Here is the first of many “What I Mean When I Say” articles. For this first installment, I’ll be talking about something near and dear to my heart: food. And, of course, why it’s a touchy subject sometimes. A lot of the times. Most of the times.
What I Mean When I Say “No, I can’t eat that”.
Well, first and foremost it means I can’t eat it. Not that I don’t want to because odds are if you are offering me some candy, I’ll really want it. It doesn’t even mean I shouldn’t eat it because I’m watching my figure. It means I actually can’t eat it. For whatever the reason is, the food I’m being offered I cannot put into my body.
I have a sensitive body in general. Most lotions, hair products (like shampoo), soaps, and foods I cannot put on or in my body because it is extremely sensitive to dyes, artificial anything, chemicals, and preservatives. Does that mean I snub Oreos? Does that mean I judge people who eat out?
It means that I can’t eat those things. When I say, “No, I can’t eat that” or “No, I can’t go out to eat” it is only because I’ll get sick. I’ll have stomach pain, nausea, and migraines within 30 minutes to an hour. The next day? I’ll lethargic, my mood will be bad, I’ll have a stuffy nose, I’ll retain up to six pounds of water, and I’ll still hang onto that migraine…it’s not a good time. I’ve personally found that my anxiety and my depression both rear their ugly head the next day if I’ve eaten something processed. In fact, if I eat something I shouldn’t, I’ll pay for it for about two days.
Long story short, it sucks.
And I love my Oreo’s, my chips, my pizzas. I love apple skin and donuts and burgers. But if I don’t make it, I can’t have it. Even the wax coating the apples has to come off. So there’s quite a lot of effort I put into my meals. Every label I have to read. Every dressing I have to make. Every meal either myself or my husband cooks. There is no off day. There is no cheat day. I tried once and got really sick. Whoops.
Since I do have such adverse reactions to chemicals, I have to stay away from them. Logical, right?
Now luckily both me and husband are great cooks so we have some pretty fabulous meals. Cooking for yourself is cheaper too, which is nice. And all my food looks good. I grew up loving veggies and fruit so it’s not a big deal for me to eat this way. In fact, I love eating this way. I feel accomplished cooking for myself and having it taste pretty darn amazing. I get to try new things, explore new recipes and foods, and find out what I really like. I thought I hated kale. Turns out I just hated how it was prepared.
But if my food doesn’t look like its fresh out of some crazy health magazine, I can’t eat it. Not even the salads out at restaurants.
Which brings me to my second point.
When I say, “No, I can’t eat that” I am not saying “You are bad for eating that.”
A lot of times, when people ask me out to eat, they get frustrated that I say no. When pressed, I’ll say I can’t eat that and some people get offended. I don’t mean to offend. I just mean, I really can’t have that. If you want to eat that, and you can, go ahead. In fact, eat some for me! I’d love to go out and grab a burger or eat some pizza or have a hotdog. It isn’t worth the pain I’ll feel though. I’m more sensitive than most people. I have a lower threshold for that stuff as do some others in my family.
(This is important here)
My choice in food does not reflect the goodness or badness of your life choices.
Me saying I can’t eat that isn’t snubbing you or your choices. I’m not trying to make you feel like you’ve failed at a diet, failed at being healthy because I’m not going out to eat. Honestly, I just can’t. You wouldn’t be mad at a diabetic from staying away from candy so why are you mad at me, someone who gets equally sick and whose blood sugar will drop as well?
The takeaway is this:
When others tell you they can’t go out to eat, leave it at that. Don’t be mad at them. Don’t be mad at yourself for wanting to go out. If they keep refusing, maybe ask if there’s a place they can eat. Believe it or not, there are restaurants I can eat at! They are few and far between but they are there.
If, if, if you are still really upset that they won’t go out to eat with you because you think they’re being condescending…reevluate your life. Maybe you want to change your diet, your lifestyle and you just didn’t know that yet. Your assuming how they perceive you because, in part, it’s how you see you.
So, what do I mean when I say “No, I can’t eat that”?
I mean, I can’t eat that food because I’ll get really sick.
That’s it. It’s that simple.
Be a little gentler to people. Not everyone is out to get you.