Ok, so since you already know I tell you quite a lot of unflattering stuff about myself (though admittedly not everything- no need for you to feel superior), the following incident didn’t make me proud but did teach me an important lesson- so here it is:
A few years ago, my sister got divorced (amicably– that’s the most important thing to remember about divorce in my opinion-remembering the bigger picture at stake, leaving ego behind especially if you have kids! *not a marriage counselor or anything of the sort).
Anyway- she came to a holiday dinner at our house with her boyfriend. (seems funny to call people that when over 40 but they weren’t living together or anything so they weren’t partners-if you have a better word for it please comment).
Said boyfriend was a licensed dietitian (and- just so you get the full picture- very lean and handsome- this needs to be recognized- because jealousy probably accounted for much of what happened afterward) and everything was as usual during the first course (vichyssoise- french leek and potato soup – I was trying to be fancy- it was a few years back- don’t do that anymore), but when the main course was served (beef my mother brought with all kinds of sides-again going fancy then)- the guy took out a small tight lid container and put a slice of baked salmon on his plate- and started to eat it.
Everybody stopped talking and eating and just stared at him in disbelief.
I mean- this was the first time we met him, and nothing prepared us for the salmon appearance on his plate.
We got back to usual a while later, but wow the jokes told behind the poor guy’s back were vicious.
I mean reminiscing the “salmon situation” at e v e r y family gathering after, and adding a cruel joke about any other odd situations the guy encountered- he seemed to have chipped a tooth chewing on a carrot, threw up on a merry go round, cried on various occasions- I mean we were mean. the only thing I can say in our defense was that it was never when either he or my sister were there.
The thing is-
I am well aware he had every right to eat whatever he wanted, and since he evidently followed a rigid diet- to not have our family gathering compromise it.
I understand this because I am exactly like that.
Told you I wasn’t proud of myself.
I believe in respecting other people’s food and diet choices – because I believe my choices should be respected as well.
So what happened there? why did we make such fun of the guy (albeit only behind his (lean) back?
I am not proud to admit I think we were just plain jealous of the guy- not only for being so dedicated to his profession (+looking that way ) but also for having the freedom to just do whatever he wanted, regardless of what we may (why may? did in fact) think of him.
Looking back on the incident- I am sorry for being so small and envious because now I definitely expect everyone to be accepting of my “strange” eating habits.
I’ve been vegan for almost 9 years now, I don’t eat deep-fried food or anything else that strikes me as unhealthy- and to top all that- I practice intermittent fasting for up to 20 hours each day- leaving me with a 4-hour eating window- which is very convenient on a routine daily basis- but not as easy going when family gatherings are concerned…..
I tried to think of ways to tackle this obstacle- for any of you who might face this situation from time to time (us introverts perhaps less frequently but family is family-and the inconvenience is even more present IMO when parents are concerned) and I think perhaps these 3 tips might help:
#1: Make sure to be upfront about your food choices in advance:
Don’t expect everyone to remember your current diet restrictions/choices – apparently, people have other concerns too, which may sound strange -but alas is true. I believe it is more respectful to approach the entertaining person in advance- before he or she goes shopping for the meal and starts cooking it- and even before they start planning it- and tell them that you avoid whatever food or foods that you avoid, and doing it in a pleasant and polite way, is much better than to take out a container of your own food at the middle of dinner. you can ask the person cooking politely what is planned, and see if you can accommodate yourself in a way that won’t compromise your diet choices- but will enable you to participate with everyone else. if there’s nothing for you to eat- or only one dish and you love eating- then hop over to tip #2!
#2: Don’t expect everyone to comply with your every whim: bring a few dishes for everyone to share!
Perhaps you are the only vegan-no gluten- or no dairy in the family- I believe that expectations of elderly parents preparing a full range of dishes just for you- is a bit too much. why not bring a signature dish or two of your choice- that way not only can you enjoy dinner with everyone else- but they can taste your food too- perhaps enjoy it as well! I happen to believe in the “everybody brings a dish to dinner ” way as a rule- mainly because as parents grow older-they can’t handle cooking for big family gatherings, and even if they can- why should they? if everyone brings something- then everyone washes dishes and cleans up – the host can actually enjoy hosting and being a part of the conversation.
#3: Should everything else fails -just eat before.
If you practice intermittent fasting and the gathering happens to gather at an hour far from your eating window- just let the host know you will be enjoying everyone’s company but drinking herb tea only- and make sure they are not offended. explain that this way of eating is important to you and you don’t eat at these hours, but you love them very much and would very much enjoy their company -whilst not participating in the specific eating situation.
Hopefully being upfront about the situation in advance- thus saving the host the trouble and expenses of including you in their planned cooking and the fact that you will be as polite and loving about it as you can- will help make this as stressless as possible.
I personally don’t believe in making exceptions to a diet regime because of social pressure- be it family or friends, but I also don’t believe that being rude about it is the way to go.
Hope this helps anyone- the cooliflower.
I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog, therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.