Anyone else feel lonely because of your food choices??
Up until about 8-10 years ago, I was totally and blissfully ignorantly eating the sad diet... when ttc took awhile, I started researching things (i've always been a good researcher) ...and stumbled upon all sorts of nutrition information... and began my journey to where I consider a healthy diet one that focuses on lots of plant foods, whole grains, and pastured/grass fed meats... you get the idea.
We spend a lot of the weekend at my parents with my siblings... we do sunday dinner together and my mom makes pizza (from scratch, but using white flour, etc.) every saturday.
When its just me, my kids and mom... i'm fine. Throw in my sister, and its still ok... but put my whole family together...and I feel lonely. It's weird and sad... but I do. (Except for my dad -- they all have some sort of enlightment about what they SHOULD eat, but no one really does...except me. Not even my kids...cause how can I bring them over there and say NO...you can't have that. I once told one of the kids that something that grandma served was not healthy (it wasn't!!), and she got upset with me! And really...how can I expect kids to understand that the chicken at home is better than the chicken at grandmas? (They asked me why I don't eat the chicken grandma makes... I will NOT support factory farming at all -- even by the act of mom planning to feed one more)
Like...last sunday. We were celebrating my moms birthday (and I get that it was NOT ABOUT ME)... but birthday person decides the menu...except mom, who doesn't want to meal plan. She gives direction (chicken, chocolate mousse) and then we run with it. My brother and sister called each other to talk menu... they didnt even include me in the discussion.. because, yanno...anything I suggest would be hippie food and therefore inedible for anyone but me... They didn't even share the full menu with me til the last possible second (I brought stuff for a salad...which I made...and was the only one to eat... and it was pretty much the only thing i ate). I'm being super strict about my diet because i've been feeling REALLY off, but when I said I was going to cheat and have some dessert, i got a standing ovation and a "good for you! Proud of ya" UMMMM.... what??????
Sigh.... i guess its like the saying goes...misery loves company...and im looking for some company... haha ;)
It seems that this is even damaging your relationships with your family.
When you must share meals, do so with a loving heart and don't draw attention to what you are or are not eating. Sharing a meal is about communion, not about emphasizing differences. You could also suggest celebrating with a trip to the zoo, a midafternoon tea party, or a game night rather than meals - not because the meals are bad but because a non-food event would be a better bonding experience.
In your own house you should do what you want, and explain why, but without comparing to others. If your children complain, just say "grandma would be happy to know you like her chicken."
I agree with PumaBearclan. You seem to have made this a fervent issue for you. I would suppose, based upon your relations' reactions, that you are damaging relationships.
My family frequently share meals with ethical vegetarians, a vegetarian for health reasons, and a gluten free- toddler. Others of us eat a typical healthy diet. Others of us eat a typical not so healthy diet. Somehow, when those family members gather together, we are able to share meals, and no one feels belittled or slighted. And I don't feel judged by the ethical vegetarian when I have bacon.
But I have 3 brothers in law, who when they join the gatherings have a way of making people feel judged. They play the "healthier than you" contest, and it gets old quick.
Your food choices are yours, but there's no need to preach. You don't need to convert anyone to your way of thinking, and in so trying, your siblings don't include you in meal planning for your mom's birthday. If you feel lonely, it might be because you put yourself on an island.
pumabearclan -- I don't think I know how to do that... I DO condemn some of their choices, and i DON'T know how to deal with it. Grandpa drinks diet soda. He gives them gatorade behind my back (on my NO list and he KNOWS IT). I KNOW thats an adult issue, but Grandpa won't listen and I don't want to cut ties over food issues..(And my mother never would have allowed that had she seen it). So i tell the kids that grandpa means well, but he doesn't know the latest research and that its bad for our bodies so they know not to drink it (diet soda, not gatorade). But they're kids so who knows... It's one big mess sometimes. I want my kids to grow up knowing their extended family, but why do I have to make all the compromises in order to do that?
I love my family... and they mean well. When there, I don't judge (I don't think i do) there choices... I just bring my own and eat what I bring or what passes muster for me...and then stew about it to myself.. but I just feel very alone in my choices... Like, they made a corn dish. I could have eaten some if they'd just taken a spoonful out before they mixed in the bacon and butter... but no one thought... sigh. I know...its not about me. But HOW do you blend people who have different diets and ideas about food when all they do is gather to eat?????
redpajama -- I don't preach, I don't think... I answer when asked. I encourage huge when they bring it up (my sister wanted to do a cleanse she did last year. It was very labor intensive and she did it with my mom, who did all the cooking. Mom's not cooking this year, so I found one that is a lot less work... she's not interested. I gave her the mealplan/rules i found and then shut up about it. I'm doing it. I think just by me doing it that it somehow makes her insecure??...)
Good for you trying to eat healthily! You should stick to your guns for yourself. As some other posters said, I would downplay your choices at family events, even if asked. I would preach to your kids when at home but allow them to choose when with family - and tell them not to make comments.
I totally know what you mean about feeling lonely and socially pressured. I am trying not to eat sweets and I feel like I have no support around me. I even started my first thread on this site (January NO SWEETS Challenge). Only one person has responded to give me support. About 10 out of the last 15 days, numerous sweets have been right in front of me and I have resisted so far. Social pressure to eat the SAD diet is everywhere. It is especially hard when it is coming from your own family.
You have made the right choice. If I were more brave and conscientious (and single), I would make the same food choices you are making. I am trying to cut back on meat and dairy. I hate to cook and my husband does all of the cooking and shopping. He is cutting back on meat and buying more organic (Uhg - the prices). I think in the future, more and more people will eat more healthily and more sustainably...someday...
I know how you feel. Except for me its feeling alone in my own house as well. Sometimes I wish I was still blissfully ignorant. DH asked me today, "What if I read a book that said that processed food is better. Would you start buying junk again? Just because someone wrote a book or an article doesn't mean its true or what we need to do." Ughh! Yes, I want to feel better and lose a few pounds, but my main motivation for a healthier lifestyle is him! He's obese and diabetic. I just want him and our kids to be healthier. I won't even start in about his family and their eating habits. I am just sick of the constant battle over what we eat. Today I'm feel like, why bother? Its clearly not important to anyone but me, I'm in the minority, so I should just throw in the towel and shut up about it.
Kelly - Labor & Delivery RN, IBCLC, Wife of 22 years, Mom to 4
Proud Surrogate Mommy
This was really isolating for me. I used to be very militant about my food choices. However, I found myself looking back at vacations and holidays and I regretted not eating what everyone else did. I missed out on some amazing tasting food and hurt the feelings of others. I now practice more of an 80/20 lifestyle. I am lucky that processed food doesn't have that much of an effect on me. If it did, I may be more reluctant to eat those things.
Yeah, I feel for you, crazytownmama. I have had several stages in my life where my eating choices were really isolating (both times I was vegan). I think it is sad that we aren´t allowed to have strong food preferences without comment and judgement. However, I also know that I am pretty passionate about things and it is probably uncomfortable for others to think (oh she thinks she is better than us) when mostly I just am trying to stick to my morals.
Like Biofarmer, though, I have since, for several reasons, adopted a bit of a more relaxed attitude. (I got pregnant and needed to eat animal products to feel human, as much as it totally broke my heart. My dairy issues have subsided in pregnancy also so I CAN eat dairy without a reaction. I took a couple vacations where eating vegan would have been totally unrealistic - the Basque country and Italy.)
Anyway, my point is that, I understand where you are coming from, and I can see how being extra careful not to ruffle feathers could help your family occasions, while also possibly a LITTLE loosening of the less important points (like white flour, maybe, as less threatening than factory chicken, which I also won´t eat), if that is possible for you. (Just an example, don´t know if there are any things that could be less black and white for you.)
But of course you have to do what you feel is right. Family is important, but you are the only one that can look out for you.
Pretty darn crunchy mama to Kiddo (2yo, DD), wife to Hubby, SAHM/aspiring writer/amateur sewist/lover of reading, traveling, music, natural parenting, unschooling, dogs, nature and more. Working on mindfulness and living in the present. Settled in Norway.
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I also considered since the last time I posted that the issue with family meals could be one way that your family members have established a "sense of community" - that you all will eat together and enjoy the same foods. It's "who we are" as a family. So your unwillingness to surrender your diverging preferences to the family culture is sending a message that isn't about food, it's about rejection of the family culture. Sort of like wanting to go into acting instead of running the family business for the 3th generation. So it's possible that your reactions to the family culture will be targeted as the family tries to maintain coherence.
One huge issue that I had as a parent was family members undermining me by deliberately doing what I asked them not to do. This isn't about food, it's about control. Grandfather giving the kids drinks he knows they shouldn't have is about him "winning" by disrespecting your will. It seems that it's possible that your family values conformity to the family culture more than they value the well-being of the members. This is something to consider regarding your ongoing relationships with them. Do they really know and respect you? Or are you just "daughter," someone who fills a role in the family. In the worst case, your family are not really on your side and can't be trusted to respect you; in the best case, they are unskilled in negotiating relationships and fall back on hierarchical structured family roles.
I still think that you should change the relationship by minimizing opportunities for conflict - so only one meal together per month, for example, during which you know that you must come to them on their terms.
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