Helping Husbands Adapt to Real Food, Part I - Modern Alternative Mama
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Helping Husbands Adapt to Real Food, Part I

admin September 10, 2011

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I’ve talked to a lot of women who struggle with their families, who are not so thrilled with this new real food journey they’re on.  It’s true that it’s usually led by the women, because women are typically the ones who cook and take care of their family’s health (but not always).  Getting the rest of the family on board can be a real problem.

Children are an issue, sure: but for the most part we, as moms, have a lot of control over what our kids eat, and they adapt to what they’re fed quickly enough.  Besides, moms can often “trick” their kids into eating well by giving them healthier versions of foods they’re used to, or hiding healthy foods in preferred foods (not my favorite way to get kids to eat, but sometimes when you’re making a change you need to).

Husbands, though….  That’s another issue entirely.  They’re grown men with their own preferences which need to be respected.  It’s a marital issue, too.  We can’t refuse to please our husbands or even anger them by refusing to serve them their favorite foods or insisting on serving ones they don’t prefer on a regular basis.  Some get very upset about “losing” their soda, chips, boxed meals, and other familiar favorites.  Some grudgingly eat healthy at home, but eat whatever they like when they are away from home.  Wives who want to please their husbands and worry about their health are stuck in a tough place: how do they balance honoring their husband’s preferences and still feed them well?  How do they get them on board with this “real food thing?”

I’m blessed with a husband who is completely on board.  So much so that he often teaches people at work about what we do!  He’s packed up and taken several kombucha SCOBYs to his coworkers, and given speeches (he belongs to Toastmasters, a speech club) about healthy fats.  He meets coworkers over lunch to talk about our lifestyle and share with them.  He has a different perspective than I do, because he’s not especially concerned with the details of how to prepare foods or what sort of nutrition is contained within them.  Most husbands aren’t.  Instead, they’re concerned about issues like:

  • How much is this going to cost?  Is it worth it?
  • But what about my favorite foods — can I still have them?
  • Am I going to have to eat twigs and leaves and other not-so-tasty “health” food now?

So today I have my husband (at long last; I know this is a long introduction!) guest posting and addressing these issues from the “husband’s perspective!” 

Here he is:

The demographic data from both the blog itself and our Facebook fan page suggests that somewhere in the neighborhood of 95% of our audience is women. Obviously you are already on board with the real food program, or if not, you are at least curious and open to learning about it. If your husband is anything like most men, myself included, his concerns about your family are very different than yours. In talking with people both locally and via the blog, it seems that there is not a large percentage of men that are truly supportive of the health initiatives their wives (you) work so hard to develop and maintain. A large portion of husbands seem indifferent at best, or outright against it at worst.

OK ladies; it’s time to get your husbands to come over and read this part of the post with you. 

When Kate first started learning about real food, I was not totally on board with anything. We had many conversations and usually while I didn’t think her ideas had any merit, I did go along with most things because I was trying to be supportive of something my wife was obviously felt strongly about. That was true for most things, but I put my foot down when it came to money. I outright refused to spend a lot of money, or increase the weekly food budget to cover the changes Kate wanted to make. It took several months before I started to see the progress, but once I did, I was totally on board.

The biggest issue was getting over decades of misleading, or outright false, information I received from my parents, school, the media, etc… in regards to what is actually healthy. Once I opened my mind to truly give it a fair chance, everything just made sense. “Eating fat doesn’t actually make you fat,” says Kate. “What!? That makes no sense at all,” I replied. However once I actually read the scientific studies, read books and respected blogs (e.g. naturalnews.com), things started to click.”I get it, eating quality fats from grass fed animals are extremely nutrient dense and filling, whereas processed white sugar is not only toxic, but since it contains no nutrients, your body continues to crave food and you end up eating a lot more.”

I find that most men are logical about health, while women are more driven by emotions. Women are concerned about protecting and serving their familes; men are concerned about how much things cost and if it makes logical sense or fits into their understanding of the world. While that isn’t meant to be a blanket statement about the sexes, in my experience it is fairly accurate.

This is my challenge to you men reading: it’s time to step up and be a good husband. This is important to your wife and you need to take it very seriously. Marriage doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to have your own opinion, but you and your wife need to be on the same page about important issues. To be completely closed-minded and unwilling to listen, or research yourself, is selfish and childish; be a man. While I still defer to Kate often, because she understands real food and health much deeper then I do, I still understand the fundementals and I’ve spent many an hour researching things on my own.

It is important to understand the basics of why what you thought you knew about health is most likely wrong. Why should you be suprised by that? For almost 50 years, not only were cigarettes considered safe, they were actually doctor recommended! (note that it says recommended by tens of thousands of doctors) Why did they believe that? At the time, the only studies being done to determine if they were safe was conducted by a tobacco manufacturer funded research group; astonishingly, they determined that cigarettes were completely harmless. The issue you have to fundamentally understand is that just because something is widely believed, does not make it true (see this list).

Stop basing your decisions on what other people have told you and start learning it for yourself. Over the past 3 years, I had no found a single truth about real food and natural health that didn’t make complete logical sense to me once I read it.

To reference Kate’s post from yesterday: vitamin D helps the body fight disease; people get sick a lot more in the winter than in the summer; people are not exposed to the sun much in the winter and usually have a very poor diet of food that doesn’t contain vitamin D; ergo people are much more susceptible to illness in the winter. It just… makes… sense.

I challenge all you men reading to give this stuff a chance. Not only because supporting your wife is the right thing to do, but because it’s your responsibility as the head of your house to lead your family. You’d never see an NFL coach who’d never seen football before, or a CEO of a billion dollar company who has never managed anything before. How can you justify making unilateral decisions that affect your family without knowing the information firsthand? I guarantee you that if you give real food a fair chance, do the research and live the lifestyle, you will see why your wife is passionate about it. I never would have thought, a few years ago, that not only would I be living a real food lifestyle, but it would become one of the defining characteristics of my life. Often is the first thing I tell people about myself, and the number one thing people know about me. If I as a kid raised by a conventional farmer can change (both of my parents are now on board as well), so can you.

Tune in next week for part two, where Ben covers “What am I going to eat now?” and “How much is this going to cost?”  I promise it’s more encouraging than this first message. 🙂

What do you think, men and women?  Can husbands get on board?

 

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7 Comments

  1. Loved this post! I almost destroyed my marriage over food. My husband was a junk food junky and I was a health nut so I tried manipulation, nagging, and control to try to change him. Our marriage was bad for 23 years. Since I stopped all that bad behavior and started loving and accepting him the way he is, he is a much better eater. Win them with kindness! It is such a better way…

    Reply

  2. Great post and great perspective! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  3. This post was SO good! Thank you! Men (or women) cannot make decisions without first researching them, especially if the spouse leans the opposite direction. Whenever I hear of someone who is new to real food/non-toxic/crunchy living, the one thing I hear over and over again is "what about my husband" or "how do I sneak in the healthy stuff so he does't notice". This is definitely a post for husbands to read! I'm going to be linking it everywhere. Thank you!

    Reply

  4. SUCH a good post. Thank you so much…and I can't wait to read the 2nd post coming up!! Now…just have to figure out how to get my hubby to read this post without being too pushy, etc.!

    Reply

  5. I am fortunate that my husband and I are on the same page. We both started drinking raw milk and buying more organic foods 4-5 years ago. A couple years later, we read Nourishing Traditions, Omnivore's Dilemma, and saw Food Inc. We have done plenty of our own research and try to follow a real food diet. It's so much easier to have support when it comes to food choices.

    Reply

  6. My husband has been super supportive (in spite of the soda he occasionally drinks when he's out of the house!)

    My brother-in-law, however, is a totally different story. If my sister makes him healthy lunches, he'll "forget" them and grab fast food while he's at work. If she doesn't pick up junk food at the grocery, he'll buy some the next time he runs errands.

    For him, it isn't so much a matter of concern about budget or health – its about doing what he likes and feels comfortable doing.

    Any suggestions for reaching this type of guy?

    Reply

  7. Amanda,

    Even if I disagreed with something Kate wanted me to do, I would never completely disregard her opinions and "forget" that she spent effort trying to make something nice for him.

    If I were your sister, I'd sit him down and very clearly say, "This is something that is very important to me. You don't have to agree with why I want to do this, but I'm asking you to be supportive and try it just for one week. I'll make whatever food you want (she can make healthy versions of cookies, ice cream, fried chicken, etc…)."

    I think that two things are going on here. 1) She's probably not being clear enough about how important it is to her, and 2) He is probably being a little stubborn and childish. They key is getting him to agree to try it just for a short period of time.

    Reply

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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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