I'm not on this diet to alienate you, I promise!
October 24, 2013 8:10 PM Subscribe
I'm on a diet that many (most) people would consider very restrictive if not downright odd. It's for health reasons, though I don't have any visible health or weight issues. I'm going to be spending several days with my boyfriend visiting his family over the holidays, and I'm dreading trying to navigate the weird food issues that will likely arise. If you are on a specific diet, how do you get around not eating various things that people are expected to eat (especially around the holidays)?
posted by whistle pig to human relations (50 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I'm basically on the Bill Clinton diet--a whole foods, vegan diet with very few grains, no oils, no salt and no sugar. So, I can eat beans, veg, fruit and nuts. It sounds crazy-restrictive, but it's not; at least, not when I'm eating at home. I'm very happy on this diet, get plenty to eat, and feel physically and emotionally healthier than I have in, like, ever.
My boyfriend's family has a holiday tradition, though, of eating one meal at a country club, where the dishes consist of meat, gravy, biscuits, sugar- and oil-laden side dishes, etc. If a salad is served, it consists of iceberg lettuce and perhaps a few slivers of carrot. I have partaken of this meal in past years, and it left me in a carb-induced fog for the rest of the day (not pleasant, especially not when trying to interact and be chipper among a bunch of my boyfriend's relatives).
There is also usually at least one meal served at a family member's home, where the homemade desserts are brought out and passed around with an insistence that everyone have a piece.
At an occasion earlier this fall, I ate a baked potato that had been brushed in oil and then spent the rest of the evening in an increasing state of digestive distress. I shudder to think what a whole meal of stuff I'm not accustomed to would do to me. The holidays are sort of stressful for me as it is, because my idea of a perfect holiday is one spent alone in my pajamas watching old MST3K episodes. I also think that my boyfriend's family finds me a little "unusual" as it is--I'm not thinking my announcing that I no longer eat meat, dairy, eggs, flour, sugar, oil or salt would go over too well. I'm perfectly happy to eat store-bought beans and veggies at the B&B we're staying at, and then at big family events just discreetly nibble on salad or crudités--but I'm sure someone will notice and insist I'm not getting enough to eat.
Is there a graceful way to handle this? I'm youngish and not obviously ill or suffering, so it's not like I can claim that I have to follow this diet to keep my cancer or heart disease at bay (not yet, anyway). I don't want to spend the holidays alienating people, but nor do I want to spend them huddled up in the bathroom.