It’s been over two months since I asked you on Facebook how you approach eating a meal prepared by someone who doesn’t share your (food) (justice) values. Here is some of the great advice you gave me:
…the little experience I do have has been friends or acquaintances explaining to me that how they eat really isn’t that bad. I’m unsure of the purposes of this-it could be that they don’t actually feel good about their eating and want to justify it, or it could be (and I think this one is probably it) that they want to bond over food and clearly I must be interested in food because the way I eat is a little weird. The only way I know how to respond to this is to listen to what they’re saying and just keep doing my thing (whatever that is at the time!). People don’t often change, and I don’t expect anyone else to, and I don’t want to either. So if they want to talk for a little that’s fine, if they want my opinion on things, that’s fine. The hardest part is when they’re closer friends, because I really don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I’ve found that the people that I really like don’t care at all if I bring my own food to things or whatever. I can just be very self-conscious when it comes to that. -Katie
Respect the choices you have made in addition to respecting the choices those around you have made. I personally won’t bend to make a situation easier, but at the same time, I don’t make a big deal about it either. If you are going to a party or gathering where you know that food could be an issue, we always bring a dish of our own that we can eat and/or make sure we eat before going so that other food is not tempting. And lastly, if you want to stick to your way of eating in a social situation, don’t look at it as: “I want it but can’t have it.” Instead see the situation as: “I can have it, but I don’t want it.” When you turn your thinking around, it all seems to fall into place. -Stacey Bennett, Holistic Health Coach
I think the best tip I can give is that when the people around you can’t share their food with you, share your food with them! Since having intense cravings for chicken was stifling me, I started making really new vegetarian meals. Kyle has never been one to try new things, but when it smells good – he wants it! By doing this, I’m opening up new doors for him AND when he likes the food – we can eat it together! It’s my favorite thing about dating a meat eater, and it’s always exciting when he says, ‘why don’t you make something vegetarian? I’ll eat it!’ -Ashley
In no way do I feel like an expert in this topic. In fact, it is only recently that I feel like I am starting to get a handle on how to deal with touchy social situations (and some still have me running for the hills!). Shared meals are a BIG deal to me, though, so I have done quite a bit of thinking on this topic.
While I still have more to learn, I am inclined to believe that I am not the only one who is currently navigating meals as the (or “a”) one who eats differently.
Here are a few ideas that have worked for me:
2. Decide where and if I’ll compromise.
3. Interpret negative comments as curiosity or genuine concern and respond accordingly.
4. Get plenty of practice making delicious foods that reflect my values and share them.
What do you think? What ideas would you add?