Getting our husbands into healthy eating is no mean feat……I know this first hand. My husband was raised eating good wholesome healthy food but somewhere along the way he (and I) went off the rails a bit. Scotty has always been super fit and skinny, never had to worry about what he ate….KFC, McD’s you name it never really phased him. Then the 30’s came along and after a good 10 or so years of drinking and eating pretty crappy food things start to catch up on him!
For Scotty it all came to head when we renovated our old 1940’s Torbay cottage… we were bursting at the seams with three little boys and desperately needed more room. He is a builder so he undertook a huge 6 month renovation at our house as well as working full time building. We had moved into my mum’s for the duration of the build so we could work on the house after hours. Scott would be up at 6am and off out to work a 10 hour day, then straight to our house to work on the renovation working late into the night, finally getting to bed around 1 am. That cycle continued for 6 months. He was exhausted and over this time his alcohol consumption went up and up. We had always been social drinkers but hadn’t really drunk during the week, however this had all changed! Drinking daily and eating bakery food, 2 coffees a day and takeaways Scotty’s weight also went up and up!
We got the renovation done, we were back home in our beautiful house and started getting his eating at home back on track.
I dragged him along to see Jason Shon Bennett (one of NZ’s top Health Researchers) talk on health and nutrition and he was blown away…. It was fantastic having someone other than me educating him about his health. From this point he stopped coffee and switched to Green Tea, he loves it!
We then went on to watch several health films such as ‘Food Matters’ and ‘Hungry for Change’ two films that really helped Scott see the big picture of health and why what we eat determines the world we live in, our expression of our genes, our mood and our destiny when it comes to being healthy or sick. He learnt it is that simple, eat foods that are grown in nature and experience health and happiness or eat the chemical concoction of processed scientifically manipulated food and experience sickness. There it was cemented in his head and he got it.
The problem is when you are in a daily drinking habit its dam hard to break, you don’t really think there’s a problem and you feel like you ‘need’ it. I’ve been there too we were both exhausted with very little self care going on, it seemed like our respite was to have a few drinks once the kids were in bed. It’s a slippery slope. Once your liver is congested from the alcohol nothing works well….you can’t burn fat efficiently and detoxify. Toxins accumulate and you become fatter, more tired and more dependent on the very thing that is making you sick.
So there it was I felt it to my core that I had to give up alcohol…. I was eating so well but sabotaging my body with alcohol, it didn’t make sense and I knew it. I finally went cold turkey and kicked drinking into touch in Jan this year. When there is no one to drink with its definitely not as fun….. So Scotty reduced a bit but was still drinking a couple of beers most nights. He was starting to feel pretty unhappy with his body, he’d put on 18 kg in a year and was starting to look like a middle aged man with a pot belly. Not a good look when your only 35. Yet when I look around men everywhere are sporting this look.
He joined the gym, was going 3- 4 mornings a week was eating super healthy at home but still that weight wouldn’t come off. (You can exercise as much as you want but if your nutrition is off your never going to see results)
So we started making his lunches, no more pies for this builder….and he was fine with it.
- I made an extra salad each night with dinner and put it in the fridge for Scott to take to work for lunch. (a hearty mans salad full of veges, toasted nuts, variety of greens, boiled eggs)
- In the morning we would make extra so he could have a smoothie for breakfast and take one to work for morning tea.
- He would also have soaked nuts, seeds and dried fruit.
- Boiled eggs, fruit and vege sticks.
Full and happy this food routine worked so well…..weight was coming off…….SLOWLY.
He knew it deep down that if he really really wanted all this good stuff that he was doing to work that he needed to stop drinking. That there is not point spending time and effort filling your body with amazing nutrient dense food when your hammering your liver with the nightly habit of beer drinking even if it’s only 1 or 2..
So there it was….it was his own decision, he stopped drinking for a few months. The first week was hard, breaking the routine of coming in from a hard day and grabbing a beer. Or sitting down after getting the kids to bed and cracking open a cold one. So he started drinking Green Tea, which still cracks me up when I say it as I never thought this would be the replacement, but I’m so pleased with his decision. So he had two months off and the habit was broken, he now drinks socially or when the All Blacks are on but the daily habit is gone and will hopefully never come back, but if it does we know what to do.
I made an effort to have raw baking available for the first few weeks….as for most of us alcohol is definitely considered a reward at the end of the day or to celebrate something good. We now celebrate with yummy healthy raw baking (No refined sugar, gluten free, dairy free goodness) and a green tea.
Now this is where the transformation started. He was losing weight so well, that pot belly and double chin was disappearing in front of our eyes and he felt amazing. He had so much more energy (alcohol damages your gut; your gut makes your B vitamins so hence alcohol depletes your B vitamins and your energy, without it your gut heals and your energy comes back!).
He then went on completely on his own accord to do several juice fasts that were amazing for his liver and digestion, detoxing the stubborn chemicals held in fat.
We talked about places he could go when he was out and about and hungry that would be better options than the bakery or Subway (which although is marketed to be healthy is a horrendous concoction of chemicals which everyone should keep away from, contains same the same chemical that is in Yoga mats!). Healthy options were, sushi, raw food eateries and smoothie and raw juice shops. We went together had lunch, tried them out…..finding little gems that are local that have beautiful healthy food to grab on the run is really important. This reduces the impulsive buying of junk when you know there are other delicious healthy options that will satisfy hunger and provide satiety.
I explained to him that junk food and alcohol is highly acidic, our body is alkaline, so every time we eat acidic food our body has to strip alkaline stores off our muscles and bones to get our body back to being alkaline. This means that carbonated drinks, junk food and alcohol decrease our muscle mass, the very thing most men want to avoid. If men want to look hot and ripped they need to get rid of the food that strips down their muscles and eat food that builds it……greens, greens and more greens!
For the majority, women are the ones who buy the food and make most of the meals. We are for the most part in control of what our partners and children eat. We can control their health by purchasing plenty of fruit and veges, saying no to processed and packaged foods, buying in season and purchasing small amounts of good quality unprocessed meats, controlling portion sizes of meat and starchy carbohydrates (unlimited veges).
When we make a meal for our family look at the plate over half of that should be green and coloured vegetables, 1 quarter carbohydrates i.e. rice, potato, kumara, quinoa etc (this is optional its fine to have 3/4 vegetables as these are carbohydrates too) 1 quarter protein i.e. beans, meat, eggs. The protein and carbohydrate portion should be no bigger than or thicker than the palm of the hand of the person eating it. Yes men have bigger hands so they get more than us, it isn’t fair but that’s just how it is! Lastly there should always be fat on the plate. Fat ensures the hormones needed to process protein (Glucagon) and carbohydrates (insulin) work as they should. They are the gatekeeper of our hormones, they are essential. So always include good fats such as coconut oil/cream, olive oil, avocado, eggs, nuts and their oils etc.
Support is everything….if Scotty hadn’t had my support he would have been on a very slippery slope to ill health….heart disease, diabetes, cancer. Too many people these days are heading in this direction. All they need is support and education to break free and turn their destiny in a positive direction.
As a result Scott now 15 kg lighter, looking amazing and feeling so much happier. It’s terrible being trapped in a body that you don’t want or need. Being free of that is truly life changing.
Thanks and go forth and make healthy men and babies!
SUPPORTING OUR MEN TO RECLAIM THEIR HEALTH OVERVIEW
- Watch a health film as the catalyst for motivation to change i.e. ‘food matters’, ‘hungry for change’ or ‘fat, sick and nearly dead’
- Make breakfast healthy – eggs and greens or a smoothie that they can have for breakfast and then take another for morning tea
- Make their lunch initially (lets face it most men are pretty unkeen make their lunches, I found I had to do this to support him to eat well during the day) – transitioning them into making their own, which he now does! A big salad (make the night before at dinner put in the fridge for the lunch the next day), with a variety of different veges, include protein such as boiled eggs or soaked nuts/seeds toasted in tamari sauce. Because food like this is really dense in nutrients it makes them feel full and satisfied for a long time. However iceberg lettuce and a few tomatoes will definitely not have that effect, salads need to be full of plenty of veges, lots of colour and a variety of green leaves the darker the better.
- Fresh fruit in their lunches as well as raw baking i.e. date/nut/coconut balls
- Plenty of good fat i.e. nuts and seeds, coconut products, avocado, butter, lean meat
- Having a fresh vege juice or green smoothie when coming in from work is a great way to squash the need for an alcoholic beverage.
- Get rid of the junk out of the fridge and cupboard, if its not there no one can eat it!
- When you see them getting overwhelmed don’t push it….no one likes to have health advice pushed upon them.
Have a 90 / 10 rule, all good food at home, occasional junk where food can’t be as controlled. This is also pertinent for kids. Keep food at home ultra healthy so that when they get sweets at school, at a friends house etc their body is healthy enough to process it out easily. We can’t all be 100 % perfect living in an imperfect world.