I interviewed my husband, Tomas, to help other couples like ourselves better understand each other when one, or both, is healing with The Body Ecology Diet (B.E.D.). When I met Tomas in 2011, I was a year into stage 1 to clear a stubborn case of systemic yeast overgrowth.
I was nervous to be re-exposed to the yeast/bacteria I had spent the past year effectively ridding from my body. I wanted only to go forward in my health and had worked so incredibly hard to bring myself into balance.
I was a single mom working as a therapeutic chef going to graduate school to become a Holistic Nutritionist. I was busy. Working in a man’s health and diet needs was a strain I would do again in a heartbeat. Eating the body ecology way brought us into a balance that I wish the same for you and your own intimate relationship.
What would you say to someone starting a romantic relationship on B.E.D.?
I think most men aren’t going to read anything, so don’t try that. Don’t overwhelm him. Do small steps with goals like “let’s try this one thing”. Let him master that while offer a substitute (i.e. plantain chips instead of potato chips). If the food he likes is not home, he will look for a substitute and eat lots of that and overdose that food item. Most men have the attitude that this healing is bullshit, so to men I say try and open your mind to entertain idea. Do because you love her, because you want to know her better. Personally, I don’t leave home much, so I’m not exposed to pizza if I’m hungry. If your man leaves home a lot, pack his lunch, show him. Make sure he has a beverage. A lot of work for a woman at beginning if getting on the diet was not his idea to begin with. In this scenario, the load is on woman which is unfortunate. I saw this exact thing with my mom when she started yoga and wanted my dad to eat healthy. They didn’t make it. There were other reasons my dad didn’t change a bit in his ways, some men don’t.
So, if I want a guy to change diet I need to do all the work in beginning and hope he changes?
Not necessarily, just that diet changes she makes for him will hopefully open his mind and help him see results. Then maybe he will think about that and make changes as he wants to. As guys, we are trained to listen to our mothers. What mother puts on table, we eat. Imagine guy who is construction worker and stops drinking beer, eating pizza …. other guys look at him like he has two heads, make fun of him, maybe exclude him from pack. It’s hard for guy to feel different in this way. This has many layers.
What would make you change the way you eat and live?
As a man I want to understand how things work. I have to know why. She can’t just say “stop eating sugar”. Men need to know logically why to do something. As woman, you need a good argument. Ideally, man has a health issue that motivates him to change, otherwise women should expect to do most of work and expect push-back along the way. For me what changed was when you suggested I cut down my sugar intake. Was hard, yet worked. May not work for everyone. Took me ages to learn I can’t drink milk. I bet you pointed it out and I decided to skip milk to see what happens. I felt better and then connected the dots on my own.
That’s a lot of work to be responsible for the health of our relationship as a whole.
Not nice or fair at all. Kudos to women who try hard. I see women do all the work and men eat shit when she’s not there. When she is out of sight, he’ll likely do what he did before, relapse the moment you close door. When you leave him alone, leave snacks so he has no responsibility in that department. It’s shitty women must pull weight if she wants him to start this diet change. Once momentum gets going, things are easier.
Do you think men don’t care to eat well?
I am saying women should not get hopes high. It’s a gradual process to have a guy change ways, especially if there is no impending health condition. Baby steps. A long run because ‘guys’ don’t change habits easily unless there is an apocalyptic reason. Men are like dogs when it comes to sex and food. Give a dog a treat every time he does good, a lot of work but there is a period of time when you have to train and reward. Like putting a frog in pot of water and start heating it. The old trick because frog does not notice much is happening. The key is that the frog can’t notice what you are doing. Be clever.
Like when I mix cultured vegetables into your tuna salad?!?
Yes, it has to taste good, can never beat pizza, beer, bread, so make it taste good. Treat us like overgrown kids. Most men don’t take responsibility for health and destroy ourselves in this way that women are more sensitive and perceptive. As a man I go to doctor, take pill, doctor tells how long I have to live and that’s that.
I don’t see you that way now, I see us working in partnership.
Because I’m deep in. We passed the initial stage where you broke me in. Once I knew the why and tried and found it worked, we have a completely different story.
Do you still think I am doing all the work or in charge of you?
No, you still do more then me in the kitchen and point out when I have tendency to slip, but it’s not as much effort as in the beginning.
What keeps you on track with your health now?
I feel good doing what I do. I don’t feel good when I sidetrack to old ways. Say, you leave me home alone. I neglect cooking, eat out, eat frozen food, drink beer, coffee, smoke. I feel tired, sick, get symptoms I got rid of like bad breath and fog mind. That’s reminder why I do what I do. I’m at a point where you helped make changes and when I slip in my tendencies, they serve as a reminder of why I do what I do.
Tara: If I die tomorrow, would you keep eating the B.E.D. way?
Yes, I would.
Tara: Would you look for a partner who ate a similar way?
Yes, that would be hard one, I don’t know anyone else who does that.
Tara: I know lots of women who eat this way…
Maybe before you die, you could give me a list 🙂
When we met, you struggled with health issues that had me nervous to share my body. I was nervous to get back the very symptoms that I had worked so hard using a healing diet to heal. This was a hurtle to accept you in my life and body.
This is about compromise. We couldn’t kiss at first, yet we could cuddle. We could have sex as long as I wore condom. Men, get sheep gut condoms, best I tried, cost $5 each but when it comes to being intimate or not at all, they are good.
In the early days I was willing to help you with everything because I wanted to be with you and have a healthy body. I was also angry I had to take care of you like this.
Healing involves work for the woman. If you are looking for a partner, look for someone with open-mind, not necessarily on B.E.D., just open-mind. There’s also fact that as a woman when you begin diet your libido might not be on sex or you have yeast infection. So, as the woman are focused on healing yourself; meaning most of energy is spent on yourself. Look for a compassionate person who can understand need to be self-absorbed. Do this diet for yourself. If you want a partner to do this for your own benefit, then more work to make food, but if you run kitchen and are head cook already, then you carry more weight and have more in your hands and in your control. If partner participates that’s obviously better option, but they have to get into things and understand why.
We see things differently when comes to healing, I’m glad you’re more aware of your health, that’s attractive.
Some women might misinterpret a man saying ‘no’ to the diet as a personal assault or confrontation. They might get defensive because they think he is saying “I don’t love you enough to change for you” when really they might be thinking the food does not taste good. Lots of room for improvement.
Easy online quiz to see if yeast overgrowth is an issue.
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May all bellies be happy!