A guest blog post by my better half!
One of the things I gave very little thought to when I jumped into this relationship was how my diet would change. I mean, really, who thinks about that when they join lives? Plus, it’s different entering a new relationship more than a decade into adulthood. I got married relatively young. We grew up together. Our habits, the few we actually had, adjusted to one another. Mostly, we built a way of daily living that worked with the other.
With my partner, a few day-to-day habits had to be adjusted. Some are obvious and worthy of their own blog post: living with a woman, 5 kiddos instead of 1, new finances, a daily schedule bursting to accommodate new responsibilities, etc. The one the surprised me the most was a change to the way I eat. First, she does the grocery shopping. That had always been one of my tasks. I wasn’t sad to see it go. It was nice to have it off my to-do list. It was odd, though, not to have my go-to snacks in the home: a particular kind of granola bar, hummus, pretzel chips, cereal, toast, these brownie bars I loved, my energy drinks.
It was different with my partner. She eats (mostly) paleo so many of the items on my list would not make it into her pantry. In fact, I brought a loaf of bread home once when I was feeling ill. Kids 1 through 4 each commented on it and couldn’t believe their luck in having bread in the house. Recently, number 3 went out to eat with friends. She ordered a PB&J from a menu that included steak, burgers, and the like. She couldn’t have been happier and left our friend scratching her head.
The paleo thing wasn’t a new concept. My ex-husband had moved to a primarily paleo diet about three years before, so I was familiar with the concept. I enjoyed the meals he made, but always supplemented my dinner plate with a piece of bread or a big roll. I used the bread to fill my plate and my gut. And, I had refused to give up my favorite late night snack: a bowl of sugary cereal.
About two weeks into my new living arrangement I noticed something: I was famished! I remember telling her that I was having a difficult time making it through the day without feeling hungry and weak. She was hurt by the news and asked what kinds of things she could add to the grocery list to rectify the situation. I didn’t want to compromise her hard work with eliminating grains from the household, so I asked for a few concessions: my granola bars, a certain kind of apple, granola instead of cereal, and hummus. In return, she taught me to snack in a healthier way. I find that I eat even more often than I did before, because I’m munching on grapes, carrots, strips of fresh pepper, avocado, cheese, kale chips, and almonds.
It’s been 10 months now. You know what? I feel better. I can tell when I’ve eaten a bunch of gluten. It makes me feel sluggish. I still splurge every once in a while, because you know- eating is rarely linked to strong logic. Nettie laughs when I order pumpkin bread from Starbucks minutes after I rant about how she’s ruined me for gluten and how ordering pizza for dinner would be inappropriate.
The only real complaint I have these days about the way we eat is how difficult it is to do on the road. It takes creativity to stick to the no- grains rule when eating out. I have a spotty record, too. During a recent drill weekend, I ordered a chicken sandwich and ate it without the bun. I was literally holding a piece of chicken, tomato, bacon, lettuce, and mayo in my bare hands. It took extreme concentration to spare my ABU top from splatter. My hands were slick with mayo and chicken juice and I attracted quite a few glances. Paleo is messy!
One of the best parts of this adjustment is the quality of food. My partner’s a fantastic cook. Between her and the ex (he always cooked more than me), our family eats well. They dream up some lavish meals to serve mid-week and I pitch in on the weekends. I marvel at my guacamole-making skills (and talk the others into complimenting it- “best guacamole on the block”) and wow the kids with my paleo-divergent desserts.