I think the holidays are the biggest challenge because there are so many foods that are considered tradition and there is a lot of resistance to changing them. I don’t want to miss out of our family gatherings, I don’t want to have to bring separate food and I don’t think it’s fair to push my restrictions on others. I remember attending a family function many years ago when the host had decided to become vegan. We all arrived for a BBQ expecting the traditional foods and we went home hungry after being served Tofurky hot dogs and burgers. I really don’t want to put others through that.
I’m very lucky to have a lot of family in the area and most family gatherings are hosted by other family members. I want to respect the host and the work and expense that goes into hosting a large group. Trying to strike a balance between honoring my body and honoring my host can be a bit of a challenge. Some people may see my eating choices as a “phase” I’m going through or a just following the latest trend. I also don’t want to spend the day defending my choices.
This year I offered to host Easter dinner since so many of the traditional foods are things I need to keep off of my plate. I recently discovered that many hams are not gluten free. Thinking back on what was served last year there were only 2 items I could have eaten, the asparagus I brought and the salad if I had grabbed it before the cheese was added.
I was glad to have some control over the food this year. I served a wonderful pineapple glazed gluten free ham, honey glazed carrots, steamed asparagus with fresh lemon juice, and a strawberry spinach salad, my sister brought deviled eggs and potato skins which she left the cheese off a few for me and my in-laws brought the traditional macaroni salad and carrot cake. I’m happy to say everyone seemed to enjoy the meal even though they seem to think gluten and dairy free means taste free.
My hope is over time I can encourage a few family members to find dishes that they enjoy and that I can eat, but until then I’ll be faced with eating before I arrive and bringing something I can put on my plate while they eat what was prepared or hosting a lot of family gatherings.
What do you do to stay on track when most of the people around you are eating things you shouldn’t?