What Happens When A Veggie Marries An Omni?
I recently have met quite a few Vegan and Vegetarian women married to men who love their meat and processed foods. The women joke that their hubbies eat these ‘on the side’.
Then Kids Come Along… and the dynamics drastically change…
Joy recently wrote to me: “how much I relate to so much of what you say. I am a raw foodie at heart stuck with a husband who loves soda, processed foods, pizza, candy, etc. He thinks he knows about healthy eating and argues with me on a regular basis regarding what we feed our kids 2 and 4. They are great eaters but definitely influenced by him and after almost five years, I’ve found myself exhausted and close to burn out.”
Exhausted and Burned Out Trying To Get The Family To Eat Healthy?
Yes, I’ve been there too!
I love nurturing the people I love through CLEAN, unprocessed food. But, frankly, I sometimes want to quit and give up on days when my efforts are not appreciated or fail on the home front. Sometimes I imagine just giving my family the typical SAD (Standard American Diet) Foods they would love to get their hands on. Wouldn’t I be more popular around here at meal times!? Wouldn’t I have so much more time on my hands!?
But then I am reminded of why I do what I do in the first place and I look at how far we’ve come in the past 5 years.
Take Just One Step At A Time, Slowly Does It
Just 3 years ago, my husband and son were sick with a cough or cold every month. This year alone, my husband has been sick only once. My son twice (after choosing to eat overly processed foods).
3 years ago, my husband would have thought nothing about sharing a Krispy Kreme doughnut, corn syrup filled soda or dairy ice cream with our son with allergies. A few weeks ago, my husband and son sat down with me to write up and agree on a month’s worth of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack menus for them that are 50% raw vegan and 50% home cooked foods, which are mainly Vegan or Vegetarian!
5 years ago, I used to buy 7 gallons of bottled juices, the biggest package of hubby’s fave breakfast cereal, a few packages of junk food and about 14 pounds of animal products each week… for my husband alone! And not to even mention all the other refined foods: white flour, white sugar and some candy! Today, I am buying my husband and son a cart full of fresh produce, whole grains to mill or sprout at home and about 3 pounds of animal products for them to share each week. That is basically it.
Even When You Don’t Think You Are Making Progress… You Are!
Finding and creating balance is difficult when a health-conscious family wants to interact and be a part of the community obsessed with fast foods, meats and processed junk.
After a 4th of July celebration this year, I realized that in in promoting fruits, greens, unrefined and un-processed foods at home, I had inadvertently created a little processed food junkie who, when away from home, craves his white sugar/corn syrup rush and his fat high. Admittedly, children will ‘test’ and want what they cannot always have. But there needs to be a balance so that depravity does not lead to such intense craving. So, at the request of my son, I baked Zucchini Bread almost every week since that party with the least refined Vegan ingredients. My son exclaims almost every time he eats it, “Mama, I love this more than the cupcake at the party!” Sure it isn’t raw, but the bread is full of zucchini – and that in itself has created my son’s new love for squash!
A few months ago, my son also announced: “No more Salads for me! No more leafy greens! Just smoothies!” Instead of making it a big deal, I just served up green smoothies breakfast, lunch and dinner. One day for lunch, I decided to make a big bowl of his old fave Kale Salad for dinner. I was surprised when my son finished a big bowl quickly and quietly and said aloud, not to anyone in particular: “This was yummy! This is the best salad!” Although technically, my son is still in his “no salad” stage, when I don’t make it a big deal, he will finish his fave bowl of greens.
As for my husband, he really loves his meat. I don’t want to deprive him. Nor do I want the topic of meals and food to be a thorn between us, when it should be something to enjoy together. Considering he used to eat some animal product at every meal, a few times a week is such a positive change. Processed foods, on the other hand, are foods I don’t wish to have at home. If he chooses to eat some, he can do so elsewhere or I can try to create a better substitute.
What Does It Take To Make Peace @ My Table?
Perseverance. Balance. Determination. Education. Motivation. Empowerment. Compromise. And, knowing that true permanent change comes slowly, one step at a time.