the nutritionally recalcitrant spouse . . . part two (of four)
TWO, a major reason you’re enthusiastically moving ahead with health-related dietary changes and he’s resisting is this: you’ve been educated, and he hasn’t! Obviously, or you wouldn’t be blogging on gsg.com with full confidence that he’ll never see it! 😉
Ever go on long car trips? I read China Study on a 10-hr. drive when it first came out, and reading bits of it out loud to DH and discussing it with him helped us make a lot of progress. This kind of thing must be done in a “Wow, honey, can you believe this–so interesting!” kind of way, rather than a “I hereby condescend to educate you because your nutrition knowledge lacunae must be ameliorated” kind of way. Your chats in the evening when the kids are in bed, or your weekly date night, or the dinner table, are more places to share pieces of what you’ve learned, a little at a time.
If he’s a logic guy, be SURE to cite empirical evidence, with details. If he’s an emotion-based guy, tell him a testimonial of a friend whose health problems similar to his have vanished, eating whole foods–or rave about how your own health is improving.
And have low expectations: you’re not going to convert him overnight. Your best shot at converting him is with the way he feels, over time, eating delicious, whole plant foods and cutting out most/all of the junk.
THREE, having said all that—and this is just my opinion—once you have come to realize that (1) you promote your family’s health following GreenSmoothieGirl.com recommendations and (2) you harm your family with junk food . . . well, you have no obligation or motivation to provide junk food. Your education means you can never go back to ignorance—which is NOT bliss, of course. What DH does at work is his business. But if you try to make dishes that taste good and are nutritious, you have met your obligation to your family. (Many American women aren’t cooking anything from scratch.) Be at peace with that despite DH’s misgivings and mini-freakouts. I realize this is a strong opinion and some may disagree (feel free to sound off!), but I would not provide a healthy meal for you and the kids, and a second meal of beef burritos and ice cream for DH. This sends a mixed, confusing message to the kids, and it’s so much work for you that you’ll burn out.
Even if you were making traditional meat-and-potatoes standard American diet dishes, he wouldn’t like everything you made, right? He’s a grownup and can go out of his way to provide himself disease-promoting foods if he would like to. If it’s harder for him rather than easier, he’s more likely to just eat what you’ve made, and he just might love it! Last night I served a raw, sprouted-quinoa salad and steamed broccoli for dinner. DH (kids, too) LOVED it. Twenty years ago, that meal would have resulted in Shock and Awe. I’ll post the recipe when I’m done with this series.
Lest Point Three sound like I’m encouraging a power struggle, I’m not. I’m not saying you don’t compromise. For instance, perhaps you’d like to go veg, but he wants meat every day, and you settle on fish or chicken twice a week. But make it something you can live with that isn’t going to significantly compromise what you now know! Make that fish portion tiny, on a plate piled high with salad. And take the high road: don’t offer anger or domination, just your calm and peaceful assurance that you want to do the very best for him and your family.