4

votes

Paleo and my family

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 28, 2012 at 7:04 PM

I realize this question has come up many times, but in most cases it seems to be the wife that is Paleo and doing the cooking and the husband that could care less. In my case, I'm the working husband who has just discovered Paleo and cannot stop reading/researching etc. I've now been (mostly) Paleo for only 3 weeks and have already dropped 15 pounds! I feel better than ever yada yada yada I'm preaching to the choir!

Anyway, my wife stays at home with our two young kids, 2.5 years and 10 months. This has been very hard on her. She understands what I'm doing and wants to be a supportive wife, but this certainly hasn't gone very smoothly. She's actually been totally AMAZING! She's trying VERY hard, she's picked up Paleo cookbooks, and is trying new recipes daily which is awesome. However, as you can imagine, she really has no interest in removing grains from her diet or from the diet of our kids.

Our newest baby girl is just starting to eat solid foods and LOVES eggs/bacon (really anything actually). However, in most cases she gets Cheerios for breakfast etc. I guess I'm just not sure how to properly deal with this. I really want to see my kids eat Paleo, but my wife is being told by her friends (and mother of course) that the kids need calcium for strong bones and lots of fiber from whole grains. She has friends who are nurses telling her they are 100% sure I am greatly increasing my risk for colon cancer if I do not eat fiber. She says she wants to check with the kids Doctor before changing how they eat. This totally sounds reasonable right? Problem is, I already know what the Dr. is going to say. Then what?

I guess at the end of the day, she's not super interested in doing all the research I have, so what she learns about this stuff comes from me. I know she wants to believe me, but I'm certainly NOT an "expert". I think all I really need is some sort of expert (read: Doctor) that she can talk to that will tell her that Paleo is safe for kids. The internet, unfortunately, is not something she generally trusts.

I love my wife and kids and the last thing I want to do is push them into this. I would LOVE for them to naturally adopt it, but I just don't see that happening without some authority figure out there reasurring her it is safe.

How have others dealt with this situation? Specifically with regard to running health decisions past your doctors/pediatricians?

Thanks

1d9af5db8833413037be3ac48964714f

(3789)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I've come to the same conclusions.

1d9af5db8833413037be3ac48964714f

(3789)

on February 29, 2012
at 02:49 PM

I stopped eating wheat once I realized that the rashes that had been bothering me for the last year went away when I stopped and came back when I ate it. If I didn't have the allergy, I think I'd still choose not to eat wheat, knowing what I know about its effects on autoimmunity. I don't think it's selfish or rude to choose not to eat something you consider harmful to you, as long as you do so without disparaging other people's choices.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on February 28, 2012
at 09:24 PM

This one is especially sweet: http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/search/label/First%20meat

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on February 28, 2012
at 09:23 PM

Also, Peter Dobromylskyj has some nice posts at his blog, Hyperlipid, on what he feeds his young children. Here is one: http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2011/12/cake-and-cream.html

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on February 28, 2012
at 09:20 PM

Paul, Dr. Emily Deans' blog, Evolutionary Psychiatry, might be of interest: http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/p/basic-premise-and-monetary-disclaimer.html And here are Dr. Deans' articles at Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry Dr. Deans also has small children of her own. She has some good links at her own blog. Hope this helps. :)

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:55 PM

Actually would that not be awesome if she turned out to be a closet paleo doctor and was super happy that you brought up that you wanna raise your kids that way? Hope that is not overly optimistic...:). I really feel like as long as she sees how much you have researched the ramifications of how you are going to feed your child she would appreciate that and support your decisions even if they are not 100% in tune with their own.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:48 PM

Paul, 30 days of paleo crockpot recipes. http://hollywouldifshecould.net/2011/11/a-month-of-paleo-crockpot-recipes/ I find that I can get my husband to eat almost ANY veggies if it's cut/diced/processed small enough and served in or with meat. Spaghetti sauce, meatloaf and meatballs, and veggie "gravy" are the easiest ways for us.

D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

(50)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:43 PM

Yes, I realize this will be a long process. During your transition, did you eat grains if that's what your wife was cooking? Since my wife is the primary cook, my personal decision has put a lot of preasure on her. Last night she asked if she could make a non-paleo meal. I said no problem, and basically picked my way around it eating what I could. I hate doing that, but for selfish reasons I just don't really want to eat the grains!

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:38 PM

(Heck, even though she's seen the evidence, I -still- can't get my 22 year old daughter to make the switch from vegan to "ancestrally-mindful" eating.)

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:37 PM

The big issue with 'veggies' is the taste. One thing I learned with my 2nd child that I wished I'd known with my 1st child is that a baby's tastebuds are "programmed" to the flavors of breast milk -- and breast milk is SWEET -- so if it isn't sweet, they're usually not interested. There is NOTHING wrong with giving your kids vegetables like cooked winter squash, pumpkin, avocado, cooked beets, roasted and mashed carrots along with fruits instead of only vegetables to meet their nutritional needs until their tastebuds develop the ability to appreciate the more bitter/astringent taste of veggies

D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

(50)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:34 PM

I see. Maybe I'll bring along a book. She really is a great doctor, and for all I know she's a huge Paleo fan. Wouldn't it be great if everyone gifted their doctors a Paleo book?

D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

(50)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:29 PM

Yes, I like it!

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:24 PM

Veggies don't need to be a massive source of calories if you have fat to hand. But then, I know someone who ate nothing but bread for years and is doing ok.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:01 PM

LOL you are so screwed!....

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:00 PM

Then you have to educate the doctor.....get her a book or two. Direct her to Chris Kessler's work (Healthy Baby Code), whatever. Have a rational discussion about what increasing your kid's intake of vegetable, fruit, and healthy protein/fat really means. If she disregards your preferences then she isn't worth her salt as a doctor.

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:00 PM

I'll be honest, I haven't found a solution to getting my 3 year old to eat veggies instead of bread either. More and more of his diet is shifted to real foods, but bread is still a sticking point.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:54 PM

If she has that sort of appeal to authority then either talk to the pediatrician and get her on board or find a new pediatrician or better yet a holistic alternative health care provider (bet she'd love that idea ;).

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:53 PM

I see you asked for a crockpot recipe above. This soup is to die for. I found it on everyday paleo. I think you could change it up by switching out the spices if you wanted something different. http://everydaypaleo.com/2012/01/26/another-budget-friendly-paleo-meal-by-erika-creamy-chicken-tomato-crockpot-soup/

D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

(50)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:49 PM

So, that information is helpful. Unfortunately, she's really only interested at this point in what our pediatrician thinks for our kids. THAT is the person she trusts right now and she will likely not change any diet for our kids without her approval!

D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

(50)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:47 PM

I LOVE crockpot recipes! Any pointers to some good ones are much appreciated!

D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

(50)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:45 PM

Good advice. My wife is all about trying to cook healthy for us! I forgot to mention, she recently signed up for a "healthy cooking" class. Great right? Problem is, the instructor and all recipes are Vegan! Her best friend is in the class with her and has also recently turned vegan! Oh boy... I think I see a storm coming! :)

Aa69579f867333b08158c70e25f7daf1

(1826)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:40 PM

Our baby still has some whole fat dairy here and there. Doesn't bother me. I'd focus on the Cheerios and grains first, and applaud your wife for trying so hard! Can you just try to get up and make breakfast yourself most days? And perhaps offer to load up a crockpot with dinner before you leave for work?? :-)

D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

(50)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:40 PM

Yes, the kids love all things fruit and genearlly are ok with eggs/bacon etc. The real hard part is getting them to eat veggies! That said, I'm fairly certain this isn't just an issue for paleo kids! :) The difference is, non-paleo kids can then get the rest of their calories from grains. For now, this is fine. Long term, I'm not eactly sure how to get my kids to eat veggies instead of bread!

D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

(50)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:36 PM

This is good advice. I think talking to other paleo mothers would be helpful. I'll see if I can dig up some good blogs!

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:17 PM

That ought to be: "doing better than ever not eating such things as". Sorry.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:16 PM

Paul, are you specifically looking for sound scientific information on why to avoid grains, legumes, PUFA, sugars, packaged foods, etc.? Would your wife be interested in reading posts of folks who are doing better than ever not such things as fiber, for an example? Is she interested in genealogy? Eating what my pre-agricultural ancestors ate, as closely as I can, was one of the things that attracted me. It appeals to the pioneering side of me. :) Perhaps there is a story at Dirty Carnivores which would appeal to her: http://www.dirtycarnivore.com/testimonials.html Best wishes to you!

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9 Answers

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10
Bebca5be026bf2633648452db9641859

(225)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:54 PM

What about re-framing it to your wife and pediatrician as no processed foods? Few people would argue against that and it would get you at least 80% paleo. Then once everyone is happy doing that you can fine-tune it.

D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

(50)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:29 PM

Yes, I like it!

3
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:40 PM

I'm a husband of a non-paleo wife, and a non-paleo son.

I make meals that are paleo, and they eat them, but when we are out and about, they will eat whatever, as well my wife makes meals for my son when I'm not at home.

I just roll with the punches at this point. I tried to be the converting zealot type, and it got really bad. Now I just try to let my actions speak louder than words...

1d9af5db8833413037be3ac48964714f

(3789)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I've come to the same conclusions.

2
35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:22 PM

First of all... slow down a bit. You're 3 weeks into a change, that's pretty much honeymoon territory. It's great that you're all flowers and sunshine right now, but be patient with your family (as I'm sure they're being patient with you). Change takes time. Your family may be on a different trajectory towards change, your wife may have a different approach to learning about these things. She might want to explore blogs like Everyday Paleo or Paleo Parents. I really liked the Paleo Summit interview with Sarah Fragoso as a starting point, she's really down to earth & practical. But it may not be available anymore without a subscription... you could try her podcasts.

Second... for a few of your specifics:

Fiber comes from lots of foods that aren't whole grains. Paleo is not all bacon and eggs, especially for kids. Think sweet potatoes, broccoli & cauliflower (little trees), bananas, apples, nuts (not for the 10 month old), carrots, turnips, berries.

You mentioned calcium. Know that it is biologically appropriate for kids <5 to have whole fat dairy, in hunter gatherer societies most children would still be nursing through age 3-5. There are many different interpretations of "paleo" you may choose to avoid dairy products, your wife may make a different decision. I don't think that's a deal breaker to moving your family as a whole in the paleo direction.

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:38 PM

(Heck, even though she's seen the evidence, I -still- can't get my 22 year old daughter to make the switch from vegan to "ancestrally-mindful" eating.)

D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

(50)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:47 PM

I LOVE crockpot recipes! Any pointers to some good ones are much appreciated!

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:37 PM

The big issue with 'veggies' is the taste. One thing I learned with my 2nd child that I wished I'd known with my 1st child is that a baby's tastebuds are "programmed" to the flavors of breast milk -- and breast milk is SWEET -- so if it isn't sweet, they're usually not interested. There is NOTHING wrong with giving your kids vegetables like cooked winter squash, pumpkin, avocado, cooked beets, roasted and mashed carrots along with fruits instead of only vegetables to meet their nutritional needs until their tastebuds develop the ability to appreciate the more bitter/astringent taste of veggies

Aa69579f867333b08158c70e25f7daf1

(1826)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:40 PM

Our baby still has some whole fat dairy here and there. Doesn't bother me. I'd focus on the Cheerios and grains first, and applaud your wife for trying so hard! Can you just try to get up and make breakfast yourself most days? And perhaps offer to load up a crockpot with dinner before you leave for work?? :-)

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:48 PM

Paul, 30 days of paleo crockpot recipes. http://hollywouldifshecould.net/2011/11/a-month-of-paleo-crockpot-recipes/ I find that I can get my husband to eat almost ANY veggies if it's cut/diced/processed small enough and served in or with meat. Spaghetti sauce, meatloaf and meatballs, and veggie "gravy" are the easiest ways for us.

D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

(50)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:40 PM

Yes, the kids love all things fruit and genearlly are ok with eggs/bacon etc. The real hard part is getting them to eat veggies! That said, I'm fairly certain this isn't just an issue for paleo kids! :) The difference is, non-paleo kids can then get the rest of their calories from grains. For now, this is fine. Long term, I'm not eactly sure how to get my kids to eat veggies instead of bread!

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:24 PM

Veggies don't need to be a massive source of calories if you have fat to hand. But then, I know someone who ate nothing but bread for years and is doing ok.

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:00 PM

I'll be honest, I haven't found a solution to getting my 3 year old to eat veggies instead of bread either. More and more of his diet is shifted to real foods, but bread is still a sticking point.

1
11dfb0c800cc3b255a4b2c9f674d9bc5

on February 28, 2012
at 08:10 PM

You're gonna have to give her (and them) some time. Your story is nearly identical to my own. I am the husband who works outside the home and my wife is the stay-at-home mom of our thre kids (ages 3,5,7). I dove into paleo wholeheartedly after somewhere between three to six months of research. My wife, on the other hand, took nearly six months of me changing my lifestyle to make the leap herself. Now she's more dedicated than I am.

I recommend patience. Stay dedicated and don't get preachy. When you are the undeniable proof of paleo success, she will have no other choice but to join you.

As for the children... My own are fully Neolithic eaters with toast, pasta, and tortillas making up a bulk of their diet. However, our example is not unnoticed and when we discuss with them how to eat and why, they understand and try new foods and have actually been requesting grilled chicken lately (a huge success). We convinced my second grader to snack on alminds and beef jerky instead of cheese-its at school.

I view getting the whole family to eat paleo as a long-term goal that will take a unified effort. Your three weeks is commendable, keep it up. Robb Wolf (and others) recommend that if loved ones aren't on board initially, take care of yourself first. They'll follow. And I recently heard Sara Fragaso say that teaching your children to follow a paleo lifestyle can take years, especially if they're changing from the Neolithic.

1
1d9af5db8833413037be3ac48964714f

on February 28, 2012
at 08:02 PM

I went paleo two years ago. It's taken my wife a long time to realize that this is a healthy way of eating for her and our five year old son. That transition is still occurring, but they eat a lot closer to paleo now than they did a year ago.

A lot of her change in habits was the simple fact that I experienced enormous improvements in health and body composition quickly and without a lot of effort. I then kept the weight off easily. It's hard to argue with that, although I got a lot of "you can eat that way, but I can't."

I have heard the argument by reference to conventional authority, too. My wife's (obese) best friend has a Master's in Public Health and is sure that the people who 15 years ago insisted that eating an egg would cause your heart to explode now know exactly what is good for you. That kind of thing has faded with time (and the fact that my lipid numbers are now excellent).

It also helps that I've always been the one who cooks.

D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

(50)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:43 PM

Yes, I realize this will be a long process. During your transition, did you eat grains if that's what your wife was cooking? Since my wife is the primary cook, my personal decision has put a lot of preasure on her. Last night she asked if she could make a non-paleo meal. I said no problem, and basically picked my way around it eating what I could. I hate doing that, but for selfish reasons I just don't really want to eat the grains!

1d9af5db8833413037be3ac48964714f

(3789)

on February 29, 2012
at 02:49 PM

I stopped eating wheat once I realized that the rashes that had been bothering me for the last year went away when I stopped and came back when I ate it. If I didn't have the allergy, I think I'd still choose not to eat wheat, knowing what I know about its effects on autoimmunity. I don't think it's selfish or rude to choose not to eat something you consider harmful to you, as long as you do so without disparaging other people's choices.

1
Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

on February 28, 2012
at 07:39 PM

I think it's great that you're trying so hard, but I agree with the above...slow down a bit. She is trying by making meals that are paleo. Maybe give her a bit of a break. She isn't going to jump on board if she is nagged to death.

When I started paleo, I had already cut out processed foods from my family's diet for a few months. Maybe that would be a good place for your wife to start. Once the processed foods are gone and meals are made from scratch, it is much easier to transition to paleo in my opinion. (100 days of real food is a good blog to start with in order to phase out processed food) Maybe it won't ever be 100% paleo for her or for the kids. My kids and husband aren't 100% paleo and probably never will be. Having little ones is hard work and sometimes a little convenience (Cheerios) makes a huge difference in your day.

Great job on your weight loss!

D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

(50)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:45 PM

Good advice. My wife is all about trying to cook healthy for us! I forgot to mention, she recently signed up for a "healthy cooking" class. Great right? Problem is, the instructor and all recipes are Vegan! Her best friend is in the class with her and has also recently turned vegan! Oh boy... I think I see a storm coming! :)

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:01 PM

LOL you are so screwed!....

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:53 PM

I see you asked for a crockpot recipe above. This soup is to die for. I found it on everyday paleo. I think you could change it up by switching out the spices if you wanted something different. http://everydaypaleo.com/2012/01/26/another-budget-friendly-paleo-meal-by-erika-creamy-chicken-tomato-crockpot-soup/

1
Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

on February 28, 2012
at 07:30 PM

I don't have any useful experience to share I'm afraid, but I well understand the pressure on mothers (usually) to try and manage every aspect of a young child's diet. There's a constant stream of advice and information coming from people around her that is doubly hard to ignore when you are responsible for others. As the kids get older it becomes easier to accept their own tastes and not worry that they don't fit the perfect governmental template of what a child should eat, but at this age you have to accept that these foods are out there and you have to pick and choose your battles with the kids - just as you will have to deal with more dangerous substances in the future. Your wife may feel that it is hard enough aiming for a typically 'healthy' diet and not worth the effort or risk to take things further without support.

The only thing I think that would help then is to get her in contact with paleo mothers. I know there are blogs around but I'm not sure how much of a support network is out there - there seems to be one on most aspects of raising children though! She may not be interested in doing all the research herself, but I expect she'd be interested enough to talk to people she can relate to and they will be able to answer questions about how paleo fits with official advice. Finding supportive mothers would be more valuable than a supportive doctor I reckon, as a first step at least. There's no rush really.

D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

(50)

on February 28, 2012
at 07:36 PM

This is good advice. I think talking to other paleo mothers would be helpful. I'll see if I can dig up some good blogs!

0
E80e9f4c597d02f77b2dfdafc12475f2

on November 10, 2012
at 05:08 PM

Start Paleo dieting? Get recipes from Paleo Cookbook? Check out this website www.paleosecretrecipe.com

0
D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

on February 28, 2012
at 07:33 PM

Yes, I get that I'm moving fast and really am trying to take it slow. Maybe I wasn't clear intially, but I really am not "worried" about how my wife and kids are eating right this moment. It's more of a general question about how to get the rest to feel that this is safe for them to try. The sticking point here is she is not really interested in researching for herself. She'd rather just talk to her doctor and find out from her if this is OK. When her doctor says no, it is not ok, then I've got a bigger problem!

The reason this may be coming across as rushed, is we have an appointment with our baby girl's pediatrician coming up soon. My wife loves this pediatrician so the moment she says it's unhealthy, I've got a problem on my hands!

D20ebf4d00d4a458d94655bcd1f2607d

(50)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:34 PM

I see. Maybe I'll bring along a book. She really is a great doctor, and for all I know she's a huge Paleo fan. Wouldn't it be great if everyone gifted their doctors a Paleo book?

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:55 PM

Actually would that not be awesome if she turned out to be a closet paleo doctor and was super happy that you brought up that you wanna raise your kids that way? Hope that is not overly optimistic...:). I really feel like as long as she sees how much you have researched the ramifications of how you are going to feed your child she would appreciate that and support your decisions even if they are not 100% in tune with their own.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 28, 2012
at 08:00 PM

Then you have to educate the doctor.....get her a book or two. Direct her to Chris Kessler's work (Healthy Baby Code), whatever. Have a rational discussion about what increasing your kid's intake of vegetable, fruit, and healthy protein/fat really means. If she disregards your preferences then she isn't worth her salt as a doctor.

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