OK, grain free, primal, paleo community, I need some help.
I’ve chosen to go completely grain free for a number of reasons. One reason is that certain grains hurt my stomach. Not all of them, so if I really wanted to, I could simply eliminate wheat and brown rice. But after the complete overhaul that was “grain free”, I chose to never add back any grains or legumes. In 9 months I’ve eaten something with grain in it 3 times. All three times I paid dearly but all three times had their own reasons for being completely worth the pain and illness afterwards. I don’t drink beer anymore except on a special occasion and only if I don’t have to fit into pants or a skirt that aren’t stretchy within three days afterward.
I’ve never really had to defend myself from this choice, I’m very fortunate. I know that others who go this route, especially if they choose to go even more restrictive for whatever reason, get a lot of flack and are made to feel stupid or uncomfortable or are made to doubt their choices by people who either don’t understand or who choose to get involved in something which Does Not Affect Them.
I’m now in a situation where I am going to have to stand up for the decision that I made for my life (and part of Ray’s) and be poked fun at, eye rolled and ultimately disrespected. If you have never made the decision to go grain free (or vegan, same social obstacles) then you may think that what you eat shouldn’t be such a huge deal. You would be absolutely correct however people; friends, relatives, acquaintances; all feel that they have the right to question, doubt and belittle the choice because they have no frame of reference and more than likely it makes them feel uncomfortable.
We’re going camping next weekend with some friends that Ray has had since before he and I got together. We’re not going far, only about 40 minutes from home and there is only going to be one overnight. Last night we got an email from one of the couples wanting to get a plan going as far as the meal the one night we’re there. She said “potluck or joint menu, we’re good with either, thoughts?”. I responded and said that due to dietary restrictions that some or all of us may have (they have cholesterol, egg and certain veggie issues) that it would be easier if each of the three couples just took care of their own meal and we all can eat together.
The response I got put my teeth on edge. “Perhaps you can put your “dietary restrictions” aside for the weekend.”. I have not since responded. The third couple sent an email confirming that the group consensus is a potluck and one is bringing pasta salad, one is bringing garlic bread and corn on the cob and they want to know what we’re bringing.
My trouble is that I am about 20 years younger than all of them (if you’re new to my blog, Ray and I have an age difference) and while we have all gotten along fairly well, any concern, issue, annoyance, opinion, idea or thought that I have which they don’t agree with gets me a hypothetical head-pat and eyeball roll and then they all just steam roll over top and carry on. As though I am just a dumb kid.
So now I don’t know what to do about this potluck thing. I am not potlucking because it’s not fair (yes, I realize life isn’t fair but you should be able to manipulate your own life a little to make things work) that they bring food I can’t eat and that all I will end up eating is whatever I bring and that I also have to share it.
The passive aggressive part of me wants to never respond and then when it comes down to that meal and I didn’t bring anything to “share” that I’m going to remind them that I already stated my position the first time, potluck does not work for me/us.
The more outwardly aggressive part of me wants to make a bacon, full fat mayonnaise, raw onion, avocado and walnut “salad” because those are all the ingredients that they can’t eat.
And the really aggressive part of me wants to email them back and say simply, “While I appreciate where you’re going with this, my nutritional choices and issues do not turn off on weekends. Potluck does not work for us. Thanks.”
I’m really not sure where to go with this. Obviously I don’t want to make waves, especially ones that ride over into the actual face-to-face weekend. But I also am not willing to roll over on this. If I send the third option above, they are all going to be annoyed and/or make me feel like an outsider when it comes to meal time. And given that Alien will be with us on this camping weekend, I really am worried that I am going to defend myself loudly and in person if that should happen.
My other issue with the whole thing is….less intelligent….but I can almost guarantee that grain free/paleo/primal women may know what I’m referring to. I don’t feel like I am skinny enough or lean enough or fit enough to visually defend my choice to not eat grains. Even if someone has never heard of grain free, paleo or primal, if you’re doing something that is on the fringe of conventional wisdom, you will absolutely be judged first on what you look like. It’s not right but it’s true. If I said I was on an all chocolate cake diet and I was muscular and lean and completely devoid of excess body fat, people would sit up and take notice because clearly there’s something to this. If I was on an all chocolate cake diet and I was flabby and pale and a tired looking, that would give them the ammunition they need in order to belittle the decision.
I’m not saying I’m flabby, pale or tired on grain free, not at all. I look…..normal. Not fitness or swimwear model, not stunningly athletic. Just. Normal. It’s not sexy like a chocolate cake diet could be (meat, veg, fat…boring!), it’s complicated and too much work and people don’t get why you would go to so much effort just to look….normal. So they disregard (especially if they already see you as a child amongst adults) and disrespect.
So, what would you suggest? How do I respond or do I even respond?