Wow, Rude!

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?

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11 thoughts on “Wow, Rude!

  1. I would respond by saying the third thing… Just tell them that you’re not doing potluck… if Ray is on board with you not doing it, then it shouldn’t be a problem. If they’re going to be rude to you because of that, then Ray is for sure going to notice… it’s not you that’s going to look stupid, it’s them. Or tell them that you suggest everyone brings their own main and you bring a salad to share each… you could bring the ceaser… I wouldn’t just let it slide. If it was your religious belief to not eat pork, then would they ask you to lift that for a weekend too, just because it’s easier for them? Stand up for yourself. People seem to think that anyone’s food choices are up for discussion and they aren’t.
    Also, who cares what you look like… If they’re that idiotic about food, then it wouldn’t matter if you were a supermodel, they’d probably just say you had good genes or something… like you said, people like them feel uncomfortable with anything outside the norm… screw ’em!

    • I normally WOULD bring the salad however my point from the get go is that I should not have to cook for six other people when what they cook is not going to be suitable for me to eat nor are they willing to make it so. At that point it’s just me making a dinner I can eat and then letting other people eat mine as well as theirs!

      Ray has definitely noticed how rude this whole thing is but again, he’s not sure what to do about it, not really. I specifically outlined that potluck does not work for us (it is US because I do our cooking and if it doesn’t work for ME then it doesn’t work for US) and they chose to ignore that and pretty much tell us to do it anyway. How do you respond to something like that? If your “friends” are that dismissive, arguing about it isn’t going to get you anywhere. Especially since what I’m arguing about isn’t their business, by charging ahead and “defending” my choices, I give them the power to keep weighing in on it.

  2. Ugh, that’s awful! I get so much slack from my family, but it’s like “Why are you eating healthy when you’re already skinny?” Um.. cause I like to feel awesome? And look more awesome? 😉 My BFs family is more accepting, and last time we had dinner there, they respected our Whole30 wishes, cooked our steaks up separately without the disallowed ingredients. Yet still had pasta 😦 Jealous. But at least there were good options.
    In the future, just say you are allergic.. people tend to respond better to having an allergy than a by-choice restriction. Like you’re allergic to wheat, so if they want you to have a bad reaction, sure, force feed it 😛
    I don’t really know what I would do in your situation since I don’t know the people, but I ohpe your man is supportive of your choice and will be on your side through this.

    • I have to say that I don’t agree that she should lie about WHY she’s not eating what she chooses not to eat. It’s none of anyone’s business and saying she’s allergic is lying about something that is not necessary to lie about. Why is it not okay to choose not to eat wheat? People choose not to smoke or drink beer or eat oysters etc… I think it comes down to the fact that if someone said to me ‘I dont’ want to potluck because I don’t eat xyz, then I’d say, ya okay, or send me your ‘no go’ items and I’ll potluck around that… I wouldn’t need them to lie to me about it…

      • I see your point.. and aren’t dietary restriction technically because our bodies can’t handle it properly? I eat the way I eat because I like how I feel, but just realized it’s easier to deal with people by keeping it simple without going into huge debates.

    • I agree, Jennifer, it is so much easier to say “allergy” because people tend to leave you alone. And it’s partially true, I have a terrible reaction to grain and I often simply say that it “hurts my stomach”. I may even have gone that route had the initial response I got back about “restrictions” not been so rude and dismissive. The other problem is that I have been slender for as long as these people have known me…and since we’ve all travelled together, they know that I used to eat bagels and cookies and granola bars so then it’s a matter of defending my “allergy” to them as well. My trouble is that they are close minded and being dismissive of me because that’s what they’ve always done. At this point I’ve really just dug my heels in about giving them any information about my choices at all.

      Ray is being very supportive, he has been about grain free from the moment I decided to do it. He’s rather unimpressed that his friends so easily dismissed me but he really is at a loss on what to do about it, he’s sooo not a boat-rocker.

      • That’s a stinky situation for him :\
        Most people (outside of my confused family), usually don’t have an issue if I say I’m cutting out processed foods, though I hate when they ask, “Why?” It’s just so much hassle arguing against the Standard American Diet. I wanna just be like Google. Read. Research. Stop stuffing your face.
        And yes, I like my junk food once in awhile so can’t argue 100% against it… it is an unhealthy vice, but we do it to keep our sanity. It’s just frustrating that you can’t enjoy what you want.
        Maybe pack your own snacks, but potluck meals something you’d eat?

      • LOL! YES! Junk food, it’s still delicious and that’s one more reason why I don’t necessarily want to say “allergy”. Because sometimes I will drink beer or eat my Italian neighbor’s to-die-for lasagna once a year and I don’t want to be judged.

        It’s so funny (not funny at all) that people are SO SENSITIVE when it comes to food. As though what we eat or don’t eat affects them at all! I can’t remember ever giving someone a hard time who didn’t eat dairy or doesn’t like fish or prefers tea over coffee. WHO EFFING CARES???!!!!! I have friends who don’t really like sweets, do I try and force or guilt or steam roll them into eating cake? Do I completely dismiss their personal preference as stupid and not worth worrying about? NO!

      • SO annoying!! I pick on my sister for being a vegetarian sometimes, so she equally picks on me. But the science behind is doesn’t lie!! I want EVERYONE to try a 30 days of no grains. By choice, not because their doctor told them to. Just so they can understand the benefits that we see.

  3. OMG. I know EXACTLY how you feel. My hubby’s mom still cannot make a meal that fits with how I prefer to eat (90% Paleo), last time she made Quinoa, Breaded Chicken Breasts, and Carrots for dinner. But, because my choice is more fitness/health related and I don’t have reactions/allergies it’s harder for me to say no. AND, I’m in the same boat size wise. I’m not fat, but I’m definitely not skinny enough for people to understand my decisions and not question them.

    I tried to do a PALEO only potluck for my Birthday last yr, and most of my friends dove in and were great, but some, not so much. People are just ignorant, and don’t understand how their decisions affect others.

    I like option 3, because I feel like it’s A) In your right to say and B) not rude at all.

    Hope this doesn’t ruin your weekend, I know how hard it is to eat “differently” than everyone else, but remember it’s healthier for you, and you feel so much better.

    -S

  4. I know how badly you just want to tell people to F-off when they act condescending towards your diet. I feel that way around certain people too. Unfortunately I have had to phase these people out of my life because of the constant peer pressure. You should not ever feel guilty about doing something good for you health. I think you should pick the third option. Confront the problem head on, but perhaps a bit more delicately. Explain that potluck style does not work for you and you would prefer not to do it that way, if they still choose to do so amongst themselves that is fine, but you will not be participating. Bring your own food, maybe a bag of doritos to throw in their potluck and just let it go.

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