Explaining or NOT Explaining Your Whole Foods Diet

beverly November 26, 2011

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By Stacy Myers, Contributing Writer

When you switch to a mostly “whole foods” diet, things are hunky dorey when you’re at home. You’re on top of the world! You control what’s on your family’s plate. You’re the boss – and your family doesn’t question you…..if they know what’s good for them. 😉

But then this strange thing happens: you have to leave the house. It’s inevitable. You can’t stay holed up in your home 24/7 with no contact with the outside world – aka your friends and family. They want to see you. They want you to come over to dinner.  They want to have a birthday celebration at Golden Corral. And for a moment (or maybe weeks) you feel like a deer caught in headlights – I know I did. Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Save me from the MSG! I’m here to tell you that you’ll save yourself a lot of grief and ulcers if you live by our 80/20 rule. Control what you can 80% of the time and the other 20% will be just fine. And you won’t be on medication for your ulcers. Now you can breathe an audible sigh of relief.

So, now you’re ready to leave the house! You’ve got your big girl panties on and you’re ready to face Golden Corral. But, I have to tell you something else you need to be prepared for……the questions. When you go to someone else’s home or to an event, I believe 100% that you should eat what you are given. It’s common courtesy. As Erin from The Humbled Homemaker says “relationships trump whole foods.”  Don’t ruin relationships with your friends and family over a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup.

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But, they might notice when you eat the meat and vegetables but skip the white bread. They might wonder why you ate your meal but skipped the pecan pie. And they’re going to ask. “Hey, are you on a low carb diet or something?” “This pie is delicious! Do you want a piece? No? How come?” Here are some options for you and how I handle most of these questions:

1. “I filled up on meat and veggies and now I’m just stuffed!” This is 100% true. Fill your plate with meat and vegetables. You WILL be stuffed. Way too stuffed for a white roll or sugary pecan pie… least I usually am.

2. “Uhhhh, I have to go to the bathroom!” This one is a great way to get out of any conversation you don’t want to have. Usually by the time you get back (if you are gone long enough – take a magazine) they have moved on to something else, or even finished their pie.

3. “Well, we’re trying to avoid white flour and sugar. We feel so much better!” Now, if they are REALLY interested, they might ask more questions. This is a great opportunity for you to share the knowledge that you know. If they don’t question any further, they don’t want you messing with their pecan pie by skewing their view. Ahem.

4. “I just don’t care for any right now, thank you.” This is the one I use the most often….in conjunction with the bathroom quote. If they still press you, ask if it would be okay for you to take a slice home instead. This will appease just about any grandmother. Be warned though – she might send the WHOLE pie home with you. If so, just send it to work the next day with your spouse. I’m sure someone at work will eat it, if you don’t want it.

5. “Haven’t you heard the quote ‘the whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead?’” This should be reserved for those members of your family that you like to shock. Those friends who won’t be swayed – and you want to quiet them up pretty quick. They’ll think about this quote all night. They’ll pass the white bread too. They might even have difficulty sleeping….so, like I said – reserve it for the difficult ones – not your feeble grandmother.

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For the most part, I try to keep quiet about our whole foods diet. Well, except on my blog – a quiet blog would be sorta boring. I really don’t talk about it often. I’ve found that for me, it’s easier to keep my trap shut than to try to go into a long conversation about the ill effects of high fructose corn syrup. Most people don’t want to have that type of conversation anyway.

If someone IS interested in how you eat, they will ask you. You’ll notice when they are genuine or if they are trying to pick a fight. If someone asks me, I like to talk to them about it. But, I don’t feel the need to explain to the lady at the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru why I’m ordering a wheat bun instead of a traditional white one. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and grief if you listen more than you speak….oh wait, that’s Biblical isn’t it? 🙂

How do you handle questions about your whole foods diet?

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  1. I usually just say, "You know, I've noticed that that food (flour, sugar, what-have-you) doesn't agree with me. I always feel lousy after I eat it. So I'm sticking to the stuff that goes down well." That makes it about *me,* not about something that they have to feel they should do. I've never heard anyone complain! I do the same when talking about my son's gluten-free diet, too. People tell me, "You know, celiac disease is very rare, and unless you have it, gluten is just fine!" But I can easily come back with, "You know, I've heard that too, and yet since I've cut it out, he's started sleeping through the night. Who knows, but if it works, I'm going to keep doing it for now." No arguments — no one likes that. Just owning my own choices without trying to evangelize anyone over Thanksgiving dinner.


  2. Great post, Stacy! You have a lot of great suggestions &–as always–you had me laughing out loud! Thanks for mentioning HH. 🙂


  3. Nicely said! I also agree 80/20 is the happy medium to maintain. I would never go to another home and say anything about how they prepare their food. I just choose what I will eat. Sometimes I will even eat the canned or processed foods just to see how they taste now….lol! I have realized now what I once thought was sooooo good, really has a not so great flavor now (like Stove Top stuffing, canned soups, boxed mac & cheese, etc). Eating whole, real foods really does change your palate!

    I too, don't mention our eating habits unless asked. I just don't want to argue about the health benefits of Whole, Raw Milk, Butter, Lard, Tallow, Grass Fed Beef. I am so tired of hearing "we are all gonna die anyway"….well, I choose to LIVE as healthy as I can until that day comes. Hopefully what kills me won't be the food I eat!


  4. We had some trouble over Thanksgiving, of course. I'm more of the 'everything in moderation' way of thought, so I had pie and a roll with my mashed potatoes. It's one day…I'll enjoy it while I can. My husband is much stricter than me, and he had pie, as did our kids–the one we brought from home, which had an almond-flour crust. We managed to keep the rolls hidden from them, too. I felt pretty good about what they ate until AFTER dinner, when various family members were playing with them and carrying them around, and every few minutes someone asked, "can he have a muffin? A cookie?" :/ While I'd have preferred not (esp for the 1-year-old, who is much more restricted in the way of grains than the 3-year-old), I just said "if he seems to be hungry, sure" and tried to remember the "it's just one day" thing. 🙂


  5. The questions about diet are so frustrating! I like your tips and how to handle them- everything from serious to hilarious. I have been known to say, "This is between me and my doctor." Right now I'm trying a gluten-free diet because of constant swelling in my body. That has caused an uproar because most people don't need a gluten-free diet unless they have celiac disease; at least that is the common thought. I can tell you that I could tell the difference Thursday and Friday when I ate everything without thinking, though. Wow, was I in pain! I think I'll stick with the line about this being between my doctor and me. No one has to know that doctor is my chiropractor.


  6. Great post! Full of great suggestions and so funny! We don't have too many issues with others about our food. They all know we are pretty strange 😉 I liked Erin's saying about relationships. You won't see me pass up a good Chick-Fil-A sandwich with a friend. Love your humor!


  7. Ok, I am keeping number 5. That is what I am going to use. I don't care who it should be reserved for…I'm using it!


  8. Great post, Stacy! I love reading your stuff. It's a good laugh and full of wisdom!


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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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