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We just need to be flexible

Lizzard_77 Posts: 232 Member
This is what my best friend said to me last night at a potluck gathering of my closest girlfriends. We were cleaning up dinner and I was remarking at how wonderful the food had been and how great it was that we were figuring out how to do this "paleo-vegan thing. One of the girls is strict vegan, the others are pescatarian and, I am primal.

"It's really hard, this paleo-vegan thing. I mean it took me a really long time on pinterest to find the cauliflower pizza crust recipe. Then I had to buy vegan cheese and regular FULL FAT cheese. We just all need to be flexible and realize it can't always be perfect." She replied to my excitement over the success of the meal. What a bummer. And what do you mean flexible? I have spent years with these women trying all means of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, switching out ingredients and researching new methods of cooking so to prepare vegan friendly dishes, and most recently eating some items I knew were less good for me because they thought I could eat it (I have given them each a short list of the no-no's). And what do you mean flexible? I have mentally catalogued each one of their food intolerances, the one who can't have any type of sugar (including fruit) or can't eat any vinegars of any sort. The one who can only have certain types of cheeses. I have spent hours pouring over forums and yelp and urban spoon looking for restaurants that will suit all of our needs. And what do you mean flexible?

Does flexibility mean that occasionally they will dig into a steak with me? Or that I can finally make bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled in rosemary oil, and they will eat it and enjoy? Or does flexibility simply mean I should suck it up and eat grains because buying a pizza crust would have been easier than making one out of cauliflower? Because they can't fathom that grains could be harmful to our guts. They can't wrap their minds around the idea that soy is slowly killing us? Therefore I should just suck it up and eat some beans (for God's sake). That is the sense I got from the conversation. I quickly changed the topic and moved on.

I just started reading Chris Kresser's Your Personal Paleo Code and came across this quote "I realized I had found my tribe-a group of revolutionary individuals committed to helping people obtain optimal health". I burst into tears upon reading this sentence. I feel that way with this forum. I feel like I have found my tribe and I am surrounded by people who don't expect me to be flexible. People who know more or know less than me but want to teach and learn. People who are opinionated but speak from the heart, people who are tentative and scared but look to us for guidance. I am surrounded by people who are like minded and working towards "helping people obtain optimal health".

I am going to my first paleo meetup this weekend and can't be more excited. I am hoping to find a similar community but in real life. Because when I think of my primal lifestyle around my friends and family, I feel like I am a lone raft stuck in a great ocean and all I have for a paddle is a rotten stick. But here I feel like I am on a crew team seamlessly gliding down the river with Chris Kresser, Mark Sisson, Diane Sanfilippo, and many many others at the helm.

Do any of you allow for flexibility, how do you even respond to that statement. I personally know which non-paleo foods I can eat with little reaction but I keep it to a minimum, and why would I choose to eat those things when they make me less healthy. Why would my best friends ask me to eat foods that makes me less healthy. Why ask me to eat something that was part reason for the debilitating pain that kept me in bed most days of the week? Yes, I will be flexible. I will continue to visit vegan restaurants and veganify any foods I cook for you, my dear friends, but I will not sacrifice my health to make a pot luck dinner easier for you.


  • charleigh78
    charleigh78 Posts: 247 Member

    It is difficult. People inherently don't "get it". It was great of your friends to flex for you, but selfish of them to complain when you have so graciously flexed for them :( Could you opt for more simple meals in the future? Or eat out at restaurants that have lots of meat and veggie options? My dd is a vegetarian and the rest of us are paleo. We don't build our meals around vegetarian options. I don't believe that soy is good for you so I don't allow her to eat vegan franken-food. I keep beans, rice, true sourdough bread, and cheese on hand for her. Other than that, she has to eat what we eat. She eats a sweet potato and salad when we have meat, sweet potato, and salad. The key for us is simplicity. I don't make two types of pizza - we simply don't eat pizza at all. What about a build your own salad night (you could have baked potatoes - white and/or sweet)? You could have lots of topping options and everyone can choose :) Another one that my dd loves is taco salad. She uses tortilla chips and beans/cheese and the rest of us have a salad with taco meat, salsa, etc and some roasted plantain chips on the side. Maybe the types of meals need to change some? When we first switched to a paleo diet over 2 years ago, I was trying to mimic the foods we previously liked and it was very challenging, time consuming, expensive, and even disappointing sometimes. I guess it helped during that transition time, but we are "over" the standard American diet now and we just eat so plain and simple. That being said, cauliflower pizza crust is pretty darn awesome :) I actually forgot it existed until I read your post. Hmmm.....might need to add that in for a treat one day soon.

    Hang in there, ya'll will figure it out.
  • Akimajuktuq
    Akimajuktuq Posts: 3,037 Member
    Wow…. you go out of your way to accommodate them and their even more restrictive (and in my not humble opinion, VERY unhealthy) lifestyle and YOU need to be FLEXIBLE?

    So Paleo-vegan is "hard" so processed food vegan is better? Or, what did she mean? Hmmm…….

    You handle all that better than I would. Wheat is one of the most health damaging food ever… but you should just eat it because it's easier for them? As if catering to their vegan lifestyle is easy or makes sense at all. You'd think they would be somewhat appreciative and not complain when they return the favour by making something that you can eat and that doesn't make you sick.
  • ortega1990
    ortega1990 Posts: 236 Member
    That's unfortunate Liz. Maybe it's time to nix the potlucks and dinners out and instead go shopping or do something other than eat with those friends. I hope you have a good Paleo Meetup!
  • Akimajuktuq
    Akimajuktuq Posts: 3,037 Member
    That's unfortunate Liz. Maybe it's time to nix the potlucks and dinners out and instead go shopping or do something other than eat with those friends. I hope you have a good Paleo Meetup!

    What a great suggestion there. Socializing does not have to involve food.

    (This coming from a person who is soon moving to a department where potlucks are commonplace.... I've been forewarned....)
  • Rei1988
    Rei1988 Posts: 412 Member
    Whenever people have strong beliefs they often minimize others beliefs, not realizing that others have reasons just as strong and important as theirs. Like your friend's inconsiderate comment, not even taking into account that YOU have been making sacrifices too! I would have a talk with her about how it made you feel, awkward as it is you don't want there to be any resentment between you two.

    Also may I add that cauliflower pizza crust is INCREDIBLY easy to find -.- type it in and a thousand recipes pop up.

    I hope your meet up goes well! *hugs*

    And just so you know, you are my favorite of the tribe. :)
  • coopersmom2006
    Ugh. I know the feeling. I typically eat BEFORE I go to parties because otherwise I'm stuck eating raw veggies. People think the paleo thing is a fad diet and for me personally, it's not. Gluten and soy issues are a ***** and NO food is worth the feeling I'll get after eating the things that my body can't handle.
  • sportyredhead01
    sportyredhead01 Posts: 482 Member
    Because when I think of my primal lifestyle around my friends and family, I feel like I am a lone raft stuck in a great ocean and all I have for a paddle is a rotten stick.

    I feel this same exact way, especially so with my food nutrition instructor mother-in-law.

    Two COMPLETELY different schools of thought.
    I just wanted to chime in and say hey you're not alone and keep truckin' you know what's right for you, not everyone else! :happy:
  • each_day_stronger
    each_day_stronger Posts: 191 Member
    I used to be one of those flexible obsessed people. *SIG* Actually to be honest I think it's something I'm still working on right now for myself. It may seem reasonable, but it really is just the brainwashing talking.

    I guess what's been giving me strength recently when I feel weird or ostracized for my oddness is listening/reading stories from people who are REALLY struggling with some extremely serious health issues and find wellness from paleo. I just listened to this episode of the paleo view:
    and I was just overwhelmed with emotion. I feel funny not eating the pizza that everyone else eats. But then I'm reminded of people out there who are literally falling apart from gluten. While I am not at that state with my health, I am reminded that EVERYONE deserves to feel good. Just because I don't experience debilitating symptoms, doesn't mean I don't deserve to feel awesome. I wouldn't deny these folks suffering from autoimmune issues the real food and health they need, why would I deny myself? I am definitely not where I need to be in the end with my own diet right now, but I have nothing but the utmost RESPECT for people here that are really doing this. It reminds me that I CAN and that I DESERVE it.

    Some days I feel dopey for how much time I spend on a calorie counting website, but then I remember just how many awesome people are here. Having this daily practice of talking to y'all keeps me pushing forward!
  • butterbear1980
    butterbear1980 Posts: 234 Member
    :( there is absolutely no flexibility when it comes to vegan cheese geez Louise. No I dont let anybody guilt me into eating their food. I wish we could hang out in real life; no soy cheese allowed! I know if I was in your shoes a comment like that would have left me feeling confused at the moment and kind of sad later; I've had similar things happen in my family :(.