5 Tips on How to Handle Special Diets When Socializing

5 Tips on How to Handle Special Diets When Socializing post image

After getting to know the ins and outs of whichever special diet you are on, (SCD, GAPS, AIP, Paleo, etc.) the next greatest challenge is how to present this to family and friends in order to gain their support – not their ire.

When I put my son on the SCD and then the GAPS diet when he was 10, arguably, the hardest aspect was explaining the diet to family and friends – especially those who were clueless about the essentials of eating real food.

Here is a series of articles about the essentials of eating real food.

Common reactions amongst our family and friends was either angst for him – “oh that crazy mom who is obsessive about what food he eats” – or “oh poor kid, what can I make him?”

I very quickly learned that you cannot trust most people (even the well-meaning) to follow as complicated a diet as SCD or GAPS. I even provided recipes and some people still substituted ingredients that made it either illegal or just poor quality – for example using vegetable oil instead of coconut oil or processed honey (maybe high fructose corn syrup) instead of raw honey.

If you are following a real food diet – for whatever reason – you know what I mean.

Here are some tips that I learned along the way that may help.

5 Tips for Helping Your Children Stay on a Healthy Diet While Socializing

  1. Teach your kids about which foods are best and which foods are really terrible like highly processed foods in packages and boxes – foods that are artificially colored and flavored and junk foods in general.
  2. Discuss with your children the food choices they can make in school (one of the worst places to learn about nutrition)! I used to have my son bring home the jolly ranchers he earned in school for a more appropriate snack/treat. Because he understood why that was a bad food choice, he was able to turn it in for something better.
  3. If there is a social event, party, activity or gathering, feed your children before they go to the social event so they will not be hungry and less likely to make poor choices.
  4. When going to the home of a friend or family member always offer to bring a dish that you would want your family to eat so they have a good choice.
  5. Be flexible if you can. If someone is on a healing diet like SCD, GAPS or AIP, it is hard to be flexible as these diets have to be practiced with a certain fanaticism. Most people do not understand that. I had constant battles with my family and friends about why it has to be so strict.

They just didn’t get that one molecule of a reactive substance (gluten, casein, sugar) could initiate a cascade of inflammation and cause symptoms. They didn’t understand that the whole reason for the diet was due to a condition that caused severe symptoms – but could be controlled by diet.

They believed that I was a fanatic (even though I am a doctor – albeit alternative doctor) and that I was going to damage my kid’s psyche by insisting on this diet.

I calmly stated, over and over, the diet has to be followed carefully. In the end I used to provide him with a meal that I cooked. If they were having pizza, I provided a grain free pizza. If they were having cake, I provided a grain free cake.

To this day, some family and friends do not understand why he couldn’t have processed cake or pizza once in a while…

Do you have this issue with family and friends? How do you handle it? Please share your solutions in the comments!

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  • Lee July 13, 2016, 2:18 pm

    Just want to say my own hubby’s on my case, not eating as he does/says he’s unaffected by his choices. He eats anything he likes if it doesn’t give him h’burn. Says if he eats it I should too. Little does he know his foods’re not helping his health but tell him, upsets him &says I used to eat sugary/floury foods/crap like it that he still eats & it didn’t seem to bother me then.

    I say it did I just didn’t know ‘what’ foods did it. I felt yukky/sluggish no matter what I ate/just didn’t know why. Waiting all these yrs to try & correct it I waited too long; now having major trouble to correct it; his attitude to my choices to his give me stress at times/can’t make him understand/not criticize. Guess he thinks if he nags me enough I’ll start eating the crap I used to.

    Same on vitamins; he says cheap vitamins’re as good as costly health store ones & saved us big $’s. Now I use health store ones that greatly upset him; he says they’re no better than cheap ones/health stores’ll say what they think u believe & I usually do. I know this space’s not for grumbling about my hubby but, had to get it off my chest cause I’ve no nice friends to talk to. Thx for your time on this & apology for wasting your time on it if I did.

    Regards,
    Lee

    Reply
  • Heather October 21, 2016, 6:39 am

    I’m on the GAPS diet and haven’t had many issues. In general, when people start suggesting I eat something that isn’t allowed, I tell them that it could easily prolong my diet by a few months, and that I’m really looking forward to being able to buy a slice of pizza in the future when I’m healthy again, so I’d rather not postpone that. For the most part, they seem to understand this reasoning. I do get immediate symptoms if I eat somehing I’m not ready for, though. So that’s another argument that works well if someone keeps insisting.

    Reply