2

votes

Should I tell my family that Easter dinner made me feel like death?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 09, 2012 at 5:32 PM

I told my family that I am eating primally before coming home for Easter. I did not make any attempt to push this on anyone else but was surprised how resentful they acted about it. My mother made too big of a deal about it - loudly saying in front of family members about every single thing she was making, "this has __ in it...is _ on your diet?" and talking about how it is important to drain all the fat so we don't clog our arteries. My little brother at one point angrily told me I was nuts if I didn't eat a bagel. I did not eat that bagel. You get the point.

Anyway, I ended up eating a lot of things I wouldn't normally eat just to avoid the uncomfortable attention and to not hurt Ma's feelings. Last night, my stomach was so bloated that I looked pregnant. My face is horribly puffy and my joints are killing me. I had the mental fog, mood swings, and sleepiness that I knew would come. I'm IF'ing today to try to mitigate the damage.

My question: do I tell her that I am feeling this way? I am thinking that it might drive home the point that eating SAD makes me sad, while primal makes me feel like a superhero. The hardest part I am having with primal/paleo right now is the reaction of my family and the social pressure. Any comments or thoughts on pressure from family members is welcome. I am really struggling with this and thanks in advance for any help you all can offer.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:08 PM

Thanks for the support, Vince!

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 10, 2012
at 12:50 AM

@tdgor: additionally, I would really love it if they started evaluating their own food choices... even if that only means a shift away from processed foods but keeping the grains. I just feel so anxious when I think about how poorly they are eating and how many of their ailments could be cured by eating a different diet.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 10, 2012
at 12:49 AM

@tdgor: I told them about the primal lifestyle before I even planned on going down there. I only told them because one of my brothers who is following this (but was not at the meal) brought it up to my parents. I just knew that my step-mother would be extremely frazzled by this, so I told her not to worry about making anything special and that I would pick around and find what I could eat but to let me know if she added any flour or wheat to anything. I guess I would hope that she would drop the condescending attitude about this if she knew how my body has been reacting to non-primal food.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 10, 2012
at 12:44 AM

The only difficulty there is that I fly home, so I can't bring a dish with me. I usually try the "here, I would love to cook for you!" tactic. It sometimes works. I certainly hope your in-laws aren't pushing anything on you that is against any dietary restrictions you have from your religion! That would be terrible.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 10, 2012
at 12:42 AM

@Melissa: this stepmother has been around for almost my whole life. We've had our struggles, to put it mildly. Although I love her and appreciate all she's done for me in my life, the fact that she is not my mother means I have that added level of politeness to work around... I can't just say, "MA, lay off it!" which is what I would do with my own biological mother (who is endlessly supportive). Will check out the Celiac test...

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 10, 2012
at 12:38 AM

@Matt: that is a good point. I don't think it was over-doing it in the sense of over-eating. I detest the feeling of being uncomfortably full and usually stop before then. I have found that I am WAY more sensitive to foods since going primal. Where a certain food made me feel bad before (sugar being a big one), now I just feel terrible when I have more than a few grams.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 09, 2012
at 11:26 PM

Yeah, what MeepIsWellFed said. My boyfriend has never ever in his life had digestive issues, but got major fatigue and skin issues (acne, dermatitis) and his sister who is also celiac had zero symptoms apart from an iron deficiency. Worth getting the test!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 09, 2012
at 09:16 PM

Look at it from their perspective, you ate wheat and all sorts of non-paleo stuff for years, likely sympotom-free. Now you have to be on some crazy diet or else you blow up like a balloon? I have to wonder myself, did you just over-do it yesterday?

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on April 09, 2012
at 08:23 PM

@Marcy, if it is in your genetic family tree you should def get it checked out. You can be asymptomatic as far as you can tell, but getting clean makes people in general more aware of 'issues' and reactions that they didn't notice before.

F4fd0822101b09794f85a00923e1f85b

(291)

on April 09, 2012
at 08:20 PM

Glad you found it useful

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 09, 2012
at 08:19 PM

Also, stepmoms are the WORST. I've just learned to ignore mine. She used to always give me a hard time.

870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on April 09, 2012
at 08:19 PM

Before I answer, I would be curious to know your thought process behind telling your family before the visit that you were "eating primally." How much did you explain to them about what that meant? Did you ask them to cook anything differently? Did you bring any food with you? Also, what change in behavior do you expect might occur if you communicate the additional information to her?

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on April 09, 2012
at 08:16 PM

It's not FOR shits and giggles, it's to help normalize the shits and giggles. Agree with your advice- it can take a while for families to adapt, but they will.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 09, 2012
at 08:12 PM

I do think it's worth seeing a doctor about it if it seems that gluten all the sudden bothers you, esp since someone you are related to has it. For me, it doesn't seem to have much to do with gluten, but with carbohydrate malabsorption. I take two gluten-eases before I know I'm going to cheat. If I'm bloated sometimes I'll take a Betaine HCL.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:30 PM

Ha! Unfortunately, someone in my family already had a claim on the Martyr For Life badge. I think they just wanted me to eat the food so I could see there was nothing wrong with it.

Ecb90bbbd5a15868b2592d517a4a5e82

(280)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:27 PM

Yes. Tell them. You need to tell them that grains make you sick. Better yet, show them. As your Mom why she wants you to be sick. She will say, "honey, I don't want you to be sick." Then you have the bomb, "But Mom, this food you are serving me out of love makes me sick, and you are making me choose between my health and your love." Moms will get this; for them, most food-making is an attempt to show and share love. So you have to relate to them on this level.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:18 PM

I think you're on to something here, MattiG. Mom is overweight and little brother struggles with it. Both are VERY threatened by anything that challenges their beliefs and both also have a slavish devotion to authority. In my family, the unhealthiest members (overweight and taking a million pills) are the ones who are the most dedicated to the current mainstream health views. I can see how terrifying it would be for them to find out those views could be inaccurate. Thanks for an insightful comment.

Medium avatar

(10663)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:16 PM

Melissa, do you take the enzymes before or after the meal? And is the amount you take relative to how much you are going to cheat?

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:07 PM

Hey Melissa, thanks for the comment. I don't think I have Celiac. My oldest brother has it (and yes, there is eye-rolling from the judgmental part of the family towards the poor guy) and my biological mother hasn't been diagnosed but has avoided gluten for the last ten years because it really messes with her system. The "mother" I refer to in my post is actually my step-mother. Though I have a family history of Celiac disease, I wasn't really experiencing any digestive issues at all before eliminating wheat, so I assumed I didn't have it. You think I should still check it out?

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:46 PM

It's like I tell my daughter -- experiences like these are why it's GOOD to learn to cook and invite people to YOUR house. *chuckles*

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:36 PM

Satan's minions have hyperlinked "walmart" in the above comment to the walmart website. Terrific.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:32 PM

Good grief, your Easter dinner sounds phenomenal. Mine involved a pre-made ham from Walmart, cool whip, miracle whip, and deviled eggs made from pre-hardboiled eggs (the boiling process being so labor intensive and all). It was like the menu designed by Satan for my first night dining in hell.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:28 PM

They mean well. The majority of family seems to interpret any deviation from the familial "norm" as an outright rejection. It is odd, but they are otherwise wonderful people and I love them. I sometimes think that Kraft and the soy lobby are giving my mother kickbacks or something. Cheating is usually rarely an issue for me unless I am getting pressure from people who will be hurt by my avoiding their food or will make too big of a deal of it. And the part that sucks about that is that it isn't even a cheat I really crave - usually some crap I wouldn't eat in my pre-primal days either!

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:24 PM

Ha, that's a good approach. Mine will only be happy when I live my life in her exact footsteps.

46bee6b93ee79082ea1094f26c2da5a4

(837)

on April 09, 2012
at 05:52 PM

I feel for ya on the calling out, been there, I learned to keep my mouth shut about diet and just pick what I want. Not what you asked but for next time I just want to say I learned (and yes, it's tough at first) just NOT to give into your Ma's guilt/pressure to eat the wrong things, it's just not worth it, you have to suffer for it, not them. And you're showing them that you give in to eating those things, that's not good to show them either. This weekend mine was upset I didn't eat the potato pastry or the breaded chicken, but now I just think "tough" she'll never be happy anyway, lol.

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13 Answers

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8
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:03 PM

Honestly, I've found it to be easier not to try to involve the family. When I dine with people where I don't have any control over the menu, I usually take a plate of food and either (if I have the choice) only select the foods I know I can eat, OR take a little of everything, but only EAT the things that I know aren't going to make me feel horrible. Usually, I'll also bring at LEAST one dish, and usually TWO dishes, that I know I -can- eat, because eating with one's family, in a pleasant environment, is a "goodness". And this is even with the onus of truly having food allergies that -do- limit what I can eat.

For example -- when dining at my dads (Sicilian), Easter dinner includes both lasagna and roast duck, along with asparagus, spring vegetables (which I brought), chopped liver (which I brought), a salad, roasted new potatoes, cake, pie, homemade brioche... you get the picture. I fix a plate with a small piece of lasagna (now that my mom is dead, my dad is SO proud of his lasagna, because it's the last thing my mom taught him to cook), lots of roast duck, some veggies, a big scoop of chopped liver, and a bowl of salad. I'll eat the duck, veggies, salad, and chopped liver, and cut the piece of lasagna up (I did eat the sausage, chunks of veal, and chunks of beef cooked in homemade tomato sauce out of the middle) and push it around my plate so it looks like I ate some, but got full. Then, nobody complains, and I don't have to "justify" my eating habits to people who, quite frankly, don't really CARE to hear about yet ANOTHER weirdness that I have.

It isn't so much that I hide my choices -- in fact, I'm quite open about how I eat and why I eat what I do -- however, I tend to have these conversations during the pre- or post-dinner discussion period, and I don't let those choices intrude on a family meal in such a way that they ruin other peoples' enjoyment of the meal, or make other people feel like I'm putting them out on a rather busy occasion. Plus, if people see me enjoying myself and not being a "bother" at a family meal, they are more willing to consider the possibility that they could change their own eating habits as well, without "putting other people out" or having to miss family meals, etc.

It's different if I'm eating at my dads, and it's just him, me, my companion, my brother, and my brother's wife/kids -- then I'll usually give my dad a polite reminder about my special food needs, I bring something I know I can eat, and I don't mind reminding dad, when he passes me something that I don't eat, that XYZ isn't something I'm able to eat without feeling sick.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:36 PM

Satan's minions have hyperlinked "walmart" in the above comment to the walmart website. Terrific.

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:46 PM

It's like I tell my daughter -- experiences like these are why it's GOOD to learn to cook and invite people to YOUR house. *chuckles*

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:32 PM

Good grief, your Easter dinner sounds phenomenal. Mine involved a pre-made ham from Walmart, cool whip, miracle whip, and deviled eggs made from pre-hardboiled eggs (the boiling process being so labor intensive and all). It was like the menu designed by Satan for my first night dining in hell.

5
F4fd0822101b09794f85a00923e1f85b

(291)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:40 PM

People don't care what you eat or don't eat, do or don't do. Their reaction is based only on how they feel about themselves (bad) when they see what you eat or don't eat, do or don't do.

In other words none of what your mom and brother did or said is actually about you. Unfortunately talking about it with them probably won't help much. If you have something to say to them say it and get it off your chest, but if you say it because you want them to change - that would be you doing to them what they just did to you.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:18 PM

I think you're on to something here, MattiG. Mom is overweight and little brother struggles with it. Both are VERY threatened by anything that challenges their beliefs and both also have a slavish devotion to authority. In my family, the unhealthiest members (overweight and taking a million pills) are the ones who are the most dedicated to the current mainstream health views. I can see how terrifying it would be for them to find out those views could be inaccurate. Thanks for an insightful comment.

F4fd0822101b09794f85a00923e1f85b

(291)

on April 09, 2012
at 08:20 PM

Glad you found it useful

5
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on April 09, 2012
at 05:52 PM

No joke: your family sounds like a bunch of jerks. I mean that in the plainest, but sincerest way possible. My family has a history of weight issues, so I think the subject of diet is understood and considered a little more sensitively that what you described. I also have no issues telling anyone in my family to go &%^! themselves if they are trying to push-my-buttons (as only family members are so good at doing to each other).

"I am thinking that it might drive home the point that eating SAD makes me sad, while primal makes me feel like a superhero." Focus on the latter point, and dutifully explain the former point when asked about negative effects. You'll get a lot of eye-rolls if you start talking about "getting brain fog". If you talk about how good food makes you feel great, I think that is easier for others to understand more readily. So, not "get brain fog", but "I feel incredibly clear-headed and vibrant when I eat vital foods."

Limit your cheats. Strive for none, enjoy the ones you choose. Love mama's manicotti 'cause it reminds you of Easter in your childhood? Go for it. Feeling pressured to eat a bagel that you're not going to enjoy? Tell your bro to lay off.

You are in control of your life - not your family. Find common ground for discussion at the table, cheat your diet where it improves your life, and stick to it where it's the best choice.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:28 PM

They mean well. The majority of family seems to interpret any deviation from the familial "norm" as an outright rejection. It is odd, but they are otherwise wonderful people and I love them. I sometimes think that Kraft and the soy lobby are giving my mother kickbacks or something. Cheating is usually rarely an issue for me unless I am getting pressure from people who will be hurt by my avoiding their food or will make too big of a deal of it. And the part that sucks about that is that it isn't even a cheat I really crave - usually some crap I wouldn't eat in my pre-primal days either!

3
0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:50 PM

NO It was what YOU did- NOT THEM. A social skill that Paleo folks need is how to eat around the 21 century much like hunting and foraging and eating foods who trust. Yes, it would be idea if your extended family was hard core paleo but come on - it aint going to be so eating what you can, nibble other things, make the family happy, then go your a few sprints, swing the kettlebells or just plain lift yopur self up off the floor a dozen times after a walk. Its you not them.

2
D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:21 PM

Apparently they wished you to martyr yourself for them on Easter? No one saw the irony?

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:30 PM

Ha! Unfortunately, someone in my family already had a claim on the Martyr For Life badge. I think they just wanted me to eat the food so I could see there was nothing wrong with it.

2
Fd1c5e35538fbe2ea5eccb8acd7ae546

(496)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:00 PM

I don't care whose feelings I'm hurting.It's just food after all.They should be happy you're there.Next time bring your own food.

1
0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:51 PM

I go to my inlaws family home for xmas, and I am Jewish and squeamish, in addition to my paleo style limitations. They have followed me around for years, trying to get me to eat various foods I don't like. I tried everything, but nothing seemed to work, and nobody was happy.

Finally, what I did is decided to bring a massive, delicious salad. They all seem to enjoy it, and then I make a big plate of salad for myself, and then put little morsels of assorted things from the buffet on top (a little bit of meat fished out of the stew, a little veg from another dish, etc). I'm happy, they're happy.

So I'd suggest to bring 1-2 dishes you love, fill most of your plate with that, and then have a morsel of this, and a morsel of that of all the other stuff.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 10, 2012
at 12:44 AM

The only difficulty there is that I fly home, so I can't bring a dish with me. I usually try the "here, I would love to cook for you!" tactic. It sometimes works. I certainly hope your in-laws aren't pushing anything on you that is against any dietary restrictions you have from your religion! That would be terrible.

1
F80aaa96354eb749a8a5efdda3feba7d

on April 09, 2012
at 07:27 PM

You are obviously intolerant to the foods and need to just grow a pair and tell her that. If she doesn't want you eating fat around her fine. But tell her how you feel after grains. Tell her it's not just for shits and giggles. It's real.

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on April 09, 2012
at 08:16 PM

It's not FOR shits and giggles, it's to help normalize the shits and giggles. Agree with your advice- it can take a while for families to adapt, but they will.

1
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 09, 2012
at 06:58 PM

In my family we are pretty used to ignoring each other/not listening to each other, so I haven't had any pressure problems. But I have eaten crap by my own volition because hell, it's a holiday and I wanted to. If you are going to give in, you might try carrying some enzymes. I had my pie yesterday and I feel fine, though knowing that my main issue is fructans, I made it a tiny tiny piece of pie.

Also, I think it's another opportunity for me to drive home that you need to get screened for Celiac by a doctor, because if you legitmately have Celiac, it's a whole nother ball game and you are going to have to do more than just try to avoid things, like bringing your own food that hasn't touched anything that flour has touched.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 09, 2012
at 11:26 PM

Yeah, what MeepIsWellFed said. My boyfriend has never ever in his life had digestive issues, but got major fatigue and skin issues (acne, dermatitis) and his sister who is also celiac had zero symptoms apart from an iron deficiency. Worth getting the test!

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 10, 2012
at 12:42 AM

@Melissa: this stepmother has been around for almost my whole life. We've had our struggles, to put it mildly. Although I love her and appreciate all she's done for me in my life, the fact that she is not my mother means I have that added level of politeness to work around... I can't just say, "MA, lay off it!" which is what I would do with my own biological mother (who is endlessly supportive). Will check out the Celiac test...

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:07 PM

Hey Melissa, thanks for the comment. I don't think I have Celiac. My oldest brother has it (and yes, there is eye-rolling from the judgmental part of the family towards the poor guy) and my biological mother hasn't been diagnosed but has avoided gluten for the last ten years because it really messes with her system. The "mother" I refer to in my post is actually my step-mother. Though I have a family history of Celiac disease, I wasn't really experiencing any digestive issues at all before eliminating wheat, so I assumed I didn't have it. You think I should still check it out?

Medium avatar

(10663)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:16 PM

Melissa, do you take the enzymes before or after the meal? And is the amount you take relative to how much you are going to cheat?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 09, 2012
at 08:19 PM

Also, stepmoms are the WORST. I've just learned to ignore mine. She used to always give me a hard time.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 09, 2012
at 08:12 PM

I do think it's worth seeing a doctor about it if it seems that gluten all the sudden bothers you, esp since someone you are related to has it. For me, it doesn't seem to have much to do with gluten, but with carbohydrate malabsorption. I take two gluten-eases before I know I'm going to cheat. If I'm bloated sometimes I'll take a Betaine HCL.

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on April 09, 2012
at 08:23 PM

@Marcy, if it is in your genetic family tree you should def get it checked out. You can be asymptomatic as far as you can tell, but getting clean makes people in general more aware of 'issues' and reactions that they didn't notice before.

1
5fbfe0006f15e9472ff199df83a918e9

on April 09, 2012
at 06:43 PM

I'm sorry you had to go through that. Especially during a holiday family meal which is supposed to be a time to connect with everyone. As it's been said a few times in the posts above, you'll either have to put up with the family's "suspicion" towards your diet or not say anything at all. Just eat what you know won't make you sick. Although I'm lucky that my parents are very accepting. The worst criticism I've received was a raised eyebrow and then a shrug. But they all did notice when I started losing weight and my skin started to clear up. Hang in there!

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:08 PM

Thanks for the support, Vince!

1
24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:08 PM

Sheesh, that is rough! A lot of people don't like having a mirror held up in front of them, and unfortunately that's what happens when we talk about the way we eat (even if you aren't pushy). I wouldn't go out of your way to tell your mom, maybe use it as an explanation next time as to why you don't want cake, pasta, etc. Honestly though, if your mom was making a stink about your diet, who cares about hurting her feelings? If I eat something that I know will probably make me feel bad, it's got to be because I really want it, and I know it's going to taste fantastic. Don't worry about walking on eggshells around your family; they don't seem to care about your feelings (your bro got angry over bagels?!), and it ain't worth making yourself sick! I hope things improve; keep doing your non-pushy thing and hopefully they'll leave you alone.

0
54578cc6508b657cad1da21cdf76d74e

(149)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:16 PM

YES TELL HER.

I don't see how a person can take it personally when another person has a a "food sensitivity" (for lack of a better phrase everyone will understand).

I am not out to get people to see the wisdom and phenomenal success of my family's diet. I will help those who ask and want to be helped, but why enrage those that can't be converted with my blasphemy. My in-laws with their "only eat low fat" dogma are the perfect example.

We tried to tell them not to give our kids foods that bother them. It didn't work. Now we explain that giving my son wheat will give him a bad belly ache and the runs, and that if I have diary my sinuses will be very messed up . We don't try to get them to cook or food that is on our "diet", when they ask we say it doesn't matter - just make it the way you like, we just pick and choose from their food, say no thank you to the bad stuff and supplement with food we brought from home.

That seemed to shut them up for now - telling them we know they wouldn't want us to be sick. (yes it is passive aggressive). They are starting to get that it is not a preference but a desire to avoid feeling ill. (we have a secret rule that none of us will discuss food with them or tell them things we know and believe about food because WE do not have to agree with each other.)

It is not kind to make someone feel bad for not eating food that will hurt them.

0
Ed0b73cd250c53e012b5ebab161aebb8

on April 09, 2012
at 06:33 PM

I believe that family should be supportive of other family members in life style choices. I think that I would sit down with my mom and tell her that they all hurt my feelings and ask them to be a little more supportive. After all you did come home to spend Easter with them.

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