For a major dietary shift; having your spouse on board is a really big deal.
Wearing my health coaching hat today, I want to tell you about my friend Brian. After deciding to shift to a health-promoting plant-based diet for many reasons, he was making good progress in spite of the fact that his wife was not joining him in the process.
Not only was she not helping select and prepare the kinds of foods that Brian preferred, there was a skeptical attitude about his entire commitment to this “silly vegetarian thing.”
But being a man of conviction, he maintained his commitment to the superior diet and continued reporting progress to me along the way. Then, recently I received this disturbing e-mail from Brian:
I have been reading your blogs and attempting to eat better but today I received a rude awakening while at the hospital. After having stomach cramps that were causing me dizzy spells…and experiencing some irregularity, I met with a gastro-intestinologist, who scheduled a colonoscopy and a CAT scan.
They are concerned that my problems might be diet related. Of course, this set me back immensely because now my wife is convinced that all that leafy rabbit food that I am eating is causing all the problems. Can you help me? Brian
After receiving this e-mail while working on my daily blog at Starbucks, I immediately dropped what I was doing and sent him this message:
The doctors are simply doing what they have been trained to do; your biggest problem here is your wife. Since she is not on board with your eating program, as far as she is concerned, they are the doctors and you’re the lunatic eating a weird diet. Tough situation.
Here’s my take on this. When you eat a toxic diet for over 50 years as you did and almost 60 years as I did; then your colon, and in fact all of the 100 trillion cells in your body, are going to have some toxins to unload. I actually touched on this phenomenon briefly in my book.
In my case, I was about to schedule a hydro-therapy session to clean the old impacted yuk from my colon. But after a few months of eating over 90% whole plants, I began to realize that my body was taking care of business. I began to see some HUGE black yucky stools like I had never seen before. So, I just let nature work her magic and never had the hydro-therapy.
I also had some fever during the early stages. Fever is a natural body process that happens for a purpose. Yet, we stupid humans feel we must fight it, kill it, get it down. I had a fever about 18 months ago and think I had the swine flu. I didn’t even think about going to the doctor. I went to the grocery store, went home and fasted on nothing but water for 3 days. And my body loved me for it.
Unfortunately, none of the books that I know about have talked much about this topic, but I am almost certain that McDougall, Fuhrman, Barnard, Ornish, and Esselstyn have had patients in their immersion programs that have experienced symptoms similar to yours. You might think about going to a naturopathic doctor for a second opinion.
As for your wife, there are no easy answers and I will touch on this very important topic in a future blog; in the meantime, just try to stay the course. Best regards, J. Morris Hicks.
This is that blog; featuring an excerpt from our book…
From Chapter 10. When changing your diet, your spouse or significant other is by far the most important of all the people that you might be living with. When you make a major change in the way you are eating, you are affecting a large portion of the time that you spend together. And your spouse may very well be the person that does all the shopping and cooking. Ultimately, this new adventure will be much more rewarding if you are both on the same page. Hence, you should do all that you can to start this journey together.
Maybe one of you has health issues that could be improved by a healthier diet, or one of you simply wants to lose weight. But, what if neither of you has any health issues? What if you are just convinced that this is the way you want to go and you would very much like for your spouse to join you?
You might try to gently help your spouse reach your level of understanding regarding these powerful nutritional truths. Share reading material that you feel might suit her style. Try to stay positive, always be respectful, never condescending, and do your best to help her understand why you feel so strongly about your new dietary regimen.
In the final analysis, the answer probably lies within a delicately balanced combination of listening, supporting, loving, understanding and caring.
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—J. Morris Hicks