6 B's for Navigation Social Events with Food Allergies/Sensitivities
If you have food allergies/sensitivities or any type of gut issues… you feel me when I say “I would rather stay home,” “it’s going to get awkward,” “they are going to judge me,” “I am going to have to explain myself a million times.”
I don’t know how many times I’ve had that conversation where someone asks me about my food sensitivities and it ends in “what can you even eat?!”
Honestly, I thought the same thing when I realized I had food sensitivities, but once you get a handle on them you just want people to treat you normal. People don’t question a peanut allergy…so it can be hard when they lose their mind that you can’t eat dairy or gluten.
It’s especially hard when you don’t like to be the centre of attention.
It’s NORMAL to want to feel NORMAL.
…. you want to be social and go to your friends birthday party, BUT you can’t eat anything on the menu.
…. you are going to a potluck and have to ask every person in the room what the ingredients are, or worry about cross contamination so you don’t get sick.
…. you want to go on that road trip but you don’t want to be that person who has to pack a cooler of food while everyone else eats out.
….you want to make a good impression on that first date but he suggests going for ice cream and you don’t want to be THAT girl who tries to be in charge or seems “picky” when really your time would be spent in the bathroom
It can sometimes be hard to feel “normal” but girl, you are strong. Just like it was hard to adjust your diet once you found out you had a food allergy/sensitivity - you DID it! (or you are in the process of doing so!) And it’s HARD. But we can do hard things! Learning to navigate a social event can be hard… but just like you have done hard things before, you got this! It take practice and time..but soon you will be a pro. You can rock those social events, get out of your head and totally enjoy yourself.
So next time you have an event….
#1- Be prepared- even when I think there will be something I can eat at the event, party or dinner, I often pack a snack in my bag. There is nothing worse than showing up, not being able to eat anything and feeling like you are going to starve. (okay dramatic…but really.) I always have a little snack packed - protein bars, nuts, dried fruit, whole fruit, veggies, a packet of nut butter or crackers. I often will eat before I go somewhere and if there is food I am able to eat it’s a sweet bonus!
#2- Be confident - your food sensitivities/allergies are part of who you are and that is okay! When you are confident in explaining your allergies/sensitivities people will take you more seriously and the less questions and weird stares you will get. There is nothing worse than people thinking your allergies/sensitivities aren’t that serious and decide “it’s okay if they have a little bit….”
#3- Be up front - educate people about your allergies. Tell them in advance. It takes the awkwardness away for you and the host! You don’t want them feeling bad that they didn’t have any food that you could eat. I always offer to bring an allergy friendly snack/food to contribute OR offer to contribute ingredients to a dish so it’s safe for me to eat.
#4- Be patient with yourself - practice makes perfect. The more you explain to people WHY you can’t eat a certain food, or without going into details telling them you have a food allergy/sensitivity the easier it will get.
#5- Be guilt free- it’s not YOUR fault you can’t eat the food. There is no need to apologize for something that isn’t your fault! If it was because you were just too picky…that’s a different story. It’s not worth your pain & discomfort to eat something the host has made because you feel bad and don’t want to offend them.
#6- Be a buddy, bring a buddy - It is important to make good friends for support, and a huge part of that is being a good friend. When you are a good friend your buddies are going to be there for you because they know you are there for them! There is nothing more comforting than someone who understands your allergies/sensitivities and is there to back you up! It’s like having a ‘wing man’ for your food. Find someone who understands you and is willing to stand up for you when you are lacking confidence or even to stand behind what you have to say.
Remember practice makes perfect… your first few, or even dozen events you attend with your food allergy/sensitivity might be hard…but the more you practice the easier it will get! You deserve to enjoy events, parties, dinners as much as every one else does!
SO PARTY ON!