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Dear Dr. Meinig: I was sickly, and at the doctor all the time until I learned about nutrition. Your columns have been a big help but I am disappointed that I can’t get many of my family and friends to see how changing their eating habits can help. I get so depressed trying to convince them. –V. S.
Dear V. S.: Those of us who have smoked and quit so clearly see the benefits and improvements, we often become tiresome bores when trying to convince others about the detriments of smoking.
Many drift into nutrition to solve health problems. When they succeed and observe all the other side benefits, often they, too, become crusaders. Years ago when I was discussing this same question with Dr. Michael Walsh, a noted nutritionist, he said he had also been guilty of pushing people excessively.
His solution when someone was reluctant or objected to his advice was to say to them….“I’m sorry to have pressured you. You are really not ready for this. When you are, please call on me and I’ll be glad to help you.”
Quite obviously if a person is resistant to your suggestions, nothing you say will change him. By accepting the fact, you switch antagonism to friendship. With family and friends you can insert subtle good nutrition changes in the foods you serve and these, if you are patient, will spark changes in attitude.
Often your silence on the subject will provoke questions and when so, a more intelligent exchange of ideas results. It sure is terribly frustrating not to be able to help a family member we love so deeply but it is their life. We can’t live it for them.