A House Divided

Today, we’ve got a fantastic guest post from Whole30 participant Christie Tracy, from Texas.  Christie recently started the Whole30 program with a few girlfriends from her gym  (CrossFit XLR8, in Portland, TX).  She’s been blogging about her experience, and yesterday’s write-up really caught our attention.

We hear from many Whole30 participants who are going it alone at home – their spouses, significant others, roommates or other household members simply aren’t on board with their dietary plan.  Which means that while you’re trying your hardest to curb your sugar tantrums, resist the carb cravings and ramp up your vegetable intake… your cabinets are still full of cookies and candy, your stove-tops are still cooking pasta and rice, and your post-dinner carrots with Sunbutter are looking kind of lame next to the big bowl of ice cream glistening on the coffee table.  We’ve talked about how to win friends and influence Paleo… but that’s not going to help you on Day 12 when you wake up and come face to face with a box of Krispy Kremes in your own kitchen.   Christie is offering up some seriously practical, remarkably simple, quite effective (from our experience) tips and tricks for making it through your Whole30 even if your house is full of sugar-laden land mines… and we liked them enough to share them with all of our readers.

Christie writes, “I have found it hard over the last week to be sitting at my desk in the morning, and suddenly have the heavenly smell of a toasty bagel floating through the air, tempting me! It’s equally as hard to watch him eat a popsicle after dinner, which is when my sugar cravings tend to kick into high gear.  Lastly, I found out early in the first day that opening my pantry and seeing the bread, cereal, and bagles was not a good thing for my will-power . . or my sanity!   So what can be done to make things a little less difficult, without forcing the Paleo lifestyle on those that we live with who do not want it for themselves?”

Visit Christie’s blog to read the rest of “A House Divided“, and share YOUR best tips, tricks and advice to comments.  Thank you to Christie for the inspiration and the article, and best of luck to you and your girls on your first Whole30!

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  1. Karyn M. says

    Christie, my husband is from Portland, TX… Calvin Medders. Unfortunately, I found that it is almost impossible for me to eat Paleo if he isn’t on board. We have rid our pantry and fridge of ANY and ALL temptations, as we are both snackers and generally big eaters. My sister visited this weekend, bringing with her a bag of kettle corn, and of course, I found myself eating several fistfulls of the sugary deliciousness. Evil! Since Calvin’s lifestyle diet of choice is primarily meat, convincing him to go Paleo was not nearly as hard as other “diets” have been. And if you are the cook in the house, it’s really easy to slowly make substitutions… cauliflower rice, rutabagas instead of potatoes in the pot roast. But my weaknesses are as you mentioned, the smell of toasted bread and sweets. That’s a tough one.

    Thanks for the post!
    Karyn M.

  2. AmyP says

    I do many similar things. I put the jars of hershey kisses or other sweets at the top shelf, and things like bread and bagels into cabinets that I don’t need to open, so that I’m not tempted. I also have all of my paleo food in one corner of the fridge so I don’t have to search around all the other foods I choose not to eat. Usually while going full throttle on the Paleo challenge it’s not that I crave these things, but if I see them, all of a sudden I NEED them!! It’s like just seeing the food awakens the craving and I find myself unwrapping a hershey kiss like lightening. Since going off the crack (diet coke – 3 weeks and counting!) I crave far less sugar. That fake crap makes me crave sweets like nobody’s business.

    In my house I am the only one who eats paleo with three other adults who don’t. So when I cook meals for everyone I will cook a meat and a veggie (for me) and then add something like rice or potatoes for the rest of them. I still try to keep it gluten free as much as possible. I tried the one-meal only thing, and that failed as the rest of the household would just go our for pizza or donuts. I’d rather have them eating rice or potatoes which is at least marginally better.

  3. J.Spice says

    I feel your pain. My husband is not paleo, while I am. It’s fine during the summer months when we can grill.He usually eats what I eat, but likes to snack at night and will not get rid of his morning cereal.
    In regards to “his” food, I buy things that he likes and I don’t. I know which goodies will trigger me and make sure they are not in my cart.
    On a more positive note, once you really stay strict paleo for 30 days, you’ll see how these food will effect you or wreck havoc on your system. Trust me I know. His beloved sugar cereal was calling me one night for a snack. Poured 1 cup with 1/4 cup of milk. Oh dear God, I was sick for 2 days. You’ll learn your lesson and then you won’t have thoese cravings anymore. Think about how tired and sleepy that bagel is going to make you feel:)


  4. Beachdog says

    I was very impressed how “Life Gurus” Melissa and Dallas are quoted alongside Confucius on Christie’s site.

  5. says

    Hi Guys!

    Thanks Melissa and Dallas for posting this – Karyn, Amy, and J – it’s good to see that others sometimes struggle with the same temptations – when you’re doing it “on your own”, comparing stories with others who have gone through similar situations is very helpful! I do have to say that my cravings have pretty much dissapeared (I’m just starting week 3), but as Amy mentioned – sometimes just “seeing” something on a shelf can trigger an unexpected craving.

    J.Spice – that’s a great tip about buying “goodies” for him that you know won’t trigger your own cravings. I have to admit that is why he’s eating popsicles instead of ice cream. I can resist popsicles, but I think that Ice Cream may have just done me in that first week!

    Beachdog – you noticed that, huh? Yeah, I thought it was pretty funny too when I added it but then said “screw it” – it’s a great quote and keeps me focused and on track just as much as the ones from Confucius. . . I do need to update that section w/ a bit more variety though!

  6. Rachel says

    I swear you jumped in my head and took some of my thoughts. :) My husband and I have been fighting over some of this, he thinks (of course) Crossfit is a cult, and he will bring home a pizza and say, “Don’t you know? Pizza Hut has Paleo Pizza now”. I don’t think I was going around it the right way, and was acting like a victim. Finally, I sat down with him and told him that if he thinks it is normal that his parents are barely 60 and both on blood pressure medicine with high cholesterol, with MULTIPLE ridiculous injuries (his mom can sneeze and hurt her ACL, she is so out of shape)…that is his “shit”. His father has diverticulitis because of his food choices earlier in life, adn rather than eating more fiber in his diet now, he just adds Metamucil. I REFUSE TO LIVE LIKE THAT.

    He was silent. That same day, I came across both Whole30 and your blog (two days ago). It so spoke to me, and I am determined to stick to the program regardless if he brings in a truckload of Thin Mints (my crack).

    Thank you for your blog! I love it!

  7. Brian says

    This was a great post. I did a “loose” version of Paleo for 2 weeks while reading, researching and thinking. I lost 5 lbs and decided to give the 30 days a try and go “all in”. I went shopping nag set up 1 shelf in the fridge and 2 cabinets for myself and my new diet. My wife thought I was crazy. She lost 70 lbs. the year before and got back to the weight she was as a senior in high school. She did this by restricting calories and walking graduated to running. It’s almost impossible to argue with someone who’s gone through their own transformation like that. She kept telling me that my food was way too high in calories and this was going to backfire. Well… I lost 26 lbs. over the following 3 weeks and dropped from a size 40 pants to a 36. I noticed a change in her attitude during this time and it came to a head when I had to go buy new clothes. She went shopping with me and upon realizing what size I was after only 3 weeks she said ” you make me sick!, it took me 2 months to drop 2 sizes.” she still eats her bread but I have noticed her shift to “awareness” of carbs and sugar shift greatly. Although she is not sold enough yet to go Paleo with me, she is now fully supportive and even cooks me Paleo recipes. Her stance has become “different things work for different people. Your diet is working for YOU and although still confused I think you should stick to it”. Amazing how results and success affects the opinions of those around you. One day I will bring her away from the dark side for good!

  8. Marty says

    I’m glad I found my support group! I have a house divided by my husband and two growing boys. I have separate shelves with my ingredients and produce. I don’t cook too meals but I try to be flexible and creative with our dinner planning, I always have my steamed vegetables, organic salad or homemade salsa as backups. If my non-paleos are chowing in pizza or tacos, I leave the room or start preparing my own meal.

    During the past three months I have found three things that are difficult to do:
    1. grocery shopping for the non-paleo people in your household (you feel bad about buying cereal and feeding it to your family)
    2. dining out with friends (you have to explain about your paleo lifestyle so they pick the right restaurant)
    3. being paleo has ethnic complications… my grandmother can’t understand why I don’t eat bread, rice and corn anymore.

  9. says

    Hey Marty – I’m right there with you – having the Whole9 Community as a support group has been a lifesaver for me as well :)

    It’s been about a year and a half since I wrote the “House Divided” blog post, and unfortunately, my house is still divided. . . I did find that things got MUCH easier after the first couple of months though. In the beginning, simply seeing the bag of bagels on a pantry shelf would be enough to set off a fierce craving that made me cranky and gave me a false sense of hunger. During this time, I had to practically hide that stuff on high shelves in the pantry (or low shelves in the fridge) in order to help reduce the frequency of these cravings. Fortunately though, after about 2 months, I found that simply seeing these things lying around no longer phased me at all! It took some time, but I no longer associate a bagel w/ “comfort food” – When I see one now, all I see is a belly-ache on a plate!

    It sounds like you’ve come up w/ a great way to keep your entire family happy without having to cook two meals – that’s fantastic! My husband has to have a starchy carb w/ dinner in order for him to consider it a “meal”, so I will often heat up a baked potato on the side (and sometimes sneak in a sweet potato instead – lol). It’s not ideal, but I figure it’s better than a hunk of bread or a bowl of noodles. . . Also, a big hit with him is Roasted Brussel Sprouts. He calls them “Brussel Sprout French Fries” and nights that I prepare them, they fill in as his “carb” – so I try to slip new things in as frequently a I can in an attempt to find more of these things that he likes and is willing to sub for his “starch”.

    I have the same feelings of guilt when I throw a loaf of bread in my cart for his lunch-time sandwiches, but in the back of my mind, I know that I’m doing everything that I can to feed him as closely to Paleo Guidelines as humanly possible – and my hope is that one of these days, he’ll decide to give a Whole30 a try, and experience the “magic” for himself :) Until that day, I just have to remind myself that this is a decision that I made for myself, and my own health, and it wouldn’t be fair (or healthy for my relationship!) to force it on my hubby. I certainly wouldn’t have responded well to having it forced on me before I was ready!

  10. Robyn says

    I am a 37 yr old mom of 6. My husband and I (and 2 of our children) were in a bad car accident in December of last year. As a result of injuries sustained in the accident, my husband and I both have gained entirely too much weight. Now that we are on the path back to “normal”, I REALLY want to do the Whole 30. We have been eating Paleo dinners for the last 4 weeks, and drinking smoothies or juicing for breakfast or lunch. However, we haven’t been STRICT on ourselves. We cheat….more than we should! I have seen some results, but I’m not satisfied. I am going to tackle the Whole 30 tomorrow, even though I don’t currently have the funds to buy the book/guide. (My husband has been out of work since the wreck in December…every penny counts around here. :( My 3 girls are happy to do this with us, as they are teenagers and want a healthier lifestyle. (Gotta catch the eye of that special boy, you know.) BUT…my holdout is my 7 yr old son!! He refuses to eat most of what I have been cooking. At first, we tried putting our foot down and insisting he eat it….or be hungry. We were hoping that after a few HOURS after not eating dinner, he would give in and eat. Not so. He won’t eat during the day or at dinner, and by 9 pm, he is digging through the house looking for something he WILL eat! I can’t starve my child to attain a healthier lifestyle for the rest of us. I’m not sure how we are going to overcome this. I know it’s all in his head, because he will taste some of the food, but if ANYONE mentions that it has a vegetable or if he can see “green or red stuff” in it, he will immediately stop eating it. Any suggestions?????

  11. says

    Robyn –

    Welcome aboard! As a mom myself, here’s my advice to you:

    This sounds to me like a control battle. It sounds like his issue may be with you asking him to (or in his mind, making him) eat something he doesn’t particularly want to. Kids at that age are continually exploring their autonomy, discovering that they are in control of their own minds and bodies and learning that we, as parents, cannot read their minds or move their bodies. These seemingly random exercises of will come and go and take some really interesting forms.

    One thing is certain – he absolutely will not starve himself. A typical child at that age does not have the willpower to cause himself that much discomfort over something like food. In all likelihood he’s pushing you this far because he know’s you’ll give in. And you have, every single time. He has no incentive at all to eat the food you make because he knows, at the base level, he’s in charge of what he eats. That’s not a balance of power I would find acceptable in my house.

    I suggest a little experiment: Give him a week of no nagging, no forcing, no rules. If he eats any fruits and veggies well, let him load up. Fill him full of whatever fats he’ll eat. Take the pressure off and don’t even address the issue. But, don’t give him any unacceptable foods, either. He eats what you’ve cooked or what you choose to make available. Just see how he reacts. If you want, you can cook some of the acceptable foods he normally enjoys, but don’t ask him to eat them. (Don’t restrict them, just don’t bring it up.) There’s a chance that, once he sees that you respect his autonomy, he’ll choose to partake with you. If he doesn’t, then you can start working through some other plans. At the very least, though, you’ll get some fight-free meals under your belt and it will help return the sanity we so very much need as parents.

    The guiding principle I use with my girls is this: As a parent, I can control what they eat in my home. But life is so much more than being told what to do. I want my girls to learn how to eat – what, when, why – and (IMHO) deciding what goes into their mouths is a part of that.

  12. Robyn says

    Thank you, Robin S.!! I am going to try it and see what happens. After reading your reply, it sounds reasonable to me. I guess since the other kids jumped on board so easily, I wasn’t ready for a hold-out. :)