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Experiment of One

Thursday, September 20, 2018

I've been thinking about MOLLIEMAC's blog, "Do I Get Enough?" Riffing on the issue of adequate protein -- particularly on a vegan diet.


Her answer? Yes she does. And she's also recently expressed the relief of returning to her "own" way of eating after a vacation shared with family members.

Insufficiency of protein impedes my own ethical preference for a totally vegan diet -- I can't do soy (history of estrogen positive cancer). And I don't like food products, even with sufficient protein, that depend upon a whole lotta chemicals. I like to eat foods with single ingredients wherever possible: e.g. "mango" on my bag of frozen mango chunks for my lunch serving of mixed fruits.

It does seem to me that most successful maintainers have evolved a highly individualized diet after considerable experimentation -- that "experiment of one" which eventually discovers what optimally supports the needs of that individual. Although ongoing tweaking and adjustments still occur as external and internal circumstances change: such as retirement, or slowing metabolism, or injury requiring less exercise and less calories . . .

But: it seems to me that so many people are evolving individualized diets (nut allergies, gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, paleo, keto etc. etc.). Some of these are related to weight loss concerns and some are ideological and many are both. For example, while hosting a recent professionals meeting I discovered, too late, that one of the participants is glucose intolerant so could not enjoy the baked goods -- and did not care for the assorted fruit on offer. Yikes.

Is the concept of "sharing food" disappearing in society generally? Has a "fast food" culture (where each person orders exactly what he or she prefers, for whatever reason) eroded the notion that one accepts what's on offer, politely messing around on the plate what one cannot or prefers not to eat? For example, if a hostess serves roast pork: I'm not going to say a word. If roast pork is placed on my plate, I'll eat a polite mouthful of "Wilbur": yes I will. While "Charlotte" spins her web in the corner of my mind. And of course actual food allergies cannot be accommodated with polite messing around -- nobody wants a situation of anaphylactic shock.

How about you? Are you OK with less social interaction around food as the "price" of discovering the individualized food program that supports YOU best?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I have a vegan daughter and I eat clean by eating lots of fruits and veggies. All the guys in our house are carnivores. I often think about if some of us eat enough protein while wondering if the others get enough fruits/veggies. It seems like this eating thing is always on the mind. I guess that's why we are here. Thanks.
    559 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/24/2018 9:07:04 PM
    I live in rural south Louisiana where our culture is food. Literally all socials center around food. I wish that I could be strong and rude enough to say no to food. Usually the case is I fall to temptation but not always, I can say no thank you to offers without any guilt. I actually feel so proud of myself when I can abstain. Sticking to my food plan is empowering. The guilt happens when I don't say no! Just as some people wonder, "what do you do if you are not planning, cooking, eating?" I love my heritage and we offer some of the most delicious food in the world but it is often to the detriment of the people in our state. I could rattle on and on about social eating with examples that would probably blow Sparkers away! So, cheerio! Thanks for bringing this light. Once again, great blog. Keep,Sparking!
    561 days ago
    It has been a very long time since I cooked up a storm for a group gathering, now the norm here at least is either potluck dinners of just an evening with wine and snacks. Snacks that don't fit one's diet sensibilities are easy to refuse but put a plate with hummus and fresh veggies in front of me and I'll dig in, lol. We must also remember that diets have changed not just because of fast foods but because of increased availability of different foods and celebration of different ethnic traditions.
    561 days ago
    I recently read an article that there was a turn down in fast food consumption -that McDonald's had to raise prices to keep profitable. People are seeing it costs less to eat at home and more are getting into their own special diets. My sister-in-law is doing amazing on her keto diet -she has lost 30 lbs in just over a month. Quiet frankly, I would gag on eating 80% of my food as fat- especially as bacon seems to be a huge star in it. Right from an early age I hated ham, but of course it was my brother's favorite food. I just chose to never eat it. It was a taste thing, although I never really liked meat in general. Just ate it because that was what my family ate. I went vegetarian quick enough when left to my own devices.
    562 days ago
    562 days ago
  • NANCY-
    Interesting subject and comments.
    Back in the day, it took time to travel so your guests would need a meal. Today, not so much,
    Perhaps we should move to "Take care of yourself," and go to only water provided,
    562 days ago
    I'm torn. I still feel nurture around food. I am a food pusher. But I was just subjected to major birthday love from a friend by way of food where the elaborate, hard to procure ingredients and lovingly prepared menu was nothing at all that I would have preferred. I was polite. I did a Beck and braced myself for a small weight gain that I knew would go away as soon as my love fest was done. And sure enough it is gone now. But the lesson for me is how it feels to be pinned by a food pusher. Not nurturing at all. And a second lesson is that I think entirely too much about food. I don't have allergies so it is no big deal. The love that went into that meal was the point for me. And the conversation. Which was not about food. I have acquired a powerful understanding that I can get right back on track as soon as I choose to.
    562 days ago
    I actually had to deal with this today - we're meeting a dear friend tomorrow, and he suggested we meet at a Japanese restaurant. I thought it was great, love sushi and all that. But, well, DH was rather unhappy with this idea. And marriage is all about compromise, right? So I called my friend back, and explained that DH wasn't thrilled with the idea of sushi, and maybe could we find another place?

    So, yeah, we're meeting for Mexican food.

    I was embarrassed having to call and make this request. I was disappointed for myself, because I do like sushi. I'm disappointed for my friend, because obviously he was looking forward to sushi.

    But, well, I want DH to be happy too. And while I'll go to a burger spot with DH and NOT EAT A THING, DH was not willing to do that. Plus it's different when meeting a friend, as opposed to just the two of us.

    (I have to add that if someone serves organ meat when they've invited me over for a meal, I will politely decline. I just can't do organ meat. Just can't.)

    563 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    563 days ago
    I don't tend to like social functions which are centered around food. That's all right w/family. We get together to do something and outside of going out to a place where we can order what we're comfortable with, part our ways.

    I do find that the saying I can't eat this or that is all right.
    563 days ago
    I'm not that social. And when there's no escape, I'm not in a mood to eat. Interesting!
    563 days ago
    Feel truly conflicted on this issue. I have a picky eater daughter who has no rationale for what she eats except what she wants. And at this point seems to have no interest in getting to a healthy weight. Where did I screw up? And 2 grandkids who are far pickier than I would ever have been allowed to be. Gwen would rather be hungry than eat something she doesn't like. There are many healthy things she likes (cantaloupe, strawberries, broccoli, peas) and less healthy things she doesn't like (caramel, bread, potatoes). She loves white rice and regular pasta but will go hungry rather than eat brown rice or whole wheat pasta. Natalie just never wants to quit eating. Sigh.

    I am more reluctant to cook for friends than I used to be and more likely to want to take people out to eat. I still cook large meals for family, although I almost always have plain cooked pasta for Gwen and grated cheddar cheese. She doesn't like regular macaroni and cheese. There are just too too many things she doesn't eat.

    Hubby thinks everyone except me will eat what he eats: steaks, roasts, bologna, hot dogs, ribs, meatloaf, white dinner rolls, biscuits, sausage gravy, banana pudding, potatoes cooked in a dozen different ways ---

    Thanks for bringing up the issue. I need to give it more thought and less stress.
    563 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/20/2018 2:45:24 PM
    Yes, I think one has to set a plan that works for them, and also be flexible to adjust given the situation. I am trying to adopt an anti-inflammatory program, after trying it for a month after stem cell therapy. Just attended a talk from a doctor that highlighted inflammation as a symptom of ill-health or injury ...and nutritons role in this. It is really a plant-based diet, that eliminates soy, gluten, sugar, alcohol and dairy and minimizes animal products. Doable for me about 80% of the time, which I think is my best approach for now. Soy & sugar is rampant in all processed food...the food program that helped me lose 25 pounds was primarily soy and dairy based. So, transition will be my own plan. So far so good, but a vacation in Portugal & Spain will be a challenge.
    563 days ago
    I avoid non-family social gatherings that are centered around food for so many reasons. It's just not worth the hassle. Since I hate to cook and don't like crowds, I don't host parties.

    563 days ago
  • no profile photo CD23741364
    I prefer social interactions that aren’t based around food for many reasons. There are so many variations in what people will, won’t or can’t eat. As a hostess, it becomes complicated andI am long past wanting to entertain very often, always prefer going out..no fuss, no muss!
    Family gatherings have too long been centred around food, and typically, too much of it. I prefer to do something, go somewhere, enjoy the company, and make that the focus. And then, there are the family members we don’t even want to spend time with, let alone share a meal with.
    I no longer buy anything from bake sales of well intentioned groups....do they wash their hands? Are their kitchens clean? Nor do I want food from neighbours, or friends...similar feelings!
    Oops....feeling kind of freaky!
    563 days ago
  • GABY1948
    Yes, I aam okay with it....I hate feeling "watched" with what I eat and with my history people always watch me. After this last bout in the hospital and sick for a year John started me on ensure and I can do that fine. When I was in the hospital I was 116 pounds and the doctors kept saying she needs some meat on her bones to live through this....and they fed me ice cream and cookies and I gained 30 lbs but now I want to lose it at least to 125 (I'm 70 as of July this year and I do want to live longer). So much illness in this life now. Each day is a chore for me.
    563 days ago
    I handled it differently, my neighbor baked fresh bread, still warm from the oven, visions of butter dripping hit my head and then snap I handed it back and said I was sorry but someone else deserved it. If I had gone to the dark side to save her feelings I would have gone off the deep end. I am to the age, time and screw-ups are limited in my life. My neighbor is adult enough to see the journey I have and can handle me saying no. If anything I think she respected me for telling her the truth. And if I took it and threw it away???? Or horrors I had ate the whole loaf???? Sometimes you just have to remain secure in the journey you have.

    I do believe in each person finding their own path. What one person tolerates sends me over the edge, I have sadly learned that a lot of KETO brands are not compatible. Each person can find what works but it takes time and patience. I wish you well with your journey-keep Sparking!
    563 days ago
    I have pretty much given up on doing family meals with the kids, as someone is almost always on a different food regimen than the last time we gathered. I kind of like active gathers... walks or bike rides. Then there is the option of eating out together at a place that can accommodate ALL our individual needs!

    When eating at someone's home, if it's not on my plan, it gets demurred upon... the "no, thank you" works just fine! I have never had a problem saying I don't drink (alcohol), why would I have a problem saying, I don't eat salad dressings? Mind you, it took YEARS, nay, DECADES to get to this point.

    I'm all for politeness, and have no problem eating a bite of Wilbur, or Bessie the cow, or Wilma the chicken, Tom the turkey, etc. I'm no vegan. BUT, as you say, nobody wants an incident of violent allergic reaction. For family gathers with the siblings, the hostess usually asks about dietary needs, and it's all "bring a dish" anyway, so if you have special needs, BYOF (bring your own food).
    563 days ago
    Yes. I am OK with less social interaction around food, if others take offense to my choice to honor my health by foregoing what's on offer with a polite "no thank you" or by politely messing around on the plate what one cannot or prefers not to eat. I do not expect others to accommodate my needs and am happy to simply share in the company of others. The food is not my focus … at all.

    The price I pay for not honoring my needs has been far too high and a price I am unwilling to pay simply to please others. It means many choose not to include me in dinner/party invitations or trips to restaurants which is fine. That's their choice.

    My mother was like Bess … except if one chooses not to eat what's on offer then, one goes without until the next meal. No rude comments, must sit at the table and be a dinner companion. I have been choosing to go without since I was a small child.

    I learned that Beck lesson "hunger is not an emergency" very young! And, so did Mom! Otherwise, there were going to be other issues to contend with, if Jeanne was forced to eat something. And, I won't go there … we're eating. Not a part of polite conversation.

    563 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    I'm very OK with less social interaction around food. My known and idiopathic allergies (deemed
    non-psychoogical by docs) to foods, mostly it's additives, can move from 'fine to fatal' within 15 minutes per my retired cardio doc. No choice in my book for choosing health over making others pleased with my participation.
    563 days ago
    emoticon emoticon I will consider this :)
    563 days ago
    So far, I have not shown development of any particular food allergy or sensitivity, but I do know people who can't tolerate specific food or types of foods. If I know about it, I am likely to create something that provides them with alternatives. When I am going somewhere and unsure of what exactly will be offered, I am likely to take protein bars/breakfast bars or the like, just in case. That said, I am currently off dairy in hopes that it may demonstrate the reason for my joint inflammations. It has been tricky at times to avoid all dairy and it's only been a little over a week. I wouldn't limit social interaction because of it, tho...I power through...
    563 days ago
    I don't need to be fed although there is a bond with sharing "bread". I will try whatever I am served in small amounts. Your sauce? Great but I really enjoy the taste of those vegetables shining through. Scrape off a bit of sauce.

    I can give and take for the sake of bonding for one meal.
    563 days ago
    I'm okay with anybody saying "no thank you" and I never feel guilty if they also say "I'm allergic to______________". I have a friend who could die if he eats peanuts so I won't serve them and I don't cook with peanut oil. But ....

    I'm not okay with someone expecting me to contort myself, or even my menu, to accommodate unknown food issues. If you don't want to eat at my house because of the food I offer - then don't accept the invitation. If I offer food you don't care for, just say "no thank you".

    When my son was little - very little, like 6 - I told him he didn't have to eat anything I served for dinner - but he was not allowed to make rude comments about it. He could not leave the table but must sit with us and be a dinner companion. After dinner, if he wanted to go fix himself something he liked better, he was welcome to do so. But on no account was he to say or act in a way that was rude to the cook.

    he had zero food issues.
    563 days ago
    I believe that it is sometimes necessary for an individual to stick to a diet if it is a matter of health. You wouldn't want someone with a peanut allergy to have a peanutbutter sandwhich. Sometimes we put too much emphasis on food as an integral part of our socialization. I do believe it is possible for people with special needs to politely work around them. Some special eating practices, however, can be stretched a bit for the sake of the occasion.
    563 days ago
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