Crazy Diet People, Part One

Mama at The Liberated Kitchen

Mama with some home-canned goodness

Way back when, I had a vegan husband. He wasn’t just any vegan, he was one of those vegans who actually didn’t own a piece of leather, avoided drinking beer, and wouldn’t use china because of the bone in it. I learned to cook vegan, pack food to other people’s houses, and make polite excuses for his unconventional diet. When we got divorced, one of my favorite things was not having to explain. I relished being able to accept an invitation to a friend’s house for dinner without asking for special accommodations or packing a seperate meal. I loved being able to accept, eat and enjoy anything offered to me. I never wanted to be one of those “Crazy Diet People” again.

Fast-forward a couple years, and TinyHands and I realized that for our son’s health, we’d have to go gluten-free. After some improvements without gluten, we did more research and decided to commit to the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Diet as a family. Even my ex-husband got involved, gave up his vegetarian ways, and started the GAPS Diet. Once on the GAPS Diet, we saw miraculous changes in both of the kids, and all three of us parents noticed our own positive changes as well. We were on our way toward restoring balance in our bodies and minds. Sticking to the diet, though, meant that we could no longer eat everything anyone offered us.

Refusing a well-intentioned offering is uncomfortable, and can be hurtful to the person who tried to accomodate the diet. They offered it up in love, and did their best to provide something safe for us to enjoy together. Not accepting this gift can be read as insulting. Not only am I implying I don’t trust their cooking, but I’m also putting my health above their friendship. I don’t think there’s an easy way around these implications… mostly because they’re true. I love my friends but I can not fully trust what food they have to offer because most of them have not:

  1. Done all the research necessary to understand our dietary needs
  2. Done the prep-work necessary to provide a truly gluten-free kitchen and GAPS Intro-legal ingredients
  3. Committed to improving their own health the way we have committed to improving ours

I don’t hold those things against them, and I don’t have negative judgement for them, either. While I may tell people how great GAPS has been for me, I don’t think everyone needs to live just like me. Each person has a unique set of priorities and an individual physical and emotional landscape that has nothing to do with what is working for my family at the moment.

However, years as a homeschooler and “Crazy Diet Person” have taught me that when one makes a choice that’s different from what most people do, explaining that choice – or even just exercising it – can be read as an attack. I just want to be able to politely decline an offering or bring my own food – without being seen as rude! Recently what I’ve caught myself doing to try to avoid hurting people’s feelings is mentioning “Our Crazy Diet.” I’ve hoped that they’ll understand that I just need to bring my own food and that I don’t expect them to try to figure out how to provide something for me.

The trouble is, it doesn’t really work. By trying to avoid hurting other people’s feelings, I’ve been asking them to discount me and my family as “Crazy Diet People,” and minimize the actual importance of the diet to our health. I’m pretty sure that needs to change.

Stay tuned for Check Out Crazy Diet People, Part Two, in which a “Crazy Diet Person” realizes her diet really is kind of crazy… in a good way

This post is part of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday!

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3 comments to Crazy Diet People, Part One

  • Gretchen Lindsey

    “By trying to avoid hurting other people’s feelings, I’ve been asking them to discount me and my family as “Crazy Diet People,” and minimize the actual importance of the diet to our health. I’m pretty sure that needs to change.”

    Indeed. Whole article is very well said. The three points that friends/family have not done is very true. I would add to it that some “friends” and family conveniently “forget” that I can’t have certain foods or even outright tell me they are not going to accomodate my needs, with no regard as to the consequences I would suffer. It’s as if they are trying to sabotage my health. You’re right (from part 2), they are not the ones with us in the bathroom later, feeling the pain we have, or watching us go manic. Learning to unlearn our cultural mandate to “indulge” (from part 2) has been difficult for me and my husband. I have to really get it through our heads that our health is more important than short term gratification or social grace. Thanks for the great article and good reminder.

  • […] We’re never going to be people who just eat anything served again, as much as I wish we could go back to […]

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