Friday, May 6, 2011

Navigating Food Differences

I've been experimenting with diet now for over 20 years. I've gone through so many phases figuring out what the best things to eat are and how to cook them and sometimes I've alienated people. Often I inspire others but food is one of those areas that many people want to be left alone about. They just want to enjoy food and not think about any potential consequences. There are consequences.

Recently I was researching GMO food and their potential health benefits or harmful effects. One thing that struck me in the research was that the rise of gluten intolerance we have been seeing is due to the genetically modified strains of wheat, corn, and other products that are giving people allergic reactions. Celiac disease is a very real disease, and difficult to live with, where one is unable to tolerate gluten but that only effects about 1% of the population. I have seen people with other intestinal disorders think they were effected by gluten but were fine once they cleared the real cause like Candida overgrowth. More and more people are not fine though, and the GMO's are a likely cause.

Since so many people are discovering they have to be more careful with what they put in their body, it is less of a problem socially to have to omit certain ingredients or negotiate for a restaurant you feel comfortable collectively going to. I still run into that problem though. It especially hits me when I go out on dates. I don't want to be militant or off putting but I have to explain that I can't go eat at the Jewish Deli just now because eating that food is the equivalent of someone else having a few drinks. I'll be tired and sluggish the next day and have the potential for other consequences depending on the overall acidity of my diet that day or the day before. Sometimes I say nothing and try to order the thing on the menu that feels the safest choice. Usually that means that I'm still hungry later. I prefer that now, rather than making someone else feel bad for their choices or controling where we go to eat every single time.

Someone recently asked me how do I stay committed to the way I eat when I'm hungry and there are not clean food options available. You do the best you can. I'm not perfect and I never expect anyone else to be. If you have been eating well and don't have a huge exam or presentation in the next few days, you'll probably be just fine eating things that you know are not the best. I never touch cane sugar or dairy because I instantly react and it's horrible. I know my limits and I do make mistakes. That just seems to be part of the process. It's tricky to be light enough that you also don't make yourself feel deprived or left out. I make promises to myself to have things at a better time or that I will get something later for myself that I can eat. When the whole world looks like they are walking around Manhattan eating ice cream, I wait for a good moment to indulge in Stogo's or buy some Coconut Bliss at Whole Foods. Sometimes knowing that I am going to get the treat later makes it that much sweeter when I do get it. If you explain with love, most people who don't share your views on food will be happy to see you happy.

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