“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

Friday, April 16, 2010

Clarification: Friends and Extended Family

My wife rightly pointed out that my last post about how to deal with friends and family, gatherings, letting them cook for you, etc., was all well and good--if your friends and your family are supportive and if they are willing to be involved. But what if they aren't?

I've experienced this a few times, being somewhere (for this example, we were traveling and were at someone's house for dinner. Who it was, friend or family, doesn't matter here.) where even after we'd had several conversations with them about my diet and how to cook for me, no one cooked anything I could eat.

First, let me acknowledge something right away--> It sucked. Each time, it sucked. I felt slighted, marginalized, and un-cared for by these people who were supposed to be close to me. Each instance, it took a while for me to come to my senses and remember just how different the SCD is from most American diets.

This happened to me a few times, and each time, after I got over feeling sorry for myself (and hungry), I took a thoughtful look over the table and realized that they HAD tried (sometimes more than others). The table was filled with things like pre-dressed salads, pre-marinated meats, all the right veggies (but in sauce I can't eat), etc. They had tried, but had either gotten confused, overwhelmed with the task, or...I don't really know. And you know what? In retrospect, I don't care. This is one time where I think, being selfish can be beneficial. Let me explain by moving back to the example I was describing before this paragraph...

As soon as I got to the home where we were having dinner and saw that there wasn't going to be any food for me, I greeted everyone and said to the host (something like), Hey, remember that diet I'm on? I brought my food. It's in the car. Mind if I use the kitchen for a minute?[Here's the KEY: Bring backup food. Bring backup food you like a lot. Bring lots of it--Pre-cooked, or cook it there, it doesn't matter. Remember, you won't stay on the SCD long if you always feel hungry or left out. You're doing this for your long-term health, so throw out social norms and use their kitchen, microwave, whatever.]

One time, I could tell I had hurt our hostess' feelings. Another no one really noticed or cared. Another it was just like being at home, and one of the people there pitched in and helped me prepare my food. I'm not a therapist, so I won't go into how to deal with the relationship dynamics here, but I can say this: Take care of yourself. Don't eat non-SCD food because you're scared to hurt a friend's feelings, or because you're hungry and you don't have backup food. Think of the alternatives...back to medicine? Surgery? Flare up in all its glory? No amount of marinated meat or cake is worth going back there. Promise.

Bottom Line: Be prepared. Bring backup food where ever you go.

Onward to health

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