My husband has been eating “paleo” since he joined a CrossFit gym in June. Suddenly all grains, dairy products, sugar, and even alcohol have been “banned” from our house. He won’t let our kids eat their favourite cereals, or any other treats unless they are “paleo” approved. I basically have to sneak around and hide food from him. He makes me feel ashamed—as if I am killing my children—if they have some toast or spaghetti for dinner. I have begun to bake everything with coconut or almond flour; he has now even started to put up a fight about us going trick or treating on Halloween. I am at my wits end. I can’t reason with him. He wants us all on board but we are not happy with his new lifestyle. What do you think I should do?
From, Debbie, soon to be divorced!
I think this kind of food “shaming” is happening to many people. I have some clients whose friends are mortified both by what they eat (i.e. gluten, even when they are not celiac) and do not eat, namely grass-fed beef and local, organic produce. There are so many terms and catch phrases: paleo, Atkins, gluten free, keto, vegan, and so on.
The situation you describe must be putting a terrible strain on your marriage. I understand the tension that occurs when one spouse has decided to get healthy and the other feels left out, but your case seems to be a little extreme. I am not a therapist, and you may want to consult a mediating third party in your efforts to communicate with your husband. In fact I highly recommend that you seek professional help, especially if you are ready to leave your husband.You may also want to try to meet him half way, perhaps by offering the children more healthy treats here and there. If your husband does not wish to eat non-paleo foods, then he does not have to eat them. That doesn’t mean that you can’t! I certainly don’t like it when someone attempts to force me to change who I am in order for them to feel better about themselves. I dieted for two Figure shows while in a relationship during which my partner ate whatever he wanted. I did not encourage him to eat like I did during my competition prep, because it was my choice to compete.
Like many diets, this one may fade out, probably sooner rather than later. When a diet excludes whole food groups and has a cult-like following it is not sustainable for the long term. There is room for a variety of foods in any diet. I know top-level athletes who adhere to a tight diet most of the time, but make room for IHOP pancakes and ice cream on the odd Saturday. Is your husband exclusively eating paleo foods because of his new gym peers? If he grew up on traditional foods, and has lived a healthy balanced lifestyle, he may soon discover that he misses some of his old foods, most likely during the holiday season when delicious gingerbread cookies flood the office. 🙂
I hope my answer has brought you some clarity.
Warm Hugs, Fitbabe
Deanna Harder: Fitness Leadership Diploma, CSEP-CPT (Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology-Certified Personal Trainer), and Figure Competitor