27 Ways to Live With Your Non-Paleo Spouse


Update 3/3/12: Based on the success of this post, I have started a new blog, PaleoNonPaleo, for paleo peeps living alongside non-paleo spouses and families. I have moved the full version of this article there. Click this link: 27 Ways to Live with Your Non-Paleo Spouse to be taken to it. 🙂

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You’ve read the books, commented on the success stories, learned to eat a salad or soup for lunch.

You’ve lost a few pounds and are working on cooking from scratch.

But as you study your latest new recipe, your spouse comes in.

He walks towards you with a smile on his face and you can tell he’s about to announce something big.

He holds up his catch, triumphant, a grin splitting his face in two.

Cock of the walk.

And he plonks his haul on the countertop.

You look at it, your heart sinks and you wonder how to burst his bubble gently.

He has brought home four gourmet double-double chocolate chip cookies.

Each the size of a small spaceship.

Read the rest of this article…

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy Presland
January 24, 2012 at 9:08 am

GREAT post Alison 🙂

I’m not paleo but I can relate exactly – hubby has all sorts of eating habits that I don’t get on with (including an – imho – unhealthy obsession with keeping bags of liquorice allsorts in the car).

I could go on but you said it better… 🙂

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Alison Golden January 24, 2012 at 9:34 am

Liquorice allsorts. Oh dear. I used to have one of those obsessions too. I still have to avoid them in the duty free while I’m waiting for my flight back to the US. 🙂

Seriously though, I’m glad it was useful to you especially as you are not paleo. These principles apply to so many situations.
Alison Golden recently posted..27 Ways to Live With Your Non-Paleo SpouseMy Profile


Dean Dwyer January 24, 2012 at 9:15 am

Great post Alison. There are a lot of people who really struggle with this. You could probably commit a whole website to people who have to go this alone.


Alison Golden January 24, 2012 at 9:36 am

Dean! I finally got you over here. While I was writing it, I was thinking this is even longer than one of your epics. And yes, another website. So many great ideas…
Alison Golden recently posted..27 Ways to Live With Your Non-Paleo SpouseMy Profile


Nichole Wherry January 24, 2012 at 10:02 am

THANK YOU for this timely post. I reallllly needed this.


Alison Golden January 24, 2012 at 10:53 am

I hope it helps, Nichole. You are not alone, that’s for sure.
Alison Golden recently posted..27 Ways to Live With Your Non-Paleo SpouseMy Profile


Kris Wosneski January 24, 2012 at 10:16 am

Oh my goodness, I can relate to soooooo much of this post!!! My now-ex was and still is this person you were speaking about (passive-aggressive and disrespectful). When our son (not quite 3 1/2-years old) is with me 5 days a week, he eats clean and healthy as best as I can get him to, which is easier and easier each passing day. I have now finally broken him of his bread eating here, too; as I no longer buy it for him – slow weaning process there for him on that front. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he LOVES his raw veggies and fruits!!! However, when he’s with his dad, his dad feeds him 90-95% crap. Basically, unless my son specifically asks for something healthy, he won’t get it. Heck, one day last week his lunch was Taco Bell and both breakfast and dinner were huge muffins like you get at the big-box stores. At least he got a piece of fruit in for the day and some bacon at breakfast. So, I’ll keep on feeding the two of us our healthy, wonderful, whole/Paleo-type foods, and hope he’ll learn in time to stick up to his dad and ask for good/real food, not crap from a drive-thru or comes out of a box. Your post helped to reaffirm that I’m on the right track and that I have to “let it go” if it happens outside of my home, as I have no control over it. Thanks so much for this awesome post!!!!


Alison Golden January 24, 2012 at 10:52 am

Yup, you got it, Kris. Keep calm and carry on exactly as you are. 🙂
Alison Golden recently posted..27 Ways to Live With Your Non-Paleo SpouseMy Profile


Tracy Seman January 24, 2012 at 11:06 am

Great post and I can’t wait to share with my clients. My husband never tried to sabotage me luckily. He’s been through all my “crazy” diets. From eating all the junk food I wanted during to marathon training to a organic vegetarian to clean eating, low fat, complex carbs. When I started Paleo he thought it would be another diet I would quit. Luckily for me, he did finally cave in and switch to a 100% Paleo lifestyle after 7 months of resisting. 😉


Alison Golden January 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Please do share, Tracy, there seems a real need for this information. And good job on hanging in there with him. 🙂
Alison Golden recently posted..27 Ways to Live With Your Non-Paleo SpouseMy Profile


Aseafish January 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Very nice post. You are so right about the challenges and need for patience. I think I need to work on the enabling issue. I tend to offer potatoes or toast when I’m feeling generous. Not such a good idea.


Alison Golden January 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Hi there, I think the enabling thing is mostly easy to fix once we catch ourselves doing it. Takes vigilance, and even after all this time I have to watch for it myself when someone is feeling down, but it is quite doable when you start to see what you’re doing.
Alison Golden recently posted..27 Ways to Live With Your Non-Paleo SpouseMy Profile


Aseafish January 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm

That’s a good point. The idea that it was enabling never crossed my mind. Now, it’s likely it will always be there.
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Renae January 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Thankyou for this, it is fantastic. Loved reading it.


Alison Golden January 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Glad you enjoyed it, Renae.
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Mary E. Ulrich
January 24, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Isn’t it funny how our spouse will tell us they love us and in the same sentence say something which violates something we are passionate about?

I’m glad your husband came over to Paleo, even if it took a while.

I need to learn more about Paleo and just better health in general. Thanks for all your points Alison, you are right, they are about good communication.
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Alison Golden January 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Isn’t it just, Mary? And you know, we all do it and don’t even realize we’re doing it…;-)
Alison Golden recently posted..27 Ways to Live With Your Non-Paleo SpouseMy Profile


Mel January 25, 2012 at 6:11 am

Awesome post – I needed to read this. I’m surrounded by people who are not at all Paleo and could care less what they eat. I’ve been Paleo for a year and have never felt better and the hubby is never going to go Paleo and I’ve had to accept that. It’s tough with a 4 year old and with a group of friends who act like my head has fallen off for the way I eat but I know how I feel and that makes it worth it but always nice to know others have the same problems!


Alison Golden February 4, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Thanks, Mel! I’m so glad you’re feeling good. I hope to see you on my new site: PaleoNonPaleo


Honey Smith January 25, 2012 at 8:06 am

I needed to read, hear, re-read and hear this soooooooo badly. Everyday has been a struggle for me (I bet you can guess, I was the non paleo, frustrated, didn’t get it one, in my marriage). Thank you for your words and thoughts. It was truly uplifting.


January 25, 2012 at 8:57 am

Queen of Paleo should be your middle name, Alison!

Wow–talk about an impressive, well-researched and super informative post. Not to sound like one of THOSE people, but I don’t know anything about the paleo diet. I’ve heard a lot of discussions online, and a fellow-kickboxer sent me an email with some of the recipes. They sounded yummy, Blueberry Balls was one. Ironic that I believe I ‘liked’ their FB page…

I’m definitely a die-hard carb addict. I heard our bodies predominantly crave carbs, or protein–wish I was in the latter camp.

I think I may check out the Paleo diet on amazon.com–it’s seriously time to get serious about clean living.

Btw, and you probably know this, but you could insert almost any life change in here as a guide for supporting a loved one going through a transition.

Awesome writing–you should get paid for this one…

(TY for the lovely mention, too :)).
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Alison Golden January 26, 2012 at 7:09 am

Hi Linda! Thank you especially for the comment about the information being helpful for anyone going through a transition. I am a carb-aholic but I am in recovery – it can be done! And I’m working on the e-book…;-)
Alison Golden recently posted..27 Ways to Live With Your Non-Paleo SpouseMy Profile


Divina R. January 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm

A lot of people have problems losing weight but what about people who are having problems with gaining? What can you suggest to them?

Thanks for the healthy living encouragement here!

Divina R. recently posted..how to pick up womenMy Profile


Kathy February 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm

This was great to hear. I’ve been eating primally for about 5 months, and gluten free for about a year. I had a lot of low level food intolerances to sort out, so my husband was understandably confused about what I did and didn’t eat for a while (it kept changing). Now he pretty much “gets it” and is very respectful (a bit in awe of how healthy I eat). He doesn’t eat fast food, and we eat mostly organic, but he is Italian, and loves his pasta and bread. He also loves feeding them to our 3 year old, to literally get “food love” (she will shower us with kisses while eating pasta- really). I loved the part about kids being able to change. Right now I just try to get my daughter eating more vegetables, and she will put away her meat and eggs. She loves to run, so I think that will help her keep from developing insulin resistance. Hoping my hubby will come around, but for now I don’t try to convince him, just lead by example. When I get “hot” he’ll have to keep up : )
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Alison Golden February 4, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Mine took 15 months so anything it possible with husbands, I’ve found, Kathy 😉 Keep on, keepin’ on. I’ll be launching PaleoNonPaleo on Feb 14th for those of us living going it alone. Hope to see you there!


suz February 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm

I’m so fortunate that the rest of my household has been inspired enough to switch over to Paleo too. Must be so much harder living with people who don’t share the same health focus.
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Evelyn August 4, 2015 at 7:09 pm

Hi there to all, the contents existing at this site are really amazing for people knowledge, well, keep
up the good work fellows.
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