Food has been the most challenging part of our entire marriage. We always compare ourselves to the cobbler’s kid having no shoes. I am a dietitian whose entire life revolves around eating healthy, and my husband’s favorite foods are mac & cheese, chicken, cheese, mashed potatoes, french fries, cheese, candy, and, oh did I say, cheese. This makes for great entertainment for our friends and family, but causes frustration for this dietitian. Since moving to LA there have thankfully been some wins for health in his diet. He LOVES quinoa and has started drinking smoothies with oatmeal, flaxseed, strawberries, raspberries, and wild blueberries! That is a miracle and took a lot of convincing and begging. Kyle has adopted the philosophy that if the food is prepared by a great chef and it’s cooked the best possible way, then he is willing to try anything, including octopus (He loved grilled octopus.. seriously, who is my husband?!)
Unfortunately for me, he knows I am not an amazing chef so is a little less apt to try the food I make. He definitely likes my cooking, but if I make salmon there is NO chance of him trying it, darn it.
Lately, he has been more open to beginning to eat healthy. This is great for me but unfortunate for him; his joints have been hurting more. The pain comes from years of mixed martial arts, sports (yes he did in fact play sports even though there is no interest in them now), playing his guitar for hours and hours everyday, and a genetic predisposition to arthritis. So, the Perrins are going on an anti-inflammatory diet. Pray for us!
I thought I would share our diet goals here and what we are going to begin integrating into our daily lives. Hopefully it will be helpful to you and can be added simply into your life as well.
Fruits and Vegetables:
This will probably be the biggest obstacle I will ever face as a dietitian, getting my husband to eat fruits and vegetables. The first strawberry that Kyle ever ate was with me on our one month anniversary of dating – he was 22 years old. I did get him to like crispy kale (win), but currently he only likes it on pizza (fail). My plan of attack is starting with smoothies and juices. This way he will at least be getting some of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that fruits and veggies provide. The next is going to be hiding them in his food like a sneaky sneak. A food processor is going to be my best friend.Fruits and vegetables are the most important part to begin integrating for Kyle, or anyone who is suffering from inflammation. There are many amazing antioxidants that are present in these foods but also phytochemicals to help reduce the amount of inflammation being produced. When choosing fruits and vegetables, choose lots of colors. This ensures that you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. To maximize the amount of antioxidants, choose from the berry family, dark leafy green vegetables, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage). For more specifics on this click here.
Kyle actually knows a lot about the different types of fats. Well, actually let me restate that, Kyle can say a lot of words about fats. Most of the time they are used incorrectly. This is due to the fact that my thesis was all about fat metabolism and how different fats affect our feelings of being full. So, if you say MUFA, PUFA or SFA in front of this man he knows exactly what you are talking about (he actually listened to me all those times I practiced my defense!). What he doesn’t know is how they work in the body and what he should be eating.There is a lot of research on the balance of fats within the body and how this affects inflammation and heart health. Most people know that they need to avoid saturated and trans fats, but most don’t know that Omega-6’s and Omega-3’s need to be in a correct ratio. There needs to be more Omega-3’s than Omega-6’s. Omega-3 fats are found in flaxseeds, salmon, chia seeds, brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and walnuts. Unfortunately most standard American diets aren’t high in these foods, leading to an increase in saturated fat consumption and a ratio higher in Omega 6’s (corn oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil) increasing inflammation and leading to many health issues.We have started increasing Kyle’s Omega 3 consumption in the smoothies with flaxseeds, and I might also add some chia seeds. Fish oil supplements might be in our future until I can get him to try salmon, brussels sprouts, or spinach. There are some great fish oil supplements out there, but if you are a person who eats plenty of the sources listed above then you probably don’t need to be taking a supplement.
Eating a diet lower in animal protein and higher in vegetable protein and fish is recommended for lowering inflammation. Kyle really only likes chicken. Obviously he will continue to always eat chicken, but hopefully it will be mixed in with some vegetarian meals – a girl can dream right? He has never been a big red meat fan until recently. Once you meet Kyle, his eating habits become a fascination because they don’t make sense at all. For example, he likes tacos but not hamburgers. So, it becomes a goal to get him to try something new. The band he is in (He plays for Brynn Elliott, she is amazing check her out) found out that he had never had bacon and were on a mission to get him to like it. They unfortunately succeeded. A sentence came out of his mouth recently that shocked me, “Dang! I should have gotten the Mohawk burger because it has bacon on it.” Burger, bacon?! Who are you and what have you done with my husband? Thankfully he doesn’t eat it often so the red meat fight doesn’t really have to happen. He already limits that pretty well.
Choosing whole grains, quinoa, bulgur, millet, wheat berry, brown rice, etc… is the better choice. Thankfully Kyle likes quinoa and when ordering pizzas goes for the whole grain crust with flaxseed these days. This one is pretty easy to integrate for us.
A bowl of macaroni & cheese, double stuffed Oreos, pizza, and chips would be in Kyle’s imagination of Heaven for sure. The lure of processed goodness is too much for this man and he caves almost everyday to it. To really decrease the amount of inflammation in the body you need to limit the amount of processed foods you eat. This is a huge challenge that we will have to tackle one day at a time, especially considering there are double stuffed Oreos in our pantry right now.
Drinking primarily water is preferred for anti-inflammatory diets. If you do choose to drink, red wines (Spanish to be specific) are preferred because of the antioxidant content. Thankfully for us, dark dry red wines are our jam.
This is just a simple overview of how to alter the diet to lower inflammation. Kyle and I are about to embark on our greatest journey dealing with food, and I am both excited and petrified. I will be adding recipes that I find and try out. If you are also married to, have a child, or are a picky eater, I hope that some of the ideas I have for attempting to get my husband to eat healthy could also help you!