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Please, don’t hide your food!

Several years ago, over the holidays, I went to a spa with a couple of other women who I didn’t know very well. We had some people in common so it was advantageous for us to foster a good relationship and I genuinely also liked them despite not having known them for very long. They also knew little about me, except for what I did for a living.

After sitting in the jacuzzi and getting our massages, we went out to the area where they serve food and tea to relax and socialize. As anyone interested in health food knows, particularly in social situations, there just aren’t a lot of options for us here on the island and it takes mindfulness to seek out what you want to eat.  This doesn’t always work well when you’re spending time with people who have different dietary choices.  If it’s to my benefit to get to know these two people, wouldn’t I want to be a little bit pro-social and kind of just go with the flow?  This is where I’m very influenced by my training in macrobiotics.

The best possible choice for me on the menu appeared to be a grilled vegetable sandwich, which had a choice of either french fries or potato chips.  I guess they didn’t notice that I had ordered french fries until they actually arrived and I started eating them, at which point, they suddenly gasped as though they had witnessed a murder happening.

Yes, I occasionally eat french fries!

Another time I was at a holiday party (hmmm, something about the holidays happening here) and was talking to someone outside about some random topic that I can’t even remember, though I am pretty sure it had nothing to do with food or my business. It was at night, so we couldn’t see each other all that well, but I was enjoying myself and the conversation, when the person suddenly said, “I feel like I have to hide these ribs from you.”  I was like “What ribs? I had no idea what you were eating until you actually just said that out loud.”

Another thing that people have hid from me includes Starbucks coffee drinks, but I personally love going to Starbucks to get tea. Recently, someone ran away to another table at a happy hour/business networking event that I was attending so that I didn’t see what he had ordered and seemed embarrassed to say what his dietary choices were. He was embarrassed to say that he liked chocolate, and I was like, “I just ate my leftover Madre Chocolate for breakfast.” (I don’t do that every day, but gosh, we’re all human, and their chocolate is yummy!)

I get really irritated when the food police show up and scrutinize what I’m eating.

“You’re eating a tomato? That’s yin.”

“You’re eating an orange. That too acidic.”

“Macrobiotic people aren’t supposed to drink coffee.”

Please, don’t hide your food!  Growing up, I ate the standard American diet too.  I now love eating healthy and sharing it with others, but I’m not scrutinizing your every move and probably don’t even notice.  In fact, I would rather just get to know the authentic you. A new friend was telling me about his adventures working out in the field in another country and the cultural importance and necessity of eating bugs. That’s interesting. I don’t want to eat bugs, but I wanted to hear about his experiences.

Eating healthy is all about creating more freedom and happiness for myself which I do love to share with the community, but when it becomes dogmatic and rule-bound, I am uncomfortable.  Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own health and that’s just part of our own personal journey. Yes, I eat plants, but I don’t push my views on others.

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Fore more on this topic, you might also like to read my post Teach Tolerance

4 Comments

  1. Liz

    Great post Leslie!

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    • Leslie Ashburn

      Thank you Liz!!

      ← Reply

  2. Kim

    love this! was there ketchup on your fries -maybe that’s what scared them! I’m inspired and intrigued by you and veganisim. You’ve shared and taught me some good (healthy) yummy things. I like to try and cook things for our meetings and gatherings that I know you will enjoy eating. It’s fun and adds another element of creativity. I’ve never felt any pressure from you. I suppose it’s because I have several friends that are really good chefs/cooks -you’re one of ‘em- and I can’t get intimidated by what I cook or eat when with you guys -that would not be a fun way to hang with friends. I also suppose I can cook a pretty yummy meal myself—bottom line— if we mostly use whole and nutritious ingredients (and local when can!) you can’t really go too wrong. Again I love that you shared this! it’s so heartfelt. thanks.

    ← Reply

    • Leslie Ashburn

      Thanks so much Kim for reading and taking time to sign in and leave a comment! If you are the Kim I’m thinking of, you’re an amazing cook and I love your food and all the thoughtfulness and love that goes into you making it.

      ← Reply

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