I spent the majority of the winter experimenting with occasional grain-free cooking, reading Mark's Daily Apple and PHD (and Matt Stone's 180 Degree Health, just for balance, you know), and sneakily suggesting to my husband that white flour and sugar are the devil (he already knew, but has the type of personality that wants to rebel and eat a box of Twinkies for lunch if I bring it up).
Anyway, he decided a few weeks ago that he was just sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. So he's finally outlawed the grains and sugar (except for Einstein's 4th birthday cake!). He is still doing cultured dairy, which gives us a little more flexibility. The first few days, he couldn't stop talking about how good he felt ("I haven't felt like this since college!") and how few naps he felt he needed on the weekends! He's gradually settled in and gotten used to just feeling good and having extra energy. His major vice right now is almond butter, which we are going through a lot faster than we used to. But, phytates aside, that is SO much better than his past indulgences that I really can't complain.
I present my husband to you as an example of will power overcoming healthy-eating obstacles. In my husband's line of work, part of his salary is getting free meals whenever we have guests. So, basically, part of our salary is paid in really crappy, industrialized-type food (read: flour, sugar, and soybean oil). And I can assure you, we serve our guests super SAD crud. I don't like it, but it is just how things are done in this business.
We are generally pretty bad about compromising during the summer months (when we have daily free meals), and just eating as well as we can with what we are served. Some meals are very customizable, like hamburgers (just take the bun off), or taco salad (just skip the chips and nasty nacho sauce). But others are harder to satisfactorily tweak, like spaghetti (um, can I just have tomato sauce over green beans?) or breaded chicken (the breading does NOT scrape off well).
We've been working out some alternative solutions for meal replacements (sometimes he sits with a plain salad while everyone else eats dinner, then comes home ravenous and in need of meat), and compromising a little here and there (yes, we have in fact picked the pasta out of our lasagna... it is a lot of work).
As in so many areas of family life, his decision and commitment are making it SO much easier for me to be dedicated to keeping the junk out of our diets, too.
And I have never been SO excited for summer to be over, so we can get back in the routine of home-cooked meals.
Here are a few of the things I've learned while helping my reluctant husband change his ways:
- Persistence. The old adage about offering new food to children up to 10 times before it is accepted applies to significant others, too. But they are less trusting, so sometimes it helps to prepare it in totally different ways for repeat offerings so there is no "What? Lentils again? I hated lentils last time!" Note: my husband has never said this. He is fantastic about eating horrible kitchen mistakes and not complaining. It's just an example. :)
- Subtlety. At least in our house, outright suggestions sometimes meet with increased resistance, while offhand comments can get us thinking in a non-judgmental, non-confrontational way.
- Support. For my own eating, I do fine with eating maybe 95% how I should, and indulging the other 5% (Haagen Dazs!). But my husband is all-or-nothing - if he cheats, he will consider the day wasted and just eat whatever he wants. Realizing this helps me help him. I can't just say "Oh, it's ok this once," or he'll fall off the bandwagon. Supporting his super-enthusiastic approach instead of insisting on him conforming to my ways has been incredibly helpful.
- Encouragement. I think you can figure this one out on your own.
Have you ever had resistance from your family when changing eating habits or introducing new foods? What worked (or didn't work!) for you?
Posted at Simple Lives Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, and WFMW