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food and friendly gatherings: what do you do?

February 8, 2012

If you have a specific diet you keep(paleo, candida-free, vegan, gluten-free, etc) for non-medical reasons- meaning you won’t die, become violently ill or have severe reactions-what do you do when you’re invited as a guest to someone’s home for dinner?

In my home, in my kitchen, I’m the one in control. I make the shopping list, I go to the store, I prepare everything. And I enjoy it. I keep a pretty strict diet and even though Jordan isn’t always necessarily on board I make sure to stick to my diet in my home, when food is in my control.

But what happens when you’re invited to someone’s home for dinner…when food is no longer in your control, but in the control of someone else who may not be aware of your diet, or may not be in agreement or acknowledge it? If they don’t ask before-hand if there are certain things you don’t eat, do you tell them so that they can make arrangements specific to you? Do you inform them and  then offer to help or bring something yourself? Do you not eat what they’ve prepared? …or do you just eat? Do you feel comfortable asking a host to prepare something different for you?

I fall into the “just eat” category, usually.

But I would really like to know how others handle this situation. So if you’re reading this and it applies to you, please comment. I’d love to hear your take on it, seriously. Maybe having some input will change my view.

I keep quiet, even when asked(except for my fam-they get me), about my dietary habits when it comes to being a guest in someone’s home. I don’t want to make anyone go out of their way preparing foods they’re not comfortable or familiar with. I don’t want them to spend extra time and money on just me. I don’t even offer to prepare and bring my own dish because I really think that’s just rude and weird. It’s one thing if you’ve got a medical condition that requires constant obedience, but when it comes to choosing a food lifestyle based solely on your beliefs(which is your prerogative and more power to ya for making informed food choices) I think dictating what you eat, as a guest in someone’s home, is just crossing a social etiquette line. And really, is one little meal, that’s meant to be a time of entertainment and fun, going to derail you so much? It shouldn’t. Because it is food after all…something that we often take for granted, when there are far too many human beings(adults and children) going hungry, day in, day out.

This is just my own opinion regarding a topic I’ve not talked much about with others. So please, inform me on how you handle yourself in these situations! I want to know!


5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 8, 2012 11:56 pm

    I gorge, eat dairy, and then feel so bad about myself.

    Seriously though, at social food-related gatherings, my level of self control is so very diminished.

  2. February 9, 2012 3:10 am

    As a guest it shows respect when you eat your host’s prepared meal. If there is something on the table that is way out of my diet plan (let’s say a heavily cream based dish for example), I’ll just take a small portion to savor the flavor.

  3. February 9, 2012 10:41 am

    Hey thurr! me again!
    So I struggle with this a lot being vegan and also on a anti-candida diet (which as you may know limits you to a lot it seems!)…and gluten free haha usually I like to just inform them that I am vegan and offer to bring a separate dish in hopes that this is not intrusive. If I know the family or friend well enough then I offer to bring a dish, if I don’t then I eat before I go and try my best to stick to the foods that are apart of my diet. For thanksgiving I did this and turned out someone else who was there for dinner was a vegetarian so it work out really great me bringing my own dish, and everyone else around the table loved getting to try my dish too!
    This weekend Michael and I are going to a friends house (more of michaels friend than mine I have only met them twice) for dinner and I informed them that I am vegan and offered to bring a side dish and they seemed thrilled to try something different and have me bring my own dish.
    In essence I offer to bring my own dish because I do not expect them to go out of their way to accommodate for my strict diet and it is always a side dish obviously because i feel anything else might be insulting. But that way I at least have one thing I know I can eat and not stress about, and 9 times out of 10 the person having you over will be completely understanding and wont mind one bit.
    And of course as everyone else has stated you also respectfully try their dishes, I do not worry about my other restrictions while I am at a friends for dinner just being vegan everything else is fine.
    Michaels dad has Celiac’s disease so he can’t have any gluten what so ever and they do the same thing offer to bring rolls or a gluten-free dessert, or side dish.

    sorry for the rant! ahaha I hope this helped.

  4. February 9, 2012 11:34 am

    If it’s like a potluck or informal-bring something if you want it- type situation- i will bring a side that works with my diet. but, i don’t know, i just feel weird doing that in a formal setting when it’s not medically necessary. thanks for all the input and personal experience. sydney- it’s good to hear that you’re experiences have been positive 🙂

  5. February 9, 2012 3:55 pm

    Since I’ve become vegetarian, I’ve only gone to my best friends house (who’s semi-vegetarian) and a superbowl party; at my best friends place, she makes whatever dish it is, without meat; and at the superbowl party, it was informal (all the food was set out) and people just took whatever; I skipped the meat and just had the pasta and some deviled eggs. Honestly, I’d probably just take whatever dishes didn’t have meat, if I was invited to someones house; I have a major meat aversion, I can’t stand it so much that I’d probably get sick if I had it. And I’m developing the attitude of not being able to eat another living, feeling creature, I feel so strongly about it that I couldn’t do it, not even to be polite.

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