Thank you to my husband for sharing his side of our journey to make healthier lifestyle and food choice. He doesn’t give himself enough credit for how far he really has come. It’s easy for me because I love food, even the unpopular ones like brussel sprouts. But he’s made significant changes and he’s healthier for them. Plus, he’s set a fabulous example for our boys and supported me all the way…even when it meant making his own dinner because he just couldn’t stomach what I had prepared. I love you, sweetie! Thanks for sharing.
Hello out there. I’m the picky eater you’ve been reading about since Calie started blogging several years ago. And this week, I get to guest post on her blog for the first time to share my side of the story.
If I were to chart my eating habits for a week and share them with you, it wouldn’t be all that impressive. You wouldn’t hold me up as a model for a healthy, balanced diet. It’s true, where I am isn’t all that amazing, unless you consider where I was.
In high school, my breakfast routine was a bottle of Dr. Pepper and a Snickers bar.
I’m pretty sure I managed to go my entire collegiate career without eating a single piece of fruit. Meanwhile, I probably averaged 10-12 hamburgers per week, mixing in some Hamburger Helper for variety. Cheeseburger Macaroni was my helper of choice.
When Calie and I first met, my daily menu was Pop-Tarts for breakfast, Hot Pockets for lunch and then either fast food or a frozen pizza for dinner. All I drank was coffee, soda and sweet tea. No water. No juice. Only caffeine. Glorious caffeine.
As recently as 5 years ago, my diet hadn’t really improved. I was eating some fruit and a few veggies here and there, but largely was living on carbs, red meat, sugar and the aforementioned caffeine. Those were the four food groups as far as I was concerned.
As Calie embarked on her journey toward wellness, I initially dug in my heels like the stubborn mule that I am. I revolted. I doubled down on my unhealthy habits. She responded by trying to sneak puree into the spaghetti sauce and slip turkey tacos by me claiming they were ground beef. This of course was an act of food treason in my mind. This “betrayal” didn’t help things along.
Over time, I saw the difference that better food choices were making in the health of Calie and the boys. I didn’t have any health issues, thanks mostly to good fortune and genes, but as Calie learned more about food and taught me more about food, I began to realize that she was right. Ugh. It was time to at least try.
I’m one of the pickiest eaters you’ve ever met, so suddenly adopting a healthy diet, filled with broccoli and berries and organic this, non-processed that, was a non-starter. I’d either starve to death or be knee-deep in a bag of Chips Ahoy before the sun went down.
So, I’ve gone about healthy eating in my own way, at my own pace. It’s been slow, but over time I’ve made a lot of progress, despite my lifelong bad habits and my finicky taste buds. Here’s how I’m doing it.
The first step in my healthy eating evolution was to simply remove things from my diet. I had so many bad habits, so it was easy to find things that just needed to stop. I’ve dropped fast food, soda, candy bars, my Doritos, my hooooot pockets (cue Jim Gaffigan), sugary cereals, pop tarts, donuts…sorry, this list gets quite long, so I’ll stop there.
Step two for me was to allow Calie to help me sub in healthier versions of things I loved. Bread for instance. I love bread. And now I’ve adjusted to eating whole wheat instead of white. This was one of the hardest transitions for me. We also subbed out our old pasta, boxed pancake mix and other staples for healthier alternatives. We transitioned to grass-fed beef and went to whole grain chips among other things.
There were actually a handful of foods that I liked that were good for me. Or at least not gut rotting. These included some fruits like bananas, apples, oranges. And a small handful of vegetables, like green beans and salad. So, along the way, I’ve ginned up those healthy favorites and eat them even more regularly.
The final step in the process, for me, has been to add items to the menu. This one is still slow going, but I’m getting there. My taste buds are a worthy adversary. But I have had a few victories along the way, such as bell peppers, beans (pureed), blueberries, cashews, white fish and quinoa. And most importantly, water. Lots and lots of water!
In the end, I’m still a work in process. I’m eating chocolate ice cream while I finish up this post. But considering where I came from, I’m also Calie’s greatest accomplishment. And a testament that you can teach an old(er) dog new tricks. Even when he doesn’t want to learn them.