We get this question all the time: I want to start eating clean (or do eat clean) but my husband, boyfriend, children, etc will not. As we mentioned in "Our Story", Scott starting eating clean a few years before me. So, I would eat clean because that's pretty much all we had in the house, but I did not quite understand the concept and was not eating clean enough - I would still go out to eat for lunch occasionally but what I ordered would not be considered clean. On top of all of this, I would eat the wrong foods at the wrong times (sugary snacks late at night). One day I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired...Scott was always at the gym and seeing results, so why not go there with him and start making changes? He was always eating clean, so why not do it too? Instead of continuing to fight him I joined him.
With that being said, I am a HUGE believer that you CANNOT force someone into this lifestyle. THEY MUST want to change and they usually will when they see the physical and mental changes you're making. If I could talk or force everyone into this lifestyle I would because I truly believe it is the best way to live a healthy life, but I also realize that forcing your loved ones to make changes to their diet usually results in resentment.
The primary thing that you can do to help your loved ones see the light is to lead by example. I was totally that person that would tell Scott, "Come on, one isn't going to hurt you", "Stop being so picky", "Do you REALLY have to pack all that food?", "It is SO annoying that you have to eat every 2 hours...you're like a baby!" Now I do the SAME thing! You'll hear these comments too, but when you start to see the changes you're looking for, you just brush it off and hope that person will find inspiration in what you're doing.
Attitudes and behaviors will change, it just takes time. Scott was "that man" that would only eat red meat, fried foods, no vegetables, no fish, etc. and I was "that woman" that would get so mad when Scott would try to "educate" or "guide" me in the right direction. Once that other person sees the changes you're making...they'll become curiously inspired and want to learn more (even though they may not tell you). Now, looking back, I wish I would have started eating clean when Scott did, but I am so glad that I am now healthy enough and have enough energy to do the activities that we enjoy doing and spending time together.
I do not have any kids, so I don't really want to touch on this subject for too long (we will have a guest post from a clean eating mom next week!) but I bet that if you started cooking clean food and didn't tell them it was "healthy" they wouldn't know. Just don't make a big deal out of it...educate them on good food choices vs. bad food choices (just as you would with behavior, money, learning, etc.). It's unfortunate that children are exposed to junk food everywhere they go (it's no wonder that many kids are severely obese and have diabetes), but if you're teaching them to make the right choices and providing them with clean foods at home (throw out all the junk!) then little treats here and there are okay (moderation is key!). The least you can do is to teach them to question whether a certain food is a treat vs. regular food. Kids LOVE several different kinds of fruits...find local, organic fruits that are in season and provide them with "nature's candy" or you can try some of our "clean treats" and teach them the difference between the clean treat and its "dirty" counterpart. You are their parents so you control what goes into their body - do yourself and your family a favor and make sure the food they eat is helping them NOT hurting them.
Take a minute to think about it...I bet those people who are trying to convince you to buy organic foods and eat clean probably look and feel a lot better than those who have no self-control and tell you that it's not worth the money, food's too pleasurable, "you only live once", and so on. So, who are you going to believe?
So, here are the main things you can do to help your loved ones join you:
- Lead by example - don't make a big deal about the changes you're making, but do lay out expectations and the benefits you're hoping to receive.
- Try out some of our recipes with your family. Most of our recipes are very versatile, so you can cook in bulk (e.g. salsa chicken) and use it many different ways. Try a few different recipes out...you'll find something the whole family enjoys.
- Educate your family by providing information found on our site, the internet, watching Food, Inc. together, and so on.
- It is your responsibility to educate your children and set them up to live a healthy and active lifestyle...it's very sad to see so many parents fail their children in this area.
- Start by making small changes (taking baby) steps if your significant other is not fully on board yet.
“This isn’t a complicated message. In fact, Eating Clean is as simple as it can get. So what’s the bottom line? Eat a variety of wholesome, natural foods by combining lean protein with complex carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Kick out the crap, invite in the good, throw in some water and you are on your way to excellent health and a better body than you’ve ever imagined. Is this information new? No. It’s the same information we’ve heard from our ancestors time and time again.”
Does your whole family eat clean? What tips could you share to help others? Leave a comment below!
Already eating clean? Here is a great post to help you deal with "toxic" friends and family!
- Whitney (and Scott)
P.S. Jim (the "other" He) LOVED The Eat-Clean Diet for Men (he read it in one day even though he never "reads" books)! Check it out!