I’m really a Mindful Eater.
My friends respect my diet choices, even if they think they’re a little quirky. They know I’ve changed my diet for the sake of better health. When I’m invited to dinner, the hosts ask what are my “restrictions.” My mama taught us to eat anything our host offers, but… quite honestly, the situation requires some finesse. I always ask my hosts not to go out of their way to accommodate me. I contribute a dish or two, if that’s appropriate, and try to downplay my food preferences. (I’ll survive a meal with non-organic greens!)
That said, I do pay attention to what I put in my body. Not every food I’ve loved has loved me back, and my body has let me know in some noxious ways. If I’m lucky, I will only get bloated.
So be it — call me “picky.”
When my friends and I go out, I suggest restaurants I think will work for everyone. And, if someone else makes a suggestion, I take a quick look at the menu to see if there is at least one thing I can eat. Food brings people together and I don’t want my food preferences to make me a social repellent. I do draw the line, however, at most fast food places.
Here’s how I maintain my food “quirks” and social life. When my Maryland USTA tennis team was in Newport News, Virginia for a tournament, some teammates wanted to hit a deli for lunch. Well, the typical deli doesn’t work for me because I’m gluten-free and don’t eat processed meats. I suggested Taste, which is in both Newport News and Norfolk. (I’d gone there with other teammates last year and remembered it as a healthier type of deli. The good folk at Taste label the gluten-free food and you can customize your salad order.) This time around, I ordered an arugula and spinach salad with sliced almonds, hard-boiled egg, goat cheese, cucumber, and onion, topped with a generous scoop of blackened tuna salad. It was huge and good and had plenty of protein. My teammates happily ordered what they wanted and we all shared a bottle of Bitch red wine.
See…not really so picky after all! Everybody was happy and ready to kick butt in the next match!