My family is quite small. It is just me, my son and my husband. I haven’t mentioned it before, but I am a navy wife, and my husband is gone usually 6 months out of the year. He’s out on his submarine right now, and he won’t be home again for a few months. This at once makes my life more difficult….and yet some things become SO much easier. For one thing, I don’t have to hear my husband complaining that once again, there is no steak on his plate. Right before he left I told him I was going to make spaghetti and meatballs, and he was so excited until the plate reached the table and he saw the meatballs were actually made from lentils and TVP. I can tell he doesn’t like a meal because his chair strays far from the table, as if the ability to jump up from the table quickly was a matter of life or death. We disagree on many things, politics, television shows, who should do most of the housework…and how to raise our only child. Sometimes he says to me, “Would you stop experimenting on our son?”
It hurts. The knowledge I have in my head is real. It is not just some hypothesis that if I feed my son less junk now, he’ll be healthier later in life. The danger’s of GMO’s, dyes, additives, sugar…they’re real and documented. There is a whole book called the China Study explaining why one should take on a plant based diet. It is the most comprehensive study on diet ever conducted. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to ever deny my child. I know that if I say he can’t ever have something ever again, he will simply rebel against everything I’m trying to instill in him. Ice cream and candy has its place in a life. Special events, holidays, maybe even when the ice cream truck comes down the road. But it is not something to be indulged in every day, for no reason.
My husband however, feels that food is a way to bond. If I ask him to go to the store to pick up diapers, I can guarantee that he is bringing home some sort of candy he can “bond” with our son over. I show with my actions that you can bond over treats without the treats being crap. When my son is home and asks for ice cream, I give him frozen pineapples If he’s in the store and asks for candy, I find a bag of dried fruit and tell him its candy. For now, my strategy is working, but he’s only going to be 3. I know that if my husband doesn’t get on board quick, the charade will soon be up. But for now, there is no candy in my house, no soda, no chips, no complaints at dinner, and no having to make 3 separate meals.
The cultural differences between my husband and I are wide. He can not imagine a life without meat and ice cream and I don’t try to control what he does outside the house. I don’t even really try to control what he does INSIDE the house. I won’t cook or eat the meat, but I have no problem if he does. Not only is he in the navy, but he’s a culinary specialist, or in lamens terms…the chef. It is his house too and it is not my place to control his actions. I can only act as a guide, hoping that my good health and energy will be a beacon he will want to reach out to.
Leaving the food addiction issues for a later post, I will mention that while he is underway he doesn’t have access to whole fruits and vegetables I think even his eggs are powdered. He writes to me how he is tracking his calories but that is like taking a child’s plastic shovel to a beach in an attempt to clear the sand. My challenges to get him on a healthier path are immense. I feel that if I can teach my husband, then I will be the best Holistic Health Coach the world has ever seen!
I hope that during this time away I have had enough time with my son alone to ween him off of sugar and meat. I serve chia seeds in my son’s oatmeal, and any leftover smoothies I make become his ice pops. He loves brown rice and quinoa for dinner. Of course, he still begs me for cheese and hot dogs, and so every now and then he gets it, but of course it is all natural cheese, and all natural hot dogs. I’m not immune to begging, after all.
Marriage is a funny thing. The differences that seemed so little once get magnified by our children. As a parent, our opinions are suddenly our blueprints. We must keep a balance between overwhelming our partner’s beliefs while instilling our own values. Do you have a family that is not 100% on board with your lifestyle choices? How has it affected your children? Has your diet changed how the people around you eat?