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Non-Paleo RN!

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  • Non-Paleo RN!

    Hello there! This is my first time posting here, so bear with me.

    Quick backround: I'm 32 now. I was heavy and sick for a long time. Counted calories and dropped 70lbs while my wife dropped 30 in the same fashion. I was thinner but still sick with gut issues. Been running paleo for a couple months now and have lost 10lbs but improved body composition and overall health. I'm very pleased by the results. I'm at 230lbs now and dropping.

    My problem is that I'm getting a ton of push-back from my wife over my diet and lifestyle. At points, out of concern for the family's health, I made bacon and eggs for breakfast instead of pancakes. Instead of margarine on their bread, I've given them grass-fed butter. Instead of the sugar-laden grocery-store spaghetti sauce, I made my own sauce out of fresh tomatoes and veggies, local grass-fed beef, and some seasoning. All very small changes.

    My wife is an RN who graduated nursing school in 2005, so her education is certainly not ancient. She is convinced that I'm killing myself and our children with this diet. It started with her just treating my like a hippie or a witch doctor and making fun of my diet somewhat incessantly, but I didn't let it bother me. Now she won't permit the kids to eat the grass-fed butter or grass-fed beef or pork. The whole milk and eggs from the farm down the street are also out of the question. The kids are on a SAD of cereal, sandwiches, and pasta (or on good days, grain-fed meat and canned veggies with noodles/rice).

    When my wife tells me I'm going to die of a heart attack in my 30s because of my high fat and saturated fat intake, I know it's coming from a place of love. Still, it's difficult for me to hear because while my health is improving everyday, she's constantly tired, achey, and symptomatic in a host of other ways.

    I send her articles, studies and like demonstrating the virtues of a paleo lifestyle. This isn't to push it on her; instead, I'm only trying to re-assure her that I'm being careful with my health and everything will be okay. She's been candid that she dismisses them because not only am I a medical layman, but the people conducting the studies are fringe extremists and whacky if only because they defy the opinions of of the majority of the medical/nutritional community. She's a little defensive about her profession, and I get that.

    Any advice here? I'm guessing some of you have been in similar if not identical situations and will have some useful insight. Thank you all for your consideration, and I apologize for my wordiness!

  • #2
    The only way to get through is to educate. And to do that the person has to be willing to read and learn. Some people think learning ended the day they graduated. A gentle nudge explaining that there has been a lot of new trials and evidence put forth since she graduated nearly a decade ago.


    • #3
      There are plenty of medically educated people here on the forum. I have been an OR nurse for twenty years. Trust me when I say I know how to research relentlessly. I am also extremely skeptical and I need evidence. I have found plenty here. From my own sucess, labs, and general well being, to evidence in the scientific community. Appeal to her scientific side, that would work for me as a nurse.


      • #4
        I'm just shocked anyone with her leek of education (and I'm assuming following experience) could ever think grain, sugar, more grain, soggy vegetables, and highly processed fake fats could ever be healthier than whole foods.

        Maybe you can compromise. She gives up her processed crap and the kids eat a "balanced" diet of whole foods, including grass fed meat and butter instead of the spread. You may have to have less bacon around, but kids are tough and the real food will still be a huge step up.

        Offer to cook and do it more if you don't already. Maybe alternate days you cook dinner to tempt her with the break.

        If you take it this way, you can focus more on the faults of the lipid hypothesis (most lab studies are on fat are done with crisco, so if she likes margarine and processed foods, that's what's killing people) and the benefits of the pastured fats (CLA, O3 which is pretty huge in the medical community at the moment).

        If you shun fruits, stop and get them around the house. My guess is women who think they know about health see fruit and think "health food" instead of just food that's good. You need to get her thinking real food is good. If you play into what's good about her diet, it might give you some leverage to get other good things in.


        • #5
          Any nurse worth her salt knows that evidence based practice is the only way to go. Keep providing her with compelling evidence from qualified professionals, and educate yourself so that you can knowledgeably discuss the subject with her. And go ahead, ask her for the evidence that high cholesterol is bad for women, or that sodium is problematic for the general population, get her to provide you with actual research that proves this stuff (not just recommendations based on hearsay), because I'll bet she has a hard time finding any.

          I'm an RN also, and it is hard to convince us that so much of our foundation knowledge in diet is incorrect. You are basically going to have to convince her that black is white and vice versa, not an easy task when she's got years of practice and education to back up her beliefs.

          My non paleo family happily eat paleo food most of the time because I don't tell them. I just serve up the meals and leave them to it. Sometimes my DH gets a bit ranty if I serve up a particularly fatty meal, but I have plenty of arguments to counteract his objections.


          • #6
            Thank you so much for the feedback, all of you. Feels so therapeutic to read your perspectives and know that I'm understood. I'll give your collective ideas a shot!


            • #7
              Originally posted by Lizzielou View Post
              And go ahead, ask her for the evidence that high cholesterol is bad for women, or that sodium is problematic for the general population, get her to provide you with actual research that proves this stuff (not just recommendations based on hearsay), because I'll bet she has a hard time finding any.
              I actually hit her with something similar yesterday. "Hey, can you send me some links to studies on the dangers of saturated fat? They must be out there but I'm having trouble finding some. I need some information to offset all the saturated-fat-is-neutral-at-worst studies I'm reading in order to develop an unbiased opinion. Thanks!" Crickets so far.


              • #8
                It might be helpful, too, to leave books around -- like in the bathroom that she normally uses.

                I know it's crazy, but it works. Put a book in the bathroom such as "grain brain" which is written by a doctor, or even primal blueprint, etc. Just leave them around. She might just pick it up out of boredom.


                • #9
                  If she needs evidence, can you suggest a 40 day experiment of everyone eating paleo and then see how everyone feels at the end? If she doesn't feel better, then let her eat SAD. If she does feel better, then start incorporating more paleo food.
                  Needing some accountability, so here's my stats:
                  34yrs old, 5'5"
                  CW: 163lbs (07/2014)
                  GW: 135lbs or less
                  Eating mainly paleo, but including a bit of white rice (don't call the Paleo Police!)


                  • #10
                    I feel your pain. My wife is also continuing her SAD ways. She tries to accommodate me with paleo meals, but isn't ready to go for it. Add to that, my 17 year old son decides to go vegetarian this week. The old line about the only reason a guy goes vegetarian is because he's dating a girl that is vegetarian seems to be holding here. Best of luck to you.


                    • #11
                      YouTube theses MDs
                      Peter Attia
                      Doug McGuff

                      And google Dr. Ronesh Sinha

                      Sinha just gave a talk yesterday for PaleoCon. It's the first time I heard of him. It was one of the best Paleo talks I've heard related to cholesterol and the mistaken CW that doctors are taught in med school. It was exactly what the doctor ordered off your wife. my nurse wife to listen to it and she thought it was very good. She's hasn't been Paleo/primal either. Mark Sisson is selling his Dr. Ronesh Sinha new book.

                      I'm going to PM you so check your notifications
                      Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?


                      • #12
                        Have you had your labs done? It might put her more at ease if she could see that you're not at deaths door.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by workinprogress View Post
                          Have you had your labs done? It might put her more at ease if she could see that you're not at deaths door.
                          This would be my recommendation as well. As a nurse she must put a great deal of faith in hard data (I would hope). It has been my experience that some people really don't want their education (that they paid for) to be called into question when new information arises. As a scientist myself however I can confidently say that nothing stays the same in any tech/science related field over the course of ten years. She has to be open to new information or she will be doing herself, her family and her patients a grave disservice. There is a mountain of hard data and a sea of anecdotal evidence about this lifestyle - the information is there but she has to want to learn it.

                          I would start by asking her why she believes what she believes. If her only answer is that she was taught it ten years ago, that just shows a lack of diligence in keeping current in her field.

                          It is hard to make people see something that they don't want to see. Good luck!


                          • #14
                            Get her to take a look at Chris Kresser. That guy has his shtick down pat. Yeah your labs will help, having a progression of labs to demonstrate your health improvements. Find The well done science that shows heart disease is caused by inflamation and VLDL problems not dietary cholesterol.

                            Show her a nutrient profile of a weeks worth of your eating and a weeks worth of hers.

                            Ask her to show you the science as you did that supports her position.

                            Best of all live well and let her see it.

                            The kids are yours too so feed them as you see fit and dont let her bully you with her education.

                            Speaking of education get one. A real one, one book at a time and be able to talk her talk. It does not require school to do it. Know biochemistry better than she does and challenge her to prove you wrong and not to bully you because you are a no nothing civilian.
                            Primal since April 2012 Male 6' 3" SW 345lbs CW 240lbs GW 220lbs and when I get there I am getting a utlikilt. This one actually.

                            Join me at, where all the cavemen hang out.


                            • #15
                              I have a non-Paleo RN husband. He has watched me lose 70 lbs and still has no interest. It is not that he thinks I am killing myself, He just doesn't want to do it.
                              Primal since 9/24/2010
                              "Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within." Miguel de Cervantes

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