I interviewed my husband, Tomas, to help other couples 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’d been on stage 1 of B.E.D. for a year to clear a stubborn systemic case of yeast overgrowth that was causing multiple health issues.
I was nervous that by sharing my body, I’d be re-exposed to yeast and bacteria from his own health issues and need to start my healing process over again.
At the time, I was a single mother working as a therapeutic chef and placenta encapsulationist and studying nutrition each evening in a graduate program. I was busy. Working his health/dietary needs was an added strain I’d do again in a heartbeat for eating the body ecology way brought us into balance (in more ways than one). I wish the same for you and your own intimate relationships.
Interview with Tomas:
Tara: What would you say to someone romantically involved while on B.E.D.?
I think most men aren’t going to read anything, so don’t even try that. Also, don’t overwhelm him. Do small steps with small goals like “let’s try this one thing”. Let him master that while offering a substitute (i.e. plantain chips instead of potato chips). Know that if the food he likes is not at home, he will likely look for a substitute and eat lots of it and overdose that food item. I think most men have the attitude that all this healing is bullshit, so to the men I say try and open your mind to entertain the idea. Do it because you love her, because you want to know her better. Personally, I don’t leave home much, so I’m not exposed to say pizza if I’m hungry. If your man leaves home a lot, pack his lunch, show him what to do. Make sure he has a beverage when he goes out. It’s a lot of work for a woman at the beginning; especially if getting on the diet was not his idea to begin with. In this scenario, the load is on the 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 but my dad didn’t change a bit in his ways, some men don’t.
Tara: So, if a girl wants guy to change diet then she needs to do 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 because he wants to. As guys, we are trained to listen to our mothers. What mother puts on table, we eat. Yet, imagine the guy who is a construction worker and stops drinking beer and eating pizza …. the other guys look at him like he has two heads, make fun of him, maybe exclude him from pack. It’s hard for the guy to feel different in this way. This has many layers.
Tara: 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 the whys. She can’t just say “stop eating sugar”. Men need to know in logical way why to do something. As the woman, you need a good argument. Ideally, the 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 on my sugar intake. That changed me a lot. It was hard, but worked. It may not work for everyone. Like for me it took me ages to learn that I can’t drink milk. I put my bet you pointed it out and I decided to skip milk to see what happens. I felt better and connected dots on my own.
Tara: This is a lot of work on my part to take responsibility for health of our relationship.
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. That when woman is out of sight, he’ll likely do what he did before because he’ll relapse the moment you close door. When you leave him alone, leave all sorts of snacks so he has no responsibility in that department. It’s shitty, but women must pull most of weight on her own if she wants to start this diet change.
Tara: 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 his ways, especially if there is no impending health condition. Baby steps. It’s a long run because we ‘guys’ don’t change habits easily unless there is an apocalyptic reason for doing so. Men are like dogs when it comes to sex and food. Give a dog a treat every time he does good. That is a lot of work, but there is a period of time when you have to train and reward us. It is like putting a frog in pot of cool water and you start heating it. That’s the old trick because the frog does not notice much is happening. The key is that the frog can’t notice what you are doing. Be clever.
Tara: 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 seem more sensitive and perceptive to. As a man I go to doctor, take pill, doctor tells how long I have to live and that’s that.
Tara: I don’t see you living 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.
Tara: Do you still feel that I am doing all the work or in charge of you anymore?
No, you still do more then I do in the kitchen and point out things when I have tendency to slip, but it’s not as much effort as in the beginning.
Tara: 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 foggy mind. That’s reminder for 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 ‘body ecology‘ 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 🙂
Tara: When we met, you struggled with health issues that made me nervous to share my body and I was nervous to get yeast overgrowth all over again through kissing and sex. This was a huge hurtle to accept you in my life (and body); especially after having stuck to a very strict healing diet for one year before meeting you. How did this make you feel?
This is about compromise. We couldn’t kiss, but 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.
Tara: In early days I was willing to do what it took to help you connect to your body because I wanted to be with you and you to have a healthy body to share. 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 someone 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 vaginal yeast infections. So, you as the woman are focused on healing yourself; meaning most of your energy is spent on yourself. So, look for a compassionate person who can understand the need to be self-absorbed. Do this diet for yourself. If you want a partner to do this, then it’s more work to make food, but if you run the kitchen and are head cook already, then you carry more weight and have more in your hands and in your control. If your partner participates that’s obviously better option, but they have to get into things and understand why.
Tara: We see things differently when it comes to healing, I am glad you are more aware of your health. I find that attractive. Any last words?
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 just be thinking this 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!