3

votes

Upcoming office pot-luck -- to participate or no?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 27, 2011 at 12:17 PM

We have a Halloween pot luck coming up and I can't figure out which approach I should take.

  1. Abstaining from the pot luck & eating lunch alone in my office (which is my usual tactic) OR

  2. Signing up to bring a delish paleo dish (I'm thinking a pumpkin chicken chili) and eating ONLY that, while turning down all of the food everyone else worked hard to make and bring (and shaking off the "c'mon, one little bite won't hurt you!")?

The last thing I want to do is hurt anyone's feelings or to appear standoffish or snotty about my food choices. So which is the better approach? Which is less attention-grabbing & perceptible as "rude."

For what it's worth, I'm one in an office of 40-45 people.

Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

(1471)

on October 30, 2011
at 09:20 PM

(What was sad though, was the kids drinking sodas...My son has had sprite but i think giving in to coke and other caffinated drinks is worse. He still eats some sad foods, specifically, halloween candy, cake for events and has bread daily but other than that it is my food modified.) Good luck, and grab a water, kombucha, tea or what not and get to know your co workers

Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

(1471)

on October 30, 2011
at 09:20 PM

went to a childs birthday party today, food was pushed on me. Philippino's KNOW HOW TO COOK SOME GOOD SAD FOOD! I could eat plates of Lumpia and this other sweet rice stuff that looks like little corn muffins. I just drank water and either chatted with others or helped here and there iwth kids.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 28, 2011
at 06:49 PM

affine. I try not to let logic get in the way of living. LOL

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 28, 2011
at 06:49 PM

I know the feeling Ruth. What I meant is look for foods that are mostly paleo. If someone has chili with beans, it may not be the end of the world if you have some (unless you know that you are sensitive to beans). I would stay away from the cookies, though. :)

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on October 28, 2011
at 02:42 PM

I don't think this is a "superiority trip," just sincere concern over how to juggle social situations and one's own well-being.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on October 27, 2011
at 10:32 PM

I agree. I've done both, abstaining and participtating, and always feel better after participating. Find something you enjoy eating. If there's nothing, go anyway and either eat something before or after. My department has gotten used to my not eating breads, etc. and most actually call it "disciplined." Others now eat more meat and veggies, and those dishes show up more often now. Have fun!

0a0c8c37d3a56738dc017e4ff09f21ee

(480)

on October 27, 2011
at 08:38 PM

80/20 is more of a template for symmetric analysis. It could be the 99/1 rule or the 60/40 rule.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 27, 2011
at 06:39 PM

For many years at an insurance company, I was the one who brought fruit and/or fresh veggies to pot lucks. Everyone looked forward to them and it was up to me what else I ate. Nowadays, I'd probably bring homemade jerky or leftover meat as well to help me get through the event.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on October 27, 2011
at 05:28 PM

I agree. Eat the food that is acceptable to you and just say "No, thank you" or something if offered something you don't want to eat.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 27, 2011
at 03:13 PM

Yeah and if you dont even tell them your dish is "paleo" they won't know. Most would just think you are an excellent cook! That would be my thought.

76c885d7d27e6c83542ea493ca866dcd

(2178)

on October 27, 2011
at 01:45 PM

Unfortunately, I've discovered that for me there's really no 80/20. If I eat one chocolate chip cookie, there'll be a second, and probably a third, and potentially a fourth, if no one's noticed.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on October 27, 2011
at 01:13 PM

I actually have a pot luck coming up pre-thanksgiving. I was planning on bringing maybe a large amount of either chili or bbq meats, and then some sort of dessert from health-bent.com

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 27, 2011
at 01:09 PM

Well, we just had a Diwali potluck at work. (Lots of co-workers are Asian-Indian). I didn't sign up since I can't make anything authentic (and don't really care to). I also figured that I wouldn't be able to eat much of anything without cheating big-time. So I picked up lunch from Chipotle, came back and stood around at the potluck for 10-15 minutes and went back to my desk to eat my lunch. I did have to say "No, thank you" several times. That said, do what you think is best and don't worry about it. Life is too short.

306905a32e76b5c0764a663ea7e88426

(1072)

on October 27, 2011
at 12:57 PM

I did this a lot when I worked in Tenerife where it's custom to bring food for your co-workers in on your own birthday. Gluten intolerance - real or otherwise - can be a useful thing. Still caved in the face of some of the most awesome cakes though... :)

76c885d7d27e6c83542ea493ca866dcd

(2178)

on October 27, 2011
at 12:30 PM

I'm doing my best to stay away from all gluten, so I'm foregoing anything with sauces. You're right about the salad, though, so long as they don't drench it in caesar dressing or anything.

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14 Answers

20
1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on October 27, 2011
at 12:28 PM

Sign up and bring something awesome and also paleo. If you are going to feel bad about not buying in to the dessert scene (cookies/pie) bring a paleo dessert as well.

Nobody is going to notice you're not eating anything specific. If they do tell them you have a wheat allergy.

If you don't make a scene there won't be one. Just enjoy the food and hope someone else brings meat.

306905a32e76b5c0764a663ea7e88426

(1072)

on October 27, 2011
at 12:57 PM

I did this a lot when I worked in Tenerife where it's custom to bring food for your co-workers in on your own birthday. Gluten intolerance - real or otherwise - can be a useful thing. Still caved in the face of some of the most awesome cakes though... :)

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on October 27, 2011
at 01:13 PM

I actually have a pot luck coming up pre-thanksgiving. I was planning on bringing maybe a large amount of either chili or bbq meats, and then some sort of dessert from health-bent.com

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on October 27, 2011
at 10:32 PM

I agree. I've done both, abstaining and participtating, and always feel better after participating. Find something you enjoy eating. If there's nothing, go anyway and either eat something before or after. My department has gotten used to my not eating breads, etc. and most actually call it "disciplined." Others now eat more meat and veggies, and those dishes show up more often now. Have fun!

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 27, 2011
at 03:13 PM

Yeah and if you dont even tell them your dish is "paleo" they won't know. Most would just think you are an excellent cook! That would be my thought.

12
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 27, 2011
at 12:39 PM

Don't let paleo make you into some social pariah. You certainly can eat things that appear "paleo" enough, and you're not likely going to suffer any major consequences.

8
13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on October 27, 2011
at 12:56 PM

You don't want to socially isolate yourself and it is likely with a group that size there will be at least a few other things you can eat. I do think there are some situations where it may be better to just skip it, but that should be the exception--not the rule--and, I really don't think this is one of them. In a group that size, it seems unlikely anyone is going to focus in on what you are eating.

If someone tries to give you something you don't want, just say no thank you (don't give reasons! That just opens it up for discussion). If someone asks if you tried some particular dish you can just something like, "no, but it looks wonderful" then ask them a question about themselves. If there is a hard core food pusher you don't want (or can't afford job-wise) to offend you can always claim you are full, but agree to take some for "later" (then drop it in the trash when convenient).

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on October 27, 2011
at 05:28 PM

I agree. Eat the food that is acceptable to you and just say "No, thank you" or something if offered something you don't want to eat.

3
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on October 27, 2011
at 08:44 PM

Last time I worked in an office I brought some paleo treats for the potluck and turns out another woman had brought "paleo" gluten-free cookies. I had never met her before (big office), so I not only had something to eat, I got to talk to someone about paleo. I ate mostly those + my stuff + the cheese plate. Oh, and drank some wine. No one really noticed that I wasn't eating the cake.

3
61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on October 27, 2011
at 05:31 PM

I agree with most of the above comments: be social, eat what you deem acceptable, and politely turn down things you are avoiding.

If all the food pushers start stressing you out, excuse yourself ("I've got a lot of work" or "I need to run an errand before day's end" etc.) and take a break.

A lot of what I've seen lately about paleo/primal is that part of the lifestyle is keeping stress levels down and enjoying life. So, enjoy your coworkers' company, have some yummy (acceptable) food, and bolt when you've had your fill. 8)

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 27, 2011
at 06:39 PM

For many years at an insurance company, I was the one who brought fruit and/or fresh veggies to pot lucks. Everyone looked forward to them and it was up to me what else I ate. Nowadays, I'd probably bring homemade jerky or leftover meat as well to help me get through the event.

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 27, 2011
at 01:00 PM

Remember the 80/20 rule and enjoy yourself...

76c885d7d27e6c83542ea493ca866dcd

(2178)

on October 27, 2011
at 01:45 PM

Unfortunately, I've discovered that for me there's really no 80/20. If I eat one chocolate chip cookie, there'll be a second, and probably a third, and potentially a fourth, if no one's noticed.

0a0c8c37d3a56738dc017e4ff09f21ee

(480)

on October 27, 2011
at 08:38 PM

80/20 is more of a template for symmetric analysis. It could be the 99/1 rule or the 60/40 rule.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 28, 2011
at 06:49 PM

affine. I try not to let logic get in the way of living. LOL

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 28, 2011
at 06:49 PM

I know the feeling Ruth. What I meant is look for foods that are mostly paleo. If someone has chili with beans, it may not be the end of the world if you have some (unless you know that you are sensitive to beans). I would stay away from the cookies, though. :)

2
4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on October 27, 2011
at 12:28 PM

I'd opt for choice 2. And don't forget, there are bound to be SOME foods brought that you can eat - someone will surely bring a salad, or chicken wings, or ribs or something?

76c885d7d27e6c83542ea493ca866dcd

(2178)

on October 27, 2011
at 12:30 PM

I'm doing my best to stay away from all gluten, so I'm foregoing anything with sauces. You're right about the salad, though, so long as they don't drench it in caesar dressing or anything.

1
F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on January 19, 2012
at 01:15 AM

Having just given up gluten, my office Christmas party felt like a minefield. I made an awesome vegetable dish, which I put on the common table. I also brought some extra for myself along with some beef, threw them on a plate and went and sat with everyone else. Nobody noticed, and when the usual "have you tried the so-and-so?" came up, I just said, no, it looks great but I'm totally full.

Find a way to join in. Isolating yourself is bad socially, politically, and frankly mentally. Honestly, 99% of people would rather you hung out drinking water or tea, than stayed away. People might mention something but mostly they're concerned or just making conversation. And truly, the more people speak up about their dietary restrictions, the more chance people will pay attention and possibly bring more inclusive foods.

1
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on January 19, 2012
at 12:37 AM

Old thread, although still applicable for other potluck times.

Me, I participate since it is a social thing. I just bring something I know I want to eat. :) Don't even need to say it's Paleo or anything. Chili, meatballs in spaghetti sauce, bacon wrapped hot dogs, chopped up hot dogs in paleo bbq sauce, etc. All tasty (flavor is critical).

You might have to do a bit of work for the vegetarians at the office though. Critical, no, but again, it's a social thing. Celery/carrots, natural peanut butter, etc. I don't put a ton of work into it.

Unless you're deathly ill from something, you can take a little from everyone's dish. Try a bite or two to taste/comment on, and toss the rest in private, or eat and take it as a day off the paleo wagon (it won't kill you for a day, hopefully).

Final note around Halloween, your presentation is almost as important as what you bring. Last time around, I brought meatballs with small chunks of mozarella (added after cooking), slathered on BBQ sauce, and called it eyeballs in blood. Not a ton of work, not particularly eyebally, but went over well. Almost too well in that I didn't get any leftovers where I'll usually get some. Oh well.

1
361bc16cfdad25411a6f93e10c45aadc

on January 18, 2012
at 08:57 PM

Participate! Bring something paleo and delicious.

If it's all junk then make a big plate of it, eat what you brought, and take the rest back to your desk. Who knows you may trip and spill it in a trash can on the way to your desk. Accidents happen.

1
6498694060d879a7960b35913539b75f

(1307)

on October 27, 2011
at 08:30 PM

There's almost always a salad and crudites. You'll be fine!

1
Bad3a78e228c67a7513c28f17c36b3cf

(1387)

on October 27, 2011
at 06:59 PM

I have to go to a lot of buffet type social functions, and I find it is never a problem. As others have said, there are always things there you can eat. I recommend filling your plate with safe food. You can even add some non paleo stuff that is not particularly appealing to you, and then never get around to eating it. If someone urges you to try something, decline politely. In the past four years, I have only felt compelled to eat something out of bounds at two social occasions. These were sit down dinners, and I chose to honor the trouble the hosts had gone to and eat a small piece of dessert. I survived :)

0
Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

on October 27, 2011
at 09:04 PM

I have never understood the big deal behind office potluck. First of all we had a lady that we KNOW she didnt wash after using the bathroom so we always watched to see what she brought. Other than that we didnt care what others ate, brought, etc....

Bring something you can eat or bring a bag of Terra Chips (sweet potato or the parsnips mix) even though it may have a few oils you arent supposed to have, you have at least brought something and it may be new for your crowd. Eat something at your desk if you are famished...otherwise, grab your regular drink and mingle....

Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

(1471)

on October 30, 2011
at 09:20 PM

(What was sad though, was the kids drinking sodas...My son has had sprite but i think giving in to coke and other caffinated drinks is worse. He still eats some sad foods, specifically, halloween candy, cake for events and has bread daily but other than that it is my food modified.) Good luck, and grab a water, kombucha, tea or what not and get to know your co workers

Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

(1471)

on October 30, 2011
at 09:20 PM

went to a childs birthday party today, food was pushed on me. Philippino's KNOW HOW TO COOK SOME GOOD SAD FOOD! I could eat plates of Lumpia and this other sweet rice stuff that looks like little corn muffins. I just drank water and either chatted with others or helped here and there iwth kids.

0
38fca13acabddf7b9c54098507e4041a

on October 27, 2011
at 07:17 PM

I personally think as a blood type O that it looks bad if you don't participate. I didn't bring a dish at a couple of office pot lucks as a temp and didn't get hired. Can you pull together the energy to make a chili of some kind? I never could but if you can that is my suggestion. You could go with turkey which is going to suit more people. Use tomatoes also even though they are deadly nightshades. Try to drop the whole paleo superiority trip for just one day.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on October 28, 2011
at 02:42 PM

I don't think this is a "superiority trip," just sincere concern over how to juggle social situations and one's own well-being.

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