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Getting wife to become Primal.

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  • Getting wife to become Primal.

    This is a greater challenge than eliminating pizza from my diet.

    The biggest problem - and probably the only problem - is the fact that she's an incredibly fussy eater and hates fat (unless it's minced meat or nuts). Oilive oil, olives, avocados, animal fat (not rendered like tallow or lard), you name it....NOTHING!

    Has anyone else been in a situation like I am? Did you change your partner's mind somehow?

    Edit: although she does like fish, it's pretty expensive to buy on a regular basis!

  • #2
    I was trying to convince my family to switch to primal when I lived with them. My mom is the same - super fussy. We reached an agreement where the main dish for dinner would be something primal (easy because we always just made it meat based) and then everyone could pick their own sides and eat what they wanted. It worked fairly well.


    • #3
      How long have you been primal? If this is only the beginning of your journey I think one of the best ways to gently nudge her in the right direction would be to quietly lead by example. Once she sees how much healthier and energetic you have become she may be more inclined to try it out and conquer her aversion to fat.

      On that same token, have you talked to her about why she hates fat? Is it a mouthfeel/flavor issue or more of a psychological "fat will make me fat" sort of thing? If it's the latter I would give her the Primal Blueprint to read and have her brows MDA's archives a bit to make her understand that fat is not the enemy. Also, you could try cooking a variety of meals that don't come off as inherently fatty. There are many ways to prepare meat and veggies, and not every dish needs to be dripping in some kind of fat. Good luck!


      • #4
        you've got to let her come at things on her own. if she doesn't want to be primal, she won't be primal. however, i do think it is right for you to make some diet recommendations...nothing with a label though. if you're going to push certain foods, push whole foods. that will bring your diets together more.


        • #5
          I was annoying as all heck when I started with GF and then more primal. Hubby took YEARS to get on board but finally is...not saying it was an easy path though. Some people do better with less pushing and prodding and more encouragement (wait, maybe we ALL do better that way?!)
          Check out my blog on nature and nurture!


          • #6
            Having been in your wife's position, don't push. My Hubby was primal for about a year and a half before I became primal, which really meant I was mostly primal in his presence. He was so judgmental when it came to foods that it turned me off and just made me go underground with eating foods he didn't approve of. The whole time I was reading what he was reading. I just didn't have the motivation to go totally primal while he did, because of food allergies.

            His pressure was not what made me become primal, it was health concerns. I found out that several of my family members had become diabetic and having had gestational diabetes, it was very likely I would also become diabetic if I didn't kick my sugar addiction. So, I did, mostly.

            My journey to primal was different than his, but there have been enough similarities that when he starts judging me for some infraction I can remind him that where I am now is where he was a year ago, so back off.

            So, my advice is to back off. Her diet, her business. She may or may not become primal and that is OK. Accept her for who she is and where she is right now. It is a total turn off to have someone judging you for every morsel of black listed food you put in your mouth. It will only push her away.


            • #7
              Hmmm good advice.


              • #8
                You could go hard and remind her (like I am with my S.O.) that you're not going to foot the bill for her medical problems.



                • #9
                  Has anyone else been in a situation like I am? Did you change your partner's mind somehow?
                  I have and am in a situation like yours. I have not had much success and if anything any effort to change his mind has been more of a set-back than an advancement so I don't try anymore.

                  What I do is this:
                  - Cook low and moderate fat foods (chicken, fish, lean steak, steamed vegetables) most of the time and serve butter on the side. I like to watch him take the butter when sometimes I don't even take any. I just smile to myself on the inside.

                  - When I do cook something fatty (lamb, pork) I let him select the portion size. He always takes the smallest amount. He's not too upset because I always make steamed veggies so that makes him feel virtuous.

                  - If he serves things I don't want to eat, I don't eat them. I don't eat the pasta but I eat the sauce over a sweet potato, for example. I might take ONE of something I don't want to eat so he doesn't get his feelings hurt, and then I make something else to eat later. I also will eat the Indian food (lentils and chickpeas) and I'm okay with the big cheese and cracker nosh-sessions he's fond of. I'll have the cheese, herring, olives and he can have the crackers and hummus.

                  - Now and then I'll make two separate meat items. A big steak or hunk of liver for me and a leftover chicken breast for him. He doesn't mind at all. He thinks I'm being extra NICE to him. Can you believe it? I'm getting the steak and he thinks I'm being generous. Ha ha!!

                  I noticed he almost always breaks out his nuts and chips after dinner for a giant pig-out session, so it's not like he's truly satisfied with the low-fat menu he demands, but I just go along with whatever inconsistencies in his totally dug-in position to keep the peace. Slowly I'm winning, though, and I don't think he's noticing.
                  Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


                  • #10
                    I was really lucky as my wife and I decided to start this together. As Zeera said above, you could easily cook meals that ARE primal, but wouldn't be recognized as such. Just good, healthy meals from scratch.
                    "It's a great life, if you don't weaken.". John Buchan


                    • #11
                      This is hard.
                      Does your wife believe primal is correct, but she's just not wanting to do it? Or does she doubt the premise? Or perhaps it is too inconvenient?


                      • #12
                        My family doesn't eat primal except for dinner on my night's to cook. Then they eat what I cook. But since eating primal is delicious (hello, steak and veggies!) I don't think they're complaining. But they do love their pasta and bread. They eat what they want for breakfast and lunch.
                        High Weight: 225
                        Weight at start of Primal: 189
                        Current Weight: 174
                        Goal Weight: 130

                        Primal Start Date: 11/26/2012


                        • #13
                          Well I do the shopping and cooking, so my husband ate what I did in the beginning, but he wasn't really interesting in switching.
                          But then he naturally stopped eating bread at work, and then if he does have that or some other crap, he realises how bad he feels, so doesn't want it anymore.
                          In your situation id agree with just waiting I guess. You will have to do what you do and hope she follows eventually.
                          Maybe get her to read It starts with food, and see if she will just try for 30 days and see how she feels.


                          • #14
                            I was going to post a new thread about this, but figured I'd search first. I'm in the same boat as you and probably some others.

                            I've been through it all in the past 20 years with weight training, sports, diet, and weight-loss. I went primal about 2-1/2 years ago and still going. It's not a diet, but a lifestyle. This type of lifestyle just makes sense and I cannot get enough info about it by forums or books out there. I never had to struggle with it and all of the dynamics of it just make sense to me.

                            NOW, for my wife. She's an extremely picky eater. I've read the responses here and I think my wife wins on that part. HA. She doesn't like any vegetables, but will eat broccoli every now and then. She doesn't like ANY fish. She used to eat chicken but that went out the window. She has digestive problems so she stays away from foods that in today's conventional wisdom will tell her to stay away from, ie. bananas. She basically eats any "food" that's bland in taste and color and high in carbs. She'll go to town on rice, PNB sandwich, pasta, potatoes, etc. She gets 'hungry' every 2 hours or so and complains to me when I say I'm not hungry. I'll get the "you need to eat at least 3 times a day" routine. I do get her to eat a salad with me with some olives on it. I'm sure if I challenge you to send me a food you think she's like, she'd probably hate it. ha ha ha.

                            I do care what she eats, but I never pushed her. I did my thing and I watched her eat hers. She keeps telling me that I eat weird. I do more of the cooking in the household. The one night I made primal stuffed peppers and I shredded cauliflower and carrots into them as filler. I thought she was going to throw her stuffed pepper at me and leave. She apparently HATES carrots. I tried to tell her she couldn't taste them and they were small. That didn't really matter. To me, her food dis-likes are all mental. She already has it in her head that she doesn't like it.

                            Now she is pregnant with our first child and it got me thinking about her diet. I mean, even with the conventional wisdom type of eating, humans have been producing offspring just fine for years and years. I'm not worried about the health of our child. I just wish I could lean my wife in my direction just a little bit. She swallows a handful of vitamin pills a day and I think she can do without them if she were to eat a little better.

                            She's a reader. She reads something every night before bed. I tried to get her to read some sort of Primal book. It didn't have to be Mark's, but something in that category. She said once that she would read one, but that hasn't happened yet. Maybe to even get her to read one of Mark's blog postings so she at least knows where I'm coming from.

                            Every time I pop out a comment from a result of primal, she has an answer.
                            For instance:
                            I have slipped from the primal way over the last summer and just got back to eating that way again. I, once again, lost about 9 lbs in two weeks. My wife says that's because I'm eating less and was just water weight.
                            I told my wife that my tendonitis went away in my knees and big toes. She says that's because I haven't been working out a lot in the same way recently and not using those muscle/tendons.
                            I tell her I'm not as hungry throughout the day and she says that's because I really am and I'm just holding back/pretending that I'm not.

                            So even thought you go through your primal ways and realize what is happening and how well you are feeling, it may not persuade others to go that route. My wife is always the one to say "They've done studies on it, that's how it works". I always ask her to show me one of the studies about that subject so I can research it and read about it. That usually leads to a tangent conversation about something else and we never talk about that again. Why? Because she can't produce any studies on what I'm asking for.

                            I was always the one that didn't care how society was. I was my own human being. Now that I'm studying primal and researching the attributes of being primal, I am no different. I live in Pennsylvania, and I am a network engineer at my job that requires some sort of "dress shirt" and khakis. But guess what, I'm still wearing my five-fingers to work. People make fun of me, but I don't care. I feel great wearing them. I still park further away so I can walk more into the building. I take the stairs... etc. You get the point.

                            After my rant here, I'm not sure if I even contributed anything to this post. I am just voicing my opinion on how I expect someone that I love to be primal in the same way that I am. Even not that, but just smarter about the way we eat. Even before I went primal I always studied food intake and I always believed that what food we put in our bodies had a lot to do with how we felt and how our bodies reacted. I never believed that "in moderation" was completely true. I feel that the people I love should be on the same boat as myself and I get frustrated when they shrug it off. They don't even have to go primal, but understand that what we eat is more of a deal of how we feel than most people believe. My wife doesn't always feel the best, has those digestive problems, and has more health issues than I do. I believe eating better can most likely take some of those away.

                            Thanks for reading this and any advice is always greatly appreciated. I may not have given ANY advice to this topic, but I felt like I should've chimed in.
                            Grok on!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CavemanJoe View Post
                              This is a greater challenge than eliminating pizza from my diet.

                              The biggest problem - and probably the only problem - is the fact that she's an incredibly fussy eater and hates fat (unless it's minced meat or nuts). Oilive oil, olives, avocados, animal fat (not rendered like tallow or lard), you name it....NOTHING!

                              Has anyone else been in a situation like I am? Did you change your partner's mind somehow?

                              Edit: although she does like fish, it's pretty expensive to buy on a regular basis!
                              You can't change her mind but you could try to help her enjoy the great bits (without necessarily letting on about it).

                              Even though it's expensive, I'd go with the fish and anything else primal that she even hints at liking. Nothing wrong with minced meat or nuts. Not every one likes to tear into a tough steak.

                              How long have you been primal? The longer you continue doing this as a lifestyle, the more likely some of it is to rub off. But probably not if you try in any way to push it.

                              Also, I think a lot has to do with who does the shopping and cooking. If you're the cook, you can possibly temper her fussiness a little bit over time, but it will require some sneakiness and a LOT of patience (speaking from experience here). However, a word of warning: this won't work if she feels like I do in regarding this area as my domain. I would not be happy if my dh were to suddenly try to make me change the way I do it, I hated it when he even took on one night a week.
                              Annie Ups the Ante