Dietary Chioces

So many people have made selective dietary choices these days — some are due to allergies, some are due to political beliefs, some are due to digestive issues, some are a choice for good health, and some are due to chronic conditions where food choices are critical. Whichever the reason, it is a challenge when you have restricted yourself in food choices, especially when you eat at someone else’s home and at restaurants.

When you eat out, you need to dine at places who will accommodate your needs. Most often, the wait staff do not know the ingredients in their meals. It requires them running back and forth to the kitchen or having the chef come to your table. Restaurants who prepare their meals in advance are far more difficult. It is easier for accommodation when they will make a dish with your specifications. We eat out a great deal, and there are only a handful of restaurants who will (or can) accommodate my needs.

When you go to somebody’s home, you don’t want to offend the hosts. At the same time, you need to remain true to your lifestyle choices. In so doing, it’s very helpful when you know what’s being served, so you can plan ahead. It is quite a challenge if you go some place and find that there is nothing for you to eat.

If you know that someone has a restricted diet and you have invited him/her to your home for a meal, he/she will be so appreciative if you let him/her know what you are serving in advance. Then, he/she will be able to plan ahead and supplement the meal if needed.

Please know, telling someone that you are “making a salad” does not give enough information. There variable items in a salad, as well as salad dressing, which may or may not be on his/her approved food list. Just because it is a “salad” does not mean it will meet that person’s restrictions. Not to mention, often times people need more then a salad for a meal.

With my dietary restrictions I do not expect anybody to accommodate my needs. All I ask is to know what’s being served in advance so I can plan ahead. When I eat at friends’ homes, usually I bring a dish or two to share so I can be assured I will have food to eat.

I am writing this to, hopefully, give a little awareness to those who do not have any dietary restrictions. We don’t enjoy being a “high maintenance diner.” It is a challenge, sometimes a real struggle, to stay true to one’s food choices.

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STOP. BREATHE. REFOCUS.

No matter how strong my resolve is there are still times of question and waver. Sometimes it is a struggle being the salmon, swimming upstream. It is far easier to go with the flow of the water and swim with everyone else. The opposition is few, and there is strength in numbers. At the same time, I cannot take the path everyone else takes, just because it is easier.

While my resolve is impenetrable, every so often, the voices of the masses get louder. I start hearing the whispers during my quiet times. The static becomes boisterous. The buzzing in my ear is relentless. I begin to question the path upon which I’m walking. My arms fatigue swimming against the current. I grow weary.

STOP. BREATHE. REFOCUS. I must follow my heart and listen to my inner guidance, even if that means my strength in numbers is one.

Nancy L. Baskin Michlin, M.Ed., C.H.C.
01/23/15