Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
26 Oct

Dear Mark: How to Politely Pass on Dessert

cakeIt’s a common question I get: how to graciously decline the proudly presented delicacy, the traditional or long-labored sweet, the celebratory dessert. Like it or not, desserts are woven into our cultural doings and gatherings. As one reader put it recently, “I’ve been trying to go quasi-primal for about 6 months and have had very good results. A challenging situation that I’ve experienced is declining dessert offers from friends who LOVE to bake. How do I politely decline a chef’s generosity without offending them?”

Anyone who’s been doing the Primal diet for a while now has probably found him/herself in this sticky situation. Maybe it’s dinner at the home of your spouse’s boss, lunch with your daughter’s future in-laws, a long-awaited weekend at an old friend’s house or a birthday celebration with your grandmother. Whatever the setting, the sensation is the same – that sinking, burdened feeling when the host sails in smiling, mile-high chocolate cream pie in hand. Your mind suddenly frantically catalogues the possibilities, planning how you’re going to dodge this one. Maybe you’d intended to tell them ahead of time and forgot or hoped you could avoid the issue altogether somehow. Either way now, you know there’s no escape. There’s no reasonably gracious way to grab your coat, and excusing yourself to the bathroom will only mean a truly generous (a.k.a. mammoth) piece waiting for you upon your return.

Maybe the dessert is an old favorite of yours, and you’re truly tempted but nonetheless resolute in sticking with your Primal routine. Perhaps you’ve been Primal long enough (and the dessert looks sweet/heavy enough) that you take one look and think to yourself how abominably sick you’ll feel later. Either way you’re in a mental tug-of-war between sticking by your own best interest and showing your appreciation for your well-intentioned host’s efforts. At stake, of course, is embarrassment, resentment and all manner of hurt feelings. The scenes play out in your head mercilessly. Your spouse is irritated that you can’t accept dessert in exchange for a smooth dinner with his/her boss. Your daughter is embarrassed that you turned down her future mother-in-law’s specialty. Your grandmother is heartbroken to learn you don’t enjoy her spice cake anymore. Suddenly, a simple request makes you feel like the most inconsiderate person alive.

Certain situations offer an easier out than others. How many of us silently cheer when we see a buffet setting? Even if it’s a relatively small group and a total dessert absence will be noticed, you can selectively forage and choose as small a serving as you want. Likewise, it’s generally easier to turn down dessert at a larger gathering. Although you might not fly totally under the radar, your host and other guests will be busy enough that your nix isn’t likely to take center stage. Finally, the better you know people (particularly if you aren’t related to them), the less fuss will likely result from your courteous refusal. (They probably already know about your Primal lifestyle anyway.) Smaller parties hosted by those lesser acquaintances or, potentially worse, job/family relations often are the really hot water situations.

One tactic to gracefully turn down the ubiquitous dessert is to plan ahead and let the host know about your dietary choice. In this age of condition-conscious and otherwise individualized menus, most hosts do ask. As a good will gesture, you could even offer to bring something more Primal-friendly (like fresh fruit) to accompany the main dessert. Don’t be offended, however, if your host seems reluctant or outright declines. Not only would the addition take away from his/her featured dish (some cooks being more sensitive to sharing the spotlight than others – we all know these people), it might make other guests feel self-conscious about not having contributed themselves. Nonetheless, you extended the effort and offered respectful notice of your situation.

But what strategies can you employ if you find yourself suddenly caught in the moment itself, facing down a triple layer torte? Some people universally follow the “honesty is the best policy” principle. In truth, it’s the most straightforward approach (and therefore least likely to get you enmeshed in future conflicts), but it isn’t necessarily the simplest route. Catching the host by surprise this way might make for an awkward moment at the table or even put others on the defensive for their own choices (don’t you hate that?). If you’re going to take the truthful route, I’d suggest keeping the explanation itself as brief as possible. (Of course, you may not have much choice in this regard if people start asking questions, which they generally do.) If you’re feeling cornered, try putting it in personal and deferential terms – that you’ve live by this diet because you simply feel better on it, that you do indeed miss certain things (whether it’s genuine truth or polite exaggeration) but that for you it’s been worthwhile. Conjuring relativism this way – with a nod to the superb things you “unfortunately” forgo – admittedly diminishes the valid logic of your Primal choice, but it can help settle the discussion. I’m not suggesting dissing your Primal commitment, but putting it in personal terms allows others to take it as individual choice (or idiosyncrasy, to many) rather than directed judgment.

Of course, there is also the little white lie we might entertain to save other people’s feelings and our own trouble later. I’m not advocating this approach, but we’re all human. A lot of us have probably feigned “fullness” at some point in our Primal endeavors to avoid the dessert pressure. (And, hey, you can always load up on the meat dish or salad to really make it happen!) A few readers have mentioned they claim food allergies, particularly gluten sensitivities, to duck the dessert or other carb dishes. On a more humorous/heinous note, I’ve known people who’ve said they took the cake with a smile but then clandestinely tossed it out when no one was looking. I suppose by the same token it could be hidden in a purse or stashed behind a plant. The host’s dog is usually happy to help, but then there’s the issue of potential allergies, diabetes, etc. (There’s one way to make a bad situation infinitely worse.) On a more subtle note, you have the classic dissection and relocation on the plate tactic or the calculated use of a napkin, which can then be thrown out (or cleaned out) later on. A truly strategic move would be to offer to clear the table. Anyone else have good stories they want to share?

Adopting the Primal Blueprint means you own and live by your health choices (whatever they happen to be in the moment). It means being comfortable with living your life your way. It means giving others, including your host, enough credit to respect you. It means not feeling resentment for eating something you don’t want to eat. Maybe you view the situation as a slippery slope. Especially if you’re with people you see on a regular basis, an exception now can become the assumed pattern for future get-togethers.

On the other hand, there comes a time when you might choose to just eat the damned thing to keep the peace. You want to spare your dear grandmother heartache. Your spouse is in line for a promotion and this dinner with the boss could conceivably make or break the deal. Sometimes our decisions favor practicality over principle, and no one here is judging that. To some extent, that’s what the 80/20 principle is all about.

Life happens, and there are legitimate reasons – both social circumstances and the occasional personal enjoyment – for choosing something outside the Primal picture.

The timing, of course, isn’t lost on me. I realize I’m writing this less than a week before Halloween and on the cusp of the holiday season. We’ll all soon find ourselves surrounded by an assembly of sweets big enough to send our insulin skyrocketing by the visual alone. All this at just about every social occasion from now through the end of the year…sigh.

It would be great if I could just say eat the dessert or turn it down, but social situations are inevitably more nuanced than that. Ultimately, the choice depends on the particular dessert in question (how exactly un-Primal it is), your relationship with the host, the nature of the occasion and your own personal circumstances (if you’re in the midst of a weight loss endeavor, for example). Whatever your decision, own it, enjoy it (the dessert or the discipline) and rest assured that a good Primal diet isn’t made or broken by any one portion.

Share your tips, jokes and good stories for dodging dessert. Thanks for the questions, and keep them coming!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Such a shame that the Human Race is so intolerant, so judgmental and so non-accepting that this is even an issue. So many here feel it necessary to take a piece, eat a small portion or even a portion to save embarrassment, to their hosts, to themselves. What a sad statement about our world.

    But I say this with reservations. I love cooking and most enjoy my food. Doesn’t matter what I’ve cooked, a refusal to partake concerns me, irrespective of the guest’s reason. I have to remember not to take things personally. Everyone’s entitled to their own food choices. I choose not to be judgmental of others and this has to include their choice to eat carbohydrates. Otherwise, I’m no different than the typical mother-in-law or grandmother as described above.

    I believe in the freedom of others in their beliefs and try to be tolerant. I like to share the science of a healthy diet, but I know it’s difficult for others to hear. Sugar makes triglyceride and cholesterol levels increase and HDL levels decrease. CW is wrong. So what? Hopefully, one day, as in Sweden, evidence-based diet will rule. Until then, my hope for the world, is that we all become accepting, non-judgmental, and tolerant of others and their personal choices …. as long as those choices (other than food) are peaceful and equitable of course ….

    mcoz-09 wrote on October 27th, 2009
  2. “You can say … “No thank you, I don’t eat shit””

    Are you serious?
    This has to be the rudest comment you can probably make to someone who’s offering carbs or sweets to you. It’s very judgmental too.

    Alright, I’m from Midwest and I can never be rude or make someone feel uncomfortable for making certain dietary choices when I know they are generally so nice to me. I remember a while back a co-worker of mine baked me a Birthday Cake and she never bakes. She did it because I meant THAT much to her. Back then I wasn’t eating primal so I had a piece and I was really touched by her gesture. Now, would I ever say to her “I don’t eat shit” if she ever decided to bake me another cake for Birthday? Not in a million years. I’d rather be sick for the next 2 days.
    Some people think someone’s ego is too big if they get upset when you decline something they made, but when that someone is sweating by the over for 4 hours making something from the heart specifically for you, well, you can kind of see why they would get upset.
    I think the best excuse is to tell the host you’re too full but don’t want to pass up on desert either so you’d love to take a piece home for later.

    chocolatechip69 wrote on October 27th, 2009
    • A woman from my church made me a gluten free foccacia because I told her the week before that I am allergic to wheat and gluten. I had refused her foccacia. (sp) She researched for a whole week, gluten free recipes. She makes marvelous breads and has never bought a loaf. She explained to me the science of what makes bread raise and how she substituted egg white as a protein to help make the long protein strands that substitute for the gluten protein in the wheat. AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! Brown rice and tapioca flour. I took it home. I cut a piece and nuked it. I ate a fourth of it (bout 2 inch square) and my throat got tight. I would never in a million years have refused her love in a pan. But now, I wish I would have fessed up and told her from the beginning that I am gluten intolerant and eat a paleo diet for health reasons.

      Hawk wrote on April 5th, 2011
  3. I have this problem at church mostly. There is always some “occasion for celebration” and that means sugar overload. I’ve lost a lot of weight in the past few months and I’ve been passing up the cake and Sherbet/7up punch we always have too. A lot of the older adults and seniors seem to think they know better & can force me to eat (I’m 24), when they themselves are diabetic. When I decline they just call me anorexic.

    I usually try to keep myself busy helping to clean up or serve. I feel like a hypocrite serving punch that everyone is seriously addicted to. I found out one woman even was sent to the hospital w/ a blood sugar of 900 after drinking cups of it. Even more reason for me to stay away. both my parents are diabetic, I’m African; I know how high the risks are from me so I don’t compromise on this issue at all.

    PrimalDom wrote on October 27th, 2009
    • Interesting that you’ve made the connection between the sugar addicts and what is offered at church. I always turn down the local cancer fundraiser: a rootbeer float!!! Yikes, cancer loves sugars, what are these people thinking?

      Laura wrote on November 3rd, 2009
  4. Careful with the gluten intolerance. I have celiac disease so this way of eating so good for me – well meaning friends buy me gluten free stuff, or even bake from GF mixes and these are WORSE than the whole weat stuff. Hard to say no when they buy it ‘just for you’

    Also-I completely disagree that

    “So many here feel it necessary to take a piece, eat a small portion or even a portion to save embarrassment, to their hosts, to themselves. What a sad statement about our world.”

    If we did not care about other peoples feelings—now THAT would be sad.

    KXS wrote on October 27th, 2009
    • I ordered a gluten free meal on the plane recently. It was basically the same as the other meals, but with gluten free bread. :/
      I was hoping for something a bit less, well, carby.

      Indiscreet wrote on October 28th, 2009
  5. I don’t usually have a problem because I am so fat. I just say no thanks and they look confused for a nanosecond and then say (to themselves) Oooh (I get it she is trying to lose weight).

    However every now and then someone will persist, I say no thanks and they say but its Krispy Kreme and I take one and throw it away after they leave. I don’t have the energy to deal with people who think Krispy Kreme’s soggy doughnuts is some kind of irresistable treat.

    thecarla wrote on October 27th, 2009
  6. I usually give it to the dog, or if its an ice cream cake, i let it sit for 5 min, and SPREAD it ALLL over the plate so it looks like i ate it! Or i can even spread the cake or pie with my fork so it looks like i took some bites. OR you can play with the dessert with your fork and put your napkin over your plate!!! hahahaha
    TAKE THAT STUPID DESSERTS

    frank wrote on October 27th, 2009
  7. If the host is very insistent and my fiance happens to be there, I’ll say “oh I’m so stuffed, I’ll just try a bite of his…”. At large family galas, there is always fruit in addition to dessert, so I some of the former. For any and all occasions, invoking the “sugar gives me stomach problems” excuse is, in my opinion, fail-proof.

    Maria wrote on October 27th, 2009
  8. OKAY this is easy..

    You Americans far far too polite !

    You say in yr best Churchillian voice ( you can also substitute a Yorkshire voice if you can pull it off..nowt quite as scary as a thick Tyke accent)
    “Sir/Madam i put it to you that eating that monstrosity will cause chaos within the endocrine system that is ..(substitute yr name here !) and shame on you you thoughtless OIK for not being more considerate”
    Not only will this curtail the dessert eating it’ll likely end any dessert eating as you’ll never be invited to ANYONEs hoose again !

    Justin De Quim wrote on October 27th, 2009
  9. Hahaha:) That’s funny!

    chocolatechip69 wrote on October 28th, 2009
  10. Having gluten issues, desserts are my biggest downfall. I have openly told people at work about these issues and they are understanding when I turn down treats that have been brought it. I have been the one making gluten free, sugar free, caesen free, dairy free desserts and bringing it to them (they have become my testers) and they love the stuff I come up with. Some would rather have what I bring then other stuff. And those Betty Crocker GF cake mixes . . . ugh! Stay away from those. First ingredient is sugar.

    (Thanks Mark for all that you do with this site).

    Robyn wrote on October 28th, 2009
  11. Politely, but forcefully, decline. I do it all the time. They may not like it but they’ll eventually catch on.

    If they persist then explain thats why they are borderline diabetic, have joint problems, high blood pressure and other inflammatory conditions :-)

    Curtis wrote on October 28th, 2009
  12. One of the perks of actively eating healthy for 2-3 few years is that no one in my family even asks anymore.

    And they gave up trying to make something to suit my preferences when I abruptly changed from a low-fat (but successful) plan to a paleo one.

    meatman wrote on October 28th, 2009
  13. Once I was spreading around birthday cake from an office party when I actually dropped it on the floor. I felt justified by throwing it away in front of everyone at that point. You can’t eat cake that’s been on the floor!

    There are a lot of parties at our office, but I usually take one bite and then don’t eat the rest – if I take any. No one has said anything to me because I stay around and enjoy everyone’s company.

    I don’t like feeling like I need a nap once the sugar wears off. That also makes my work performance go down.

    Holly wrote on October 28th, 2009
    • Dropping it sounds like a great idea…but it would get old and earn me the name “Klutz” Haha

      Hawk wrote on April 5th, 2011
  14. I used to play this game a lot when I was vegan. Keeping it as simple as possible really is the best route, in my opinion. As another commenter noted, the less of an issue you make it the less of an issue it will be. If you simply say “No thank you” 90% of the time this works fine. Just be polite and gracious, but firm.

    If pressed, saying something about “avoiding sugar these days” won’t be looked askance at, especially now that HFCS is the nutritional Big Bad du jour. No one thinks sugar is healthy (unlike grains), so at worst you’ll just be seen as a health nut–which might not be inaccurate!

    I did find that in many situations, people would press me about veganism while everyone was chowing down on something very un-vegan. It’s not a great idea to get into details at that point–people will be more likely to get defensive and combative if the food at issue (whether it’s meat or cake) is halfway to their mouth. If someone really, really wants to discuss it, just defer to another time away from the dining table, and then give them the works :)

    primalpanda wrote on October 28th, 2009
  15. I was once offered biscuits about 6 times at a job interview, first by the receptionist who lead me into the interview room, then by the HR rep who came in to give me a test, then by the partner who came in to interview me, then by a 2nd HR person who came in to collect my test. They were on the table near me within arms reach, if I wanted one I would have surely helped myself, but I stuck to the ‘No thank you’ every time. Didn’t get the job in the end, wonder if that had anything to do with it (at this point I was down to the last 3-4 applicants).

    Brad wrote on October 28th, 2009
  16. I’ve been eating this way for so long now that I’m not even offered anything sweet. When the cake is divided up I’m left out of the equation with out even the question. All the more for us they say. What keeps me on the straight and narrow is the memory of a dinner party years ago where I finally succumbed to the relentless pressure and reluctantly accepted a piece of cheesecake and suffered the most amazing stomach ache and gas. No one will forget that night. ;-)

    Alan.

    alanrlow wrote on October 28th, 2009
  17. I say something like, “Oooh, that looks amazing, delicious, yum, but I’m so sorry, I don’t eat sugar.” (with look of huge regret on my face). This seems to go over fine. My friends have got to know this about me and will often provide fruit as well.

    Miss Gelic wrote on October 29th, 2009
  18. This situation came up for me at a friend’s birthday party. They brought out the cake and offered some to me, knowing that I was trying to stay away from such. I smiled and said, no thank you. I love you, but I’m not getting sick for you.

    Katt wrote on October 29th, 2009
  19. I’ve had good luck with “I can’t have gluten, sorry” and/or “I can’t have sugar.” It’s not a lie. Both things found in almost all desserts will hurt me. My extended family and friends are usually good about not offering me dessert, but I get the most trouble from semi-strangers (co-workers and the like). “C’mon. What will it hurt?”, “It’s just a piece of cake/cookie/pie.”, “You can break your diet for one dessert.” and so on.

    I firmly insist. They call me a weirdo or what have you. That’s okay with me, I’d rather be known as the weirdo WITHOUT DIABETES.

    paleo_piper wrote on October 29th, 2009
  20. People truly do become offended when you kindly decline any form of dessert. However, if I suggest sushi for lunch I’m expected to understand the the disgusted faces and remarks about my choice to eat raw fish over the conventionally healthy Subway. I have also quickly learned ways to explain my PB diet, I started by bashing grains but people lash out trying to justify their healthy choice of wheat over white and the 6-11 servings mandated by the food pyramid. I now simply say, I eat this way because certain foods make me feel ill.

    JeniB wrote on May 31st, 2010
  21. I don’t see the big point in 1. Indulging once in a while in something bad. 2.simply saying you don’t want to eat it.

    I can easily say no, and if they ask why I tell them.

    Is it much bigger of a thing in America?

    Bjorn89 wrote on May 31st, 2010
    • My thoughts exactly. I totally fail to understand this “cheat” mentality, who are you cheating? Only your self.. Don’t know about America, I’m Australian and I don’t have any trouble telling it like it is.

      Alan wrote on May 31st, 2010
    • I don’t know if it’s an American thing. My Italian mother-in-law used to be the worst person to be around when it comes to eating dessert. For years, she would ask several times, then regardless of how many times I said no thank you, she would serve me the dessert anyway. Once, I excused myself from the table to sit on the couch and she put the dessert on my lap.

      For years, I gave in and ate the dessert just to please her, but after gaining quite a few pounds (who knew that a sweet treat just 2x a week could mean an extra 30 lbs within a few years?), I ended up having to resort to throwing the dessert in the garbage right in front of her one time when she wouldn’t let up. She was super pissed, but my message finally got through her thick skull.

      Patsy wrote on June 8th, 2010
      • Just tell the person firmly who is offering you dessert that you don’t want any, it’s not rocket science.
        If extreme measures(like Patsys’)are needed then so be it.

        My mum bakes alot and I’ll partake in maybe one(or two)small cakes at the time.
        I don’t obsess over what it might do to my body because I eat so healthily(if that’s a word)the rest of the time that it doesn’t matter, plus I’m working out consistantly(I do Parkour)so I have nothing to worry about :)

        Mattman wrote on July 26th, 2010
  22. My birthday falls a week after December 25 and two days after New Years. I work in a place where supervisors and staff do the cakes, ice creams and or sometimes group lunches. It’s a small situation (8-12 people at most). I left my sup. a voice mail a week before saying that if they want to do something for my birthday, fruits would be fine. Never got a response and nothing happened. More recently, they did a combined celebration of 2 birthdays. I attended but let my sup know that I wasn’t going to have any pizza (the offerings were pizza, soda, spicy chicken–which I don’t eat). Almost everyone kept asking and asking. I still said no. One asked me if I were on a diet, I said no. Most of them have hypertension, high cholestorol, some are obese (of this group). There’s no easy way–no matter how far in advanced you plan, someone is still going to put you under the radar and throw innuendos to make you feel like the bad guy.

    They don’t get the message because if they did, they wouldn’t keep asking. I think that they’re going to see if you’ll slip up one time. :-) Thanks for writing this!

    Meltdown wrote on July 30th, 2010
  23. I am a talented baker and usually all treats for holidays and occasions are made by me. It works well because everyone assumes since you’re making it you must be eating it. On the occasions when someone else is preparing I just take a little bit and mash it around on my plate for awhile so it looks like I’ve been eating it while exclaiming “Mmmmm”.

    randalland wrote on August 27th, 2010
  24. Last night I had dinner at Hogs Breath and when the waitress asked whether I wanted curly fries or baked potato and I said “nothing, just the meat please” she didn’t even blink but asked if I’d like a side disk of bacon with my steak. Very thoughtful.

    Alan wrote on August 30th, 2010
  25. I’ve said, “I have some blood sugar issues!” No one needs to hear more. Ha! And its gotta be true…….!
    Who wouldn’t if they ate that cake!!!!!
    Anyone can use this line and not be lying.

    janagram wrote on November 24th, 2010
  26. I usually ask for a very small piece, and feel free to pick at it or leave parts that I don’t like or aren’t worth it for me (like Crisco based frosting- yuk!). For me, just asking for a small piece arouses enough talk. I’ve always been the guy who’s eaten anything in a five foot radius.
    I completely agree that the “cheating” mentality is really stupid (and I am an American btw). It was pretty much invented with this whole idea of obesity being caused by gluttony and sloth, equating it with sin, then going ooo sin is tasty. Only a small leap to sinful oober rich- decedent chocolate cake or something similar as a marketing tactic. Then you have dieting programs coming up with the whole sin/cheat sometimes thing… it’s really silly.
    @Alan- the side of bacon thing is awesome! That is a very perceptive waitress.

    Blakery wrote on November 24th, 2010
  27. I have the world’s best way of getting out of social desserts. I tell people I have epilepsy (I really do) and that cutting out the carbs keeps me in ketosis which keeps me from having seizures (it really does).

    People are very understanding if they know that, for you, their lovely sugary creation is a seizure on a plate.

    Robin Beers wrote on December 6th, 2010
    • Maybe I could use that excuse for the RSD I have. A low carb diet has certainly HELPED!! Aspartame causes spasms in my right leg. After I quit sugar and grain, my autoimmune response lessened. I should just say…Carbs make give my leg painful spasms..

      Hawk wrote on April 5th, 2011
  28. Interesting article and great responses. I simply say – I don’t eat processed food – if they ask why I just say – because it doesn’t make me feel good. That’s usually enough, if not I bore them with details of the candida infection I had. Caused by antibiotics and excess sugars/alcohol – that usually does the job, for good.

    Primal Karl wrote on February 14th, 2011
  29. My family and book club know I cannot eat wheat (dermatitis herpetiformis), so this new change (just started 2/21/11) of no sugar or most carbs has not been such a big step. I like being able to tell the girl scouts selling in front of the grocery store “I can’t eat wheat or sugar.” My husband doesn’t like their cookies anyway, and we shall see if he decides to go low carb. Losing 2 1/2 pounds in my first 8 days is nice, but the happiness I feel and decrease in joint pain and feeling in control (instead of the carbs)are “icing on the cake” so to speak. But, for birthdays, what do others do for a “treat?”? I like having raw nut butters, and I also had half a teaspoon of frosting last week for our birthdays and boy was it sweet. My husband says he feels bad for me not being able to eat the cake or ice cream. Liked the article!

    Colleen wrote on March 1st, 2011
    • Getting rid of my daily headaches and leg spasms has been amazing. My husband no longer feels bad that I cannot Have sweets, he has joined me. He said that if it helps me so much to stop eating sweets and breads, it must be bad for him too. He is amazingly self controlled about it which is a tremendous help to me. We are just the weird ones at get together’s with our friends. We bring a large fresh salad if it is a pot luck. If people ask me what I can eat when they extend an invitation, I just say…”I’m easy, just a chicken breast, or unprocessed meat on the grill and a salad will be fine.”..”I’ll bring the salad!”

      Hawk wrote on April 5th, 2011
  30. I am allergic to food color , preservatives and additives…so friends are always checking with me. BUT..,.their idea of “make it from scratch” and my idea are FAR apart. Throwing a jar of yellow peppers into sliced beef to make Italian beef, disguises the fact that yellow #5 is in the meat.(in the peppers)
    When my husband is carrying me out the door to take me to the emergency room because I can’t see out of my left eye and my left side is rapidly becoming numb, and I can no longer talk…almost like a stroke… and am throwing u p violently,,,They begin to take it serious and leave all the labels out for me to read when I come over.

    Hawk wrote on April 5th, 2011
  31. How about, “No thank you.” And if they pressure you say, “I’ve realized that I have always had an addiction to sugar and I have been using it as an emotional crutch. Unfortunately, if I even have just a little, that’s all I will crave. I just do/feel better without it.” Haha….I have yet to be this honest but I think I will give it a try. I think you would have everyone chewing very quietly for awhile contemplating their own demons.

    Heidi B. wrote on April 19th, 2011
  32. When I first quit sugar I wasn’t confident enough in my choice so I felt the pressure (extended family, all women bake cakes) and was weak in my arguments. So to make my life easier I would say “I quit sugar because of diabetes”. That was either enough or I would get asked if I had diabetes, to which I would say “No, but I could and I want to avoid it”. I left it kind of vague so they would think that I already have some reason to think I could become diabetic.

    Now that I’m confident and comfortable with my choices, I simply say “No, thank you. I don’t eat sugar.” and smile proudly. :)

    I haven’t had too many chances to test the latter, but I bet that my attitude behind the statement results in a lot less nagging. People tend to accept your convictions a lot quicker when you say them like you mean them.

    Courage and honesty. People will live.

    This is coming from a former people-pleaser addict :D

    Tasha wrote on July 14th, 2011
  33. today’s ‘daily apple’ was so well timed..i’ve been primal for almost a month and i love the way i feel on this program. last night i got an email telling me that there will be cake at an upcoming professional meeting, and suddenly i was sooo crabby. traced that feeling back to the realization that of all the things i no longer eat, cake is the hardest to resist. it was great how mark reminded us of the 80/20 rule and advised us not to beat ourselves up if we slip. just that permission makes me stronger. thanks, mark!

    lynnie ley wrote on August 30th, 2011
  34. I usually tell them “no thanks, that’ll make me feel sick/like crap” which is true. Sugary foods will leave me tired, and greasy foods put me on the toilet. Shame on individuals for trying to poison my body!

    Joseph Tripp wrote on August 30th, 2011
  35. I just say, sorry, “I can’t have sugar or any sort of starch. It looks amazing and im sure it tastes delucious. I might take a piece hone for my mum if theres any left.”I have an indignance that I am nor obliged to go off my lifestyle just to fulfil someone’s need for praise. if they get offended, it’s silly and they need an attitude adjustment. I get extremely annoyed when people try to force things on me or maniPulate me with their “hurt feelings”. It’s like blackmail. What I eat is none of anybody’s beeswax.

    Milla wrote on September 8th, 2011
  36. If they made it, you can’t decline, and that’s the end of that story.

    If its in a restaurant, just decline. Though one handy thing is to look friendlily at the waiter and say “But I’ll have a Coffee!” instead.

    OhgodIdontknowhowmuchmoreofthisIcantake wrote on October 3rd, 2011
  37. It is a shame so many feel so subtly victimized by another person’s (assumed?) sensitivities. I remember what that felt like, so my heart goes out to you all. But the astounding truth is – you don’t have to tell anyone anything at all in way of explaining what you are choosing in any moment to put into your body for any reason. Sure, they wanna know. So what? Just say no thank you. If they ask why? Just say I just don’t feel like eating it. Don’t apologize, even with your EYES. “Just a little slice.” “No thank you.”
    Just let them be uncomfortable for a moment, even feel uncomfortable yourself. So what? You’ll all get over it in about 10 seconds. Ahhh, sweet freedom. Much tastier than cake.

    Jamie wrote on October 5th, 2011
  38. I had an interesting one last thanksgiving. I normally take pumpkin pie & leave the crust as this causes little imbalance for me. But the hostess made it with sugar pumpkins & still used the same amount of sugar. Total disaster!

    Donna wrote on October 14th, 2011
  39. a long, long, time ago, far, far away, i overheard the grown-ups decline offers of different types of foods by saying “oh, not thank you – that has _________ in it. i can’t eat _______. it doesn’t agree with me”.

    then the 80′s came along and people started drilling down into more specific sensitivites (emotional peanut allergy, anyone?).

    i prefer this old-school approach for dealing with older adults (50+). also – the added bonus for me is that there’s no lie in it, so i use it a lot.

    natalie wrote on November 9th, 2011
  40. It becomes harder if you’re staying with people important to you for several days, as I will be doing in March. Their diet is appalling even by SAD standards. Minimal vegetables, much processed dipped in crumbs and fried meats. Fruit is a non event totally. Desserts, chocolate are the main dish. Coco cola is purchased in large amounts and sits on the bench to be consumed like water. I was unable to resist the chocolates just lying around on side tables (they buy the stuff by the carton not just the packet). I truly don’t understand. Last time I stayed there I purchased most of my own food. I’m in a much better head space now so hope it will be easier this time. They think I’m odd!!

    Marg wrote on November 10th, 2011
    • OMG! Bummer! When I went to DK my aunt told everyone in advance I was allergic to carbs. So everyone was sweet & made more vegetables. I took my own homemade protein bars for breakfast & had coffee & cheese with it. It worked out well! Next time I would have more bars to make up for some of the scant meals. The coolers you plug in, could be packed with other things & kept in your room. Like having your own fridge with healthy snacks & beverages.

      My same aunt has a trick which may help someone. She tells people she has to go to ‘church’. Then they go out to eat what they want somewhere. (she’s not even catholic!) LOL Does anyone else have a clever idea? Good luck everyone! It is hard!

      Donna wrote on April 20th, 2012

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