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  1. #1
    spughy's Avatar
    spughy is offline Senior Member
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    about those social situations...

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    I see a lot of references to people having difficulty in social situations sticking to Primal eating, and it makes me a little puzzled because I don't have any such difficulty. Not that I'm some paragon of virtue or known iconoclast who can get away with antisocial behaviour or anything, just that any social occasion I've experienced over the past year has involved ample Primal-compatible food, and a cultural understanding of differing food requirements. I can't think of a gathering or social event I've been to that hasn't involved a veggie tray and/or cheese & coldcuts plate, or fruit, or something similar. Is this a regional thing? I've only ever lived on the west coast of Canada (and the North right above it, which is similar culturally) and having SOME kind of vegetable thing is pretty mandatory for nibbly parties, while having salad, protein (usually fish), and a carb that you can leave or say no to is normal for sit-down things. My mother-in-law is totally fine with the husband and me not coming over for spaghetti (or just eating the sauce & salad) and my friends are as conscientious about my dietary requirements as they are about vegetarians or vegans. It's just another "thing".

    But I'm starting to think that I'm living in a happy bubble of dietary tolerance and joy, here. Are there places where you go to parties and get nothing but brownies and cake? Are there business lunches that take place in restaurants that do not even contain a "chicken caesar salad" option? Is it really considered rude to brown-bag it to a working pizza lunch? (We used to have these all the time where we worked, but it seemed management was more than happy for some to forego the pizza in favour of stuff from home - the only reason they brought the pizza in was to keep us in the office rather than going to forage before a mandatory noon meeting.) Is it a Canadian thing, because we're just so polite? A West Coast thing, because we're so used to accommodating the vegans, it's not too much more bother?

    I ask because there is a looming possibility that we may want to move somewhere else. It's unlikely it'd be the US except maaaaybe Hawaii, but other parts of Canada or Australia (hubby has dual citizenship) are definite possibilities. But I'm an extremely social person and if I move to a new place and people are going to label me as weird or antisocial because of my eating habits, I need strategies beforehand...

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    ilikesubtitles's Avatar
    ilikesubtitles is offline Senior Member
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    Hello from the 46th fattest city in the U.S.! Seeing as Mark lives right across town (in a significantly skinner enclave than my neighborhood, thought), I think a lot of people on MDA are from the U.S. I think this will explain some of it:

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/he...health-obesity

  3. #3
    Enamel's Avatar
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    I never have those problems, either. The most common social situation involving food that comes up in my life is church - everybody gathers around for coffee and whatever food that week's volunteer has brought after the service. It's almost always sugary/wheat-based stuff, so I don't eat it. I don't have a problem skipping it because I'm not usually hungry during that time of the day. I rarely get questioned for standing around not eating when everyone else is sitting down with a plate of cookies, but when someone does ask why I'm not having a donut or whatever, I just tell them I'm allergic to wheat.
    I always hear about people being in situations where someone is trying to force crappy food onto them - i.e. 'you MUST try this, I made it just for youuu', but I've never, ever experienced that. I guess I'm just lucky when it comes to getting away with not eating.

    The only time the way I eat ever seems to inconvenience me is when I'm traveling with my dad - he ALWAYS wants to eat at Olive Garden, and the only thing on the menu I can have is the salad, which is a pathetic excuse for sustenance. All the other options involve pasta and nasty sauces I wouldn't want to eat, or they're just too expensive.

    I'm glad I've never had a problem with eating well in social situations, but I think my bubble will burst eventually. I'm hoping to spend part of the summer with my boyfriend at his parents' house. The problem is that the last time I stayed there, the were making a huge deal about how 'healthy' I was - a vegetarian living on nuts, yogurt, tempeh and fruit at the time. I'm really shy, so it's going to be weird for me if I have to ask them to buy real butter for me, haha.

  4. #4
    ilikesubtitles's Avatar
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    I find that at parties and such people just bring cheap food--crackers, cake, cookies, a sandwich if you're lucky--because it's inexpensive, pre-prepared, and appeals to almost everyone. I think the U.S. there really is an ingrained way of thinking poorly about food in many households. Many people consider cooking and grocery shopping a chore, something to be avoided.

    That's not to say all Americans are like that, at all. I live in a foodie city with a lot of farmers markets and awareness of sustainable food economies but the reality is that for many lower-income households, that's not part of their lifestyle or within their budget. Eating well is a privilege in a country that subsidizes shitty food and then tells its citizens it's healthy to eat.

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    Diana Renata's Avatar
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    It depends on the people you're surrounded with. If you're around even somewhat health-conscious people, you can usually eek out something halfway Primal. Even if it's just a veggie tray and some pepperoni and cheese slices.

    However I've been to parties that only had pizza, cupcakes, pretzels, chips and soda. I opted for water.

  6. #6
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    I'm a total non-drinker and always have been so I'm pretty much in the same boat. I have plenty of "no thanks" practice to get me through any crappy eating selections and if there is something that I know I shouldn't eat but looks really tasty I say "screw it" and eat it, although less than I would before I went PB.

  7. #7
    Mog's Avatar
    Mog
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    Depends on the context. If the social event is to 'catch up for drinks' its difficult not to drink - not because I just cannot refuse, but because it may make the other person less comfortable or change the atmosphere, so I have a drink to be "companionable". Also, if someone is hosting a meal, and they put a lot of effort into it, its hard to refuse.

    I don't always want to share my lifestyle choices with people, or explain why I am refusing things all the time, so that factors in too.

  8. #8
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    Quick Strategy: "Thanks, but I'm allergic -OR- I ate before I came, you know what though, it looks delicious and I'm sure it is, please do offer (insert name of random person at party) some, they were complimenting your culinary talents earlier!"
    Okay... So its not entirely the truth, but who's gonna know in a new place if you aren't really allergic to gluten or at least intolerant/dairy/whatever offensive food is being pushed on you. Heck, its not even a lie, very few people aren't intolerant to gluten/dairy/grossfrankinfoodridiculousness, we're not biologically composed to consume it.
    I have found, generally, that the less of a deal you make about something, the less people notice. If you let it go with a "No Thank You" they'll let it go. If you go on about it, they'll get uncomfortable and label you as the one with the odd restrictions. Most of my friends didn't know I had gone primal until I flat out told them because I didn't tell them, and most of my family still hasn't noticed that I didn't grab a roll at supper or have mashed potatoes with my steak and salad.
    Ultimately, no one really cares very much what you eat as long as you have a simple reason (i.e. eating before you came, having a big lunch, not feeling well, gluten intolerant) for not wanting to partake.
    In a situation where alcohol offerings might be the rub, volunteer before hand to be the D.D. I've taken up this practice and have scored some pretty sweet thank you gifts, even though I kinda miss catching a buzz with my friends, I'm learning how to have just as good a time (if not more laughing at how dumb they get) without it.
    I'm young and I'm dumb, but I navigate social situations pretty gracefully these days, I'm no Emily Post, but I make it through. No matter what, give you're most sparkling smile while saying no, razzle dazzle baby, no one will notice you don't know the words!
    "It is not what you are that holds you back, it is what you think you're not."
    Denis Waitley

  9. #9
    Hedonist's Avatar
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    I find that just saying the magic words "gluten intolerant" and "diabetic" is always enough. My friends and family are supportive too.
    Ancestral Health Info

    I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

    Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.

  10. #10
    beachrat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enamel View Post
    I'm hoping to spend part of the summer with my boyfriend at his parents' house. The problem is that the last time I stayed there, the were making a huge deal about how 'healthy' I was - a vegetarian living on nuts, yogurt, tempeh and fruit at the time. I'm really shy, so it's going to be weird for me if I have to ask them to buy real butter for me, haha.
    At other people's houses, it's often nice (regardless of dietary preferences) to do some grocery shopping of your own. It's especially useful if you eat things not everyone else in the house eats. Not sure what your budget looks like, but contributing supplies for your own breakfast/lunch, and making the whole family a meal or two, could work around this issue without a whole lot of fuss, perhaps.
    "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
    "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
    If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

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