Reactions from family and friends. . .
Hi y'all *waves*
I've been 90+% raw for the past two weeks. . . I've "gone raw" 5-6 times over the past couple of years, never lasting more than a few months. My goal is to turn this into a lifestyle - not a diet - but each time I struggle with the response I get from my family and friends.
Sometimes, they act like it's almost a personal insult to them when I don't partake in whatever they're eating; other times, they roll their eyes in a "here she goes again" way. My mom came to visit last weekend before she even set foot in the door she started in on me because I let her know upfront that I'd love to go out to dinner with everyone to socialize, but I'd be eating raw before we went.
And don't even get me STARTED on the snide comments my co-workers make about the food I keep at work. They came up with some. . . creative descriptions for the bag of dates I had at my desk last week.
I'm embarrassed to tell anyone that I'm doing this, knowing that they're expecting me to break and go back to the SAD lifestyle again. Even the more accepting of my friends talk about "when you're done with this raw thing, there's this great Italian place I want to try!"
I've tried making raw food for my friends and family to sample, and it's bombed each time.
I know that my success on raw depends on ME and my committment, but I'm a born people-pleaser and was raised in a typical southern family that believes food is the bedrock of relationships. Cravings for processed food is hard enough, but when you add in ZERO support, it kills me each time.
I guess I'm discouraged. Has anyone experienced similar reactoins?
hey sorry youve had such troubles with your family/friends/coworkers. I don't know if I can help but I can understand where youre coming from. I'm not officially raw yet, I go back and forth, but for the moment I'm just a vegan who eats lots of fruit and salad. Anyway, I don't plan on telling any family/friends about being raw. I hope to keep it to myself as long as possible! This is because I've had so many issues being a gluten free vegan with my family, if I ever bought up the R word I'm sure they would have me for breakfast.
I hate when you make a decision for your health or for something you believe in it automatically becomes about them and how weird/inconvenient your diet is. So I've discovered the best way to deal with this is to just not bring it up. If invited somewhere for a meal I let the host know that i have unique dietary requirements and offer to bring my own food. They often insist on providing for me - so only in this case would I discuss the ins and outs of my diet with them. This usually works out fine and the other person is only concerned with making sure I have something to eat. (Though its always good to bring a snack hidden in your bag/car just in case). If I go to a restaurant I ask for a salad with no dressing, or ask if they can just put some lemon juice on it, or something. Not very exciting I know but at least you can still enjoy social situations. (you could pack you own salad dressing in your bag or bring along a snack to supplement your salad.) For desert fresh fruit is a winner. Most restaurants should have some fresh fruit somewhere even if its not on the menu :) Restaurants appreciate it if you call ahead and discuss your diet in advance, sometimes staff can be quite rude if you don't do this, although you'll probably still end up with a salad!
Sometimes a certain family member goes out of their way to buy me a lot of GF food that isn't vegan and then gets upset when I politely decline it and expects me to make an exception because she's already bought it (without consulting me first or reading the labels) This does make me feel a bit annoyed because I feel like my beliefs, which I do not impose on other people, are not being respected. I think it is the closer family members that tend to be the bigger diffculty where as the extended family are too polite to say much about my diet. Another family member likes to tell everyone she meets about my freakish diet and how hard it is to cook for me (even though I'd rather she didn't go to the 'effort') Then she wants a huge pat on the back whenever she cooks for me.
My coworkers are pretty good, they're mostly men and they are the meat and potatos sort, but we get along well and anything they say regarding my "rabbit food" is good natured, so I am lucky. I give it back to them a bit, if they say "hows your green sh*t?" I say "hows your rotting corpse?"
I have learnt that my support will unfortunately not come from the people I care about, but I do find support in other raw fooders/vegans online. Maybe you could look into your local community and see if there are any raw or vegan groups you could connect with.
Hi there Rachel,
First of all... congrats on your efforts! Maxie had a lot of great comments that I want to just say yes to. As far as bringing up the R word... just don't. Let your actions speak for you. Own up to the fact that people are not going to take you seriously for possibly A LONG TIME because they have seen you give up in the past. Don't worry about it and don't try to convince them how this time is different. Just let it roll off and stick to your guns. Eventually, everyone will begin to believe and respect you for it. That's not saying that your close friends and family will ever actually join you, but even if they never eat your "rabbit food" they will come to accept that this is your conviction and they will respect it. In the meantime, find support from this and other online communities. If you are lucky enough to live in an area that has Raw events, absolutely make a point of participating! It will lift your spirits, expand your knowledge, and give you the support you are looking for.
The second point I'd like to address is the difficulty with dining out. You mentioned that you are 90% raw. That means you are 10% cooked. When you go out to eat, you can choose to order a green salad as Maxie suggested with a bit of lemon juice, oil & vinegar, or just plain. Unless you are 100% raw, you can also opt to use these occasions for the times you eat something cooked. Often when I am at a restaurant, I will order a couple side items of steamed veggies and a salad with oil & vinegar. Maxie's suggestion of bringing your own dressing is something I've considered but ultimately I'm pretty content with my salads plain or with the oil & vinegar option. By allowing yourself to eat cooked food while dining out, your friends and family are not as uncomfortable nor as likely to press you about your "weird" diet. You will be able to enjoy the socialization of dining out without compromising your dietary goals.
It sounds like you are a real people-pleaser and you want to share this lifestyle you believe in with the people you care about. The best advice I can offer here is that you are going to have to decide to stop CARING about what other people think of you right now. That doesn't mean that you need to have an in-your-face attitude about this. Just do what's right for you and if someone is offended by that it is simply there problem. I know that's hard for you to really grab a hold of but the truth is that people can sense how much it bothers you so they make sure it does! When you stop caring... so will they.
I hope this has helped you some. You should visit my blog to see a related post about how my family deals with my diet. I'm truly blessed in my family but, yes, they all think I'm weird. I have to say that very recently I moved from being a raw foodist to being a raw vegan (ethical). That was a bit more scary to tell people and I've dealt with it the same way I've suggested here. I wish you the very best... YOU CAN DO THIS!
I can understand your frustration, which is the reason im around 75% raw these days as it not only allows me a little lee way for parties and social gatherings but i didnt notice any difference in benefits being 100% raw.
I know it can be hard i used to get a tirade of abuse and silly remarks from co-workers when i was ill and trying loads of different supplements, foods that most had never seen. But whilst they were munching down on burgers from burger king and i was eating nice salads, they were overweight and in time health problems such as diabetes and such many of them came down with. When pointed out there diet and poor lifestyle was the cause of there problems they weren't slow quick to abuse my dietary choices. Sometimes i even just left work to eat as i couldn't be bothered with the jokes on what i was eating that day.
So yeah try and not stress, and don't let it get to you. Most restaurants should able to accommodate at least some form of salad so that you can still socialize. Dont be afraid to ask your waiter if the chef would be able to change this or that, or maybe even add something extra. Many chefs these days are willing to work with people with special dietary needs or allergens etc.
I found all negative comments from people a lot easier to deal with once I decided in my own mind that my diet is the normal one. Well it is for me! I'm quite happy to accomodate visitors with their unusual diets that include things like pizza, burgers, or a cooked pasta dish. After all there's a shop just across the road and I still have an oven lol.
Shopping for me no longer includes the supermarket. Health stores, farm shops, and the fruit market, as well as my garden, provide all I need. Increasingly all that stuff in tins and packets is just not relevant as food to me. Now that I have to make an effort to go out and buy what they want, as the food I keep stocked up on may not be to their taste, I feel like I have switched the tables mentally and see their diet as the awkward one, but one which I can cater for.
When eating out I just go for the salad option and if questioned I simply say I really like it, which is true, I do. :)