I realize this question has come up many times, but in most cases it seems to be the wife that is Paleo and doing the cooking and the husband that could care less. In my case, I'm the working husband who has just discovered Paleo and cannot stop reading/researching etc. I've now been (mostly) Paleo for only 3 weeks and have already dropped 15 pounds! I feel better than ever yada yada yada I'm preaching to the choir!
Anyway, my wife stays at home with our two young kids, 2.5 years and 10 months. This has been very hard on her. She understands what I'm doing and wants to be a supportive wife, but this certainly hasn't gone very smoothly. She's actually been totally AMAZING! She's trying VERY hard, she's picked up Paleo cookbooks, and is trying new recipes daily which is awesome. However, as you can imagine, she really has no interest in removing grains from her diet or from the diet of our kids.
Our newest baby girl is just starting to eat solid foods and LOVES eggs/bacon (really anything actually). However, in most cases she gets Cheerios for breakfast etc. I guess I'm just not sure how to properly deal with this. I really want to see my kids eat Paleo, but my wife is being told by her friends (and mother of course) that the kids need calcium for strong bones and lots of fiber from whole grains. She has friends who are nurses telling her they are 100% sure I am greatly increasing my risk for colon cancer if I do not eat fiber. She says she wants to check with the kids Doctor before changing how they eat. This totally sounds reasonable right? Problem is, I already know what the Dr. is going to say. Then what?
I guess at the end of the day, she's not super interested in doing all the research I have, so what she learns about this stuff comes from me. I know she wants to believe me, but I'm certainly NOT an "expert". I think all I really need is some sort of expert (read: Doctor) that she can talk to that will tell her that Paleo is safe for kids. The internet, unfortunately, is not something she generally trusts.
I love my wife and kids and the last thing I want to do is push them into this. I would LOVE for them to naturally adopt it, but I just don't see that happening without some authority figure out there reasurring her it is safe.
How have others dealt with this situation? Specifically with regard to running health decisions past your doctors/pediatricians?
What about re-framing it to your wife and pediatrician as no processed foods? Few people would argue against that and it would get you at least 80% paleo. Then once everyone is happy doing that you can fine-tune it.
I'm a husband of a non-paleo wife, and a non-paleo son.
I make meals that are paleo, and they eat them, but when we are out and about, they will eat whatever, as well my wife makes meals for my son when I'm not at home.
I just roll with the punches at this point. I tried to be the converting zealot type, and it got really bad. Now I just try to let my actions speak louder than words...
First of all... slow down a bit. You're 3 weeks into a change, that's pretty much honeymoon territory. It's great that you're all flowers and sunshine right now, but be patient with your family (as I'm sure they're being patient with you). Change takes time. Your family may be on a different trajectory towards change, your wife may have a different approach to learning about these things. She might want to explore blogs like Everyday Paleo or Paleo Parents. I really liked the Paleo Summit interview with Sarah Fragoso as a starting point, she's really down to earth & practical. But it may not be available anymore without a subscription... you could try her podcasts.
Second... for a few of your specifics:
Fiber comes from lots of foods that aren't whole grains. Paleo is not all bacon and eggs, especially for kids. Think sweet potatoes, broccoli & cauliflower (little trees), bananas, apples, nuts (not for the 10 month old), carrots, turnips, berries.
You mentioned calcium. Know that it is biologically appropriate for kids <5 to have whole fat dairy, in hunter gatherer societies most children would still be nursing through age 3-5. There are many different interpretations of "paleo" you may choose to avoid dairy products, your wife may make a different decision. I don't think that's a deal breaker to moving your family as a whole in the paleo direction.
I don't have any useful experience to share I'm afraid, but I well understand the pressure on mothers (usually) to try and manage every aspect of a young child's diet. There's a constant stream of advice and information coming from people around her that is doubly hard to ignore when you are responsible for others. As the kids get older it becomes easier to accept their own tastes and not worry that they don't fit the perfect governmental template of what a child should eat, but at this age you have to accept that these foods are out there and you have to pick and choose your battles with the kids - just as you will have to deal with more dangerous substances in the future. Your wife may feel that it is hard enough aiming for a typically 'healthy' diet and not worth the effort or risk to take things further without support.
The only thing I think that would help then is to get her in contact with paleo mothers. I know there are blogs around but I'm not sure how much of a support network is out there - there seems to be one on most aspects of raising children though! She may not be interested in doing all the research herself, but I expect she'd be interested enough to talk to people she can relate to and they will be able to answer questions about how paleo fits with official advice. Finding supportive mothers would be more valuable than a supportive doctor I reckon, as a first step at least. There's no rush really.
I think it's great that you're trying so hard, but I agree with the above...slow down a bit. She is trying by making meals that are paleo. Maybe give her a bit of a break. She isn't going to jump on board if she is nagged to death.
When I started paleo, I had already cut out processed foods from my family's diet for a few months. Maybe that would be a good place for your wife to start. Once the processed foods are gone and meals are made from scratch, it is much easier to transition to paleo in my opinion. (100 days of real food is a good blog to start with in order to phase out processed food) Maybe it won't ever be 100% paleo for her or for the kids. My kids and husband aren't 100% paleo and probably never will be. Having little ones is hard work and sometimes a little convenience (Cheerios) makes a huge difference in your day.
Great job on your weight loss!
I went paleo two years ago. It's taken my wife a long time to realize that this is a healthy way of eating for her and our five year old son. That transition is still occurring, but they eat a lot closer to paleo now than they did a year ago.
A lot of her change in habits was the simple fact that I experienced enormous improvements in health and body composition quickly and without a lot of effort. I then kept the weight off easily. It's hard to argue with that, although I got a lot of "you can eat that way, but I can't."
I have heard the argument by reference to conventional authority, too. My wife's (obese) best friend has a Master's in Public Health and is sure that the people who 15 years ago insisted that eating an egg would cause your heart to explode now know exactly what is good for you. That kind of thing has faded with time (and the fact that my lipid numbers are now excellent).
It also helps that I've always been the one who cooks.
You're gonna have to give her (and them) some time. Your story is nearly identical to my own. I am the husband who works outside the home and my wife is the stay-at-home mom of our thre kids (ages 3,5,7). I dove into paleo wholeheartedly after somewhere between three to six months of research. My wife, on the other hand, took nearly six months of me changing my lifestyle to make the leap herself. Now she's more dedicated than I am.
I recommend patience. Stay dedicated and don't get preachy. When you are the undeniable proof of paleo success, she will have no other choice but to join you.
As for the children... My own are fully Neolithic eaters with toast, pasta, and tortillas making up a bulk of their diet. However, our example is not unnoticed and when we discuss with them how to eat and why, they understand and try new foods and have actually been requesting grilled chicken lately (a huge success). We convinced my second grader to snack on alminds and beef jerky instead of cheese-its at school.
I view getting the whole family to eat paleo as a long-term goal that will take a unified effort. Your three weeks is commendable, keep it up. Robb Wolf (and others) recommend that if loved ones aren't on board initially, take care of yourself first. They'll follow. And I recently heard Sara Fragaso say that teaching your children to follow a paleo lifestyle can take years, especially if they're changing from the Neolithic.
Yes, I get that I'm moving fast and really am trying to take it slow. Maybe I wasn't clear intially, but I really am not "worried" about how my wife and kids are eating right this moment. It's more of a general question about how to get the rest to feel that this is safe for them to try. The sticking point here is she is not really interested in researching for herself. She'd rather just talk to her doctor and find out from her if this is OK. When her doctor says no, it is not ok, then I've got a bigger problem!
The reason this may be coming across as rushed, is we have an appointment with our baby girl's pediatrician coming up soon. My wife loves this pediatrician so the moment she says it's unhealthy, I've got a problem on my hands!