When your diet affects others. What do you do?

by Heena Modi on October 9, 2008

What do you do when you’ve made a choice about your diet and you are invited to dinner? Do you insist that your diet is followed there as well?

I remember my aunt telling me that she hasn’t given up eating root vegetables because when she eats out with her daughter and her family, it would restrict where they can eat. She wants the experience of eating out with them to be enjoyable, not a hassle!

I remember a friend of mine telling me that she was going to eat meat when she was invited to eat at someone else’s house. I got quite angry and felt it was unjust but I missed the point! She didn’t want to do it because she was fickle or taking the easy way out. It was because she didn’t want to ‘harm’ her friends! They had often themselves into a tizz trying to think of what to make. Often they had cooked fish or chicken but, in my mind and hers, you can’t claim to be vegetarian if you eat seafood/poultry etc. Meat is meat! This would then cause problems because she’s get there, realise it wasn’t appropriate and once they knew, they’d have to make something else or get take away for her etc. Often it would affect the mood of those present and change the atmosphere! Thus she decided to eat whatever was served and no longer say that she needed to be given certain food.

I was thinking about this recently. This is not because I am willing to eat meat. Luckily most of my family/friends know what I will and will not eat and/or they are also vegetarian. Thus this is not an issue. However, now that I am vegan, similar scenarios are occurring. So when I visit someone and lunch is thrown in, do I eat the pasta that has cheese in it already? Do I join in to the pizza party which everyone is enjoying? Do I have the already made Indian masala tea that has cow’s milk in it?

Do I turn it around and spontaneously fast? A good opportunity to test my discipline right? An opportunity to detox.

Do I take food with me wherever I go so it’s not an issue?

Do I create some sort of sheet to give family & friends detailing what I will/wont eat/drink. Prevention.

The thing is, it’s not as simple as an active choice any more. I actually feel ill if I consume dairy products. I had some tea with cow’s milk in it by accident and I felt sick. I’m not sure if it’s because I realised my mistake and I remembered the video that I saw which is what put me off dairy produce or if it’s because I’ve become intolerant to it. There’s a theory that a large proportion of people who are not Caucasian, are intolerant to dairy produce but are unaware of it. Of course, if you are intolerant to it, when you cut it out, you’re likely to feel the intolerance more and perhaps have a more noticeable reaction.

I’m still unsure of what to do. I do know that I don’t like wasting food so if I go out and order something, for example, pizza which I learn has dairy products in the base, I won’t let it be binned. If I tell the staff, they’ll probably let me order something else but that pizza will go to waste. In my mind that’s unacceptable. That’d be a waste in terms of food and what the cows went through would be in vain too!

Any comments/ideas?

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