The Holidays can strike fear into anyone who feeds her family in a particular style, such as low-carb, traditional or whole foods, or has a child with food allergies or intolerances. There are mounds of forbidden food everywhere you go. You receive invitations to events that contain a sea of smiling faces, some thinking they know better than you what your kid needs to eat. “Just a little taste won’t hurt! You’re just too controlling, let them live a little!” They sneak your child bites while an accomplice across the room ties you up in conversation. There’s dearly loved Great Aunt Matilda who would never feed your celiac child an un-approved bite, but wants to hold her plate of gluteny-goodness in one hand while she kisses and loves on your little one in the other, not realizing the damage it could do. You desperately don’t want to hurt her feelings, but you don’t want your little guy throwing up for days or wetting the bed for a month, either. Then there’s those who mean no harm, but just haven’t heard the news yet or don’t realize that what they’re giving your child could make them sick. You can’t glue your kids to your legs the whole event; they just want to go play with the other kids. Yet you fully realize that in the room runs the gamut from people who are helpful and supportive to people who would gladly sabotage you. It’s enough to make any mama grab their kids and run screaming from the best of events!
Then comes the reactions to the food you have brought. No matter how beautiful or ‘normal’ the dish, people turn their noses up at it with a collective “Ewwww!” To them, different = disgusting and their minds snap shut just as quick as their jaws when offered a bite. Your plate is the only one who comes home barely touched beyond the servings you spooned out for you and your kids and the one serving your supportive aunt or adventurous brother-in-law took. Your husband’s extolling your cooking abilities to the family is met with blank stares. Many people assume because you have made something different, your food doesn’t contain sugar/flavor/spices or any other myriad of attributes or ingredients they deem ‘normal.’ I once had to tell someone at a church event that store-bought gluten-free cookies weren’t health food and they did contain white sugar, they just didn’t contain the protein that would make me sick. He turned his nose up at my plate of store-bought cookies until he learned that they weren’t ‘nasty health food.’
To many people food equals love, and love could never hurt. The denial or changing of food, no matter the reason, evokes a very visceral reaction in some people that comes from places you can’t even begin to fathom. [Read more…] about Navigating Events with Food When You Eat Differently