Whole foods, gluten-free, non-dairy diet and its effect on wife's personality - Talk About Marriage
Physical & Mental Health Issues Marriage and relationships are difficult by themselves, but coping with physical or mental health problems can make things even more difficult.

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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
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Whole foods, gluten-free, non-dairy diet and its effect on wife's personality

I am a newcomer here and am almost at my wit's end. I'll try to keep this brief but we all know how that goes when writing about a problem or group of problems.

My wife grew up in a home as the youngest child and was always shunned because she was overweight. Not obese or anything, but maybe 20 lbs. overweight at any given time. She also had some bad relationships in high school and college. All this pushed her to become active at the gym and on her bike (which is a great thing to do).

She is now in her early 40s with two great kids and in a financially stable home and a very stable relationship with me. Until lately.

She's always been one to dabble in the MLM things like cosmetics, foods and cooking utensils and spices. About a year ago she joined an essential oils MLM and all we have in our house now is diffusers and if one of us gets a headache out come the oils it seems.

I don't mind the oils at all. They genuinely seem to be a good thing for most ailments. But she has taken up something entirely new and I'm not sure what to make of it.

For the past 4 months she has been on a strict gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, no red meat diet. Combine with going to the gym 4 days a week, she has lost a considerable amount of weight in those four months...somewhere around 15 lbs. It would be more but she is a pretty muscular girl and a lot of fat is being converted to muscle.

This all sounds like a great thing and while I am happy for her, part of me is also watching her wither away mentally. She has gone from being a very positive person to someone who is always negative about the environment around her.

At home, she is beyond moody with our oldest child (9) and has no patience for him. She speaks to him in one tone of voice (a half yell if that's what could describe it). She insisted we all eat what she makes for dinner (remember it gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, no red meat) so what used to be things like fish and chips or fun foods for the kids has been replaced by black bean burgers and quinoa soup. Not exactly what the kids (or me) are looking for. So, after realizing none of us were eating what she was making, she has resorted to cooking two meals -- one for her and one for the rest of us. This has led to dinners pushing 7 p.m. and our youngest goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:00. Not exactly a lot of family time.

She's also "banned" junk food in our home like chips or ice cream. I understand she wants to eliminate any temptation, but I feel as though the rest of us are being cheated out of enjoying the odd guilty pleasure.

Our life in the bedroom has also suffered immensely, particularly of late. She works out early in the morning before I go to work and by the time 9:30 rolls around that night she is exhausted and just wants to sleep. In between, she works part-time (6 hours/day), does laundry, vacuums the house, dishes, grocery shops, cooks meals, does baking (because God forbid we actually buy a bag of cookies instead of baking two dozen every week), etc. I help wherever I can but she says I'm more valuable watching the kids (more like keeping them out of her way) while she does all this so I oblige her. So, by the time all of the daily things are done, there is no "us" time left in the bedroom (our oldest goes to bed at 8:30 and she's worried that if we are intimate before 9:30 he will hear us and by 9:30 she is too tired and just wants sleep).

I've also received some messages from a couple of her female friends who have noticed changes, too. She won't go for lunch with them anymore because of this new diet. Restaurant food is now disgusting to her and she won't eat anything unless she has made it or it is a raw food like a salad with a "pure" dressing or fruits or nuts. So, she is losing out on social outings with friends and even co-workers. My son recently had a sports wind-up and she packed her own meal while everyone else ate pizza and salad.

Her friends are also telling me that she wants to change jobs now because the janitors at her work are using harsh chemicals that leave behind an odour that is making her ill. I don't know what has changed being that she has been there for 10 years and it's the same janitors as always using the same products.

She's also gotten deep with some books about cancer and all the things that reportedly cause it and how to try and avoid it. This has led her to some pretty rash decisions. She has:
- thrown out her tooth floss (cancer causing)
- only drinks bottled water
- never re-uses a plastic water bottle
- only buys organic fruits and vegetables
- uses an all natural laundry detergent (which now gives me rashes but that's okay as it is better for me in the long run, so she says)
- only uses a homemade formulation of dish detergent (has gone so far as packing a bottle for trips to relatives and friends and insists they "try" it while we are there
- has switched from tupperware to glass storage containers
- insists I wipe down the interior of her SUV using a homemade soap formula instead of the stuff I have always used
- uses an all natural deodorant (I told her it doesn't work but she still uses it)

I could go on and on but those are the ones that come readily to mind. I'm to the point I've started speaking my mind with her and it's not going too well. I gave her an ultimatum earlier this week by telling her that unless she starts to moderate, she will lose everyone around her that loves her -- me, her kids, her family, her friends. My son figures she has lost her mind...that's how bad it is. She insists that she is only doing this to protect herself and the ones she loves and if they don't agree with what she is doing they are only harming themselves and that maybe they shouldn't be part of her "new life".



Does anyone else have a spouse that has gone down this road? Am I wrong to stand up to her and tell her she is going too far?

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 07:53 AM
jld
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Re: Whole foods, gluten-free, non-dairy diet and its effect on wife's personality

I have not gone that far, but have certainly tended in that purist direction.

She is scared. Can you put your finger on what she is scared of?

How do you think you could help her relax, and trust?

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 07:56 AM
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Re: Whole foods, gluten-free, non-dairy diet and its effect on wife's personality

So what happen recently before this started? Did someone died or got sick?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 07:57 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Whole foods, gluten-free, non-dairy diet and its effect on wife's personality

She lost her dad to an aggressive form of colon cancer about 15 years ago. That's the only thing that I can think of that would cause her to go to the ledge, so to speak. That, and she has developed a friendship with a person who is into homeopathy, natural healing, and is a tin foil hat wearing anti-vaccer.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 08:00 AM
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Re: Whole foods, gluten-free, non-dairy diet and its effect on wife's personality

This whole madness is her way to try to get some control of her life. She is afraid and worried. So, instead of getting help and talk about what is going on in her head, she is reacting by trying to get some control over her anxiety.

Would she be willing to get some grief therapy or see a therapist?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Whole foods, gluten-free, non-dairy diet and its effect on wife's personality

She has said in the past (before me) that she had been on anti-anxiety medication and it worked for the short term but she felt as though she was strong enough to not need it any longer (still before me). I'm really worried for her and our marriage at this point. We were both unhappily married previously with no children and I swore then I would never stay in an unhappy situation ever again. I love myself too much for that. But, part of me knows I need to be there for her to get this straightened out.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 08:14 AM
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Re: Whole foods, gluten-free, non-dairy diet and its effect on wife's personality

Before you give up, sit down and tell her all the things that you are worried about. Explain to her how you and her friends are seeing her. Then, ask her to resume therapy.

But in order for there to be any changes, you guys need to have a long conversation. Talk to her first before we at TAM start telling you to divorce your wife.

Give her a call and make some time to have the talk. Write down all your concerns and worries. Please remember you are not confronting or accusing her of anything(like she gone batch!t crazy). You are having a discussion on her recent behavior and how the changes are affecting you and the kids.

Remember you are the loving, concerned husband.

Let us know how she reacted.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Whole foods, gluten-free, non-dairy diet and its effect on wife's personality

We've had that talk at least 3 times in the past 3 weeks. One on one with no distractions or interruptions. The conversation has always ended with her saying "I am trying to do everything I need to do."
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 08:44 AM
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Re: Whole foods, gluten-free, non-dairy diet and its effect on wife's personality

What she needs to do is to get into therapy.

The things is you have to be careful with essential oils. Some of them affect your brain differently. They are medicines and not something to be played with. Some of them can make you depressed and affect your moods.

So, look thru everything she has and go online and research them. See which she might need to stop using.

Also, the whole food, gluten free thing is something that most of us are doing. Sorry to say that. My H took a kale, parsley, watercress, dulce, apple, carrot,ginger, beets, flax and hemp smoothie to work today. Trust me it ok tasting but not great tasting.

My poor H drinks and eat what I give him because I want him and the kids to be healthy. It's my way of showing love. I give them nasty things to eat. After awhile your taste buds changes and the food becomes ok.

What I have a problem with is her moods. (based on your description) If she is moving away from her relationships and is very short with the kids, then this is very concerning.

You must insist she gets therapy. She needs help. I am thinking she will become very closed minded and will not venture outside soon. I could see how she will just spiral out of control. Please be firm and take her to a therapist if you have to.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 08:56 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Whole foods, gluten-free, non-dairy diet and its effect on wife's personality

If I were to take an inventory of all the oils she's using it would take me a week to research them all. She's fairly high on "the up line" as she describes it and has pretty much every oil known to mankind and uses most of them for whatever she feels they are needed for.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate she wants us to be healthy like her. I don't like eating processed stuff or restaurant/fast food stuff very often either. But, there comes a time when too much is too much, if you know what I mean. When she sends the oldest to his room hungry because he won't eat his aragula salad with beet and mango dressing, that to me is crossing the line. The kid is 9 and wants "food". He's growing. You know it's getting bad when he texts me from home at 4 o'clock and begs me to come home and cook some burgers or a steak on the BBQ for supper "before mom gets here". And, I'm not stretching the truth with that example.

My own mother is becoming a bit of a recluse and believes everything she reads on the Internet. But, she's also in her mid-70s so that is sort of to be expected as she is in the early stages of dementia. My wife is in her early 40s and it's a very close race in terms of who will become a society-fearing hermit faster.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 09:13 AM
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Re: Whole foods, gluten-free, non-dairy diet and its effect on wife's personality

This is a long shot, but I imagine tackling head on will not work. She anxious and stressed and inclined to become defensive.

Rather than punch back or block this, roll with the punch. Perhaps, she would be open to meditation and yoga. Suggest this as something you are interested in and wonder if you could try it together.

I am worried about the son. I have a fairly purist diet, but as a teenager I needed a huge amount of food and not amount of leafy salad (which I eat a ton of) was going to cut it.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 10:06 AM
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Re: Whole foods, gluten-free, non-dairy diet and its effect on wife's personality

It sounds like your wife may have some anxiety issues that could benefit from not just therapy, but also perhaps medication to help her get stabilized. She's displaying disordered thinking about food that could easily slide into a full-blown eating disorder, if it hasn't already done so. She's displaying some OCD-ish tendencies and some irrational fears and paranoia. These things need addressing. If she's not willing to address them, you may have to press the issue as far as you can with her. If strong encouragement, progressing to strong insistence, fails to get her into therapy, you may eventually need to separate yourself and your children from what sounds like is becoming a rather unsettled home life.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-10-2016, 07:39 PM
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Re: Whole foods, gluten-free, non-dairy diet and its effect on wife's personality

It seems as if your wife may be receiving a kind of validation and support from her new friend that she feels she is missing in other relationships in her life. Because she is making these decisions unilaterally, without discussing them as a family, it also seems like she may be feeling that her thoughts and viewpoints are not valued at home. The conflict that has arisen over her unilateral decisions reinforces this perception and will likely only push her to make more decisions unilaterally. Somehow, this cycle must be broken.
I agree with others who have encouraged counseling. When she is openly willing to choose her new lifestyle over the most important relationships in her life, then there are deeper issues at play than what you are going to be able to resolve easily on your own.
The most immediate thing you can do is to encourage her to communicate her thoughts and feelings in a healthy way and listen intently when she does. Instead of asking her why she is making all of these decisions that you disagree with, try asking her how it makes her feel when you and the kids push back. Ask her if she thinks you are a good listener. Stay calm. Don't argue. Just listen to what she says. And whatever you do, don't engage her in a debate about the merits of her lifestyle choices until after you fix the communication problems. The biggest problem here isn't her lifestyle change. The biggest problem here is a breakdown in communication that is threatening your family.
As for the impact of these lifestyle changes on other aspects of her life, it may just resolve itself once she feels better able to communicate her thoughts and concerns at home and feels more at peace with the core relationships in her life. Right now she seems to be grasping for something she can control. If she feels she can't control things at home, she may be trying to compensate by taking more control at work and elsewhere. Fix the problems at home, and everything else may fall into place. If not, then counseling may also need to play a role.
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