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What's The Fuss With Birthdays & Weddings?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 19, 2013 at 7:36 PM

I read alot of questions that are about anxiety having to do with an upcoming birthday, wedding, or office event and how to handle them in a paleo way. They are perplexing to me. I went to a wedding yesterday - 8 hours of food and drink and I remained true to my food choices - drank wine (maybe not totally paleo, but who is to say that a form of fermented fruit wasn't drunk way back when? At least it is ancestral), ate short ribs and salad (no risotto or fried potatoes- I only eat these if I make them), passed by the bread basket, took a tiny bite of cake and danced the night away.

Can someone please explain to me the anxiety surrounding these events? It was so easy for me - I wasn't tempted in the least for bread or cake or the extensive dessert buffet, and I credit my paleo eating for this! I am always satisfied, rarely craving and never ravenous, and this makes it easy to pass up the temptations. I think it is the extra fat in my diet, and the lack of sugar. So is it that those who fall prey to temptation don't have the proper ratios of macros to keep them satiated and calm around celebratory food, or is it more of a psychological thing? Or both?

It would be great to hear opinions on this - I am wondering if I have stumbled, finally, on the secret to never being tempted by tempting food! And this is a very big deal to an ex-binge eater!

Thanks in advance for your answers

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

(1663)

on May 24, 2013
at 02:41 PM

LOL! OMFG IT IZ OH NOES WUT SHUD I DO?! EAT MOAR FAT DURRRRRRR

91451db3488201f51e85e6a69a6e0f89

(198)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:53 PM

Ah. I see. I think it's so individual. There are days when I'm a stalwart, and you couldn't tempt me with ANYTHING. There are days when, honestly, bread is like a damn magnet, and you couldn't keep me away with a long stick. I've never been able to figure out the difference between those days. I think it's a ton of things--how well I slept, what else I'm thinking about, how stressful work has been, etc. It's a TOOOOOOOONNNNNN of factors that all work together.

355ae559fc7c4038c63b5897d74e8a40

(196)

on May 21, 2013
at 06:52 AM

Primalpat, my sister, to whom I am very close *is* a recovering alcoholic and sadly there is a lot of alcoholism in my family so I think I have a reasonably good handle on this. Before going paleo I have historically had addiction issues myself with things like biscuits and bread and have had to abstain completely from trigger foods or risk a binge, so I will stick with my analogy which I think is a valid one. Thanks for your criticism though.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:13 AM

@catemoon - no, I think I actually wasn't as clear as I could have been, but I like that this dialog has helped me sharpen my thoughts. I thank you for your input, totally! And I don't think the analogy to an alcoholic is misplaced myself, having been in the throes of eating disorders. It is very easy to displace one disorder onto another and I know I always have to be watchful around food, alcohol, and even processes (like healthy eating) for addictive behavior so I can slow down and be thoughtful. I appreciate what you say about blood sugar - I never ate enough before and was always bitchy!

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:09 AM

YIKES! Say it isn't so @primalpat!!!

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:07 AM

I get this - hell, I'm from Texas, of hispanic heritage - FOOD is IMPORTANT culturally! I don't think this is exclusive to the south - Jewish families, African American, Asian ... food is where we connect. But again - my question is less about the what's up with people, but why does this way of eating seem to deflate the anxiety around food (once you are in it for a while) - what is the dietary component that seems to override the need to please? I feel it, and I don't think I'm the only one... Maybe I didn't word my question correctly...

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:03 AM

very good point

8a0747cdcef6cb22ab8f7233bb55aa9c

(139)

on May 21, 2013
at 12:41 AM

I was going to say the same thing. Also some people hound you for not eating the birthday cake/dessert. And if you do take a little, they say "why only a little? Are you on a diet? Do you not like my cooking? yada yada yada"

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

(1663)

on May 21, 2013
at 12:34 AM

Or be paleo for long enough and you'll probably become highly orthorexic!

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

(1663)

on May 21, 2013
at 12:32 AM

I would be very careful NOT to compare eating paleo and issues with 'forbidden food' to a recovering alcoholic being around alcohol. That's beyond stupid, and shows you clearly have never met anyone who is a recovering alcoholic.

355ae559fc7c4038c63b5897d74e8a40

(196)

on May 20, 2013
at 05:37 PM

Oh, ok, I think I misconstrued your question then....... my apologies! Speaking strictly for myself, I put the feeling of security and lack of food-related anxiety down to freedom from blood sugar swings and consequent calmer mood and confidence, but I wouldn't presume to try to tell you about your own body chemistry! Long may it last though.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 20, 2013
at 03:38 PM

@catemoon - but I DO have those issues - exactly why I asked this question. What is it about this way of eating that has taken the stress out of it? Is it that more omega 3 is helping my nerves? Is it the D3? I have a history of great stress around food and giving into temptation at the drop of a hat. I am a long time (20 yrs +) binge eater. What I have been experiencing for this past year is very different and I'd like to puzzle out why. I was that foodaholic you are talking about.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 20, 2013
at 03:33 PM

in situations where there is pasta with veg, salad with grains, hummus and pita, and cookies. Am I tempted? Yes - but something about this paleo lifestyle seems to help me think more clearly around the issues of food. If I am going to be anywhere for a long time and there is no food for me, I'll bring some and not feel weird! This wasn't always the case before. It is more important that I am healthy - a bit of social unease is worth it to me (but of course, we are all very different)

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 20, 2013
at 03:29 PM

Respectfully, I still don't get it. What you are describing is kind of lose/lose/lose because if you are in the wedding party and all they fed you was a little avocado and they don't know that you couldn't eat most of their food, I'd think there is a communication problem with those near and dear. Usually the wedding party is best friends and family, and even if they couldn't provide something for you - would they really mind you bringing something to snack on before the ceremony? Esp if you are ALLERGIC to chicken - didn't they know? Many of my dearest friends are vegan and I am often -cont

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 20, 2013
at 03:21 PM

Word. yep. Hearing that. Orthorexia is a danger for anyone who has had a past with disordered eating.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 20, 2013
at 03:19 PM

Yes that is another great point - I think the quality of what many of us eat is so much better then what we can get elsewhere. If I am at a great restaurant (I live in LA, and there are lots of opportunities for incredible food which I save up for!) I will eat because I know the best chefs use tallow, lard, local well-sourced meats - their values are close to mine. But it is fairly easy to pass up pasta at this point, which I could never have imagined. So many other great things one can enjoy

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 20, 2013
at 03:15 PM

@VB - I think it might be that paleo has helped me to calm down a little and understand that the temptation can be there, but it doesn't mean anything other than another choice. The tiramisu isn't going to haunt me - it is just something I can indulge in later if I HAVE to have it, no stress ... and then I forget about it! I am feeling very encouraged

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 20, 2013
at 03:12 PM

@Varelse - Its funny, since I aim to be 80/20 it turns out I can be more 90/10, which I never anticipated! I guess the ability to eat what lets me relax and evaluate what I REALLY want. That is what makes this whole thing not a DIET, right? I'll meet you by the keg with my flask of Bulleit rye.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 20, 2013
at 03:09 PM

Hahaha @Matt! Yes - totes on that! I am no paleo superhero - I really WANTED risotto, but found I could resist. And the one bite of cake I found comforting and good - but nothing to flip my wig over. I have no illusions about temptations... I am weak. BUT STILL! Paleo has helped me resist better than anything ever before. I guess I drank the purple koolaid? Mixed with whiskey!

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on May 19, 2013
at 10:19 PM

I don't get the anxiety, either. If I want a "bad" food bad enough, I eat it. If I don't really want it, surely there is something else I would rather eat or I'll just skip the meal and eat later. It's really not very dramatic. 80/20 or whatever works for you. Heck, if I really wanted Cheetos I would eat them if they were at a party, but I don't, cause Cheetos aren't my thing. I'll be over by the keg, thanks.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on May 19, 2013
at 09:14 PM

There are two types of paleo koolaid: the red one that makes you fear all food that you don't know all the intimate details of its preparation; or the blue one that makes you think you have the superhuman power to have no desire to eat non-paleo foods. Drinking either one makes you completely mental. ;)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on May 19, 2013
at 09:14 PM

There are two types of paleo koolaid: the red one that makes you fear all food that you don't know all the intimate details of its preparation; or the blue one that makes you think you have the superhuman to have no desire to eat non-paleo foods. Drinking either one makes you completely mental. ;)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 19, 2013
at 07:51 PM

You are so lucky! I am still tempted by many things...

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7 Answers

2
91451db3488201f51e85e6a69a6e0f89

(198)

on May 20, 2013
at 06:51 PM

I think you guys are missing some REALLY important cultural components here. I spent too long being "weird food guy".

It's weird to go to an event and to be the one standing around not eating.

There are certain cultures (e.g., the South), where to refuse food is to be pretty insulting to your host. Going to my grandmother's house and not eating is not an option. You can also spare me the "if she really loved you..." line. She's damn near 90, and cooking things she knows are delicious are how she shows she loves me.

It also just makes people really uncomfortable when everyone else is eating, and you're just chilling. If I had planned a party, invited someone into my space, and they didn't eat my food, that would be hard for me.

It's not as simple as a "paleo" or "not paleo" binary, and people post about birthdays and weddings because they introduce all of the other complexities that come with food.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:07 AM

I get this - hell, I'm from Texas, of hispanic heritage - FOOD is IMPORTANT culturally! I don't think this is exclusive to the south - Jewish families, African American, Asian ... food is where we connect. But again - my question is less about the what's up with people, but why does this way of eating seem to deflate the anxiety around food (once you are in it for a while) - what is the dietary component that seems to override the need to please? I feel it, and I don't think I'm the only one... Maybe I didn't word my question correctly...

91451db3488201f51e85e6a69a6e0f89

(198)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:53 PM

Ah. I see. I think it's so individual. There are days when I'm a stalwart, and you couldn't tempt me with ANYTHING. There are days when, honestly, bread is like a damn magnet, and you couldn't keep me away with a long stick. I've never been able to figure out the difference between those days. I think it's a ton of things--how well I slept, what else I'm thinking about, how stressful work has been, etc. It's a TOOOOOOOONNNNNN of factors that all work together.

8a0747cdcef6cb22ab8f7233bb55aa9c

(139)

on May 21, 2013
at 12:41 AM

I was going to say the same thing. Also some people hound you for not eating the birthday cake/dessert. And if you do take a little, they say "why only a little? Are you on a diet? Do you not like my cooking? yada yada yada"

2
753e1b824fbe0b11c797a244b1a4c7e3

on May 20, 2013
at 04:26 PM

One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the people who are asking questions about weddings, birthdays, etc., are (often) newer to the lifestyle. Someone who has eaten Paleo for two years has likely already figured out their game plan for these kinds of situations and has no need to ask for opinions. And some learn ways to cope outside of their own kitchen faster than others. Developing strategies around all of this comes more naturally to some than others, as well, so some people may not really even have to think about it, while others need to put a lot of thought into it.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:03 AM

very good point

2
B885dc10c6263f5a4492205d50560bee

(401)

on May 20, 2013
at 05:47 AM

I'm not voicing an opinion on the question, but would like to point out that while the wedding had paleo options, not all events do.

A wedding I attended recently had a candy table, bread, sorbet, pasta or chicken entree, and chocolate covered strawberries. As I was in the wedding party and had eaten only half an avocado all day, fasting wasn't an option. My only paleo options were chicken or chocolate covered strawberries, and I'm allergic to chicken.

It wasn't that I felt compelled to stay paleo, it was that the choices presented to me would have been terrible choices for my body. The sorbet was sickeningly sweet and would have caused me to crash. The bread would have upset my stomach and it was served with margarine so I couldn't even just eat fat. The pasta would have made me sick as well as break out, as would have the chicken.

I don't think every person asking the party food question is neurotic or obsessed with staying strict; some are just genuinely baffled as to how to deal with an unfamiliar situation. Some people aren't comfortable discussing their dietary restrictions or explaining why they're on a "diet" whether they're over- or under-weight. Sometimes people really get stuck because there are no good options, and they have to make the choice between not eating and alienating others or eating something that will make them physically ill. There are many, many times when you can find a way around these challenges, but some situations really are lose/lose.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 20, 2013
at 03:29 PM

Respectfully, I still don't get it. What you are describing is kind of lose/lose/lose because if you are in the wedding party and all they fed you was a little avocado and they don't know that you couldn't eat most of their food, I'd think there is a communication problem with those near and dear. Usually the wedding party is best friends and family, and even if they couldn't provide something for you - would they really mind you bringing something to snack on before the ceremony? Esp if you are ALLERGIC to chicken - didn't they know? Many of my dearest friends are vegan and I am often -cont

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 20, 2013
at 03:33 PM

in situations where there is pasta with veg, salad with grains, hummus and pita, and cookies. Am I tempted? Yes - but something about this paleo lifestyle seems to help me think more clearly around the issues of food. If I am going to be anywhere for a long time and there is no food for me, I'll bring some and not feel weird! This wasn't always the case before. It is more important that I am healthy - a bit of social unease is worth it to me (but of course, we are all very different)

2
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on May 20, 2013
at 12:13 AM

i'm the same as you, ivy. i have no problem just eating beforehand and enjoying peoples' company at the event. i am very strict about only eating organic, grass fed meats and i'm pretty sure no wedding or birthday party i go to splurges on good food like that.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 20, 2013
at 03:19 PM

Yes that is another great point - I think the quality of what many of us eat is so much better then what we can get elsewhere. If I am at a great restaurant (I live in LA, and there are lots of opportunities for incredible food which I save up for!) I will eat because I know the best chefs use tallow, lard, local well-sourced meats - their values are close to mine. But it is fairly easy to pass up pasta at this point, which I could never have imagined. So many other great things one can enjoy

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 20, 2013
at 03:21 PM

Word. yep. Hearing that. Orthorexia is a danger for anyone who has had a past with disordered eating.

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

(1663)

on May 21, 2013
at 12:34 AM

Or be paleo for long enough and you'll probably become highly orthorexic!

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:09 AM

YIKES! Say it isn't so @primalpat!!!

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

(1663)

on May 24, 2013
at 02:41 PM

LOL! OMFG IT IZ OH NOES WUT SHUD I DO?! EAT MOAR FAT DURRRRRRR

0
A8dc0864e48ea2e8368b7a93f06dd850

(115)

on May 20, 2013
at 03:17 PM

I'm there with you, when you're educated enough about right choices in food to know what paleo is and actually follow it, you shouldn't be tempted to 'cheat'. In the end, it's never as good as you think it will be, it wasn't for me that's for sure and now I have been diagnosed with some severe things and I KNOW I can't have those things and it doesn't bother me in the slightest. I want a cake? I'll make one without eggs/diary with coconut/almond flour, I want an icecream? I'll buy an ice-cream maker and make coconut milk ice-cream. Conventional foods won't be poisoning my body.

0
355ae559fc7c4038c63b5897d74e8a40

on May 20, 2013
at 12:11 PM

For some people trying to avoid non-paleo food is akin to a recovering alcoholic trying to avoid alcohol. Being in a social situation where they may have little choice about what there is to eat, and worse, are likely to have "forbidden" comestibles pressed upon them is therefore a source of stress, both in terms of not wishing to offend anyone, and fear of falling off the wagon. Be grateful you don't have those issues!

355ae559fc7c4038c63b5897d74e8a40

(196)

on May 20, 2013
at 05:37 PM

Oh, ok, I think I misconstrued your question then....... my apologies! Speaking strictly for myself, I put the feeling of security and lack of food-related anxiety down to freedom from blood sugar swings and consequent calmer mood and confidence, but I wouldn't presume to try to tell you about your own body chemistry! Long may it last though.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 20, 2013
at 03:38 PM

@catemoon - but I DO have those issues - exactly why I asked this question. What is it about this way of eating that has taken the stress out of it? Is it that more omega 3 is helping my nerves? Is it the D3? I have a history of great stress around food and giving into temptation at the drop of a hat. I am a long time (20 yrs +) binge eater. What I have been experiencing for this past year is very different and I'd like to puzzle out why. I was that foodaholic you are talking about.

355ae559fc7c4038c63b5897d74e8a40

(196)

on May 21, 2013
at 06:52 AM

Primalpat, my sister, to whom I am very close *is* a recovering alcoholic and sadly there is a lot of alcoholism in my family so I think I have a reasonably good handle on this. Before going paleo I have historically had addiction issues myself with things like biscuits and bread and have had to abstain completely from trigger foods or risk a binge, so I will stick with my analogy which I think is a valid one. Thanks for your criticism though.

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

(1663)

on May 21, 2013
at 12:32 AM

I would be very careful NOT to compare eating paleo and issues with 'forbidden food' to a recovering alcoholic being around alcohol. That's beyond stupid, and shows you clearly have never met anyone who is a recovering alcoholic.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:13 AM

@catemoon - no, I think I actually wasn't as clear as I could have been, but I like that this dialog has helped me sharpen my thoughts. I thank you for your input, totally! And I don't think the analogy to an alcoholic is misplaced myself, having been in the throes of eating disorders. It is very easy to displace one disorder onto another and I know I always have to be watchful around food, alcohol, and even processes (like healthy eating) for addictive behavior so I can slow down and be thoughtful. I appreciate what you say about blood sugar - I never ate enough before and was always bitchy!

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