So, after watching me transform in front of her eyes over these past 3-4 months, my wife now wants to give this whole Paleo thing a try! Woo hoo!!! I made her promise to give it a real strong 30 day effort before giving up. I figure if she can do it well for 30 days, she'll see positive improvement and want to continue after that on her own.
So far it's only been a few days, but early on we're hitting a pretty large issue. She's very picky and generally NOT a meat eater!!!
Eggs: she's ok with eggs for breakfast every now and then, but really not a fan. Doesn't like hard boiled eggs etc...
Beef: doesn’t like things like meatloaf/meatballs. She'll eat a really good steak but I can't afford that more than once per week! She'll eat a hamburger, but in the past it's always been on a bun of course.
Pork: So far we haven't found anything she really likes. Bacon, she does loves bacon like any sane human! Sausage in any form is a no. I can't even get her to try one bite of summer sausage!
Chicken: This is the only thing that works so far. She'll eat chicken in just about any form we try. However, we can't eat chicken for every meal!
Beyond meat, she doesn't even like sweet potatoes!!!! She likes baked potatoes/fries/rice etc, but that's pretty much worthless.
I really really really want her to succeed during these 30 days, but so far she's just generally been hungry all the time because everything we make she's not really enjoying!
Tonight I'm making almond flour pancakes with bacon. I know it's not the world’s best Paleo meal but I need her to eat something at this point otherwise she'll spend the rest of the night snacking on nuts and dried fruit!
Historically, she's been eating a very SAD diet. TONS of wheat/grains+fruit/veggies. Meat in our house has always been treated as a side up until I went Paleo.
Her goals are to lose some weight but primarily she wants to eliminate her daily headaches and gain more energy. I'm really hoping that if I can get some proper protein/fat in her system she'll start to see some early results which will motivate her to continue down this path.
I know starting out is hard, but if others out there have some resources for very picky eaters I'd really love some references!
As a super picky eater myself, I'd love to add some thoughts.
1) I'd make her some bone broth. Would she be willing to eat beef broth, made from lots of vegetables + marrow bones? That way, she'll receive loads of benefits from the beef and the veggies, but will really just be sipping a mild broth, which most people don't mind.
2) I find that soups can be a good way to trick people into eating foods they don't normally like. I often make pureed roasted vegetables, thinned out with chicken broth as a "cream of " soup. If you have interest, I can send you some basic recipes. My family LOVES my sweet potato soup, and my curried creamed cauliflower soup as well.
3) As far as meat, I don't love a big steak or chop, but I really enjoy braised meats, like bbq style. Do you think she might be up for some sort of shredded meat dish?
4) Even if she's not super crazy about beef, you can broaden her poultry tastes-what about duck, turkey, quail? I'd imagine that helps mix it up. I sometimes even just take lunch meat, roll it up, and dunk it in mustard. Do you think she might be willing to do this with some roast beef?
5) With my uber-picky son, I still let him eat his comfortable foods, but every meal has to come with one bite of something he thinks he doesn't like. He's found out that he likes ham, kale chips, and bean sprouts this way. Maybe you can do this with her--she can have her chicken at each meal, but you can offer her one bite of something she thinks she doesn't like--she doesn't have to feel stressed that she won't like it, because it doesn't have to be her meal. The rule in our house is that you have to taste something 7 times before you can say you don't like it. It takes a while for tastes to change, so we don't even acknowledge it if someone says they don't like it--we just say "okey doke, maybe next time you'll like it better." That kind of attitude may be helpful for her as well-=to know that just because she doesn't think she likes it, or doesn't like her first time trying it, that doesn't mean she won't ever like it.
6) Roasting veg is the way to go for people who don't think they like veg. Chop into bite sized chunks, cover in oil, toss w seasoning of choice (salt and pepper is fine), and roast at 400 till done. Carmelizes the food, makes it crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, has converted my picky daughter to loving brussels, kale, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower.
Good luck-I'm still amazingly fussy, but I've found enough to eat that I've got a pretty satisfying life. I hope she can find her way to food that she enjoys too.
I really hate to sound callous - but if she really wants to improve her health and try this out, maybe she can try to work through her picky behaviour. If she's having daily headaches something she's doing now is not working for her - things need to change. Maybe she needs to go and seek some type of counselling to get her past her food hang-ups.
Why is she so picky? Is it taste or texture or just unfamiliarity?
If she likes chicken she'll probably also enjoy whitefish like tilapia or orange roughy, and shellfish like shrimp and posibly scallops. These foods are all very versatile. All of these proteins go very well well with avocado and various veggies. I eat this foods with alacrity. If I could eat more beef I would, but it's hard on my stomach.
Her palate must be ruined/confused by all the chemical-filled processed SAD foods. Companies spend millions of dollars to make frankenfoods that are highly palatable and addictive. She also might have been given very bland junky 'SAD Kid' foods as a child, and was given too much choice. I know many a picky eater that was created that way.
If she is really interested in improving and changing her health and wellness, she should be willing to broaden her diet to include more foods that will help her reach her goal. You'll never reach a goal that you aren't willing to find the correct path to. Once the addiction to fast sugar (carby junk) and frankenfoods is given time to extinguish, she will probably find real healthful foods much more tasty and enjoyable.
Some people can also taste more things than others (supertasters), but she doesn't sound like one of them. If I were you, I'd check out some of the paleo cookbooks, go through them with her, and pick out things together to try. If she really wants to make a change, she'll do it.
I think if you continue to support her and stay strong in your own journey she will slowly find a way that works for her as she watches you continue to improve. You seem very kind in buying her flowers and keeping her uplifted and sounds like something my husband would do and part of why I chose this path on my own, for once. Now the rolls have been reversed...now he is dabbling in Paleo as well.
I could have been a vegetarian before this and was for 2 years but found my health not so great so I have had to sort of take it one day at a time since Paleo. Ive only been doing this for 3 weeks and I already feel so much better but I have found it quite a struggle some days. Now I will tell you, I can totally relate to her upbringing.....my family thinks Im crazy right now. Since the birth of my daughter 5 years ago, I have struggled with high blood pressure and they literally think Im going to die doing this diet but I have faith and the way I look at it is the last 5 years almost fully vegetarian diet, little meat....got me nowhere....soooo. At first I thought it was crazy that I should eat lots of eggs....it goes against everything Ive been taught but as I have educated myself on the principles I have slowly relaxed and began the journey fully committed. My body screams at me some days because it is used to a sandwich with avocado, lettuce and red onion...doesn't seem so bad....but trust me, my health was going no where fast.
If it helps, from one non meat lover to another, I have learned I love hot boiled eggs with a dab of butter and avocado slices. Heaven. I have fruit with that. Other days, I will have a smoothie or leftovers for breakfast. Apples and almond butter. I made spinach and goat cheese omelets this morning. I hate bacon (I know, I know, sacrilege) and sausage is only something I can stomach once a week max. I really understand her. Its hard when your body is used to carbs and veg and then you are telling it 'no no, wait, protein and veg'.
Lunch, this week I made a big batch of chicken salad. Delicious! Yesterday I went out to lunch with my husband and I had a cheeseburger without the bun and a side salad. I wasn't hungry until 5 pm which was rare.
Also, I bought a bag of dark chocolate covered raisins for my treat and I made paleo almond muffins with dark chocolate chips but haven't really ate them because I haven't had any sweet cravings. Dinners, I had Beef Buffad, an Indian dish and put it over chopped up steamed cauliflower and it was truly surprisingly good. Last night had a salad with blackened grouper.
I would encourage her to try new things as some previous posters mentioned. I have been surprised and now that my body is slowly getting used to things Im finding new likes not to mention how amazing I feel, which is above all, the BEST after struggling with blood pressure, headaches and insomnia for the last 5 years. Keep doing what you are doing. She will get there when she is ready. My husband isnt fully commited but working on it and in my family of 5, me being the only paleo eater, its quite daunting some days but I have faith!
Above all, she has to want it to truly commit and it sounds like she is close. It helps that she has someone to lean on.
Perhaps it's time for some tough love: give her a list of acceptable items in their raw form with prices and ask her to put together some combinations she would eat.
I applaud your patience and your willingness to work around her, but if you are doing this together it has to be a partnership.
Perhaps if she got active on the forums are started to read paleo blogs she would understand why paleo works. It might help her to see that others have also struggled and overcome void pickyness issues by trying new items.
Sometimes all it takes is a different spice combination or cooking technique to create a whole new flavor profile....
At the end of the day, she has to embrace the change and the journey before she will achieve lasting results.
Good luck to you both on this journey together :)
I had a wise customer who always told her kids "You can't say you don't like it until you've tried to prepared 50 different ways". So her kids (6 + 8, totally adorable) would try just about anything, hum and haw, than say "this preparation is not for me, but I look forward to trying it a different way".
Sometimes its not the foods themselves, but how it's prepared. Easy-to-eat preparations: soup, barbeque, shredded (pork+beef+poultry), baked, "breaded" (sort of weaning way to do it- almond flour, coconut flour and the like). Cooking techniques, especially ones that are reminiscent of her current favourites, are your friend here.
How about trying to introduce small volumes of things she's not keen of into dishes made primarily of things she likes - for example add a bit of pork in with the chicken in, say, a curry. Then over time she'll get a taste for new things and you can increase the ratio.
I believe that sugar dulls our senses anyway so once she's off the simple carbs and sugars her taste buds will improve and she'll find everything a whole lot more tasty. I know I used to really enjoy junk food but now the mere thought of it makes my stomach turn.
But well done you for your continued support. I know that paleo/primal has greatly reduced the number of headaches I get - as well as inumerable other benefits.
I'd like to echo everyone else's great advice in this thread, and you do seem like a caring and supportive husband. However, I would just add that sometimes you need to do less to get someone to be more proactive in taking care of their health. You say that she's noticed the amazing benefits of the lifestyle through your example... why not just allow that lesson to sink in a little longer? I really tried hard to "fix" a sugar addicted friend's diet by throwing all this information at her and doing lots of cooking and meal-prep work for her, but my additional work meant that she wasn't really making the process her own. She never did any research into the diet or looked up recipes on her own. She would ask me if certain things were allowed and just wanted a yes/no answer, when in reality crafting a diet from many disparate elements is much more complicated.
I eventually got sick of it and withdrew my help, focusing instead on my own health. She floundered for a few weeks, returning to her sugar binges as I predicted. But lately I've heard her voicing more frustration that she hasn't made the progress she wanted. I'm going to wait a little longer before I try to help again. Sometimes I think you can help people by letting them fail. It sounds harsh, but as long as you're doing everything for her, she has zero incentive to "buy in" to the process herself.
How to transition picky eaters? 4 Answers
How do I get my child to eat paleo? 11 Answers