Helping Dad Reclaim His Health by Peter Ballerstedt
In honor of Father’s Day, I was asked to share tips or advice on how to help a dad or husband eat “healthier.” My wife, Nancy, began her dietary journey several years before I got fully on board. Before I was ready to listen to her talk to me about it, she knew that talking to me about it wasn’t likely to yield positive, lasting results. So she took steps to produce the foods she wanted while providing what I said I’d like to eat. Finally, I had my own moment of clarity at Christmas of 2007. I saw myself in a family picture. I knew I had to do something, and Nancy was able to direct me to the books and blogs she had been reading. I made a decision to adopt a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (LCHF), although it would be a few years before I heard Dr. Eenfeldt use that term.
Before I get any further into this, here are a couple of disclaimers: First, I am not a physician or a licensed dietician. That may or may not increase my credibility. Either way, do not treat what I’m about to say as medical advice. Medical conditions require medical expertise. Second, I have no children, so I have NO experience-based advice about life in a household with children. And third, I’m stumbling along this path just like everyone else. Some days (weeks, months) I do better at it than others. I’m applying what I’ve learned by reading Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades, Gary Taubes, Dr. Richard Bernstein, and so many others.
It’s a loving thing to want to help our family members adopt a LCHF / Primal / Paleo lifestyle. But don’t forget that if Dad hasn’t made the decision to do so, and isn’t fully on board, your assistance will be perceived as a compulsion. Most folks rebel against compulsion. So, is Dad convinced that this is what he wants to do? If not, perhaps a copy of books like Protein Power Lifeplan, Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It, and Wheat Belly or a Fat Head DVD would be good gifts. Of course, he might not appreciate the implication – “You’re fat. Read this.” If that’s the case, maybe you should get buy these “for yourself” and leave them on the coffee table.
Assuming that Dad’s all for eating more animal products, and fewer grains and tofu, does he like to cook? If so, let him! (I know. It will be a sacrifice, but that’s what love does …) How well is your kitchen equipped? The way of eating Nancy and I follow requires more preparation and different equipment than what we had when we started. If Dad’s a kitchen geek, then gift ideas are endless: Enameled Dutch ovens, heavy roasting pans, stock pots, and good kitchen knives, to name a few. And if he’s into barbequing or grilling there are even more possibilities. Does he hunt or fish? If so, he’s probably got a list of things he “needs” to be a better hunter-gatherer.
If Dad doesn’t cook, does he want to learn? If so, some basic cookbooks focusing on meat, fish, poultry, eggs and vegetables might be good gift ideas. They don’t need to be LCHF / Primal / Paleo. The idea is to learn to be comfortable in the kitchen. We only use a handful of recipes. Nancy developed them from other folks’ recipes or her own ideas. Our way of eating is NOT complicated. Most of the meals I prepare are simple:
- Light charcoal.
- Season meat with Kosher salt and coarse-ground pepper.
- When the charcoal’s ready, place the meat on the grill. Cook to desired doneness.
- When done, remove from grill and allow to rest.
- Enjoy with a salad or fresh vegetables.
Helping Dad become comfortable in the kitchen will pay obvious dividends, not the least being he’ll learn to feed himself. Last month I spoke at an event hosted by one of Oregon’s county livestock associations. I gave two presentations: One is about the role of animal products, specifically beef, in the human diet, “Beef: The REAL Health Food” and the other on true sustainability, entitled “Red Meat is Green!” Both are intended to help folks think outside the box, trusting that once they do they’ll see just how many other boxes remain. After my presentation on diet and health, one gentleman asked how he could get his wife to serve him bacon and eggs for breakfast. Fortunately, I thought to answer that he could serve his wife bacon and eggs for breakfast. Perhaps predictably, about half the audience applauded.
Originally published in the June 2013 issue of CarbSmart Magazine.
89 Pages. Articles by Dana Carpender, Dr. Eric Westman, Amy Dungan, Caitlin Weeks, Valerie Berkowitz, Susie T. Gibbs, Jacqueline Eberstein, RN, and many more. Also includes 12 low-carb/high-fat recipes.
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