In a few weeks time I am going to visit my in laws for a week in North Queensland (Australia). My partner has explained to her mother what we are doing and what we can eat and what we can't. She seemed to understand at the time. But since then every phone call my partner gets from her mother she askes if we can still eat her rice dishes, her pasta dishes asked if we will eat her famous chocolate velvet cake that she makes for every visit.
It is also a tradition on a family visit to go to a particular bakery that makes cream buns (the cream is not real and made with I don't know what but is full of sugar). So you go buy a heap of these buns and eat them all in one sitting.
My mother in law is not a meat eater so my father in law, who loves meat, gets very excited about us coming because then he can fire up the barbie. The problem is that it wont happen often because the mother thinks that eating meat is bad for you and that it will make you sick. Another tradition is that we always buy him cakes to have with his morning and afternoon tea and expects us to help him eat them. Again he is not allowed to eat cakes etc when the family aren't there.
They do not eat any kind of seafood because he is allergic to shell fish and she doesn't like the smell of any other kind of fish.
So what are you supposed to do about family traditions?
How do you not insult your in laws considering they have recently decided that they like me (after 10 years).
I have only been doing Paleo for 6 weeks and have lost 7 kilos (approx 14 pounds) and I don't want to put it all back on and have to come home and start again.
Any advise will be great although, as far as losing weight, I am starting to think that the light at the end of the tunnel over the past 6 weeks has become an oncoming train.
asked bywally (97)
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on October 21, 2012
at 02:01 AM
I think you guys will have to provide some alternatives yourself. As someone who has had relatives with food allergies and celiac for several generations, the thing that people don't like about hosting people who are eating something different is usually they have their tried-and-true systems for hosting people. Changing those can be a pain, a lot of work, because they probably have done the same thing for MANY years. It's unreasonable to expect they are going to go all nine-yards for you and you can just sit and be happily accepted. You have to show that you appreciate all their efforts (even if they don't get it, and they might not get it for years if ever) and help out along the way.
Tell your FIL to pick up some extra cuts of meat for you guys to try barbequing in different methods together. Go grocery shopping when you get there and stock up on things you know will be easy to eat quickly if you end up having to pick around a meal for politeness sake, and then you won't have to head back to your room hungry. Tell your MIL not to worry, you guys will eat the pasta toppings without the noodles no problem, and whatever she makes it's fine, as long as you guys can get some meat and veggies out of it. Ask her if she wants you to treat HER to a delicious flourless dark chocolate cake, like the kind she would be lucky to find in Italy, to thank her for the years of wonderful cake. Bring stuff in your bag that you know you will be able to eat no matter what- canned or dried stand by's.
Even if it's not as relaxing or easy for everyone as previous visits, it will be worth a couple awkward dances to show them that this is seriously how you eat now. That being said, don't stress way the eff out. You might not eat perfectly, but that doesn't mean that your whole world is going to be derailed. It's always hard to eat well when your not working out of your home base. It's okay if you go outside of the normal. Stressing way out about it goes against the point of eating for your health. You might have a bun. Big deal. That doesn't mean you should give up entirely and everything has gone to pot.
on October 20, 2012
at 11:22 PM
In my family, I am Paleo, my wife is most decidedly not (she eats lots of pasta, breads, pastries, and sugar), and we have two kids. I know that my diet works wonderfully for me, but am not sure that it works for my wife, who is fit and healthy (despite contradicting the Paleo schtick about 95%). I am also not sure that kids would do well on a 100% Paleo diet, though I think many aspects of it are good for them.
So I am about 90% strict Paleo, my kids are about half Paleo, and my wife is Paleo when she feels like it. As strange as this sounds, this totally works for everyone. I feel that my choices have had a positive effect on my kids, for example my kids don't even blink about eating liver, offal, or raw meats (including sushi), they eat tons of fresh fruits and vegetables, eat far less junk food than their peers, eat way more omega 3's, my son prefers his hamburgers without a bun, etc. However, they still get chocolate chip pancakes every now and then and generally eat way more carbs than I do.
At dinnertime, we usually cook a "trinity" of protein, starch, and veg, sometimes two different vegetables. The starch is Paleo-friendly (i.e. sweet potatoes or root vegetables) about half the time. I eat a hefty portion of the protein, a regular portion of the veg, and little to no starch. My wife eats the opposite, and my kids are somewhere in the middle.
If my wife and kids want a totally non-Paleo indulgence (like coffee shop pastries or chocolate cake), I just skip it (these are good opportunities for fasting) or substitute a Paleo friendly indulgence like flourless chocolate cake or blueberries with cream.
Honestly, it doesn't really cause a problem at all. The food hits the table and everyone takes what they like, and sometime we talk about our different diets.
If you could strive for some kind of balance when hanging out with your in-laws, I think everyone would get along fine. If your mother-in-law is militant about her lack of meat eating (i.e. believes that not only is it good for her but that it must be good for everyone and just can't resist expressing her opinion at every opportunity), then you're just going to have to try to be polite about it and get your partner to run interference. However, different dietary choices can be an interesting topic of discussion if everyone keeps an open mind and doesn't get nasty about it.
I once spent a 3 day weekend with friends of my wife's and the mother of the household (who does all of the food prep) is militant 100% non-fat. The house was completely devoid of fat of any kind -- no eggs, no oils, only skim milk, fat-free butter substitute, fat-free ultra-processed "whole grain" breads and snacks, fat-free lunch meat, etc. Meals were a miserable collection of unseasoned raw vegetables, dry and flavorless grain products that were basically crackers. It was the most non-paleo thing you can imagine. I spent the first day politely skipping meals and sneaking slices of lunch meat out of the fridge, but finally on the 2nd day I got so hungry I had to eat. I knew that if I got into a discussion with her it would not go well so I just kept my mouth shut and just ate what I could. When we left, we were literally less than 5 miles away and I stopped and got some meat and real food. I hope that your trip to your in-laws goes better than this...
on October 20, 2012
at 10:24 PM
I'd say that to ease your anxiety (and also be an appreciative guest), you and your partner can offer to cook dinner for a few nights. Take requests from the in-laws so they don't end up with a meal they're uncomfortable with, but feel free to cook for yourself what you want to eat if you can manage to do this. This takes a bit of pressure off your hosts.
And yeah, the obligation that comes with the promise of traditional family treats can be a bit burdensome. With the holidays coming up, mentally prepare for it. If anything, share a bun (or a cake or whatever) with your partner. You don't have to finish it.
Some helpful tips to "prepare" for a cheat meal here:
on October 20, 2012
at 10:11 PM
You think your inlaws would be up for finding a middle ground? Perhaps you make make paleoized treats so that father in law can have his cakes and you can participate in the family tradition but at least avoid gluten, mega sugar, veg oils, etc. Maybe help mom in law paleoize the chocolate cake? You can also offer to do more of the cooking for main meals, or offer to fix the protein. I'd also bring along jerky, fruit, coconut milk, etc. so that you have easy to eat things which can make something like this a lot less stressful. Bringing along a nice "hostess gift" might also ease things. Nothing like a little bribery!