Being on a special diet is difficult enough without others trying to sabotage your efforts. Here are 5 tips on how to handle special diets when socializing.
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.
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.
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!