Food is a source of connection.
It’s what brings us together and is the centre of most celebrations.
But what happens when we suddenly make changes in our eating?
In addition to adjusting to the changes you’ve made yourself, you also have to deal with other people’s reactions. If you have an opinionated family, or encounter those people that just don’t believe in gluten sensitivity, (especially the older generation) you’re going to need a few strategies to make it through gatherings without being triggered.
Interestingly this topic comes up a lot in my programs, as participants find their partners just ‘don’t get it’, or friends think they are on a ‘silly diet’. It can cause quite a bit of stress, especially if you encounter the debaters, who seem to know what’s right for everyone.
I personally have learned not to debate, and I just get on with being me without getting caught up in the stories others might have. For me, the confidence to set clear boundaries for myself with food has become more clear through knowing and understanding myself and my body. Being empowered with knowledge is the real game changer, not for debate, but for your own peace of mind.
At the same time being sensitive to where other’s are at is a vital tool.
We are not all in the same place, right? We enter into health and don’t know everything right away. It takes time. None of us have all the answers.
Peoples judgements and discomforts are often rooted in years and mountains of misinformation, the stuff they haven’t yet worked through.
It’s not our job to point this out. Nor is it wise. Or fair.
Instead aim to model being at ease with food.
This, in it’s simplicity, is what will have the most positive impact.
Have compassion for others journey, rather than frustration. And stand with yourself, not against anyone else.
Be patient. Be gracious. Hold space and honour your needs and your choices, with or without their external approval.
- Be Positive: Don’t make a big fuss around what you don’t eat, focus on what you can. This will make everyone more comfortable with your food style.
- Be Autonomous: Avoid preaching that others should eat like you do. This just triggers a battle of the egos. Much of our identity is tied to our food belief, so it’s no wonder this can blow up.
- Be Flexible (if it feels right): Know your strict parameters (ie for me it’s no gluten), and where there can be flexibility if needed (I do ok with some dairy). Your most of the time boundaries can be flexible in certain situations, but only if it works for you.
- Be Prepared: Eat before you go out, if you’re unsure good options will be available. This will allow you to relax and have a good time, without stressing about asking about ingredients or having to go hungry.
- Be Conscious: Develop a level of sensitivity to generational food values. Not everyone is going to understand ‘gluten free’ ‘Keto’ ‘sugar free’ or (heaven forbid) ‘paleo’. That’s ok. Just relax and allow that to be without trying to change it or feel that it’s wrong. We are not all the same, nor should we be.
We are in the midst of a culture shift, an awakening of mind and body.
Good manners and holding the correct fork are no longer the only winning formula at the dinner table.
And really really own it.
And also the world we live in.
Yours in shining health,