Recently, we were asked how to balance meals when one individual is an under-weight-open-to-raw-semi-carnivore and the other is overweight and feels the need to be on a raw food diet to lose weight and regain health.
Many of you reading this will agree: It's wonderful that the partner is open to the raw food diet! That's going to make life so much easier. Many on the raw food path lack a supportive partner, and that's an issue we've discussed in the past here on the blog and will continue to address in the future.
In this instance, where one partner is underweight, it brings up a question for us: Why is the partner underweight? Are there enough calories being consumed (take into account that a highly active individual will need more calories)? Is there a digestive disorder causing foods to not be assimilated properly? It's equally as important to figure out the root cause of an underweight issue as it is an overweight issue. We should all strive to maintain a healthy, balanced weight for our bodies. I'd encourage this individual to figure out what's causing the under weight issue.
Aside from that, someone underweight can try adding more of the calorie-dense parts of meals to their dinner plate (more of the nuts/seeds, sweet fruits, dried fruits and nut snacks). For instance, if you've created a raw fettuccini alfredo, be sure to add a more generous portion of the alfredo sauce to your plate if you need to gain some weight. With desserts, a larger portion should be eaten by the underweight individual, as well. It sounds like common sense, but sometimes little simple things like this can make a huge difference in one's diet. (Of course, adding large amounts of fat just to increase calories isn't going to be the healthiest way to obtain a truly healthy body. The underlying issue needs to be addressed, first.)
For an overweight individual, one of the easiest things to do is start your afternoon and evening meals with a large, green salad. This will create a lot of bulk in your belly and you'll be less likely to consume more calories than desired when you eat the rest of your meal. A small salad can be served to the underweight individual (since you want room in the stomach for the more calorie-dense foods), while the overweight individual should fully enjoy as large a salad as desired.
Since, in this instance, the partner isn't exclusively eating raw foods and isn't a vegetarian, it might be a good idea to serve the same raw meal, but have the underweight partner also consume some cooked foods or meats along with the healthy raw meal. If the individual needing to gain weight can put something into the oven to bake, the time while it's baking can be used for the overweight individual to eat a large salad while also preparing the rest of a raw meal that can then be eaten together once the baked food is ready.
Portion sizes are really going to be your best way to balance the two differnt caloric needs. A fun way to approach this might be to buy some new dishes that look good together -- a larger-sized plate and bowl for the underweight partner that looks nice on the table next to a smaller-sized plate and bowl for the partner wanting to lose weight. In that way, both can have full plates and bowls of the meals that are prepared, yet they'll contain different amounts of calories.
Most important in all relationships, of course, is to open up a dialogue about any issues. Make it clear that you know what you need to do for yourself (consume a raw food diet) and that you would like your partner's advice on how to work things out in a way that both of you will feel happy and satisfied at meal times. You'd be surprised at how helpful others can be if you ask for their help in figuring out a solution to a problem (especially when the issue includes them).
How many of you have found ways to work with your partners when it comes to meal time and different food preferences Please share your comments, now, to help others.
Photo Credit: daveograve on Flickr (Creative Commons)
Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.
On June 22, 2011, wrote:
I agree that the same two people can eat similar foods and the way they order them makes a difference. To lose weight, you eat the fiberful foods first. To gain weight, make sure to eat those, but not in excess and along with more calorie-dense foods first. Great advice!
On June 24, 2011, wrote:
Thanks, Bitt! I'm glad you liked the post. :-) *blows kisses*