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  • Social food and bonding - advice?

    Hello everyone

    I thought it was time to stop hiding in cyberspace and say hello properly. I've been primal(ish) for a year - just passed my first anniversary! - although since Christmas I've been falling off the wagon regularly and was starting to obsess about my daily fix of chocolate again (albeit 70% cocoa). I've finally realised that I just can't control myself to 'have a little' so I've ditched it altogether. Fingers crossed I stay strong this time. One week and two days since my last indulgence... Not that I'm counting.

    Anyway, the main reason for saying hello is that the one tricky thing I've found is a sense of no longer being part of the gang with my 'normal' friends. That afternoon tea and cake with the girls? No cake for me. The leaving do at work? Er, yeah, no cake or sugary drink for me thanks, I'll just hold my glass of water and be the odd one out. Visiting an elderly relative? No, sorry Auntie Ann, I know you think it's mad, but I don't want any of the family-recipe cake you made especially. Oh dear...

    There's a deeply psychological attachment to sharing food. Especially 'treat' food like cakes. It's like a shared secret. Being 'naughty' together forges a bond somehow. While most people don't push me into it once I've said no, I'm aware that declining these shared indulgences somehow ruins the moment, takes pleasure out of it for the person I'm with, loses some magic from the occasion and leaves me feeling some sort of outsider or spoilsport. Offering them my packet of nuts just doesn't seem to do it!

    Does anyone have any advice on how best to handle this? How to join in with non-primal friends/relatives without eating stuff I don't want?

    I also thought it might help avoid the 'outsider' feeling if I joined this forum where I'm not the odd one out. Nice to meet you all.

  • #2
    It is your perception that should you decline eating cake whenever it is offered to you, it will destroy the moment, and thus it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Other people will rapidly get used to you making a legitimate-sounding excuse ("Sorry, my doctor told me to cut out all sweets") or even telling them the truth, that you weren't feeling well and you found you improved greatly after changing your diet. It's a matter of priorities to you whether you stick to your guns and train them. After a certain number of gracious refusals they will stop asking you. There are also plenty of times when you can bring snacks to share with others that won't kick you down the road into a binge.

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    • #3
      Welcome to the boards, nice to meet you too

      I don't know how cleanly you eat but if you're not opposed to baking something you could bring your own cakes to have at tea or for a leaving do (I love that phrase). Or even truffles - those rolled balls of chocolate which you can roll in cinnamon or cacao powder or shredded coconut. Just a little celebratory bit of something that makes you (and others) feel like you're being social. Fruit salad is nice too, if you have good fruit.
      be the hair that knots with my hair
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
      primal since oct. 1, 2012

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      • #4
        Originally posted by BrownEyedJo View Post

        There's a deeply psychological attachment to sharing food.Especially 'treat' food like cakes. It's like a shared secret. Being 'naughty' together forges a bond somehow.
        Not everybody feels this way. To some people its just food.

        While most people don't push me into it once I've said no, I'm aware that declining these shared indulgences somehow ruins the moment, takes pleasure out of it for the person I'm with, loses some magic from the occasion and leaves me feeling some sort of outsider or spoilsport. Offering them my packet of nuts just doesn't seem to do it!

        Does anyone have any advice on how best to handle this? How to join in with non-primal friends/relatives without eating stuff I don't want?
        You might be surprised at how little some people care whether you eat the cake or not.

        A simple "no thank you, maybe in a little while" with a smile will suffice. The moment is hardly ruined if you're polite. This isn't the time to tell anyone about WHY you're not eating and drinking what they're having. Its also not the time to spread the paleo gospel.

        Or just accept the cake with a smile, take a little bite and say "mmmmmm!" and then put it down and move away. Nobody will know it was yours. If they ask if you had any cake just say "yes, it was so yummy. Wish I had room for more."
        Sandra
        *My obligatory intro

        There are no cheat days. There are days when you eat primal and days you don't. As soon as you label a day a cheat day, you're on a diet. Don't be on a diet. ~~ Fernaldo

        DAINTY CAN KISS MY PRIMAL BACKSIDE. ~~ Crabcakes

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        • #5
          You can even take some home with you to try "when you're hungry". They will never know if you ate it or not.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by BrownEyedJo View Post
            Does anyone have any advice on how best to handle this? How to join in with non-primal friends/relatives without eating stuff I don't want?

            I also thought it might help avoid the 'outsider' feeling if I joined this forum where I'm not the odd one out. Nice to meet you all.
            I would reframe it as being gluten free or gluten sensitive. If people can't respect that then you probably don't want to be in their good graces anyway.

            Some good food options you can bring in a 'bring a plate' type event that CW people can respect:

            Dark Chocolate
            Fruit (especially dipped in dark choc....)
            Devilled Eggs
            Hummus/Aioli and Carrot sticks/celery

            I'm lucky in that I work with a celiac, so there's always a fruit option at farewell type things.
            Last edited by magicmerl; 05-02-2013, 05:16 PM.
            Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

            Griff's cholesterol primer
            5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
            Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
            TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
            bloodorchid is always right

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            • #7
              At first I felt uncomfortable declining the sweets/alcohol in social situations. Eventually I came to realize that (especially in large gatherings) nobody cares what you do or don't eat! Some overweight people may feel guilty about pigging-out when you're eating veggies, but that's their problem. I've learned to volunteer to bring "safe" foods to social gatherings, so I know there will be something I can eat that's on my eating plan -- I make a great veggie tray!

              I like the excuse of saying you are gluten free or gluten sensitive around relatives.
              I practice yoga (am a yogini) and am also a follower of Grok ... so my journal is Grokini Mary

              My journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread66249.html

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              • #8
                Thanks for the suggestions - some good tips for group gatherings. I think it's the smaller scenarios that I find hardest - out with a girlfriend or two. But you may be right - while it's my perception that it matters, perhaps my friend/s won't care as much as I think. The elderly relative situation is the worst though - she definitely appears deflated if I don't partake, and doesn't understand what I think she perceives to be a 'modern fad' of intolerences. She doesn't push it though and is caring above all else. However, I shall ponder your ideas and find a solution!

                Thanks chaps, good to hear from you.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BrownEyedJo View Post
                  I've been primal(ish) for a year - just passed my first anniversary! - although since Christmas I've been falling off the wagon regularly and was starting to obsess about my daily fix of chocolate again (albeit 70% cocoa). I've finally realised that I just can't control myself to 'have a little' so I've ditched it altogether.
                  I agree with your approach.

                  Personally, I do 100%, no 80/20 rule. There are things I eat, and things I don't, the end.

                  Example: was in the airport with the new boss, we hit the lounge area, I come back with only edible things in the whole joint: a few cherry tomatoes and lettuce leaves. Sit down, look directly at him, and wait for the fun to begin...

                  Him: eating a bit too healthy aren't we?
                  Me: meh, it's actually all various combinations bread/milk in there.
                  Him: you don't eat bread?
                  Me: that's right
                  Him: NEVER?
                  Me: that's right, there's no point to bread.
                  Him: Haha, that just sounds unnatural, to never eat bread!

                  But that's that. Now he accepts it and when we go out makes sure we go to a place with MEAT!

                  Same goes for birthday parties, office donut parties, relatives who spent all day making some crappy cupcakes. The reason these people are fat is because this crap is *everywhere* in their environment and they can't escape it. There can only be one answer; just don't eat it.

                  Now my lovely wife on the other hand does the typical trying to control herself thing, and fails again and again. Her students just tossed her a birthday party, she fell off the wagon and ate pizza and cake, gained a pound or two, felt like crap in the gym the next morning, etc. I keep asking her, WHY!?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BrownEyedJo View Post
                    Thanks for the suggestions - some good tips for group gatherings. I think it's the smaller scenarios that I find hardest - out with a girlfriend or two. But you may be right - while it's my perception that it matters, perhaps my friend/s won't care as much as I think. The elderly relative situation is the worst though - she definitely appears deflated if I don't partake, and doesn't understand what I think she perceives to be a 'modern fad' of intolerences. She doesn't push it though and is caring above all else. However, I shall ponder your ideas and find a solution!

                    Thanks chaps, good to hear from you.
                    You may just want to say to your elderly friend " the last few times I have had cake I had an upset stomach all day, I think I will pass on it"
                    No diet info, just a simple, it doesn't sit well with me.

                    Good luck :-)

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                    • #11
                      You know I use to bond with my friends while we drank about a fifth of jack a piece. But, thats not all that healthy so I quit bonding in that manner. I think of your bonding over food is the same sort of bonding as mine was with my friends. Time to find another way to bond.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dacec View Post
                        You may just want to say to your elderly friend " the last few times I have had cake I had an upset stomach all day, I think I will pass on it"
                        No diet info, just a simple, it doesn't sit well with me.
                        I can't eat gluten at all.

                        The fact is that we are surrounded by people who mean well but when they go out of their way to surprise me by cooking me a "treat" often produce something that would poison me. They don't get it, and it's not reasonable to expect that someone who is not deep into the issues could bring their understanding up to the point where they could make something that would be consistently safe for me to eat.

                        She will get used to it, but only if you start the process. Perhaps if you start bringing fruit for both of you...

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
                          You know I use to bond with my friends while we drank about a fifth of jack a piece. But, thats not all that healthy so I quit bonding in that manner. I think of your bonding over food is the same sort of bonding as mine was with my friends. Time to find another way to bond.
                          That's interesting. I hadn't thought of it like that... (Brilliant 'name' by the way! )

                          OK, thanks everyone. It's a relief to be able to discuss such matters amongst people who understand. I wish I'd joined the forum ages ago!

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