supportive so I guess I can't fault him for not being 100% on board.

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To those of you whose partner thinks this is really limiting... my fiancé does 90% of our cooking and we have three kids, ages 6-13. We all get really (honestly) excited for:

meatzas

steaks with homemade mayo-horseradish sauce

kombucha in a wine glass (and the kids can have this too! their "special drink")

eggplant strata

tacos (wrapped in collard greens) with homemade mayo and guac

baked apples with cinnamon and melted coconut butter

elk stew on a cold night

"sushi" with cauliflower rice or guac and mango or salmon, cucumber, jicima

kale chips -- these disappear instantly

We've gone to parties and had friends over and had them get more excited for our food than for their own. I guess, like many things, whether or not eating this way is limiting depends on one's perspective. I love that it encourages health, food knowledge, humane treatment of animals, and joy of food!

I know I'm preaching to the choir, so I'll stop. It just makes me feel bewildered when I read of people thinking this way of life is limiting... It is my opinion that it is greatly freeing!

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Your post really touched me, Robin. It sounds like you're doing an amazing job in a tough situation.

I got him to admit that he didn't want V to eat paleo because the idea of limiting her further bothered him--he felt like the allergy was already cheating her out of some enjoyment of being a kid and he was afraid that if we discovered she had further allergies that it was going to even further complicate her life (and our's).

As someone with lots of allergies, I really sympathize with this. Having food sensitivities and avoiding certain things because of them does put you outside of "normal"—and eating paleo throws that off even further. In the long term, that's a good thing of course! (It's also "normal" to have a whole host of lifestyle-related illnesses and injuries, and no one wants that!) But in the short term, it can be hard to feel like you're always left out because of what you can't have, or always the one with the "weird" food. I think your husband is coming from a loving place, not wanting your daughter to experience that. And, as Megan so wisely suggested, it's probably triggering for him as well. Maybe he felt really left-out and "not normal" as a kid? Keep the lines of communication open on this; keep working on it.

Also, someone on the forums said this—I don't remember who it was, but it was extremely helpful to me—"For everything you take out, put something in." Cashews give you troubles? Find a vegetable you've never tasted and try it! Or find a new way of cooking an old staple. This has absolutely saved me. It's so easy to get bogged down in "can't have."

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MamaDrew - I wonder if maybe the reason your hubby hasn't noticed too much improvement is that he wasn't strict when he was, say, at work? Just a thought! Can't force this on anyone, but you should reiterate that his cookies need to be gluten free, hahaha...

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That occured to me as well. Do you think he slipped and ate some non Whole 30 foods on during his Whole 30 (possibly accidentally)?

Also--and I hate to make this a gender thing, really--I've noticed stubborness related to food seems to be a male trait. My father-in-law and father are both like this. Maybe it has to do with the women in their lives (especially if those women control a lot of household related activites or childrearing decisions) "taking away" yet another choice? For example, my dad refuses to believe that his 2 pack a day smoking habit and caffeine addiction have anything to do with the fact that he can't sleep. ARGH! So frustrating.

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I think many of us are married to the same man! LOL!

I often wonder if most men just don't pay attention to their bodies like women do. My man doesn't consider getting up in the middle of the night to take a Tums a problem. Nor is weighing 5 lbs more on Monday morning-it will be gone by Thursday. Women are constantly examining ourselves-how we look, how we feel, how we act, etc. How many times have you heard "listen to your body"? My man spends very little time thinking about these things, so he doesn't feel substantially better or worse no matter what he does. He just forges ahead. My bet is that if I was living in his body, I would notice a difference.

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Sounds like there are many of us with reluctant hubbys. Mine doesn't feel anything better or different either. We are on day 19. My husband is already looking forward to pizza, sandwiches, pasta, ice cream, etc. I love him for his willingness to support and partner with me for the first 30 days, but no matter how well this ends, he is still a string bean and I will have 50+ pounds to lose. He is the cook and grocery shopper.

I found this forum just after I blogged about this same subject today. 11 days to make a plan....

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I'm on day 12 of my first Whole 30. My boyfriend (who chews tobacco and drinks way more than he should) became mildly petulant when I told him he had to fry our Krabby Patties (from NomNom Paleo) in coconut oil instead of butter.

The next morning he asked, "So how long are you going to stay on this weird, cultish diet regimen."

I, think, however, I will win him over eventually because the food we can eat is SO good. I see no reason to cry over the Fritos and M&M's and french fries and ridiculous crap I used to eat.

@RobinD, I'm a fellow Hoosier! Moved to Bedford when I was 13 and ended up going to college in Richmond.

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I can totally relate also. I have many food sensitivities and my husband is lean and can eat anything he wants. He also has absolutely no sugar/dairy/wheat problems or cravings and consistently "can't understand why I have such a problem with it." Sigh. I'd say we eat 80% paleo and he will eat mostly anything. He'll try anything once but is brutally honest when he doesn't like it. Not in a mean way, but it is discouraging when I'm trying to eat as paleo as possible and he wants his rice/pasta or "normal" bbq sauce instead of the paleo version.

It gets frustrating because I feel it's hard enough to eat this way by myself. I've decided I have to just do the best that I can. When I have control over what I eat, it's my responsibility what I eat. I can be happy about that and choose to let the rest go.

Anything that adds stress isn't good because that affects our bodies in a negative way so my practice lately is to work on that!!

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