Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
18 Nov

When Grok Lives with Korg, or How to Cope With an Unsupportive Partner

tug of warWhen I introduced a forum thread asking folks to share their top three challenges in going Primal, one issue got major traction: the S.O. factor (significant other, for those of you not into the whole online brevity thing). It’s a familiar story. One partner takes on a new health commitment. Life changes for that person. He/she goes through struggles, triumphs, growth – an entire physical and psychological process that potentially leaves a relationship chasm in its wake. Then there are the logistics, a menacing obstacle course of loaded questions and irksome details. Do you still eat together? Who cooks (not to mention shops)? Do we have enough pots and pans to make two different meals each night? How do we handle the kids’ food? Finally, what does it mean for the arrangement when one person’s food expenditure overshadows the other’s?

I’m not talking, of course, about couples who follow individual but similar lifestyle paths. Few people have a fully Primal S.O., and most people don’t exactly consider that a deal breaker to begin with. As many of you noted in the forum, it’s good to honor individuality in relationships. It certainly keeps things interesting. My wife, for example, eats fish but not fowl or red meat. While I’d prefer she join me in devouring a rack of lamb now and then, I understand and even empathize with her reasoning. I also recognize that she’s one of the healthiest people I know. She merges the Primal philosophy with her own chosen values, and the result is pretty impressive. Because her diet obliges certain restrictions, she’s more diligent than I am, I’ll admit.

What I mean here is a true Grok/Korg match. One partner is living (or approaching) Primal, while the other is fully entrenched in CW – or maybe worse. Some couples comfortably and successfully adopt a “live and let live” mentality with ne’er an argument to ruffle their domestic bliss. Others struggle at times, harboring low-grade resentments or continuing disappointment that their partners – however supportive – don’t take up the cause. For a few, the contrast ignites epic conflict akin to a veritable clash of civilizations.

In the forum, there was back and forth about the social and emotional significance we attach to food. It’s not a religion, many said. It shouldn’t derail an otherwise good relationship. Others countered that it was indeed a creed of sorts. As a significant dimension of one’s lifestyle, our food choices inevitably become imbued with our individual values – and even with our identities to a certain degree.

With this deeper facet – and the day-to-day logistics – in mind, here are a few targeted suggestions for both staying true to your Primal quest and keeping peace in the shared kingdom.

Be Comfortable With Your Choice

No, really. Don’t shoot the messenger here, but sometimes others’ divergent choices get under our skin because they’re a constant reminder of our own ability to fall off the wagon. There’s a certain vulnerability to living against the current of a society, let alone one’s own household. It takes a greater commitment – not a white-knuckle, hold-your-breath, dig-in-your-heels declaration, but a deeply personal kind of pledge. It’s a decision to live in the moment and make the best choice for yourself in that moment. No one can undo or undermine your commitment without your permission. It’s accepting the ultimate responsibility. Going Primal may not always be convenient or easy. Likewise, relationships are always convenient and easy either.

Dial In Your Expectations

Don’t start your journey with the grandiose (albeit ideal in my opinion) vision of a happy Primal family. As my mother used to say to us growing up, “You worry about you.” It’s your choice, your path. Would you travel down it knowing you weren’t going to be accompanied by your partner or other loved ones? Well, there you go. Be an example to your partner, but enjoy and own Primal living in its own right – not as a constant representation of the cause, so to speak.

To Each, A Pantry of One’s Own

It’s a similar sentiment to the old adage, “good fences make good neighbors.” A little space can sometimes be enough to keep you from feeling inundated by the alternative choices residing in your household. Claim a space for your stuff and make no apologies. As for shopping and spending, be prepared to sit down and have a practical negotiation with concrete, unimpassioned terms.

Gather the Support You Need

Your S.O. can’t provide for every need or play every role in your life. We all know this, but making/going through a significant transition in life sometimes clouds our judgment. You deserve respect, of course, but fill in the support you need with friends, other family members, online communities (wink), etc. Take the pressure off your relationship, and you’ll likely both feel freer and happier. It’s a funny thing: when you finally let an issue go, that’s when people can surprise you the most.

Research suggests that couples treat divergent dietary paths in much the same way as other conflicts or differences in their relationships. (I guess there’s cause for a potentially heartening – or unsettling – realization there.) It’s a question worth exploring. I obviously believe that going Primal is a good choice, but if your S.O.’s lack of conversion is nagging at you so dramatically that it’s undermining the fundamentals of your relationship, it might be time to examine the issue from a broader, deeper, or more emotional angle. (a.k.a. It’s never really about the toothpaste cap.)

That said, I think it’s fair to feel disappointed, even saddened, by a partner’s disinterest in maintaining his/her health. If you’re taking it upon yourself to stay in good shape and put life in your years (not to mention years in your life), you might wonder why the other person won’t hold up his/her end of the bargain. What exactly, then, is the understanding behind a relationship? I’m going to venture that it isn’t about being in lock-step at every turn, in every moment. Nonetheless, I think it is about explaining why you care. (Then there’s always the jaw-dropping, stunning example you set….) If you’re in it for the long haul, there’s time to grow together – or to realize that some commonalities just aren’t compulsory for lasting devotion and domestic harmony.

Readers, what say you? Are Groks and Korgs compatible? Have you found a way to peacefully coexist in the kitchen, or has going Primal changed the game with relationships for you? Is it ever a deal breaker? Share your thoughts, and thanks for reading today.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Right now, I’m glad I live alone.

    RDunn wrote on November 18th, 2010
  2. My husband really doesn’t mind the meat and vegetables, the compromise we’ve struck is that once in a while he gets corn and white potatoes. He also buys Pepsi for himself. It’s pretty easy to whip up a can of corn for my husband and steam some chard for myself.

    Christine Crain wrote on November 18th, 2010
  3. My partner has loved all the bacon and meat and eggs we’ve been having. We shop together at the farmer’s market on saturday. But he doesn’t like to exercise at all. This worries me, as he gets older. He had polio as a child and has a slight disability, but he can swim, and he joined a local pool to do that, but he almost never does. I’m worried that he will lose muscle and bone mass and start falling down more, and eventually have a fracture that might be really disabling. But I’ve given up on encouraging him to exercise more.

    shannon wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • Hi Shannon,
      Since your partner joined a pool, he obviously enjoys/has some interest in swimming. But it’s difficult to keep up a regular, meaningful routine of exercise just swimming laps alone in a pool. You should encourage him to join a masters swim group (lots of pools have them), where the exercise is performed as a group under the direction of a coach, with timed intervals and lots of mixing up of different strokes, speeds, distances, etc. Makes it far more interesting and the time flies!

      John wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • it might get him more motivated if you two swam together! to get him to do the sprints you could say it’s a race maybe?

      Mitch wrote on January 11th, 2012
  4. This was an issue with my ex-girlfriend and I (not the reason why we split). She constantly ate pasta, bread, cereal, etc. She made pasta everyday practically. I have good will power when I get going but when I am starting a diet I fall like a drunk on a treadmill. I never resented her for it. She knew what I wanted to do. She would offer to make food for me (pasta) and since my will power was low I conceded.

    She does suffer from depression…and after doing research on depression I read that depressed people tend to eat more carbs. Maybe there is something to this after all.

    We couldnt see eye to eye on dietary choices but it was never a starting point to have an argument. We let each other live the way that made us happy.

    George wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • This fact intrigues me. My family suffers heavily from depression, and also from diabetes.

      Sara wrote on November 18th, 2010
      • My father had major depression and committed suicide as a result. Just the other day I ran across an excellent lecture by Dr Robert Sapolsky (Professor at Stanford I believe) on depression that opened my eyes about what my dad was going through with this horrible disease. For anyone interested here’s the link: http://spoken-gems.com/2010/05/04/robert-sapolsky-depression/

        Johannah wrote on November 18th, 2010
        • Thank you for that link. I am going to read up on it some more now. I originally did a wikipedia search and read some about it. I know wikipedia isnt the best for research but it is quick, easy primer to a subject.

          I feel terrible that people have to live with such a condition. I see my ex, she is an absolutely great person and even better girlfriend. To know that she has to go through that breaks my heart more than when we broke up.

          I wish I was more proactive in my research but I doubt it would have changed our separation.

          George wrote on November 19th, 2010
      • You should read the book “Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival” Among other things it touches on the inter-relationship between sugar, sleep, and mental illnesses.

        Stefan wrote on November 18th, 2010
        • That is really interesting – I have recovered from bipolar disorder since becoming Primal, my father’s mother’s side of the family were diabetics and she was a manic depressive, her weight fluctuated hugely as the mania and then depression swept through her life. I’ve done battle with the mental side all my life until this year. And I was a gestational diabetic … there is most certainly a link. I’ve found quite a bit on the internet including a diet for bipolarity which low and behold is pretty much what we all follow with PB. I’m hoping Mark will do a post on this at some point.

          And yes, as a friend and I talked about just this afternoon, you have to have been in depression to really understand it, good to know there are sources of information out there that can help the fortunate non-sufferers get a hold on what it is all about.

          Kelda wrote on November 19th, 2010
  5. This post just makes me even more grateful for the acceptance, even enthusiasm, my husband has toward my personal quest for the optimal diet. But since going Primal, things have gotten even better. I chalk that up to our improved emotional well-being from all the good protein and fat that was missing from our previous mostly vegetarian and pasta, rice, legume filled diet. As a previous tri-athelete, he did resist giving up pasta, but came to his conclusion that he just felt better without it. He use to stop for Cheetos on the way home, but not anymore. And he really liked jam and toast with his eggs and bacon. So I made it for him, and not for me. Then one day, he said “I really don’t need bread and jam anymore.” So I said, “Great, but if you change your mind, let me know.” And he hasn’t changed his mind yet. I’m lucky that he came around so quickly, but even if he never did, there’s no way it would ever be a deal breaker.

    Patty wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • wow, that sounds just like my own husband. I has joined me after months of going on about rice and pasta. He lost a bit of the fat he was gaining, has become very lean and better yet… his psoriasis is completelly gone.

      Carla wrote on January 19th, 2011
  6. It is the temptations that are thrown in your path with a non-primal partner that are the hardest to face. I’m not truly primal but most of the primal/paleo beliefs fit with my own.

    But my partner is a million miles away and what he eats sometimes tempts me!

    Dawn wrote on November 18th, 2010
  7. I find that dont push anything onto your partner. She-He will see the progress, your ENERGY LEVEL, body composition change and will, ONE DAY, go primal! There is no reason why! You just have to keep at it and not to force your partner into it!

    frank_885@hotmail.com wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • I agree with you. Since I started eating primal foods and exercising with a purpose, my wife and I have noticed my six pack coming in and she is now making better food choices as well. I never push it on her, I just let her observe. Seems to work slowly but surely at my household.

      Nathan wrote on November 19th, 2010
  8. I agree with RDunn, I’m really glad I’ve started primal living at a time when I live alone. It means I’m less likely to fall of the wagon :)

    Devon wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • Its incredibly EASY to fall off when you live with parents who buy loads of non primal food. I have not fallen off completely but all the wheals are “loose.”

      Primal Toad wrote on November 18th, 2010
  9. I think it might be a deal-breaker early on in a relationship, but once you’re in for awhile it’s unlikely. Too many other factors by that point. :p

    That said, it can definitely be a problem. My wife frequently goes all-in on various diets and dietary changes, then loses steam after awhile due to temptation, fatigue, poor results, etc. It was the same with primal living – she stuck with it much longer than most things, but ultimately decided she loved bread and pasta and sweets too much.

    One of her problems was that she didn’t lose any weight eating primal. During that time she had some simultaneous setbacks (a surgery, training injury, vacations and lapses) that make it understandable, but she was disappointed.

    She has since turned to an off-label prescription that is supposed to help people lose weight and essentially eats a SAD, and unfortunately has lost weight doing this (seemingly the most important thing to her) so I don’t think she will ever be inclined to try again. All of her favorite things to eat are decidedly non-primal, and despite her autoimmune issues she’s said that she will not give up a number of things that could be exacerbating her problem.

    One good thing is that, since we’ve gone our separate eating ways, she has started at least having a healthier attitude about food and eating – she was bordering on an eating disorder at times, she would be so upset with herself. Now she is more relaxed. But she has in turn taken to being that cajoling voice on my shoulder that it “doesnt’ matter” and I should “cheat with her this once.”

    I really worry about her long-term health; she has enough issues as it is that I think she is setting herself up for more problems down the road rather than taking the (admittedly hard) steps that might actually improve her conditions. All I can do is try my best to set a good example, continue making primal choices when I cook for us, and be proud of the steps she does take along the way. But it is hard. Watching someone make harmful choices that will ultimately affect both of your lives (be it eating, or smoking, or exercise, or whatever) is one of the toughest things. Letting go is sometimes the only way, especially with stubborn people (and there are more of those than you think!) They have to choose it for themselves.

    Kris wrote on November 18th, 2010
  10. I really think there are some other considerations here. For example, are we talking about one healthy person who for mere whim or health-preference wants to go primal? Or are we talking about one person who is dangerously unhealthy, seriously intolerant to certain damaging foods, as a side-effect has addictive reactions to some of them, and is trying to save their own life, literally, and their energy for lifestyle, in the meantime?

    When I first started eating well my husband took up making pies, cookies, cakes, and deep fried donuts. The man had no interest in sweets for 5 years until then. When I bought food for me to eat Atkins at the time, stuff he didn’t like, and he ate things I didn’t like (kraut, german sausage, beer), he mysteriously took up only wanting to eat MY food instead of his, without replacing it (I worked he didn’t so he had time, I didn’t), leaving me arriving home for work to the smell of chocolate cake and no ok food whatever.

    It wasn’t that I didn’t communicate or try to solve this in 101 different ways, all of which merely reinforced the lesson that you really cannot change other people; you can communicate your views and what is workable as your minimum, and they change–or they don’t–it’s their decision.

    When I dropped eating wheat, having just discovered my severe asthma and severe allergies and severe acid reflux were all directly caused by it (and cured by 2 weeks off it), I would make a careful dinner for us all, and then he would run in and broil a big french loaf garlic bread (my biggest weakness).

    I certainly do have responsibility for my own decisions but SMELL is as affective as cigarette smoke on brain chems I suspect–certainly affects appetite and many enzymes. This is like helping your alcoholic spouse by waving shot glasses under their nose repeatedly.

    So, coming to the conclusion that my ‘responsibility for my own decisions’ was a) not working out so well on the temptation front, and b) a matter of life and death (as I was severely morbidly obese), I made the responsible decision, and divorced his sabotaging ass.

    This may not have solved my food problems entirely, but that 195# weight loss overnight certainly helped!

    I’m probably only alive today due to changes I was able to make in my health after that point.

    PJ

    PJ wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • Wow, and thank you for sharing that.

      Kelda wrote on November 18th, 2010
      • Seconded. And if he was willing to act like this over mere food, I’m sure there were plenty of other factors for divorce too. (no need to get into them here, of course….)

        Jenny wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • Seriously. Word up to you for taking control!

      Alhaddadin wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • Bravo!

      Ricki wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • For real, bravo.

      Christina wrote on November 20th, 2011
  11. This is a big one for our family.

    My husband read all the literature and joined me about six months after I started, he’s lost 6 kg and feels and looks great, better than at anytime in the 15 years since we’ve been together (not bad for a 52 year old!). He isn’t hardline about it though and if he occasionally fancies something non-Grok he’ll eat it.

    However, my brother’s wife, although very helpful with providing him with his Primal food continues in her eating habits – she is obese, and smokes, and rarely exercises (she drives the 1 mile to work and back every day) and is on multiple meds for blood pressure, cholesterol etc and has various digestional problems. It has caused stress in their relationship but now I think they are living and let living. It upsets my brother who has lost 6.5 stones and is now fit and well. He loves her and doesn’t want to see her so compromised healthwise and likely to live a far shorter life than him.

    As for my parents, my mother is resentful of my Dad’s adoption of Primal eating (he’s lost 30 lbs and now takes minimal meds for osteo-arthritic knees and is walking much easier) but she does, mostly, provide him with the Primal diet. It’s an incendiary topic of discussion though. She continues with her CW low fat, high carb (wholegrains) fish only diet and is the only one who has to take meds for blood pressure and she has borderline glucose intolerance – go figure.

    It amazes me that intelligent people can live alongside amazing transformations and not want in on the act themselves!

    Kelda wrote on November 18th, 2010
  12. I’m reading some of these horror stories, and I must say, I count myself among the truly lucky.

    My girlfriend and I met and bonded several years ago over our mutual vegetarianism, which both of us had practiced for more than a decade. When I made the switch to Primal eating (and living), I know that it was a big shock for her. However, I think she was more disconcerted by the macronutrient compositions of the diet (“you’re eating HOW much saturated fat?!”), because she comes at her own eating choices from a background steeped in medical knowledge. There was a period of about a month in which she kept coming to me with various questions about the biomechanics of the diet, how it worked, what I was supposed to eat and what I wasn’t, and – thanks in very large part to the wealth of great info available for me to study here on MDA – both of us learned a heck of a lot more in the process.

    She’s comfortable with my dietary choices now, and although she remains steadfast in her vegetarianism, she has likewise taken it upon herself to be better about consuming organic, local, non-GMO foods, and to really consider the full nutritional picture of her own diet for her own needs. I’m super proud of that – not to mention that I feel blessed to have someone so thoughtful and understanding as an “S.O.”

    So thank you, Mark, for all the great info and advice – I doubt I could have handled the situation nearly as well without it.

    Alhaddadin wrote on November 18th, 2010
  13. I am greatful for my awesome husband! He has 100% supported my quest and has stood steadfast with me. He tries absolutely everything I have made (and some of it was not very tastey) and either lets me know if he liked or would prefer something else. He loves his grains and cookies at the moment but I know sometime in the future he’ll jump on board with me full time.

    Andrea Long wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • grateful, rather. lol bad spelling.

      Andrea Long wrote on November 18th, 2010
      • I did the same thing Andrea…just got lucky and caught it before I hit ‘submit”!

        Patty wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • tasty too. Man I’m off today.

      Andrea Long wrote on November 18th, 2010
  14. I have considered separating the food into his & hers sections for quite some time now. Think I’m going to do it!

    And ask that he not make certain things when I’m home as the scents are pure torture sometimes (ie: popcorn!)

    I agree with you Kelda: I can’t understand it either! How can the see you transform & not be the least bit interested?

    Peggy wrote on November 18th, 2010
  15. I met a couple in Hawaii last Fall. She was wearing Vibram Five Fingers and he was wearing those rocker shoes; she thought “Born to Run” was the awesome-est book ever, he thought it a load of merde.

    Talk about a mixed marriage!

    Scott M wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • This is one of those instances where “LOL” actually means I laughed out loud!

      Larry wrote on November 18th, 2010
  16. My wife and I have been married for 28 years and we are polar opposites when it comes to health and fitness.

    I’m always looking for non CW ways to improve my wellbeing. She keeps promising that she’ll come over to the other side but it hasn’t happened yet.

    I’ve learned to explain what I’m doing without preaching and to gently encourage her to give it a try.

    Someday It will happen. My only worry is that we are just turning 50. I just hope she realizes that a better health commitment sooner will make life a lot more fun later.

    She’s a great person and would like for us both to be active for a very long time. I guess if there is any hint of frustration or resentment it would be to not have that happen.

    In the mean time I’ll just keep plugging along.

    StevieB wrote on November 18th, 2010
  17. I’ve only had to deal with a small similarity to this problem. I shared a house with a friend (I was a renter). She ate pasta literally every night. We found that I would just let her do her thing in the kitchen, because it was pretty fast and didn’t use many dishes (which is why did it – she doesn’t really cook much), then I would take over. I only cooked every 2-4 days, and she would do it almost every day. We joked about it. :)

    Melodious wrote on November 18th, 2010
  18. My husband is okay with ME being primal, and is even fine with eating low carb dinners. He, however, eats his lunch at the drive thru almost every day (partially because I can’t seem to pack him a lunch).
    I don’t know if I’ll ever get him off of diet pepsi.
    I, myself, have a very weak hold on my diet, and can talk myself into eating whatever is around. He has been very resistant to the pantry purge, and my in my weakness I haven’t done it yet, and I’ve been “trying” to live primally for a year and a half. If I had his FULL support, I think I could do it, but with even a little resistance I give in. I am much more overweight than he is, and have been this way my whole life. I’m tired of it. He has only recently ballooned to a beer belly (he doesn’t drink, though) and doesn’t seem to care much at all about it. I care, because I know how hard it is once you’re fat, and don’t want him to be like me. It’s hard to tell him that, when I’m a female who weighs more (though not much, now) than him.

    Sara wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • This is just a hunch based on my own experience, but you may want to read a book called Neris and India’s Idiot-proof Diet. It essentially describes a primal/low carb diet but I recommend it for the thorough and frank discussion of the emotional/motivational issues we go through with weight loss (particularly geared at women). It certainly gave me the kick in the pants that I needed to dive into this way of eating and stop giving in to outside pressures. It was also a fun read :)

      Joanne wrote on November 19th, 2010
  19. I was fitter/healthier than most before I gave up grains, chips, sweets, etc. So it’s hard for my wife to see where I’m coming from. She’s supportive enough when it comes to my decision. The pain arises with our children. My 7 year old’s diet is primarily bread-based and nothing I do or say is making a difference. It’s probably the only troubling thing in my life right now, so I can’t complain. I just can’t shake it. I want him to eat fruits, nuts, and meat so badly, but she keeps shoveling bagels and sugary granola bars at him–saying that we can’t let him starve, and that the pediatrician supports it. Ugh.

    Matt wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • Don’t fight food battles with kids. It’s the biggest waste of time on the planet. All you can do is try to limit the really horrible stuff like sodas and candy.

      Jennifer wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • That pediatrician sounds like a failure even by CW standards…

      Jenny wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • I am by no means married or a parent, yet, but my response would be to put my foot down and take control of the situation. I’d probably say: NO! I am not allowing this junk in my house. From now on I’ll do the shopping, and I’ll do the cooking. Don’t worry about, because I’ll take care of it.

      Brian Kozmo wrote on November 19th, 2010
      • And that is why you are neither married nor a parent.

        Angela wrote on February 18th, 2012
        • LOL!

          Travis Koger wrote on April 27th, 2012
  20. Wow! It is a tough world out there. I just would like to add that it is not always the reluctant partner’s “fault.” My wife is the one who turned me onto the Primal lifestyle but she did so from an intellectual rather than experiential point of view. When I started living the life, I thought, live and let live would work fine so I kept the food and exercise to myself. i did not want to always be going on and on about the benefits of this and the problems of that, so I kept mum. It finally came to a head when she confronted me and asked why I was being so selfish? Why didn’t I want her to eat the same as me? Why did I cook alone?

    “What we had here was a failure to communicate.”

    Since then we share literature and plans to visit the 100% grassfed farms. I cook for all and she has joined with the Primal life. . . mostly. Slow and steady makes for a peaceful homelife and communication opens so many doors.

    Carl wrote on November 18th, 2010
  21. I deal with this daily , my S.O. is deadset to stick with CW despite what I have acheived going primal. she refuses to give up her cereal ,potatoes, pasta ect. I do a lot of the cooking so we are able to work around it and some days we basicaly have two different meals. but a lot of what I prepare the rest of the family loves anyways so it all works out . she has actually lost weight without trying just by eating what I do some of the time. it used make it hard for me sometimes when theres a pan of brownies in the kitchen , doesn’t really phase me at all anymore, I’ll take a steak or chicken over that anytime. :)
    I figure after a while they will get it , forcing it on them wasn’t going to be effective ,just lead by example.

    Jason Young wrote on November 18th, 2010
  22. I don’t have an issue with the “you do your food thing, I’ll do mine” beyond the logistics. However… the kids. They aren’t mature enough to make their own choices here. My S.O. isn’t exactly hostile about it and is letting me set the menu for the month of February. Now I gotta figure out breakfast for six kids, a spouse and myself! The other meals are a challenge but breakfast is the quintessential carbfest.

    Scott Pierce wrote on November 18th, 2010
  23. One more thing, I’m putting together a “primal primer” class for my older kids and wife before February. Should be interesting to see if they “get it”.

    Scott Pierce wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • Hi Scot,

      I took the original recipe from the paleoplan.com and have been eating them Monday to Friday at breakfast time for two months.
      They are a little high in carbs (according to fitday) for some people but worth a go!

      Ingredients
      2 cups blanched almond flour
      2 teaspoons baking soda
      1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
      1 tablespoon cinnamon
      1 cup dates, pitted
      3 ripe bananas
      3 eggs
      1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar/lemon juice
      ¼ cup coconut oil/ almond oil
      1 ½ cups carrots, shredded
      ¾ cup walnuts, finely chopped

      Alternative
      Dried apricots, ground ginger and the zest and juice of an orange instead of dates and cinammon.
      1 Grated apple to replace a banana and some dried bluberries.

      Instructions
      In a small bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon
      In a food processor, combine dates, bananas, eggs, vinegar and oil
      Transfer mixture to a large bowl
      Blend dry mixture into wet until thoroughly combined
      Fold in carrots and walnuts
      Spoon mixture into paper lined muffin tins
      Bake at 350° for 25 minutes (in my oven it takes closer to 40 min and I cover them with foil after 20)

      I get 15 muffins out of this mix.

      The following is the nutritional info per muffin for my way: Calories: 218, Fat: 13.3 g, Carb: 23.6g, Fiber: 4.7 g., Protein: 5.5g

      PrimalSteve wrote on November 19th, 2010
  24. Wow, I really needed this post today. I need to be on a very restrictive diet for my health and two of my 4 children eat gluten free. My husband likes his breads, crackers and ice cream and sometimes it is all I can do to walk out of the room. I think it all comes down to respecting others choices…..it has been a huge learning curve for me! Thanks again

    Karen Baldwin wrote on November 18th, 2010
  25. I got into this lifestyle recently through reading. This started with following links from Nassim Taleb to Gary Taubes and Art de Vany and on to Body by Science and Mark. Issue 1) is my wife doesn’t think you can learn from books. She wanted to lose weight and pushed me into buying an exercise bike and then a treadmill, neither of which she uses(but the exercise bike admittedly makes a good clothes hanger), but she can’t relate to my enthusiasm fired by learning from reading. This did get me on the road to exercise though. Issue 2) is that my wonderful wife is from Thailand, and the family business is (you guessed it) rice farming. So the advice that I wanted to ‘Go Primal’ and not eat rice (along with pasta, bread, potatoes etc..) did not go down very well. It caused and still causes major problems. I just have to compromise by taking a bit of rice when we eat Thai food. I get the feeling I am damaging myself and she gets upset because I am insulting her way of life, her culture, her mother and Thailand in general. When I talk about not eating rice to other Thai friends the reaction is intense. I’ve seen them covering their ears up shouting ‘I don’t want to know, go away’. Still the compromise is in place and nothing will damage our great relationship. It has been tested. It was further tested when she saw the Vibrams which she hated. She hasn’t yet spotted the pullup bar I installed in the loft hatch today but that should be interesting.

    Adrian Pearson wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • Don’t fight over rice. It’s way less harmful to you than other grains. If you can get rid of the other stuff & save yourself some marriage trouble, you’ll be in better shape.

      Ely wrote on November 19th, 2010
  26. Going Primal didn’t really cause a lot of hassle until my SO and I moved in together. There were a lot of conflicts early on about the cost of meat in particular vs. that of pasta, cereal, and other SAD staples.

    A little at a time I’ve been able to get her into healthier dietary habits (though she refuses to touch a salad, and I almost never see her with a vegetable of any kind), but she still keeps the pasta and cereals around, still likes to buy breaded chicken and the like, and almost seems to have taken a passive aggressive stance on my diet, as if she’s determined to undermine me rather than outright oppose, which has led to some new conflicts.

    Of course, as Mark pointed out, it’s never *really* about the cap on the toothpaste. That said, differences in diet are probably bigger than differences in religion. Not everyone lives their life around a religion, or even has one, or any special feelings about the topic. And even if they do, there’s no requirement to share or reveal such. Everyone, however, has to eat, and it’s pretty easy for everyone around them to see what they’re eating.

    I’d say the most blowback that I get, actually, is from older relatives who are resistant to change (and taking me seriously), and relative strangers like coworkers or restaurant employees. With the former group, I’ve just achieved detente, but with the latter I sometimes resort to just saying that I’m diabetic and thus can’t touch sugar or certain other foods. Not that I’m proud of this, but it is shorter than explaining to every waitress why it’s important to me that I don’t get a regular soda.

    Bennett wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • I usually tell my coworkers and friends that diabetes runs in my family (which it does), and I am taking preventative measures against it. That usually keeps the conversation pretty neutral.

      Cheryl wrote on November 18th, 2010
      • I’ve used that one, too, and it does seem to help. Often, though, I get the “a little won’t hurt”. I then explain to them that I’m one of those people who can’t eat “just a little” of anything.

        Sara wrote on November 18th, 2010
      • Which you are! Loading the human form with more sugars than we evolved to deal with will certainly result in some illness of some form or another at some point!

        I do the same, don’t name diabetes but say I need to keep my sugar low when pressed … I’ve long since stopped trying to explain, as soon as you mention evolution eyes roll and you are on a hiding to nothing!

        Kelda wrote on November 19th, 2010
    • Wow, do waitresses seriously ask you why you don’t want a regular soda?

      Brian Kozmo wrote on November 19th, 2010
      • How’s this?: I ordered a hamburger-no-bun and a side of green beans at a typical chain restaurant and the waitress was enthusiastic when she brought it to the table! I almost fell over.

        Carol wrote on November 19th, 2010
      • Yeah. I’m a tall, lean guy (borderline skinny) so ordering a ‘diet’ gets a funny look. More often the problem is having to send back a regular one when they get lazy and don’t think I’ll notice.

        Bennett wrote on November 19th, 2010
        • Have a read of ‘diet’ drinks here on MDA, just having the sweet taste in the mouth can trigger the undesirable sugar reaction the PB is trying to combat!

          Kelda wrote on November 20th, 2010
        • Yea, I’ve also heard bad things about diet. I haven’t had soda (diet or regular) in over a year now, and I crave it in no way shape or form. I’m sure they wouldn’t give you such a hard time if you just ordered water! ;)

          Brian Kozmo wrote on November 21st, 2010
  27. My partner is the one in our household who chose to go primal first. I was adamant that I would not do another crazy “diet” as I had already done sooooo many over my 58yrs. After seeing how much energy she gained and great she felt I said I would try it for 30 days. That was back in February and there has been no looking back. woohoo

    Classic wrote on November 18th, 2010
  28. For several years now I’ve diverged from conventional eating both the food and the timing. I’ve tried many different ways of eating to help with behavioral issues in my kids which was the impetus for experimenting with different ways of eating in the first place.

    All along my husband who eats reasonably healthily carried on doing his own thing. Over time, about 5 years, we’ve found a way to be. He has stopped bringing Pepsi into the house and often does small amounts of grocery shopping to buy the things he wants to eat.

    For my part, I’ve had to accept that while I can reduce the amount of grains in my kids diet, I have to be realistic and understand I’m not going to be able to get as far as I would like. I also haven’t succeeded in getting the rest of the family to eat at 5pm, so they eat separately from me.

    I would like to get more on the same page but we do the best we can.

    Alison Golden wrote on November 18th, 2010
  29. Any change contrary to whats going on around you requires one thing “you got to get your mind straight” here’s a somewhat humorous, but intense article on the subject that helped me with becoming a non-smoker living with alot of smokers! http://selftalk4success.com/blog/2009/07/25/self-talk-quotes/ grok on

    Milliann Johnson wrote on November 18th, 2010
  30. My situation isn’t so much about wanting him to join me, I just don’t want the eye rolling when he wants me to eat the split pea soup he’s made or the argument over quinoa being a seed when I say it’s a grain. So frustrating! We’ve always cooked and eaten “healthy” so I don’t get why this is that big of a deal. He says he doesn’t like feeling limited when he’s creating dishes. I see it as true creativity when eating this way. Oh well, he’ll get used to it or he won’t!

    Amber wrote on November 18th, 2010
  31. I find myself challenged in dating due to this issue. I have been primal for about 2 years, and it was my now ex-boyfriend who introduced me to it. It was fantastic being with someone who shared my eating habits and commitment to health and fitness. Now I can’t imagine a different situation. I am trying to find balance in my dating life now. I’m trying to imagine how I could ever be in a serious relationship with someone who would want our kids to have “whole grains and milk” every day. Obviously I can’t just write off every guy that eats grains, but how much time should one invest in getting to know someone and attempting to find out if they would ever compromise on food choices? I would never want to change someone so I will stay optimistic that the right person for me is inherently someone open-minded.

    Alise wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • I think you’ll find that this is a life-style a lot of people are adopting. I bet it won’t be that hard to find someone with your views!

      Amber wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • Go to some paleo get togethers in your area and do some networking!

      Brian Kozmo wrote on November 19th, 2010
      • Thanks, that is a good idea. I’m also a crossfit athlete so i’ve been trying to encourage the group to do more get togethers outside of the gym. Maybe its time I took it upon myself to host a paleo get together!

        Alise wrote on November 21st, 2010
    • I’m in the same position. When you see how important a primal diet is, it really does become quite hard to compromise.

      I’d just rather avoid the inevitable tension and keep my standards high.

      Robert wrote on November 20th, 2010
      • I agree! There are quite a few people on this planet so I’m confident that it is not necessary to compromise on something so important.

        Alise wrote on November 21st, 2010
        • Mark needs to set up a Primal dating service…

          Robert wrote on November 21st, 2010
        • alright!! so I’m not the only one that thinks this. good to know!

          Maybe we should hook up, lol.

          I actually was thinking of joining crossfit for the same reason but not so much for a girl, just other primal people in general, and because I want to do it. it’s double the cost of my normal gym though and I can do everything there already.

          finding a girl on the primal diet that is also a good match… I’ve been thinking it’s closer to impossible than just being hard. maybe us primal people should get some kind of sign so we can spot other primals. I’m not really a fan of tatoos but it would make it easier. maybe one day it will be easy – all the healthy ones! haha.

          currently I don’t know anyone else on this diet. My old man and one of my sisters seems to be trying it but they live in another state.

          How do you guys even make normal friends if they aren’t primal? All people seem to do these days is eat and drink. most social activities revolve around food or alchohol (even sports things if there is a social element).

          It would be so good to have a bunch of friends that ate the same kind of stuff. These days I tend to just not go out anymore (for social things). so on the plus side I’m healthier but now I i’ve turned myself into a loner on purpose almost.

          a friend (interstate) is organising for a few of us to get together later this year when I’m down there and his idea is to make pizzas in his woodfire oven and drink alcohol. (I currently don’t drink either). sounds great except that I’m going to have to be really inconvenient and isolate myself from everyone and bring my own food and not drink. now is it just me or is that anti social? I think it is, but what the hell is the social way to be around people and still be primal? just the fact that you’re not joining in almost by definition I guess means it’s antisocial I think.

          anyway i’m not really concerned about that. what other people think is their problem (literally). but it is annoying. if i look at it from other people’s perspective, why would they want to hang around me if I can’t eat “regular” food?

          anyway i’ll work it out somehow…

          on the girl topic it’s good to know that there are others out there in the same situation. So i’ve upgraded it from impossible to almost impossible.

          now to stop wasting time and go get some more primal food!

          Michael wrote on November 25th, 2010
  32. My husband did not used to be into the whole Primal thing at all. I did the grocery shopping, but I gave him an “allowance” each week for things that he wanted to pick out — so the cupboards were mostly Primal, but if there was something he really felt the need for, he could have it. He’s lactose intolerant, although I’m not, so I’ve always had dairy in the house that he doesn’t touch.

    Recently, his stomach had really been giving him a lot of problems, so I directed him to MDA to look around. He was very pleased that scotch was high on the sensible alcohol list! He’s been experimenting with eliminating different types of carbs, and has come to the conclusion that he will eliminate everything except small amounts of unleavened bread and rice (once a week or so), and that this makes him feel a lot better. That’s where we are now, and I’m okay with that.

    Erin wrote on November 18th, 2010
  33. Oh, boy, try being a teenager in a family of 6.

    I have no input into what isn’t in the pantry. I can go out and spend my money on eggs and farmer’s market stuff, sure, but the candy will always be there.

    Plus, my dad, while it’s comforting that he worries about my health, feels that eliminating wheat is an extreme. Because my family is naturally slender, he sees no point in watching what he eats. Yet he has a number of health problems. Diet isn’t always about weight! I don’t think he gets that. I’m most concerned about health, how does that translate into him worrying that this is a bad thing?

    But it eventually settles down.

    Rachel wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • eating wheat is an extreme!

      that’s what I reckon anyway.

      Michael wrote on November 25th, 2010
  34. I would like to say that I found it quite an amazing breakthrough when we were shopping together and I asked for the third time, “Now, before we go check out, are you SURE you don’t want a box of cereal? Not even your favorite kind?” “Nope, I told you I don’t want to eat that stuff anymore. It makes my stomach not feel good.”

    Primal 1, CW 0

    Erin wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • Yay!!!!

      Patty wrote on November 18th, 2010
  35. I’m not dealing with an just S.O., I’m also dealing with my parents. I’ve been staying in their house the last few years while they were working out of state; they just moved back, so I’m living with them for awhile until I find a place.

    Dad is type 1 diabetic for many years now. I think he can see the benefits of the primal diet, especially the weight loss side (he should drop ~25#). He’s already been doing quite well with his diet, and understand carb counts, now I just need to get him to lower the carbs.

    Mom, however, just comes back with an attitude of “I don’t see why grains are bad, we’ve eating them for 10,000 years.” I need to compile a collection of data and papers that have been linked on MDA and elsewhere, maybe that’ll help.

    In the meantime, I’ll probably be doing ‘my’ part of the fridge and pantry, hopefully bringing my dad online as well.

    My GF is also type 1 diabetic, she does OK with food selection, but refuses to acknowledge the benefits of a higher fat intake and lower carbs. At least she’s already dropped almost all grains and processed stuff; her mother has celiac, so she’s learned from her that bakery stuff is easy to do without.

    Zyzzyx wrote on November 18th, 2010
  36. For the most part my husband and I have a good understanding on food, and since I am a chef and do all the cooking he eats what I make. Sometimes I will make him a small portion of pasta because he doesn’t want to do the spaghetti squash or veggies. He’s a carb and meat kind of person.

    The one issue I have that I get annoyed with is how reluctant he is to look at his food choices as being a cause for the migraine headaches or heart burn. I tell him he should consider going off gluten and all grains, but his answer is “Impossible…I’d have nothing to eat”. And since he doesn’t cook and only eats out for lunch then yeah, it’s “impossible” for him. He’s gone a long way with me though and hardly touches soda, and is more sensitive to sweets so no things are “too sweet”, and he shops with me.

    Crystal wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • Not an issue in my house. I’m new to primal, my husband has not been interested, but makes primal dinners anyway (our dinners were pretty much primal before we knew what primal was). Interestingly, he went to his doctor a few days ago (chronic back probs from lack of exercise) and told the dr about how I’m eating primal. She had never heard of it before, but told him, “Start eating the same way!!” She’s convinced it’ll help his back. Interesting!!

      I think we have more of a conflict around exercise. I’m very serious about training (muay thai, running, kettlebells), and he’s pretty lax. It sort of frustrates me that I’m getting stronger while he’s declining (see: chronic back probs). I try not to say anything…

      frances wrote on November 18th, 2010
      • We’ve had issue with exercise at the gym. I could go for an easy 1 hour long session, but he is done with about 10 minutes of light lifting, then stands around watching me sweat. I get annoyed, as in, why the hell did I bring you if you just want to do nothing and watch TV. So, I’ve been trying to arrange more HIIT exercises that we are both done with in 15 minutes.

        I’ve expressed some of my success with doing the primal/paleo thing. I used to have horrible hip pain in my joints that I would mostly attribute to standing up all day working in kitchens and walking on hard flooring, but since I was into the primal thing after the first few months I noticed little to no join problems. These problems would keep me from gym time or any exercise because I just felt exhausted from it all. So, now I need to get a exercise schedule back up. I just wish he could have stuck with at least going gluten free for a month, rather than being kind of half asked about it and still suffering. I know I’m not suffering in the same manner, and all I really did was eliminate most grains save a little bit of rice now and then with Thai food.

        Crystal wrote on November 18th, 2010
  37. I eat mostly primal, but my husband doesn’t and it can be quite challenging. We always sat down and ate dinner together, but after joining Crossfit 7 months ago I’m never home for dinner and when we can eat together on the weekends, he always wants junk. It’s weird sometimes he’s supportive and other times its like he doesn’t even know I eat primal and offers me crap! Frustrating and tempting all in one. So happy to know I’m not alone. I’ll never go back to my old ways, but I do cheat every once in awhile. Great thread.

    Lindsay wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • I know how you feel. I will ask “What do you want for dinner?” The first words out of his mouth: pizza. I haven’t touched pizza since July 4th. One night he wanted pizza so much that I went with him to eat and I wondered around the area to find something for me to eat, and no dice for me… so I had to wait feeling hungry while he ate his pizza and a beer, and then I made he watch me eat a big plate of smoked brisket with slaw. Guess who was hungry a couple hours later? Not me ’cause I had a heap of brisket.

      Oh, well. He can have his pizza when I’m not around.

      Crystal wrote on November 18th, 2010
  38. This is an interesting topic and one that I think about very often. My husband and I have been married for 2 years and while he eats fairly healthy there is always room for improvement. I am primal.

    I shouldn’t complain, really. He’s not out eating fast food all the time but he does LOVE his rices, pastas, cereals, etc. It drives me insane.
    He does like eating squash, veggies, etc. But at the same time he says he gets bored with them easily and needs more variety….hence having the rices and pastas.

    What I find the most difficult is the grocery shopping. I HATE the idea of his/hers shopping. I like to share dinner time not despise having to cook separate meals. I pretty much decided that 90% of the meals I make will be primal and if he wants something different he will have to make it himself. Same goes for the shopping…if I don’t buy it then it’s not there for him to eat and if he wants it then he will have to go get it.

    Now, once kids come along all this will get a bit trickier….

    Gwen wrote on November 18th, 2010
    • My SO and I do something similar. I do the shopping and only buy a few things I won’t eat (sandwich bread and chips for lunches) so most of the food in the house is healthy. I feel that making his lunch most of the time, even with things I wont eat, is healthier than going out and getting something worse. If he doesn’t feel like veggies with dinner he can cook his own side which doesn’t typically happen.

      And as for the other family members, my sister and BFF are very supportive, my mom thinks that I should eat some grains (oats and rice), and then all of the others I don’t feel like arguing with I’ve told I’m gluten intolerant and they are understanding of that at least.

      Sarah wrote on November 23rd, 2010
      • Oh and on the nights I’m not home because of class he usually eats stuff like pizza and mac n cheese so he makes an effort not to eat stuff he thinks I might want in front of me :)

        Sarah wrote on November 23rd, 2010
  39. It’s not only spouses. I recently moved back in with my mom to afford to go back to school full time. She’s in mom-mode constantly with the “balanced” meals and always asking if I want ice cream or cookies or chocolate, etc….it’s slow going, but I’ve gotten her off of the grain based carbs for the most part. Baby steps.

    Jennifer wrote on November 18th, 2010
  40. The depression and carb link is interesting. I would not consider myself to be a depressive type, but a primal diet has had a very positive effect on my mood.

    drdavidflynn wrote on November 18th, 2010

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