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I have a friend who is very interested in healthy eating, but is soon to be married to a Type O man who would rather eat mostly carbs and sugar. She asked how she could influence him to change. In my answer, I told three anecdotes about my own husband. Two of them I have written blogs about, but one came from the early days, and I thought I’d share it in today’s blog.
More important, I tried to give her sound advice about how to gently change a loved one’s diet without letting it become a point of conflict. I thought that some of you are probably dealing with similar issues with a spouse, a child or a parent. All of us want the ones we love to be healthy and live long. These are a few things I have tried over the years that have worked.
Do not try to change someone you love overnight. I have tried that – it breeds resentment.
Gently bump him in the right direction. There are lots of good carbs for Type Os. Sweet potatoes and rice are good and inexpensive. Many legumes are good for Type Os. They provide fiber and carbs. If you cook them in your crock pot, they are very cheap.
Don’t try to get him completely off of wheat. Go ahead and buy rolls or French bread. But don’t put out the whole package. Divide it up and put it in the freezer. Serve dinner with one roll. Let there be plenty of meat, rice, and beans when he goes back for seconds.
Start with broccoli not something exotic.
Start with rice not quinoa.
Start with black beans not fava beans
Keep a few old favorite unhealthy foods available, but not easy access or unlimited supply.
Let him see that he has less pain and more energy
Use honey or real maple syrup on whole grain pancakes and waffles instead of the maple flavored corn syrup. No one wants to go back to fake after tasting real.
Don’t deprive him of desserts. There are many ways to have something special and sweet at the end of a meal.
Fruit pies are better than cake with icing.
Try a little ice cream with lots of fresh fruit on top.
Pumpkin or sweet potato pie rather than syrupy pie like pecan.
Oatmeal and carrot cake are full of fiber and nutrients.
I tend to use real sugar in reduced amounts rather than alternative sweeteners. I can reduce the sugar and oil in a regular recipe by 25% - 33% and no one notices. I did this with my children when they were very young, and I never got a complaint.
Go ahead and cook vegetables you like, even if he doesn’t like them. Two reasons for this.
1. If you deprive yourself, you will slowly build up resentment.
2. One day he might try it and like it. You never know.
Don’t push him to eat foods he doesn’t think he likes. Two reasons for this.
1. He may comply to please you, but it will slowly build up resentment.
2. Men like to think they are in charge. They don’t like being pushed.
I have found in that resentment is bad for digestion and bad for marriage.
The way my husband has slowly grown to eat more healthy is by discovering things on his own.
I did push a lot in the early years. He griped and complained about vitamins. One time on vacation he got into poison oak. He had oozing sores all over his back. We were in a strange town and didn’t know a doctor. I rubbed vitamin E into his back and he woke the next morning healed. He said, “Maybe there is something to those vitamins of yours.” Complaining was reduced by 75%.
He has gradually become committed to eating healthy himself. Not because I say so, but because he has seen it work in his own body, and has internalized the concepts. This is the goal.
I'm a healthy eater and my hubby is a white sugar/flour devotee. We both do the cooking, but with a freezer full of wild game and only healthy grains & potatoes (new & sweet) in my pantry our meals are good no matter who makes them.
I think it all comes down to what's available to cook with in your house. I keep a great healthy variety on hand but there's no white sugar, white flour, corn syrup, fruit juices, canned veggies/fruits, etc.
I think another good idea is to make the healthy stuff taste good. I make all kinds of fresh veggie salads with the same basic dressing - grapeseed oil, light rice vinegar, honey, and seasonings. My husband gobbles up anything I put that on!
We both have a sweet tooth, but he knows whenever I make something sweet that it's healthy too. Of course that doesn't stop him from eating it!
Now all this doesn't stop my hubby from eating whatever he wants when he's not home. But that OK with me - I have no expectations of him. It's his body and he's an adult who is very capable of making decisions that will either hurt or help him. I figure that if he ever does want to change, he knows I'm here to help him.
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