Blog: 1 is the Loneliest Number
To Whom it may concern,
I’m writing this letter because I understand what you’re going through? I know you’re conflicted. I know that you’re confused and, at times, a bit frustrated. I mean, you’ve been drinking beer for years now. And it’s not about getting smashed and having a good time. It’s an art form. It really is! And you were practically raised on pasta and PB & J sandwiches. How can you give those up now, after all these years?
Besides, you’ve kept in shape. You’re looking okay. All the wheat and gluten hasn’t done too much to your body, so why should you have to give up the foods you like just because your spouse has? If she/he wants to change their lifestyle, that’s great, but why should you? You’re not them, and they’re not you. Right?
First, let me say that I know where you’re coming from. I get it. I get it because I was there. In fact, I’d venture to say I understand it better than you might. I was 21 when my fiancee started eating Paleo and asked me to join. 21! That’s the age when you’re supposed to be able to eat anything and everything and be fine. That’s the age of pizza and beer. I mean, if ever there was an age to eat poorly, it’s at 21.
Now, obviously I no longer believe this, but I did then, and I likely felt the same way you did, or do now. When Grace first introduced me to Paleo (which she learned about from her brother Luke), over the phone, I wasn’t the least bit thrilled. I had tried Zone with her, and some form of a vegetarian diet (shudder), but this felt like too much. No beer? No pasta? No bread?
Some of my fondest memories exist around those foods. Good conversations with my friends and family have all transpired while sitting down to eat these very foods. And, if we’re to be honest here, they’re damn good. There’s no doubt about it. And, let’s not forget that for the longest time we were told that anything in moderation is good for you; a quality diet exists only with whole grains.
So, yeah, when Grace asked me join her in a Paleo lifestyle, I was reluctant to say the least. But I did it. For her. And for the longest time when people asked me why I was eating the way I was, my answer was always the same:
"My fiancee has an autoimmune disease and this is the best way to fight off some of the health effects. I don’t think it’s fair for her to do alone."
Which, in honesty, is a big first step, and we’re going to stop here for a minute. A large part of why I started eating Paleo was because I didn’t think it was fair for Grace to have to change her lifestyle all by herself. Whether I liked it or not, this was important to Grace, as it is to your spouse, and it’s a big adjustment. Doing it alone sucks. Trust me (having to live apart for several months, we’ve both recognized how difficult it is to maintain a Paleo lifestyle by ones self, but we’ll get to that soon). It’s a whole new lifestyle, and if you choose to ignore it, if you label it as insane or crazy right off the bat, you’re essentially telling your spouse that what they deem important (their HEALTH) is not all that important to you. That can’t feel very good.
I mean, look at what they’re asking, and why they’re asking it.
"Hunny, I’ve found something that might change our lives. A way of eating that might make us healthier and happier, better parents, or friends, or lovers. Better at our jobs. Better in our faith, etc. Do you find these things important enough, do you find me important enough to try this new lifestyle?"
Doesn’t that peak your interest a little? Doesn’t that make you wonder? Because, in all reality, how do you know a lifestyle change by way of diet cannot do these very things? Have you tried?
But I digress…
So I started eating Paleo for Grace, but pretty soon I was feeling better than ever. Pretty soon, all of these health problems I didn’t know could be fixed were better, and that’s when my answer changed. That’s when I started to tell people that I was allergic to gluten. That’s when Paleo became my lifestyle—something I was committed to, and loved.
But I wouldn’t have ever known that had I not (eventually) had an open mind, shoved my stubbornness in a box, and made the commitment to eat Paleo.
Now, chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re spouse is eating a different meal than you nearly everyday. And they might be doing this weird thing called CrossFit, or they’re at a yoga studio a couple of times a week, and it’s all just…too much.
But you won’t believe how difficult it is to make the switch, and maintain a Paleo lifestyle, even if you’re in love with it, when you have no support. When seemingly everyone else is eating whatever they want to eat, and they’re all looking at your spouse wondering what the hell is she eating? And should she/he be eating that much? And aren’t they going to die? And all that bacon really isn’t too good for you.
That begins to wear him/her down, and without you there to tell him/her that it’s okay, he/she might falter. He/she might give up on something that was incredibly important to them, because they didn’t have the support of their spouse.
What do you have to lose? 30 days without bread or beer or pizza? Wow, that sucks. Your life must be so hard. And if, after an honest try, it doesn’t work for you then at least your spouse knows that you care enough to support her/him with whatever they deem important. At least they know you’re willing to try. However, I can bet that once you go Paleo, you won’t go back, because like me, you’ll find that Paleo does amazing things.
Not only did Paleo help to reverse my fiancees autoimmune condition, but it rid me of my IBS & depression, and gave Grace and I something to bond over. It’s given us community and energy and a renewed chance at life. It’s made Grace and I closer than we ever have before. I’ll take that over a pizza and beer any day of the week. Will you?