Succeeding socially with the Raw Lifestyle
Todays topic, succeeding socially raw, can be a doozy for the unprepared.
Often within the first months to years of being raw or striving to be raw, people feel out of place eating out, at gatherings, parties, with family, or simply feel alone with their food choices. While your going through changes during transition, still have attachments to old food choices, smells, and behaviours it can be not only socially hard but mentally hard dealing with cravings and peep pressure, looks, and questions.
Take heart, it gets much easier, and in reality its all a choice 🙂
I know some people will struggle with the “choice” aspect, but read on and grow in understanding.
Going out need not be a challenge, the easiest way to stay satisfied is to pack some of your favorite fruit or veggies with you. Bring as much as you need, you can always eat them first (on the way) and order a simple salad, or eat your food at the table with others. Its best to bring food that the restaurant wouldn’t have, typically fruit, or say a avocado or some home made dressing to bulk up a salad. Remember everyone wishes to be as comfortable as possible, there is no need to make a big deal, the server and owners first priority is for you and your friends to be happy.
With calm confidence let the server know you are on a special diet, simply ask if its ok for you to eat your fruit at the table with your friends. In over 5 years of going out I’ve only had one waitress say “no”, she ended up coming back 5 minutes later, after talking with the owner, apologizing profusely saying “of course you can, I am really sorry” and gave me a plate and knife.
If you don’t bring any of your own food ordering a large salad can be easy and tasty. Scan over the menu making a mental note of the fresh raw veggies or fruits they have, many restaurants even have fresh squeezed juices or some fruits, when its your time to order ask if its ok if you make a special salad. Instead of ordering one off the menu and saying “no this, no that,” just list the ingredients you want. Typically I would say, “I would love a extra large family size salad made simply with lettuce, cucumber, and lots of tomatoes, no dressing and a quarter of lemon on the side please.” Other times I have asked for a whole head of lettuce plain, a cucumber, and a few tomatoes, or for a large side of celery or romaine to go with my fruit, sure you may get some looks but it works just fine. You may get charged less than a side salad sometimes more than a entree salad, it all depends on the restaurant and server, let the server know your thankful for their help and understanding.
Another option is to suggest going to a restaurant you know has more options, or even better a good buffet that has unlimited fruits and salad fixings. I love going to buffets, eating a large meal of whatever fruit they have followed by as much salad as I want is fun for me and those watching :). Its easy as a raw foodist to get your moneys worth 🙂 i always monopolize on the honeydew and the cherry tomatoes 🙂 ahha
Our personal level of comfort is solely dictated by us, that is we can decide what we are comfortable with, and what we are not. When we are making changes its natural that our focus is on those changes, to notice the differences between what we are eating and others are, as well as overanalyze every look or reaction of another. Step back, realize its only as big of a deal as you make it. Its just food, we all eat, who cares if you eat “this” and your friend eats “that”. You are making positive changes for your better good, focus on that, know that everyone is doing what they wish according to their perception of what they want and need. Focus on your wants and needs, why in the first place you made these changes, know that most people wish they could make dietary changes for the better. Most of the time when people give you guff, ask questions, or give you a hard time its only out of curiosity or concern. On the occasion you get a negative reaction realize most often this is simply a self reflection of their own discord with their personal habits experiences and choices.
At family gatherings, dinners, parties, do the same, eat the food you bring first if your uncomfortable, that way you will be full and satisfied. When your full other food becomes a non issue. Remember your comfort really depends on you, and your perspective. If your looking around worrying that others will pick you out and mock your choices, your just making it hard on yourself. every one is out to have fun, food need not be the focus, that is unless you make it so. Everyone has different likes and dislikes, concern yourself with how you feel about your choices and be proud your following your path. Join online groups, support boards and reach out, who know you may have a raw food community or potluck gathering in your city :). Dictating your actions by your wants and needs is so much more fulfilling than going off of others, trust me in this. I used to go out and order water just to fit in or because its “normal”, even if not thirsty. Now I only go by what I need in the moment and am much more comfortable, knowing I am serving my truth, not caving for fear of others thoughts or judgements.
On a last point on the questions, looks ,criticisms , or debates you can get into, its your decision how to answer any of these. You needn’t really even answer at all, there is no need to stand up and say, “I am raw forever! I only eat this, that..” and go off on describing/defending the raw diet. You can simply say “I really like fruit”, or simply “I just feel like a salad”. Have fun and play it down “Oh I am trying to eat healthier, this is what I want. If your catching attitude from friends say “I wouldn’t want what your having either” ahha, or “I am trying something new for a while”, or “I am just acting on what my body and doctor advise/indicate.” You can always say that ” I am trying something new and it feels great, check out www.the-raw-advantage.com, or this book, its great” 🙂 hahahah when love and positivity is behind your perception and attitude nothing need be a challenge.
Be the lighthouse, know that being a example only makes it easier for others to follow their own path, listen to your drum and strive for your best 🙂
You create your own experience, relax take a deep breath and seek comfort in everything 🙂
I hope this has been helpful