I think I’ve been to a dozen social events since we started this diet, so I wanted to share a few thoughts about these types of gatherings that might be useful.
In the centuries past, only the royalty and wealthy people were seen porking down meat and enjoying fatty foods and desserts
…and you could tell someone’s wealth by the size of their belly. But nowadays, everyone can afford to eat with this kind of extravagance every day of their life. The common people had diets of beans, rice and veggies.
In the middle class society, decadent foods and desserts were purchased only for special occasions.
Having a big turkey was a rare treat people would save up to have for thanksgiving. Decadent breads with butter or Birthday cakes were luxuries only enjoyed on special occasions. Now the average diet includes these types of fried meats, creamy sauces, and fluffy breads for dinner every night, with a creamy sugar-filled dessert to top it off. This is luxury that few of our predecessors could ever dream of enjoying on a daily basis, or even a handful of times during their life.
It’s little wonder that we’ve got the medical resources to extend lives nearly indefinitely on life support, but yet 800,000 people in the United States are still dying from cardiovascular disease every year, many of them in their early 50s having lived only half a life.
The increased availability of these indulgent foods and their impact on our society is clear.
While others are indulging in this kind of extravagance on a daily basis, I’m eating a strictly plant-based diet at home, and therefore I feel comfortable having the occasional treat at social events. If I refuse to buy or cook these types of food myself, I’m already head and shoulders above the average American who is drowning in cholesterol and the makings for diabetes.
But with that said, I’m finding it quite difficult to maintain a consistency lifestyle when these social gatherings are happening on such a regular basis.
In the past two months I have attended:
A baby shower for my cousin
A bridal shower for my (other) cousin
Dinner at my parents
Dinner at my husband’s parents
A Valentine’s Party
Birthday Party for my husband
Birthday Party for my daughter
Birthday Party for myself
Easter Baskets from Church, Preschool, In-Laws, and Parents
My cousins’ wedding
Easter Dinner at my Parents
With this many social events on a constant basis, it can become quite frustrating to have these bad foods so readily available. I do what I can to eat plant-based foods even at social gatherings, but it’s even more frustrating when you’re attending a social gathering with a big appetite, and there’s not a single thing in sight that you can comfortably eat. Trying to avoid these foods can feel very isolating and awkward at times, and sometimes altogether impossible. Most of the time, I’m able to find something decent to eat and fill up on it, but sometimes this is not the case.
These are the times I begin to feel exhausted about living in a society that is pouring sugar, white flour, and oil out for my children to eat and calling it dinner.
So here are some tips to help with the sometimes lousy food situation at social gatherings.
1. Eat a little (or a lot) before you go. That way you won’t have to starve if they don’t have anything of nutritional value, and you can just enjoy socializing.
2. Bring a dish to share. This way you have at least one thing you can eat, and it helps others gain awareness and interest in the incredible value of plant-based foods.
3. If it’s a family event, you might have a little input about what people are bringing, and could possibly suggest more salads or veggie trays.
4. Let friends and family know about your new lifestyle so they are aware of it. Even if they don’t change what they’re cooking for you at social events, they will most likely let you know what it is so you’ll be able to bring something else or eat before you come.
5. When there’s nothing plant-based at all (fruits, veggies, salads, nuts, whole-grain breads), I take comfort in knowing how far I’ve come in not eating like this anymore. It won’t kill anyone overnight, and I lasted for 20+ years on the stuff. Eating good foods is a continual process that never ends, and hitting a few bumps in the road isn’t going to destroy the whole thing.