Nutrition
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Eating Healthy Under Pressure

Healthy layered dessert with cream, muesli, kiwi and blueberries on wooden background with space for text

Comfort is often found in the food we grew up with as a child. I have fond memories of camping in the mountains with hot dogs and s’mores over the fire, pizza at parties with soft drinks, and the decadent desserts we enjoyed as a family. Unfortunately, these foods are what contributed to me getting sick.

After making what many people viewed as a drastic change in my eating, I started bringing my own food to parties and family gatherings. Raw pizza with plenty of green salad and fruit graced my plate as I noticed weird looks from others at the table. Occasionally someone got up the nerve to ask what I was eating, making looks and comments of disgust after finding out. This hurt my feelings as I took their words to heart and I began withdrawing from these events to avoid feeling uncomfortable.

Not long afterward, however, I realized this was only hurting me so I decided not to allow their comments or actions determine what I ate and how I felt. As I took care of myself, I became more confident and healthy and others took notice.

Friends and family asked me different questions with genuine interest. These were perfect opportunities for me to help educate them about the reasons I decided to eat more raw foods and the many benefits I received because of it. Sometimes they asked if they could taste my food followed by a request for the recipes. I was elated and appreciated their authenticity.

Many people struggle in social situations because they have different nutritional needs due to food allergies and ill health. If this is you, here are some great tips to help you navigate the occasion with ease.

TIPS FOR THE GUEST:

  1. Eat before you go so you are full and can enjoy socializing without worrying about the food.
  2. Position yourself in a different part of the room away from the food as you talk.
  3. Bring something to share with everyone that your family or friends love. Be ready to share the recipe.
  4. Choose larger amounts of the foods you can have like the salads, fruit, vegetables, etc. and skip what you’ll regret later.
  5. Go early to help the host prepare the food and politely ask if you can leave the croutons on the side of the salad instead of putting them in, for example.
  6. If the host takes extra care to make something special for you, be sure to thank them and show your appreciation for their extra attention to detail.
  7. Put your thick skin on and don’t worry about what other people say about your food. Realize that many people aren’t trying to be insensitive, they genuinely want to understand your situation. Educate them about it and be open, honest and kind in your replies.
  8. If you are the parent of a child with special food needs, bring something for them to eat and/or share to ease the burden of the host.
  9. Teach your child to be polite and not make a big deal about what they can’t eat or don’t like. They can decline what is being offered and thank the host for their hospitality.
  10. Keep your conversation about a variety of different topics other than just food. Be interesting and genuinely interested in others.

TIPS FOR THE HOST:

If you are the host of the event, you may want to prepare ahead with the following suggestions.

  1. On the invitations, ask for the guests to text or call with any food allergies you need to know about when they RSVP.
  2. Create a menu with plenty of fresh salads, vegetables, fruits, etc. and put the dips, dressings and breads on the side.
  3. Make it a potluck so everyone can bring something they like and can eat.
  4. Have the labels available for your guests to check if needed.
  5. Be attentive and watch for people who isolate themselves from the crowd or look uncomfortable especially around the food table. Politely ask them if there is anything you can do to help make them feel more comfortable and have fun.
  6. If children are in attendance and there is pizza or other high allergy foods like gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, etc. have something else available for them to eat that is similar to what the rest of the guests are eating.
  7. Don’t make a big deal about the person who is eating differently than everyone else. Be as discrete as possible to help them feel at ease.
  8. If other guests begin asking questions that become uncomfortable for them or make fun of them, politely change the subject or take the offender aside and ask them nicely to stop.
  9. Hire a caterer or get the food from a restaurant that is allergy friendly so you can order specifically for those who need to make a special request.
  10. When bringing out the cake or dessert, have a beautiful bowl of fresh, colorful fruit available too.
  11. Do not to take offense at someone choosing to opt out of eating what you prepare. They mean well, they just can’t have it for health reasons.

Food is an important part of social gatherings, but try and focus more on the event and people you are celebrating with. Above all, have fun!

Watermelon Gazpacho

3 c. watermelon, seeded and pureed in a blender

1 c. seeded watermelon, diced small

1 c. seeded tomato, diced small (about 2 medium tomatoes)Watermelon_Gazpacho

1 c. peeled, seeded cucumber, diced small

¼ c. red bell pepper, diced

¼ c. green bell pepper, diced

2 T. lime juice

1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped

½ small jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 green onion, white and green minced

1 t. sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

 

In a large bowl, combine the ingredients as listed and stir to combine. Season with pepper and salt to taste. Refrigerate to chill, then serve in individual bowls.

 

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Written by Wendy Thueson

Wendy P. Thueson is owner of Raw Chef Wendy, LLC. She is a certified Chef, Master Herbalist, and Raw Food Coach. She is passionate about the healing power of plants and sharing her message of hope with others because of her life changing experience regaining her health in 2009. She suffered from chronic fatigue for 28 years, debilitating neck and back pain, brain fog, stuttering, Grave's disease, and hypoglycemia to name a few. Wendy began eating a high amount of raw foods and using herbs medicinally. As a result, she is now symptom, pain and medication free. She educates all ages through hands-on classes, speaking at various events, and has been featured on television, radio and in magazines. She has authored several books and online programs to help others learn how to eat and live happier lives. She is an adoring wife and mother of four. You may find her at www.rawchefwendy.com

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