Crazy Diet People, Part 3

Mama at The Liberated Kitchen

Mama with some home-canned goodness

No matter what your special diet is, it will take some doing to stick to it. I don’t even think about our diet much when I’m at home, because we’ve set ourselves up for success. The whole family is cooperating, the foods we can eat are easy to get to, and the foods we can’t eat right now are out of sight and out of mind.

But it gets a lot harder when I go out with friends and everyone is sharing appetizers I can’t have, or when we’re invited to dinner and know that our friends don’t have the ability to cook for our diet. It’s even worse when well-meaning acquaintances relentlessly offer choice after choice, just hoping that eventually we’ll accept. In Part 1, I rambled about just how uncomfortable that can be. In the past, I tried to deflect these awkward situations by claiming to be on a “Crazy Diet.” In Part 2, we explored why that wasn’t such a great idea. Now, I’m trying to learn to say “No, thank you.”

Every person has their own reasons for sometimes needing to refuse what is offered. In our case, the thing about the GAPS Diet and being truly gluten-free, is that you’ve got to be very careful about the source of your food. If a friend made gluten-free bread, can you be sure they used a gluten-free mixer, knife and cutting board? Were the almonds used for flour organic, brined, then dried before being ground in a gluten-free processor? Did someone ever dip a knife used on toast back in the honey used as a sweetener? If a restaurant serves a beef stew, are you sure the cow was pasture raised, the veggies were all organic and cooked thoroughly, no canned stock was added, the salt was not iodised, and no thickener was slipped in? Especially in the first stages of the diet I’m on, the foods need to be home-made, in a trusted kitchen.

I’d rather not subject my friends to these kinds of standards and scrutiny, or accept something they offered and get sick because of it. I’d also rather not take a chance on a restaurant that might say they’ve accomodated me, just because they believe I’ll never know the difference.

It’s not that hard to say “No, thank you” the first time. But when the food is offered again and again it inevitably gets awkward. It can be so much easier to accept the offering, or make lots of excuses. But as someone with a special diet, I need to learn to stick to the diet in the face of social pressure and awkward situations. I think the only way it gets easier is through practice.

So next time I’m not sure about a food, I’m not going to ask a million questions. I’m not going to explain all the reasons I’m sure it’s wonderful but I just couldn’t possibly indulge. Instead, I’m going to restate my thanks, and the simple fact that I don’t want it. I’m pretty sure that someday I’ll be looking back and wondering why this was ever such a big deal in the first place.

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2 comments to Crazy Diet People, Part 3

  • Julie

    I wish that it was just other people. My husband thinks I am nuts, though he wouldn’t say that to me. I think he is hoping that I’ll “be over this diet stuff” soon. One child has markers for celiac but whose test came up negative when she was little (Down Syndrome and Autism), and my other has anxiety, sensory issues, sleep issues and obsessive tendencies (she fits the “high needs child” label.) I believe we have leaky gut and candida, so we are on full GAPS. We started Intro and got so constipated, the GAPS consultant recommended full instead for us. Anyway, it is hard because he could very well have undiagnosed celiac (italian and sicilian dh) but he would never change his diet. So we have a mixed household, and I feel like I am just being humored and not trusted that I am doing what’s best.

  • Renae

    I am allergic to a few foods and intolerant to a whole lot of foods. People are very understanding about my allergies, but when it comes to “intolerances”, only my best friend understands and I have the same problems you do with everyone else. So now when I have to tell people about my intolerances for the first time, I find that telling a white lie works the best – I just say I’m allergic to it and then I get sympathy and no more questions. I never lie about anything but this! I was just so desperate to not have to explain things… Some people would even think that I don’t like their cooking (“It tastes good!” they’ll assure me)!

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