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Thread: You can't lead a horse to water...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011

    You can't lead a horse to water...

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    I am very worried about my father, who is 78, and fit and active, given his age. He's been healthy all his life, has never had a mojor operation, never been overweight, nor has he had to be prescribed pills... until a couple of months ago.

    He started feeling shaky and nauseous, and experienced for the first time in his life, high-blood pressure. (sky high)

    His doctor prescribed him pills to combat it, which he is now taking.

    Every time I see him he mentions, just a little, about how he is feeling icky, dizzy. And I've noticed that he has rally lost the color from his cheeks.

    3 days ago he suffered from a kind of seizure, vomiting, and extremely low blood pressure (like 50/40 or something like that) which meant that the doctor treating him couldn't find a vein to put a drip in! He came around again, and the doctor said that he could literally see the color come back into his face.

    It's extremely worrying to watch someone I love, and want to be around for as long as possible. and I feel sure that he is being given warning signs that something is not right.

    Still he went for a full health check up 6 weeks ago, and all was fine. Nothing untoward showed up, and the doctors can't prescribe him something just because he feels a 'bit off'.

    But, looking at his diet, I'm suspecting that it has everything to do with what he eats.

    white bread and jam for breakfast, cup of tea or coffee.
    white bread and cheese, crisps, and maybe a jam donut and cup of tea for lunch
    meat, potato, 2 veg for dinner (broccoli or coli-flower, sometimes carrots). ice-cream perhaps for desert.
    A beer or two, and a glass of wine in the evening.

    No water, no high-vitamin/mineral foods. No variation - he literally eats the same 10 foods day in-day out, and has done his entire life!

    Now, I'm no doctor, but in my eyes if he could just add in a few more nutritional foods and a little less bread and processed foods it might perhaps help (if not reverse) his health situation. I mean it couldn't hurt, right?!

    The thing is, he says,

    'I've eaten like this for over 70 years, and I've never been sick'.

    'Yeah, Dad, maybe, but you ARE now'. I say... 'so, why don't you just try and lay off the bad stuff for a bit'.'

    Ugh. I don't want to just eat lettuce leaves and seaweed!

    Of course, it's like talking to a brick wall. There's just no telling him. I'ts like a meal without bread, just isn't a meal. And aging is an inevitably of illness. I mean, old people get sick, right?

    Now, I have no way of convincing him otherwise. I try and give him food which I've prepared (he then goes and adds bread rolls to it) but there's no way I could get him to try bone-broth, or seaweed, or vegetable other than what he likes, or mineral/vitamin supplementation. He is so stuck in his ways.

    And, while I know that we are not responsible for anyone else other than ourselves (I can't even convince my husband to give up the packaged/processed foods either!) it's just really frustrating and painful to watch him deteriorate in front of my eyes.
    Last edited by thaijinx; 01-14-2012 at 03:22 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Near Boston MA
    I hear you there! I find it so painful to see everyone around me with problems that I think can be negated or at least be toned down if they changed their diet.

    My father is much younger, however he is a schizonphrenic, overweight, has lots of joint pains, and who knows what else since he cant even afford a physical. I am worried about diabetes/heart disease with him as well. I know eating primal can help with all this and especially since he cant afford medicine or doctors visits its critical that he changes his ways.. .sigh... I'm working on him. Now when he comes to visit he eats what I prepare and enjoys it. He knows I don't keep bread in the house..however last weekend he found a bottle of sprite that I had for a party.. and had deviled dogs in his car for the ride home.

    It's very painful to watch, especially when its someone you love dearly.
    Last edited by activia; 01-14-2012 at 08:08 AM.
    Primal since March 2011

    Female/29 years old/5' 1"/130ish lbs

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Houston, TX
    I go through this with my parents too. My father has had a quad bypass and multiple stents, including one just a couple of months ago. For 18 years (since the 1st bypass), he's followed his cardiologist's advice to the letter: Eat a lowfat diet, "healthy" whole grains, no sat fat, and aerobic punishing-exercise 5 days a week. And for 18 years, his arteries continue to clog, until this most recent one, where the cardiologist told us his arteries are now like hamburger and that they'll continue because that's just "how they are".

    I've told my parents about "Wheat Belly", Paleo lifestyle, till I'm blue in the face. My dad just can't understand how, after all this time, he's supposed to give up the "healthy" whole grains. "But I switched to whole wheat pasta a long time ago!!". Um, yeah, dad, how's that working for ya? And my mom is no better: Overweight (about 60 lbs.) diabetic, on generic Prilosec for GERD (which is causing her osteoporosis, I'm certain), shopping for a walker.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I'm sorry you're going through this! I'm the only one eating primal out of everyone in my immediate circle. When I hear people complaining about their health or how bad they feel, I want to start preaching about the primal way of life! But I don't feel like it's my place. People see how I've lost weight and that I'm full of energy and in a good mood, and if they ask me what I've been doing, then I'll tell them. I've been overweight all my life and know how it feels to be preached at about how I need to go on a diet, and I always hated it. My husband supports my choices but refuses to give up breads and such completely. He eats the primal dinners I prepare, but he's on his own for breakfast and lunch. He is quite overweight but otherwise doesn't have any health problems, at least not yet. I worry about him, but at the same time I don't want to make him feel bad about himself. We can educate people about what we know, and then continue to love and support them whatever decisions they make.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ugh, I feel everyone's pain. My mother had gastric bypass surgery several years ago, lost weight, was elated, and then slowly gained it all back. When I lost my first 50 pounds, she asked me what I was eating. I told her, and she flat out ignored me and then went on to suggest that I won't be able to lose any more because I'm her child and I "have the gene".

    She eats low-fat everything, thinks I should be eating low-fat too, feeds me low-fat every time she gets the chance, and you can't tell her any different. If I do manage to lose the rest of my excess weight, maybe then she'll pay attention. If she does, great. If not, I don't want to be the Annoying Food Evangelist who preaches at her and tells her everything she eats is wrong because I hear plenty of that myself.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Midwest, USA
    I think you're right - he doesn't necessarily have to make a diet overhaul, but like you said, less bread and processed sugar. His dinners don't sound so bad. Maybe just start by suggesting he replace the donuts with something else better that he already likes? Hee, I can just imagine trying to sell any of my relatives on seaweed. I'd try bacon instead.

    Granted, you are in Thailand, so seaweed might not be as exotic as it might be in Wisconsin...but nevertheless, sounds like he's been eating a Western diet.

  7. #7
    My parents won't listen to me either. I can't even get them to take more than the tiniest fish oil or vitamin D pill. It's wildly frustrating. That said, I'm impressed by your grandfather's age and health given what he eats.

    Maybe the best thing to do is just try to push him towards eating whole grains. I know that on this forum we all hate grains, but the truth is they are much healthier than white bread without losing much taste. Even that small change could pay some big dividends fro him.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    At 78, there is always the possibility that its just "his time".

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Houston, TX
    My boyrfriend's aunt is 103 (104 in June 2012!) and she's the healthiest thing you've ever seen. Still has all her own teeth, still walks by herself, and is mentally sharp as a tack. And funny....boy is she funny!

    She attributes this to a life of healthy living. Never drank any alcohol, even though she lived through the Depression (she was 21 in 1929!!). Always ate healthy (balanced, fish, protein, not a ton of carbs), always stayed thin, always moved a lot, always kept a positive, optimistic outlook. Absolutely zero health problems, even today!

    Makes me really sad when I see her vs. my own mother, who says she needs to stay on the generic Prilosec even though it's causing her osteoporosis, so she can continue to eat all the food she wants to eat (she binges on crackers & cheese, cookies, etc.). And has a pessimistic attitude to boot.
    I look at her and then look at the 103 year-old and think....which one do I want to be like??? Mind you, the 103 year-old aunt is 27 years OLDER than my 76 year-old mother!
    Truly Paleo since 1/1/2012 (Doing Leptin reset)
    Turned 50 on 3/8/2012 !!!
    5'2" Female
    11/27/2011: 162.8 lbs.
    7/15/12 : 148.6 lbs.
    Clean Paleo diet: Lots of CO, Meat, Seafood, and doing CT 5x/week, 40 mins @ 50-52 degrees F

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Shop Now
    Okay, I have to share a parental success story, about my mother. My mother is 73 and has always been quite trim and in very good health, walking 5+ miles per day. She's the kind of person who would forget to eat. But ever since I started eating low carb and then primal (and unfortunately, sometimes I fall off the wagon), it stressed me out to see her just eat bread for a meal. I lent her my copy of the PB, and she just glanced at it. She had a lot going on and wasn't interested. But over the past two years she saw how much my health and energy improved when I'm strict primal, and frequently I would talk to her about things I'd read or learned at AHS or Primalcon. She thought it was great for me, but unnecessary for her. In August, completely out of the blue, she told me that she had started eating primally (although because she didn't read the book, she was still eating legumes occasionally, etc.) and was feeling great. She's able to stick to it 100 percent even while making cookies for my stepfather. She says she's not tempted by non-primal foods anymore, and if she has any sugar or even legumes, she immediately feels ill. She notices improved energy and mood. She's taking care of my stepfather 24-7, who has Parkinson's and intermittent dementia, so it's been very stressful for her for the past couple of years. She says that eating this way gives her the energy and emotional strength she needs to keep going. She looks great. She's had to buy pants 2 sizes smaller. She no longer needs sleeping pills.

    Sometimes it's a bit hard because she can be a bit holier than thou on the food front because she really doesn't experience any craving for sweets. But I'm so proud of her for making the change on her own and doing better than I am! I lost my father at 23, and I hope that my mother will continue to thrive mentally and physically for several decades to come. I'm counting on her reaching 100!

    What I learned is that you can't force someone to try this. The best thing you can do is let them see how well you're doing. Cook them yummy primal food so that they can see it's normal stuff, because when you tell people no grains, it can sound scary. Share information with them but in small doses.
    Il faut vivre et non pas seulement exister.

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