As I was doing some casual reading last weekend, I ran across this quote from former President Abraham Lincoln:
"A house divided against itself cannot stand"
Well, I am very much hoping to prove the exception to the rule in this case!
You see, when I made the decision to begin the Whole30, and make this way of eating a life-long thing, I tried desperately to get my husband to do the 30 days with me on a "trial basis". I love him dearly, but his eating habits had slid as much as mine had over the last 6 months, and they are starting to impact his health. In his defense, he has made an effort to improve the quality of the foods that he is eating (no more McDonalds/fast food, and he's cut down his Pepsi consumption from 2L a day to 20oz a day), but he was just not ready to go "all in" with me - and I have to respect his decision - you simply can't force this way of life on someone who is not ready for it - it has to be something that a person wants for themself.
As a result, I haven't been able to "purge" my house of non-paleo foods. Mainstays in my husbands diet are (white) bagels w/ cream cheese, toast, cereals with milk, sandwiches with cheese, baked beans, sodas, sweet tea, and frozen desserts like popsicles.
Fortunately, he doesn't complain when I cook Paleo dinners (I refuse to cook two seperate meals!), but I have found it hard over the last week to be sitting at my desk in the morning, and suddenly have the heavenly smell of a toasty bagel floating through the air, tempting me! It's equally as hard to watch him eat a popsicle after dinner, which is when my sugar cravings tend to kick into high gear. Lastly, I found out early in the first day that opening my pantry and seeing the bread, cereal, and bagles was not a good thing for my will-power . . or my sanity!
I know that many people who follow a Paleo lifestyle have family members or children who are not Paleo-Compliant - I would have to assume that it is difficult for them as well, especially in the begining as they are trying to go "cold turkey".
So what can be done to make things a little less difficult, without forcing the Paleo lifestyle on those that we live with who do not want it for themselves?
Here is my solution:
- I set up a seperate shelf in my pantry, above my eye level, and I put all of my husbands "non-paleo" foods on this shelf. I have two shelfs at eye level and below that are full of all of my Paleo-compliant foods. So when I reach into the pantry for olive oil or coconut milk, I don't have to reach past his bagels :)
- I did the same in the fridge - there is one shelf dedicated to his soft drinks, baked beans, cheeses, and anything else that doesn't fit into my diet - there are also two condiment shelves with the salad dressings, ketchup, mayo, ect. Then I have MY shelves stocked full of veggies, fruit, lean meats, and water :) When I open the fridge, I can go straight to my shelves, and don't even have to glance at the stuff on his shelf that would normally tempt me or set off a craving.
- I've also asked him not to leave the bagels or toaster on the counter-top, as both make me think of bagels, and tend to set off a craving - he's been great about putting these things away when he's done with them.
- Lastly, I just leave the room after dinner when he's enjoying his popsicle - I can easily use that 5 minutes to straighten up in the kitchen, lay my workout clothes out for the next day, or sort some laundry - it would be unfair of me to ask him to leave the room!
I have found that these simple steps have helped me a million times over in surviving the first week of my new Paleo way of life. They have also helped to reduce some of the tension in the house (because I'll admit - I can get a little cranky/moody when I'm craving something, and he's sitting there eating the very thing that I want!)
I also remind myself that I could have these things if I wanted them, but I am making the choice to cut them out of my diet in order to improve my health, both now and in the future. Looking at it in this light helps me to avoid the feelings of "restriction", and help to make me less grouchy, and a little easier to live with ;)