11

votes

My wife isn't down

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 12, 2012 at 11:43 PM

I recently learned about the Paleo way of life and although its been tough to explain and I've faltered a few times, I'm loving it.

Problem is that I can't get my wife on board.

I've sent her the literature online, explained the benefits, etc. but she's just really, really bad when it comes to healthy eating.

Unfortunately, she doesn't see her poor eating is ruining her life and although she realizes she's not eating healthy, she's of willing to make any changes.

Is anyone in a similar situation?

I really want her to change her unhealthy habits. Besides her health, we have two children that I don't want to pick up any more bad eating habits.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on February 16, 2012
at 07:40 PM

That's tough. I agree that if it were his idea, he should pitch in with the cooking. If he doesn't want to cook after work either, then try having him make a big batch of chili or stew over the weekend (guys love to cook big batches of chili) and eat some during the week and put some in the freezer for quick microwave dinners in the future.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on February 16, 2012
at 05:45 PM

This is how I do it. My husband doesn't know he's not eating seed oils and wheat. I'll make him a helping of rice or rice pasta and abstain. Granted, we didn't eat a lot of processed food before I switched- I cooked a homemade supper every night, so it's been an easy transition. Maybe if the OP focuses on homemade food first instead of strictly paleo, small changes can be made over time to improve.

685e3c967e63b4eacccf02628fd9a3ac

(1026)

on February 16, 2012
at 05:35 PM

Though I agree with you, Matt, I don't agree with "Going cold turkey isn't the only way to do paleo". That depends on the person.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on February 14, 2012
at 12:35 AM

The big thing I would like to mention is that you shouldn't expect her to follow your lead. She very well might not. I've been strict paleo/primal (whatever you want to call it) for over a year and my wife still has no problem eating doritos and cookies for dinner. I have the choice as to whether or not I want to be with her of course, and I do, so I do my thing and she does hers. The more I live my own life with regards to food the better we both feel. This seems much healthier than forcing her to (resentfully) conform to my beliefs.

Aa69579f867333b08158c70e25f7daf1

(1826)

on February 13, 2012
at 06:59 PM

Several of us have asked below... but who does most of the food prep and cooking in the family? Who grocery shops?

0d540aba37cac0c3c88195fb83ce649b

(146)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:16 AM

When you make healthy foods for the children, why not throw in a bit more salt and sugar, if they are addicted to hyperpalatable foods? Meat and veg with a bit more salt is not going to hurt them (or you for that matter). I would think its more about eliminating the bad fats and grains, than being dogmatic about a few additives.

Medium avatar

(2923)

on February 13, 2012
at 07:02 AM

Well Fed suffers from being too thin :p

Medium avatar

(2923)

on February 13, 2012
at 06:59 AM

@Matt - The Jaminets point out that for the majority of the population, while there is no noticeable effect, there is still an inflammation response. - To the best of my knowledge, I'm not sensitive, but where I do notice changes is when I'm adding in extra veggies rather than using bread or pasta as a meal filler.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on February 13, 2012
at 03:16 AM

I know that everybody and their mom are supposed to be incredibly wheat intolerant, and even I convinced myself I could detect a modicum of difference, but I'm now sure I have zero acute effects from wheat. I now minimize gluten exposure with hopes that chronic effects might be avoided. Not to say others aren't more sensitive than I. It's something that must be individually experimentally determined. I'm just not as cool as all the paleo cool kids you can't handle gluten at all. ;)

A1a0baccef58499acf9ceb3c874997f2

(675)

on February 13, 2012
at 01:54 AM

This is a really good question, and one I think a lot of people struggle with no matter what "modality" of nutrition they use. Thanks for bringing it up.

D5a4ff096a452a84a772efa0e6bc626e

(2486)

on February 13, 2012
at 01:32 AM

I mostly agree, but wanted to mention that minimizing wheat was no different for me than lots of wheat, but it was obvious and life-changing when I truly eliminated it...if there's any chance to get one perfectly compliant no-wheat weekend, perhaps when she's away, you can at least get a good read on the kids and know if you need to be adamant about gluten free for behavior or digestion reasons.

Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on February 13, 2012
at 01:04 AM

This. Been there. It took almost a year before my wife got on board. During that year I worked very hard to not "preach". Be a man. I don't mean that to sound hard, harsh, or anything else - merely "take a stand and lead". Make a decision, stick to it - but DO NOT make her participation a requirement or a subject that you two fight about.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:48 AM

I would +100 this one if I could. We seem to really struggle with the concept of just doing better and how monumental that alone can be.

9140810eb28b318fb081c1f98c0989c8

(459)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:12 AM

Ok, I agree with your post, but I love the fact that you call SAD "archaic beliefs" - that's just way too funny!

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13 Answers

25
41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on February 12, 2012
at 11:50 PM

Do it by yourself. Lead by example. Either she'll see the changes in you and want to jump on board, or she won't. When it comes down to it, you really can't make her do anything, but you can be a prime example of how awesome it is.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on February 14, 2012
at 12:35 AM

The big thing I would like to mention is that you shouldn't expect her to follow your lead. She very well might not. I've been strict paleo/primal (whatever you want to call it) for over a year and my wife still has no problem eating doritos and cookies for dinner. I have the choice as to whether or not I want to be with her of course, and I do, so I do my thing and she does hers. The more I live my own life with regards to food the better we both feel. This seems much healthier than forcing her to (resentfully) conform to my beliefs.

Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on February 13, 2012
at 01:04 AM

This. Been there. It took almost a year before my wife got on board. During that year I worked very hard to not "preach". Be a man. I don't mean that to sound hard, harsh, or anything else - merely "take a stand and lead". Make a decision, stick to it - but DO NOT make her participation a requirement or a subject that you two fight about.

20
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:19 AM

Even half-assed paleo is better than none at all. Minimizing wheat is nearly as good as eliminating it, particularly if you're not extremely sensitive to it (most folks aren't too sensitive to wheat). Replacing seed oils with healthier alterantives is a huge step. Increasing vegetable content, another biggie.

Going cold turkey isn't the only way to do paleo. Ease her into it, she won't likely quibble over little changes like she would with larger changes. The larger changes aren't always necessary anyway.

Medium avatar

(2923)

on February 13, 2012
at 06:59 AM

@Matt - The Jaminets point out that for the majority of the population, while there is no noticeable effect, there is still an inflammation response. - To the best of my knowledge, I'm not sensitive, but where I do notice changes is when I'm adding in extra veggies rather than using bread or pasta as a meal filler.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on February 13, 2012
at 03:16 AM

I know that everybody and their mom are supposed to be incredibly wheat intolerant, and even I convinced myself I could detect a modicum of difference, but I'm now sure I have zero acute effects from wheat. I now minimize gluten exposure with hopes that chronic effects might be avoided. Not to say others aren't more sensitive than I. It's something that must be individually experimentally determined. I'm just not as cool as all the paleo cool kids you can't handle gluten at all. ;)

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:48 AM

I would +100 this one if I could. We seem to really struggle with the concept of just doing better and how monumental that alone can be.

D5a4ff096a452a84a772efa0e6bc626e

(2486)

on February 13, 2012
at 01:32 AM

I mostly agree, but wanted to mention that minimizing wheat was no different for me than lots of wheat, but it was obvious and life-changing when I truly eliminated it...if there's any chance to get one perfectly compliant no-wheat weekend, perhaps when she's away, you can at least get a good read on the kids and know if you need to be adamant about gluten free for behavior or digestion reasons.

685e3c967e63b4eacccf02628fd9a3ac

(1026)

on February 16, 2012
at 05:35 PM

Though I agree with you, Matt, I don't agree with "Going cold turkey isn't the only way to do paleo". That depends on the person.

7
Aa69579f867333b08158c70e25f7daf1

(1826)

on February 13, 2012
at 01:55 AM

The BEST cookbook I have seen (and I have checked them ALL out from our library) is Paleo Comfort Foods. Make a few of those recipe for her and I think she'll be hooked!

Also, if she's making more of the food for the family, consider taking over dinners by loading up a programmable crockpot before you leave for work in the morning with a paleo meal to slow cook all day long. When you get home for dinner, I bet you that you'll find a happy wife (because she didn't have to cook dinner!) and a happy family ready to eat a delicious meal.

If she's pouring cereal for the kiddos for breakfast, get up early and make a crustless quiche or homemade breakfast sausage with scrambled eggs.

I do most of the cooking, shopping and food prep for our family. Going paleo was my idea; my husband didn't care because he still got fed. Because I pretty much just put food in front of my husband, he's never complained and now he loves the way he feels on our paleo diet!

I would bet that if you just started cooking more, feeding everyone good meals and letting them come to their own conclusions... you might really make some headway. :-)

6
06fe87ddbaf887f1f6b6ff8a25b86077

(60)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:02 AM

I have learned you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Family is the absolute hardest to convince to eat healthier. I have lost 85lbs going Paleo, and am a new person. I have given my family all the information they need. They are just too stuck in their archaic beliefs. If anything, they resist far more than any friend or stranger that you try to get on board. I have to deal with an ex-wife who feeds my children processed food at every meal, leaving my children sick and grumpy. All they want to eat is garbage, instead of the healthy whole foods I give them because they are used to hyperpalatable (overly salty and sweet) foods.

Just do the best you can, and lead by example. Do not waiver in your beliefs, and sometime in their life when all this becomes common knowledge, they might change their mind.

For me, I don't care about about my ex, but just hope that once my young children are older they will see the value in eating a healthy balanced diet, devoid of grains and excessive dairy and make the decision themselves.

0d540aba37cac0c3c88195fb83ce649b

(146)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:16 AM

When you make healthy foods for the children, why not throw in a bit more salt and sugar, if they are addicted to hyperpalatable foods? Meat and veg with a bit more salt is not going to hurt them (or you for that matter). I would think its more about eliminating the bad fats and grains, than being dogmatic about a few additives.

9140810eb28b318fb081c1f98c0989c8

(459)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:12 AM

Ok, I agree with your post, but I love the fact that you call SAD "archaic beliefs" - that's just way too funny!

5
E42367abfb8229d2f7126f4825380e2e

on February 13, 2012
at 12:18 AM

attraction rather than promotion and lead by example.

you can't make anyone do anything they don't want to.

you do what you gotta do and let her do what she has to do.

5
Dc9fc91ad8b52e4d5791af610bc0da76

on February 12, 2012
at 11:53 PM

When I cook my wife is happy to eat whatever I prepare and I cook most of the time ... everything I make is Paleo/Primal :-)

Good luck,

Austin

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on February 16, 2012
at 05:45 PM

This is how I do it. My husband doesn't know he's not eating seed oils and wheat. I'll make him a helping of rice or rice pasta and abstain. Granted, we didn't eat a lot of processed food before I switched- I cooked a homemade supper every night, so it's been an easy transition. Maybe if the OP focuses on homemade food first instead of strictly paleo, small changes can be made over time to improve.

4
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on February 13, 2012
at 11:21 PM

You also should remember that if your wife is non-paleo for another few months or years, or even a decade or two (depending on her age), it's probably not the end of the world. It's a bummer that I'm starting paleo at age 50, and it would have been much better if I had started at 20, or 2. We'll see what damage I've done but I've been at it for a year or two now and I'm doing quite well and I think I'm not deluding myself in believing I have a shot at a resonably long, healthy life, despite blowing it royally for 50 years. So, yes, like everybody says: lead by example and learn to cook. But also remember that she'll probably come around eventually, and she will probably get by fine in the meanwhile. It won't be optimal, but with a modicum of luck, she'll do alright until she comes around.

And as she grows less healthy and you grow more healthy, she will come around ??? eventually.

2
9140810eb28b318fb081c1f98c0989c8

(459)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:24 AM

My son and I are the household. He's 12, and eats everything in sight. He loves the Paleo diet, and has commented on the positive differences he notices on the days he sticks more with it as opposed to the days he does not. When I started, I never said to him that he was going to do it, and I have never told him he can't eat something he wants. However, I have told him I'm not cooking those foods that I no longer eat. He can cook them, if he's up to it, or he can have them outside the home. And he's ok with that.

You didn't say who does most of the cooking. If you do, just don't make the foods you don't eat. If she really wants them, she'll have to make them. If she does the bulk of the cooking, perhaps taking over a portion of the cooking would go a long way to leading her to better eating. Also, if she does get on board with it, help her plan a cheat day once a week. My first cheat was mac and cheese. And man, did I feel awful after! But I allowed myself to have it, because I was craving it! My last major cheat was homemade ice cream with stevia. Big change there for me. My friends and I have noticed how much our cheats have changed over time.

Also, most people I have spoken to about Paleo initially assume that the diet is low carb/low fat and thereby unsustainable, which it would be, were it low carb/low fat. Perhaps she's not seeing it for what it is yet. Give her time. Be awesome in your new life. Don't flaunt it. She'll likely at least try it down the road. Especially if you help with the cooking!

Good luck!

1
1a0976c846702f549ee4df0d811098be

(972)

on February 16, 2012
at 06:26 PM

My husband was also resistant. I ordered Robb Wolf's book and he happened to be the one who was home when the package came, so he decided to read it. He finished the book before I ever got to see it, and Robb's science convinced him to try it, whereas my internet info and anecdotal evidence had failed. He's still not anywhere near 100% paleo, but he tries to live by the principles and, since reading about it, is much more understanding when I won't eat the rice or cornbread that he makes.

If science or a voice of "authority" speaks to your wife more than things you find on the internet, I highly recommend Robb Wolf's book. Maybe even framing it as you wanting her to understand your motivation so she can support you, not trying to get her to change. If she doesn't care about or claims not to understand science, leading by example is probably your best bet.

1
5aa057aabe02e83299e1e2137eab05e2

on February 16, 2012
at 05:03 PM

My biggest gripe with Paleo is that not only do I have to shop more often, I Leo have to cook every night and morning AND pack my husband lunch. He is the one who wanted to do it, but I would be much happier if he took over planning, shopping, and cooking for at least 2 dinners a week. I no longer have what I consider a mothers right to call for a pizza night. I am with the people who say cook for her and I'll bet she eats it.

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on February 16, 2012
at 07:40 PM

That's tough. I agree that if it were his idea, he should pitch in with the cooking. If he doesn't want to cook after work either, then try having him make a big batch of chili or stew over the weekend (guys love to cook big batches of chili) and eat some during the week and put some in the freezer for quick microwave dinners in the future.

1
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:19 AM

Get some decent cookbooks (Everyday Paleo is ok, some of the recipes are good, but Well Fed is awesome) and start cooking some of those meals. Let her eat how she wants but if you take the effort to make delicious and healthy food, she won't reach for the cheezy poofs.

You have to win some battles before you win the war.

Medium avatar

(2923)

on February 13, 2012
at 07:02 AM

Well Fed suffers from being too thin :p

0
87b7d250ea30415ed4c1afd809f4053f

on May 07, 2012
at 12:40 AM

Drip feeding articles about the adverse health of certain foods I'm trying to get my husband to stop eating is working for me.

I was trying for ages to get him to go Paleo, but we was very resistant. But since I have shown him one article at a time, he's like "oh wow that's really bad for you I'll try and eat less" and he does.

Veggies and meats was easy. We are currently working on his sugar & wheat consumption. He now doesn't eat cereal (wheat or corn) for breaky and has stopped adding sugar to coffee and tea. I haven't been able to stop the bread yet - but hey, baby steps. He used to eat I'd estimate a 50% wheat diet. Now it's closer to 20%.

0
29149372409f60e34d79f35db57f5bf1

on May 07, 2012
at 12:25 AM

Robb Wolf is a paleo god lol. I have never read a diet book from start to finish, I always get half way and go, Ef this shite!

My son is gluten and dairy intolerant, happy to go along for the healthy life style too (lazy town rules in teaching him healthy active ways). (he's fussy but we are working on it).

My Fiance on the other hand seems to resent me at the moment, retorting with "WTF, I have to stop eating dairy too now?" "I'll just stop eating at work he snarled this morning at me, cant believe I HAVE TO GIVE UP EVERYTHING IVE EATEN FOR THE PAST 35 YEARS BLAH BLAH RANT RANT".

He even took it out on our son, needless to say I didnt stand for that so retorted back.

I have read on here that a lot of the people on this site are eating dairy, but dairy isnt paleo? So now Im confused.

But I will take a note from you all and let him do what he wants outside the house, but at home we model the best diet for our son.

He gets the benefits, because when I did say "eat what you want at work then!" he said "but wont that defeat the whole purpose of this paleo shite?"

I wont be preaching anymore, he is a science person and I so wish he would stop being LAZY and read the damn book!

Maybe getting her to read the book or some blogs on it written by mums is the best way to get her educated and put that education to use?

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