One of the most difficult adversaries to changing over to a whole foods diet are the reactions from Family and Friends. It’s a rare occurrence, when I have a client begin a program where their motives, new body, and food choices are not called into question by someone close to them.
(shifts head to an obscene left tilt and wrinkles brow)
“What’s that you’re eating?”
(voice flutters higher with a judgmental tone)
“Ohhh…..you’re doing the whole gluten free thing too?”
“I could never eat like you…I like food too much.”
(shakes head with the intensity and overdone nature of a Disney channel sitcom character)
Guys…even WITHOUT this pushback it’s HARD!
The truth is, the simple choice to cut out processed foods holds up a large and often uncomfortable mirror, to the vast majority of the population’s dietary habits.
Take the advice from your flight attendants for once, just like in an emergency airplane situation you have to to put on your own oxygen mask, before you can help someone else. In this instance, put yourself as number one and begin to practice your own self care.
The uncomfortable truth is that most people use food as a drug.
Excessive carbs and sugars, lull the upset mind and racing brain into a sedative stupor, likened to opiate effects. Have you ever attempted high-level conversation with a parent right after a plate of pancakes, sausage, muffins or bagels with cream cheese? Believe me it’s anything but inspired or inspiring. What about after a large Holiday meal? It’s doesn’t have to be bad food, it could just be an obscene amount past too much.
Why do I bring this up? Because like drugs, people enjoy using processed food in groups. People want to get high together, and people want to eat shit food together.
So how does one navigate the sensitive line where family meets food? How do you survive holidays, eating out and awkward kitchen conversations? How do you field Aunt Darlene’s inquiry about glutens impact to your sensitive colon?
Below are my 5 steps to staying on track with a new commitment to a whole food diet.
Number 1: Keep your new program close to your heart.
While you think your friends and family will want to know on Facebook…they don’t need to know. Things can get ugly out there in the land of the Internet. You are opening yourself up to an onslaught of uneducated/unsolicited opinions and backlash. Give yourself a few months to negotiate how you plan to change your eating habits, before you open yourself up to questioning from Uncle Ted and Aunt Lorraine. Most importantly, implement a strategy and get a foothold for your own heart first.
“Well…why DON’T you want to have the quesadilla Sharon?! You’ve always loved quesadillas! Sharon PLEASE just eat the BLEEPIN’ quesadillas! Your mother eats them and she’s FINE!”
Number 2: Plan For the worst-case scenario, use technology and be resourceful.
When you are trying to stick to an eating regime, and being dragged by family and friends to a restaurant that you know is going to be a challenge:
*Use the Internet. Download the menu and navigate 5 dishes you can eat with modification.
*Use your Phone. Call ahead, talk to a manager about accommodating your specific dietary needs.
Tip: Get the manager’s name who you spoke with and their position. Remember it’s an industry based on service…they should want to make the customer happy. I have never had someone tell me I couldn’t get steamed veggies as a side after I filled them in on a health history.
If that is the case..fill a container with steamed veggies and baked chicken. Ask for an extra plate. Claim medical grade food and call it a day.
Check THIS LINK for one of my favorite stainless steel containers, for this very scenario.
Tip: The human body can go 40 days without food. Without a clean clear-cut option, drink water with lemon and put on your best
“I’m having a great f*&^ing time!” hat. You can and will survive skipping a meal. Actors….get ready to give your greatest performance to date!
Number 3: Practice the art of letting go.
Let go of the expectation that your parents, family or friends are going to empathize with your diet, even if it’s medically necessary. Do you know how many times my father has told me about eating 10-12 dozen steamed clams with drawn butter at the family clam bake?
“Dad…you know that would make me sick right? Your son that had 2 feet of intestine removed? The son who has been rushed to the emergency room 5 times in the last 5 years for eating the wrong foods in excess amounts?!”
Friends! It’s not their story…it’s yours.
While it would be nice to have people give you such attention, investment and thought, I’m here to tell you it’s not going to happen to the DEGREE to which it will make you feel good. You are going to be angry and potentially have an even worse meal.
Observe: This anger comes from the lack of ability to control your parents.
Are you still waiting for that one? Me too.
We will both be waiting till HELL FREEZES OVER!!
So today, what you can control is YOUR reaction.
You can change your response to the stimulus.
Tip: Before walking into Controversy Alley say this:
“I forgive my Dad, I know that he loves me. He does the best that he can, with the information that he has, at the time it is available to him. If he could do better, he would.”
Say this 5 times a day.
It takes time, but remember this programmed anger response has been hardwired over 30, 40, 50 years of evolution.
Number 4: Be armed to the teeth….knowledge is power.
When jumping into a new way of eating:
*Do your research in a library.
*Find a certified health coach.
*Find a nutritionist.
*Find a functional medicine doctor.
You need a guide and possibly a team of people. Find someone who has, or is currently walking through the fire that you want to walk through. Find an encouraging voice that is speaking the language that you need to hear, who has found success practicing it for themselves, in a private or clinical setting.
Here are some books that I love, that have been guides for me.
Dave Asprey: “The Bulletproof Diet” – Dave is my guru and perfect for science nerds.
Terry Whals: “The Terry Whals Protocol” – This is a book for healing M.S. but the diet is incredible. I pull many of my autoimmune protocols from Terry’s research.
Steven Gundry: “Plant Paradox” – Steven Gundry is the former president of the American Heart Association who is turning the old food pyramid on its head with this best selling book. Grab it now.
And of course there is always FreddieSetGo.com!
You don’t need the Internet.
You don’t need a Netflix documentary.
These are often sensationalized dramatic “movies” with pieces of truth sewn together. If it’s not breathtaking, it’s not going to go viral. The truth is, eating a whole foods diet is boring and does not make for media wildfire.
Number 5: Cuts from Family and Friends and the boundaries we can set
Friends, co-workers and classmates, though often good intentioned will work against you because of hidden fears of their own. As I mentioned before no one wants to be left alone in the storm of change, and people will generally opt to have you stay fat, sick and sedated. You are much easier to control when you are slow and tired.
Truth: Nothing cuts like family…and they know it. When posed with their questions regarding your new diet programs and lifestyle, simply say:
“I’m trying something new. Let’s discuss it about 3 months after I have gained some ground. Did you see that Yankees game?”
If you are still having issues with a close family member or friend who keeps hassling you, try writing out your feelings in a letter to them.
Tip: Put it in black and white.
Be open and creative to what the fix could be. In your letter, be clear and make suggestions. Perhaps the fix is that you two should not discuss food. Perhaps it’s an understanding that you want something different for your life. Explain YOUR dream in detail and explain what you want differently for yourself in the future. Most people cannot deny you your happiness laid out in black and white.
If not…build a higher wall. Set those boundaries and talk to them once you are fully functioning in your new lifestyle and relationship with food. This may be a good time to examine this particular friendship and see if it’s still serving your best life.
When you are glowing, sleeping better, feeling sexy, and crushing life due to all the extra energy you have, no one is going to question you.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Be the example of the strong vibrant superhero you envision yourself to be. The proof is in the avocado pudding and no one can challenge that.
That’s it for now!
“The world is crying with earthquakes, shootings, wildfires and political turmoil. THIS world needs YOU at YOUR BEST. Critical thinking and record cerebral response times will be achieved from consumption of broccoli, cauliflower, kale, swiss chard, carrots and wild salmon…..not Domino’s and Taco bell.”
And for that reason I’m out! #FreddieSetGo