10

votes

Sickly girlfriend on SAD diet.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 01, 2012 at 11:34 PM

Hopefully this isn't too far off topic.

To try to keep it short, my girlfriend of one year is sick very often. She has a laundry-list of ailments, anything from general digestive issues, to auto-immune conditions, to more complicated things I don't understand. The vast majority of the problems I have researched and people have had tons of success with those problems when switching to the paleo diet. I have had several serious talks with her about her long-term health and how almost all of the problems can be significantly improved or maybe even cured. I have sent her research, articles, and offered books. But much like my auto-immune mother, and my cancer uncle, I have had no success in convincing them to try Paleo for even 30 days.

In the case of my girlfriend whom I love, it is beginning to put a big burden on our relationship. It isn't fun taking care of someone who is sick all of the time. It limits what we do, what I can accomplish, adds stress, exc... She isn't sick all day every day, but it is often enough that it has become a big burden. As far as she goes she is in complete denial about how often she has some sort of ailment and immediately dismisses most of my suggestions ??I've had this forever that isn't the problem??. I started tracking the days she is sick and what the problem is on a calendar. Is it a bad idea to show this to her? Is it wrong to threaten to break up with someone over health issues? Am I turning paleo into a religion? Any advice at all is appreciated.

46bee6b93ee79082ea1094f26c2da5a4

(837)

on February 03, 2012
at 01:05 PM

Renee, no need to freak, I had a chronic illness when I met my husband, I found out later he was even "warned" by his dad not to marry me because of it!

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 03, 2012
at 09:10 AM

Melissa does make a good point. So few people around me believe in the power of diet. It's never their food... always bad luck.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 02, 2012
at 06:08 PM

Thankyou, Nance.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:10 PM

Consider my up-vote your medal. :-)) Sadly, I've known people whose identity became "sick person" and to outsiders it seemed they fought to stay sick while, of course, they would claim they wanted to get well. The illness may be totally genuine and it may be a plea for attention and it's not always easy to tell the difference.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:55 AM

Oh, Renee, I hate that you feel freaked out. I've got a severe disability dynamic in my relationship - my husband has a lot of physical limitations - but I worship the ground he walks (rolls!) on. We are all way more than the sum of our physical parts and their functions. Good thoughts.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:50 AM

No, you seem rational. Even if your girlfriend was doing everything she could to get better, would you want to be with someone who often feels unwell, doesn't want to go out, can't eat most foods, and travelling is challenging? Seems like a huge sacrifice.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:35 AM

I agree with paleomouth. Sorry to freak you out though I'm sure I seem selfish.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:34 AM

Well I hope it works out, I am a super romantic, but realistic too. Moving in might be the thing that can help out - it might be worth a shot! I really hope you can get her to come to the paleo side of life, I am sure it will be better for her and better for you:)

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:34 AM

Thanks, this is how I try to do, lead by silent example. Unfortunately I haven't converted anyone and it leaves me with a burden! The video will be played!

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:31 AM

Thanks, I don't imagine anyone would respond well to what can be perceived as a threat. Good point.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:29 AM

But I would gladly do all of the cooking if she would try paleo! Thanks!

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:29 AM

But I would gladly do all of our cooking if she would try paleo!!

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:28 AM

Things I love: We have a lot of common interests such as traveling and social activities that don´t involve staying up late drinking, we do a lot of that together. She is generally smart. She also loves me to death which is awesome. I met her during one of my last ventures out drinking. If she didn't change, I couldn't picture it. It would be so frustrating and stressful for me to have to take care of her when I strongly believe it is partially her fault she is sick. We are not living together but planning to soon. I do most of the cooking already, but she guilt trips me into making her waffle

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:19 AM

I like the covert tactics. Have done that some, playing the podcast in the background. Not enough... yet.. Melissa makes a good point

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:17 AM

thanks for the dose of reality!

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:38 AM

Yeah, if you're not trying to get better, that's a whole other issue. I am trying my darndest. Haven't eaten SAD since my teens.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:18 AM

Thanks Nance! We keep learning every day and sticking with it as much as we can. Melissa, I agree she has been more thoughtful about food in general since before I met her, though her veganism had more to do with animal ethics I think. I'm just still in shock every time I watch her eat steak :)

535fafe8afe6923870905c707c4f4454

(720)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:04 AM

Just my opinion: If you're not well thats OK. If you're not well and there is something you can do to improve yourself but you can't give up certain SAD foods to achieve a better life I just find it disappointing and unattractive.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 02, 2012
at 01:00 AM

Her early dabbling in veganism and pescatarianism at least shows she thought about food and acknowledged its impact on health. That is incredibly important. I doubt the OP would admit to such a connection.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 02, 2012
at 12:46 AM

I'm glad it's working out for the two of you!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 02, 2012
at 12:40 AM

Yeah. That. Well said.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 02, 2012
at 12:19 AM

Here's another thread on this topic: http://paleohacks.com/questions/15212/relationships-with-non-paleo-types#axzz1lBAX3djz

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 12:05 AM

Thanks, based on this advice I´m giving up my cheat meal raisins which is the only time she sees me down (along with that time I got ahold of gluten)... Unfortunately she did not know me pre paleo so she has to take my word on the differences.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 12:02 AM

:( I don´t think I could have a child with someone not paleo based off of all I have learned in the past 18 months.

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13 Answers

21
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 02, 2012
at 12:29 AM

There is a reason Alcoholics Anonymous operates on the principle that every participant must be there of their own volition. You cannot change people, though they can change themselves.

You also cannot be expected to fix people. That's not their job. It's their own job to admit they have a problem and do what it takes to fix it. I'll be honest- most people never do that. Your girlfriend will probably never do that.

But you don't know if paleo will fix her health problems anyway. It might, it might not. But it seems like she has no initiative either way. It has nothing to do with breaking up because of paleo and everything to do with not staking your long-term romantic health on someone who is content with being sick.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:17 AM

thanks for the dose of reality!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 02, 2012
at 12:40 AM

Yeah. That. Well said.

5
0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on February 02, 2012
at 12:41 AM

Stay positive.

My girlfriend of 2.5 years started eating paleo with me about 3-4 weeks after I did. Other than the usual SAD, she had dabbled in veganism and pescatarianism in the last several years since she quit eating red meat and pork when she was 9 years old. Fast forward to today and she eats bloody rare grassfed steak and bacon right alongside me.

I honestly didn't think she would go for it, at least not to the extent that she has. I thought she would just stick to her fish and chicken, and be an 80/20 "cheater" (no offense to those who are 80/20). I just kept reading her posts from Dr. Harris and others, I'd play videos and such in the background while we were doing things around the house, and eventually I got her to watch Robb Wolf's video and later she said all of it "just makes sense". I suppose it does help a little that she's a nurse, but she's been an unhealthy SAD eater like a lot of us, too.

So in my opinion, it sounds like you might not want to give up on her just yet. I hear what a lot of others are saying, though, and at a certain point you'll ultimately have to decide what's best for you. I'd stay away from giving her ultimatums about it, though.

Stay positive, be patient, and keep being a good example of healthy eating as long as you can until you decide whether or not it's going to be worth it in the long run. Some people just take longer to come around than others.

Good luck.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:18 AM

Thanks Nance! We keep learning every day and sticking with it as much as we can. Melissa, I agree she has been more thoughtful about food in general since before I met her, though her veganism had more to do with animal ethics I think. I'm just still in shock every time I watch her eat steak :)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 02, 2012
at 01:00 AM

Her early dabbling in veganism and pescatarianism at least shows she thought about food and acknowledged its impact on health. That is incredibly important. I doubt the OP would admit to such a connection.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:19 AM

I like the covert tactics. Have done that some, playing the podcast in the background. Not enough... yet.. Melissa makes a good point

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 02, 2012
at 12:46 AM

I'm glad it's working out for the two of you!

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 03, 2012
at 09:10 AM

Melissa does make a good point. So few people around me believe in the power of diet. It's never their food... always bad luck.

5
1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

on February 01, 2012
at 11:48 PM

As a married person, you marry someone knowing that they may never change for as long as you live. If her health problems/decisions are a deal breaker for you, better to nip it in the bud now than to wait till you're in to deep. I married my husband when we were both SAD, 50 pounds overweight and went out to eat 2-3 times a week. I've been eating clean for about a year now and he's only just now starting to get serious with it. I know that it was ME who changed not him so it wasn't fair for me to make any ultimatums about his health decisions. That said, if I were just dating him and we were so diametrically opposite, I probably would end it, but I love him, we have a child together, and I'm in this for the long haulat so I am very grateful that he's seeing the light, but I know a lot of people for whom that change never happens, so I wouldn't count on it in your case.

That said, I would be gentle about encouraging her to take charge of her health and give her some time to truly see what a difference it makes in you. If you're in this lifestyle for less than a year, she needs to know it isn't just a fad for you. Make healthy delicious dinners and make it fun. No need to be a be mean about it.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 12:05 AM

Thanks, based on this advice I´m giving up my cheat meal raisins which is the only time she sees me down (along with that time I got ahold of gluten)... Unfortunately she did not know me pre paleo so she has to take my word on the differences.

3
6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on February 02, 2012
at 12:24 AM

Lead by silent example.

Let her make her own decision. You can present information but don't try to force the issue.

She will figure it out or she won't. Most people don't want to talk about diet or hear how bad their current diet is and this includes friends and loved ones.

Be supportive but don't try to force her to change her diet. She has to be willing to make the change on her own.

This video presents the paleo diet in a positive light. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KLjgBLwH3Wc

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:34 AM

Thanks, this is how I try to do, lead by silent example. Unfortunately I haven't converted anyone and it leaves me with a burden! The video will be played!

2
A41e7132894bd2d2f16d22d6359c893a

(110)

on February 03, 2012
at 09:04 AM

My husband has refused to try or even consider paleo for the 2 years I have done it, even after witnessing the changes it has made in me. (so chronically ill that I couldm't function, today- back to being a law student) It has made me unhappy, worrying about his health and seeing him dismiss it each time. But I love everything else about him, and he eats the dinner that I cook every day. Just eating one primal meal a day has caused his health to improve a lot (though he doesn't recognize the cause and effect.) I'm glad that I'm the one who is going to be pregnant in our relationship for the sake of nutrition, and I do worry that we will argue about what to feed the kids, but we aren't there yet. I have considered posting about this issue before and am glad to see others are struggling with it and finding ways to make it work.

To Renee: Even primal, I am still ill many days with a chronic condition that I have. My husband married me anyway and is always telling me it is worth it. Just keep looking for the right guy!

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:06 PM

I don't think threatening her with splitting up is going to help.
I know I might sound heartless but I suggest you just split up. You can't help people that don't want to be helped and if you stay with her, I think her ailments are going to worry you half to death.
I was in a five year relationship with somebody that piled on problem after problem. It was the most miserable time of my life. I didn't realize just how much stress I had been under until we finally split. I deserve a medal for going through what I went throught with her.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:10 PM

Consider my up-vote your medal. :-)) Sadly, I've known people whose identity became "sick person" and to outsiders it seemed they fought to stay sick while, of course, they would claim they wanted to get well. The illness may be totally genuine and it may be a plea for attention and it's not always easy to tell the difference.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 02, 2012
at 06:08 PM

Thankyou, Nance.

2
F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on February 02, 2012
at 12:59 AM

This question freaks me out because, as a single mid-30s woman with a chronic illness, this is exactly what I fear - that even though I'm attractive and funny and smart, no guy will ever want to put up with me on a long-term basis.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:50 AM

No, you seem rational. Even if your girlfriend was doing everything she could to get better, would you want to be with someone who often feels unwell, doesn't want to go out, can't eat most foods, and travelling is challenging? Seems like a huge sacrifice.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:38 AM

Yeah, if you're not trying to get better, that's a whole other issue. I am trying my darndest. Haven't eaten SAD since my teens.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:35 AM

I agree with paleomouth. Sorry to freak you out though I'm sure I seem selfish.

535fafe8afe6923870905c707c4f4454

(720)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:04 AM

Just my opinion: If you're not well thats OK. If you're not well and there is something you can do to improve yourself but you can't give up certain SAD foods to achieve a better life I just find it disappointing and unattractive.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:55 AM

Oh, Renee, I hate that you feel freaked out. I've got a severe disability dynamic in my relationship - my husband has a lot of physical limitations - but I worship the ground he walks (rolls!) on. We are all way more than the sum of our physical parts and their functions. Good thoughts.

46bee6b93ee79082ea1094f26c2da5a4

(837)

on February 03, 2012
at 01:05 PM

Renee, no need to freak, I had a chronic illness when I met my husband, I found out later he was even "warned" by his dad not to marry me because of it!

2
363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 02, 2012
at 12:49 AM

What do you love about her? How did you meet her? Can you picture spending the rest of your life with her with these issues and her not changing? If you cannot (especially like the pregnancy comment above), then I would say the best thing to be fair to both of you would be to end the relationship. You can tell her why, it isn't shallow, you care for her deeply, but if her health issues are taking a toll on your life, causing problems for you, and stress for you (which isn't healthy!) then maybe you need to consider a break. Do you live together? If so, offer to cook for her for the entire 30 days, and if not, try to offer something like that, something that is a total sacrifice on your part, but could maybe get her to feel better. Or even if you just get her to drop wheat/gluten for 30 days and see how she feels, maybe that is an easier, less restrictive seeming way. Wishing you the best of luck.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:29 AM

But I would gladly do all of our cooking if she would try paleo!!

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:28 AM

Things I love: We have a lot of common interests such as traveling and social activities that don´t involve staying up late drinking, we do a lot of that together. She is generally smart. She also loves me to death which is awesome. I met her during one of my last ventures out drinking. If she didn't change, I couldn't picture it. It would be so frustrating and stressful for me to have to take care of her when I strongly believe it is partially her fault she is sick. We are not living together but planning to soon. I do most of the cooking already, but she guilt trips me into making her waffle

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:29 AM

But I would gladly do all of the cooking if she would try paleo! Thanks!

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:34 AM

Well I hope it works out, I am a super romantic, but realistic too. Moving in might be the thing that can help out - it might be worth a shot! I really hope you can get her to come to the paleo side of life, I am sure it will be better for her and better for you:)

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 02, 2012
at 12:18 AM

I'm sure this is a tough dilemma for you. At this point, all you can do is consider her going paleo as a warm-fuzzy-fantasy since there's no evidence she ever will.

If you love her, you have every right to stick with her despite your differences; you're also right if you choose to move on. I don't think it would be right to threaten her with, "Change or I'm gone." Stay or go and let her make her own choices.

Just imagine if positions were reversed--we do, after all, have some questions on PH from people who started out great but then had some problems that required possible adjustments. So, if you were in a rough spot would you want her to pressure you to switch to SAD? Or give you an ultimatum? Even if you do everything right diet-wise, there's no guarantee you won't develop chronic health issues of your own, really--although you're probably improving your odds.

I'm single and I don't think I could be serious with a heavy smoker or drinker. I think I could be serious with someone who ate SAD, even if they had health issues, but I couldn't be with someone who tried to get me to go back to SAD. Our relationship would have to be based on tolerance of differences.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:31 AM

Thanks, I don't imagine anyone would respond well to what can be perceived as a threat. Good point.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 02, 2012
at 12:19 AM

Here's another thread on this topic: http://paleohacks.com/questions/15212/relationships-with-non-paleo-types#axzz1lBAX3djz

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 01, 2012
at 11:43 PM

I've seen ppl take up with partners that have habits they don't like: smoking, drinking, golfing. It almost never ends well. I would put eating a SAD diet in that category and Love does not conquer all. If she won't try it for 30 days then you might want to consider going your separate way. You especially won't like how she eats when she's pg with your kid...

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on February 02, 2012
at 12:02 AM

:( I don´t think I could have a child with someone not paleo based off of all I have learned in the past 18 months.

0
A048b66e08306d405986b6c04bf5e8e4

on January 18, 2014
at 07:30 AM

Show, don't tell. maybe give anecdotal evidence of how paleo works to make an individual feel better. Instead of telling her 'you should switch to paleo" give her suggestions, like "if you switch your slices of bread for collard greens/Swiss chard to make a rap with, you'll get more nutrients" or, since most girls want to be pretty, "eating (avocado/nuts/coconut/salmon/liver/sweet potatoes/ other healthy food) makes your skin glow/your hair shiny". You could try cooking her a romantic paleo dinner with oysters (excellent for people with weak immune systems due to the high zinc content) and steamed local veggies with some grassfed hollandaise sauce and a healthy paleo dessert that you think she might like. The next time you go somewhere together, prepare a paleo picnic lunch and share it with her. If you win her over with a paleo lunch/dinner that is really tasty and healthy, maybe she'll want to eat that way all the time. I know it's difficult not to preach, believe me, I'm an Hourglass-eyed Paleo Health Templar here, and I have an ex who I'm just friends with now and I started getting preachy about his unhealthy habits (drinking soda like it's water? bag of chips and a chocolate bar and calling it lunch? going for days without eating or sleeping? Family history of diabetes and stomach cancer? Please! if he wanted to hang himself or shoot himself, I would call 911 without hesitation, and I don't see this as any different) and I got a bit-ok a lot preachy, and he doesn't give a fiddler's fart about going paleo or that the GAPS protocol would help his mental health or that paleo would help his health in general. Use cunning, rather than heraldry to try to persuade her. Good luck!

0
3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on January 18, 2014
at 04:21 AM

Thumbing through the thread you seem to be rather self conscious about looking shallow just for broaching the subject. Let me vindicate you by being an even bigger dick.

The original intent of "accepting someone for who they are" was with regard to aspects of the person which were either subjective or unchangeable. An example of subjective would be choice of religion or sexuality. Unchangeable would be something like race. It has since mutated from that original intent. These days "accepting someone for who they are" is synonymous with "never dare ask them to give two shits".

Now don't get me wrong. It is OK to fail. Success is a terrible teacher and some of our best citizens got to be that way through the lessons of their failures. A person can fail and still have my respect, and love as a fellow human, because they tried.

0
400b249032e4c829c4e802436833ea3b

on January 18, 2014
at 03:15 AM

I think it was Dr Peter Attia who once said "the best thing iv ever done was to marry smart".... Best wishes :)

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