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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Winning Over Your Significant Other!


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'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'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'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.
We love this quote from Just the Rules by Tosca Reno:

“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!


  1. What a great post today. I look forward to reading your site everyday. Keep it up.

    1. Thank you very much for the kind comments!

  2. This is a great post. I've recently started eating clean, however my fiance does not. I'm learning that I can not force him to eat clean and that if he wants to continue to eat ice cream or frozen pizzas, I shouldn't be the one to stop him. That being said, I was more than pleased when I saw him digging into the container of salsa chicken the other day. Currently, our fridge is full of fresh veggies, pumpkin protein bars, turkey meatballs, and salsa chicken. I'll continue to lead by example and *hope* that someday he will join me as well!

    1. I hope he does too Stepheny! Sounds like you are off to a great start - just keep going in the right direction! Good luck & let us know if you have any questions!

  3. Thanks for the tips. I'm at the cusp of trying to change.

    1. It's very mental! Tell yourself that you CAN do it & you WILL! Good luck!

  4. We have recently started eating clean. I discovered your website and eventually that led to Tosca Reno's books and Clean Eating Magazine. I am blessed that my husband totally came aboard when I did. He has always tried to eat healthier...but not necessarily clean. It's still a struggle somedays, but we are eating way better than we ever have and paying close attention to ingredients labels on prepackaged foods that we buy. We also have three kids--age 7,8, and 9. They eat what we cook and we told them this is our way of life now...not a diet. They actually ask if what we are eating is clean or want to know if they can make a better choice. Our middle child actually had a piece of candy one day that she was trying to give her daddy. I told her he wouldn't eat it because it wasn't clean and she threw it away! Major step for her!

    1. That is great Frances! Thank you so much for sharing! We love hearing this! Good luck with your journey! Let us know if you have any questions! :-)

  5. This was great for me to read. We are on 4 weeks of clean eating & It was hard to have my husband not always 100% in.

    A movie that helped seal the deal on why I am choosing for our family to eat clean is, "Forks over Knives". Very great information. After viewing this movie he told me to not stop!

    You mention how it is sad that parents fail their children--and I can totally agree with you on this. It is super sad! I have 2 girls (6,3) and I also watch another child during the summer (7) and since I had her last summer she gained 30 lbs. I was struggling to feed her because everything I served she basically refused and sadly I couldn't compete with her response of what she eats: "ice cream from McDonald's, Wendy's, White Castle, Taco bell, donuts, and sometimes fruit" I also know that her mom did not pack any lunches at school and her favorites were: chicken nuggets and pizza. We have been taking it easy and I have her try everything, however it is very sad when my girls are chowing down the recipes that I have made from this website and she tells me she doesn't like it. However I don't know what it is like to be a single mom that works 4am-3pm so I can't judge but it is a true sign of taste buds that are poisoned!

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  7. I love this blog and am so glad I have found it! I started eating clean a few months ago, cut out all junk- the whole deal, but my husband has definitely not jumped on the band wagon. I will give him credit- He has been eating a cleaner diet and will let me cook clean meals most of the time. But the binge on the whole pan of brownies (that he made himself) this weekend was almost too much for me. He is a very picky eater, so that can make things difficult. But I can always keep trying to sub little things and make sure the fridge is stocked with healthy choices. Hopefully one day he will choose to eat what we have versus going out to buy processed junk and bringing it home. Thank you for all of the resources and helpful posts!

  8. I'm so glad I found this post! I've just started eating clean, or trying to anyways and my husband is 100% against it, so it's been hard for me to keep it up. I like the tips in this, maybe he'll get on my side once he sees how positive it can be!


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