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Daddypotamus: How to Hook Your Husband on Healthy Foods

on March 20 | in Real Food | by | with 12 Comments

I received this note a week ago from a wife looking for tips to help hook her husband on a healthier lifestyle. Since I am historically the epitome of Unhealthy Man (picture flapping cape and speedos), I’m more than qualified to share some ideas.

I truly believe God is moving me to become more healthy….beyond the obvious lose weight, more veggies, etc…  The problem is my husband (who is also very unhealthy) is extremely resistant to change when it comes to what we eat. I mentioned organic food, and he said, “as long as it still has flavor.”  Unfortunately he’s the better cook,  and likes it a whole lot more.

So my question is this..well several questions actually: 1) As a man who has resisted the food change, how did you finally come around? Actually, the better question is, what can I do as a wife to a resistant man to ease the transformation? 2) Are there simple recipes, food choices, etc that I can start with?

I bet many of you identify with her questions. We all start somewhere. So let’s get into some answers.

1. Start Small

If he’s anything like me, you won’t get anywhere with him by trying to transform your lifestyle up front. It took me two years (maybe more) to come around to the lifestyle my wife promoted. And we did it the hard way. She’d make entire meals. I’d eat part or all of her meal and then go out and eat a second meal at some fast food joint.

The truth is, Heather and I exist on totally different levels of the spectrum. She’s a nursing mommy. I’m a… guy. Pregnancy cravings / discomfort withstanding, she’ll eat the same thing over and over again if it has the nutrients she needs. She and her mom are what I call “practical eaters.” Sure, they enjoy fine dining. But given the freedom, they’d go ultra cost effective organic. Not me. I want variety. If I’m gonna give up Taco Bueno, Taco Bell, Wendys, and Steak N’ Shake, I’m not eating the same thing over and over again just because it’s non-toxic. Life is too short to eat uninteresting food.

I actually started making my own positive lifestyle choices by going small and switching one thing. For example, I  switched from Dr. Pepper to Starbucks lattes,  which eventually led to plain coffee, which led to black tea, which has now become organic Japanese green tea. However, I probably would never have made that first move, though, if I weren’t VERY clear on my wife’s desires. I made changes at MY pace after I knew how much it meant to her.

2. Go Gourmet

Whole Foods opened up a “whole” new world to me. Regular grocery stores looked pale, stagnant, boring, and downright unhealthy after we’d shopped at Whole Foods Market for a month. There’s something about sampling cave aged parmesan and experimenting with gourmet jalapeno & fruit jellies. Or even the salmon spread made in-store. Over and over again we found delectable treats to bring home which brightened the week and slowly affected my internal feelings toward natural and  “organic” foods.

I’d never eaten many gourmet foods, and I was suddenly able to hunt through the store for treats. And it was even more pleasurable because I knew the treats were actually healthier than most of what I ate throughout the week.

3. Focus on Pleasure

And it all begins here. Never begin making changes by taking away enjoyable foods or by introducing bad tasting but super healthy foods. These are surefire ways to reinforce negative associations he already has in his mind. I found double pleasure in our gourmet experiments because my wife had already done some research and knew why what we were eating was good for our bodies. I slowly began to see healthy eating not as forcing myself to eat veggies but these amazing opportunities to treat my body with rare and powerful nutrients that help me focus, balance my emotions, retain energy, and increase my body’s ability to ward off the laundry list of expected American aging diseases.

For example, I experimented for several months until I mastered spaghetti. We ate spelt noodles and bought organic tomato sauce, but I added various combinations of herbs from our potted garden and melted various cheeses until I found the right combination for me. And then I could eat an extra portion knowing that I wasn’t downing so much processed white flour that my system would go into shock.

I’d be more than happy to answer any specific quandaries you might have. That’s what the comment box below is for.

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12 Responses to Daddypotamus: How to Hook Your Husband on Healthy Foods

  1. Mae says:

    Just thought I’d leave a suggestion.
    Eamon and I used to live a block away from a Whole Foods and did try shopping there. Unfortunately, they take advantage of their customer base by overcharging for many, many things.
    My best advice is to go on a scavenger hunt of sorts, or an expedition to find new, flavorful foods at higher end grocery stores, but if you can’t afford it, DON’T BUY! It leads you on a tantilizing trail of flavorful treasures that leaves you penniless! :D I say, definately go, but then look for similar items at more affordable grocers. Central Market, Sprouts, and even Kroger have a surprising amount of food that is acceptable. Also, see if you can make it yourself! I know the hummus [for example] is great at Whole Foods, but knowing I can make it just as good for about $.90 for 16 oz. makes it almost sinful to spend $8! Lol.
    Hope that helps!

    Awesome post, as usual, Heather.
    .-= Mae´s last blog ..FOTC Friday and Recipe Vote =-.

    • Um… I wrote this post.
      .-= Daniel (Daddypotamus)´s last blog ..Prophetic Vision Casting Versus Practical Teaching =-.

    • Heather says:

      Mae – Thanks for bringing up the budget issue. Daniel and I began exploring Whole Foods when I was still employed full-time and PAID FOR IT : – )

      Still employed, but that’s another blog post entirely,

      Anyway, we spent a lot of money at times, but it was worth it to see Daniel’s attitude toward healthy foods change. And at the time, we could easily afford it. I consider our Whole Foods “sampling era” research. When we found something he really enjoyed it helped me understand what he liked in the “healthy” genre. Then I usually learned to make a cheaper version of it. For example, the smoked salmon dip at WF is crazy expensive, so I make my own. There are NEVER leftovers unless I make pregnant woman threats prior to serving it . . . it’s that good!

  2. Heather says:

    Continued: That being said, I have checked out the prepared foods section at WF and I think their prices are pretty reasonable. Not cheap, but not more than the cost of eating out. They also include ingredients I wouldn’t have in my kitchen (white bread, for instance) but they are generally MUCH more healthy than restaurant/fast food options.

    Since many husbands do eat out during the workweek,so one possibility for easing a resistant man into “change” would be to send a few yummy things with him. This is how I began eating healthier before when I was still in corporate world. For me, the bonus was getting to take my lunch to a park and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine rather than wait in line somewhere for a sub-par meal. Something to consider!

  3. scott c says:

    Item for item, WF is usually far cheaper than Central Market.
    Once I bought some org maple syrup @ CM for $9, and the 2 oz larger size of the smae brand was $6
    At WF. I prefer an independent grocer here in Richardson called
    Vitamin Cottage-Natural Grocers (from CO) their produce dept is 100% organic.
    We were spending about $130 a week at WF or CM every week, but were able to cut down
    drastically by challenging ourselves (to try at least) not to buy anything that came in a
    Box, bag, or package at all. No more processed food, no matter how organic or all-natural those chips,
    Crackers, cookies, foie gras (kidding) were. Now that we just buy ingredients, most of our dollars got to produce and organic meat.

  4. scott c says:

    I just re-read what I wrote. I didn’t mean to make it seem as though WF isn’t the bulk of
    Our shopping. Through the years, I have realized that they are far cheaper for same brand, same item
    Than pretty much anywhere else, especially a ‘regular’ grocery store // they gouge on organics.

  5. Gigipotamus says:

    I’m very proud of you, Daniel. It is a lot more fun seeing you enjoy and embrace this “food journey” rather than fight it. You’ve come a long way in eating healthy since the first time I met you. Heather has been such a positive influence on both of us really. She’s still the “Queen of Healthy Eating” in our family, with me lagging considerably behind. If it weren’t for her, I’d still be eating food packaged in BPA lined cans!

  6. Eric says:

    Can you tell me what co-op you joined? My wife and I live in Allen and are looking for one to be a part of. Thanks!

  7. Christy says:

    I’m new to this site, so a little behind on this post comment, but thank you so much! Daniel, I appreciate your post and your willingness to do something that’s important to your wife, because you’re important to HER. My husband has been great at changing to a healthier diet and lifestyle over the years, but it’s had to go slowly, as well. One thing we had the hardest time getting out of the house is Oreos, lol, and they still make appearances now and again. He had the same experience with drinks, too, going from sodas to coffee to tea, and eventually to no caffeine at all. That’s a big step. Now we drink kombucha and water kefir, and that replaces all our cravings for fizzy, sweet sodas, and they’re actually good for us. He surprised me the other day by drinking a glass of straight milk kefir, chunks and all. That’s a huge step for a guy whose health-food regimen included only corn and iceberg lettuce when we got married 15 years ago! I would love to see more from you, in addition to your wife’s wonderful posts, and would love to share them with my hubby. He’ll appreciate them more knowing you’re here in Texas, too, lol!

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