So this post is about work potlucks. Our potlucks here at my job tend to be more junk food fests with people bringing varieties of chips and dip, candy, brownies, bagels, soda, etc. I tend to follow a diet of veggies, fruits, and whole grains—eating high-sugar and high-fat foods makes me feel bad—so there’s nothing I’d really want to eat at these events. I simply choose not to participate by not eating and not bringing anything. I figure that’s logical because if I’m not going to participate, then I shouldn’t eat and if I’m not going to eat, I should be able to opt out of participating.
The question came up between me and a friend at work: she asked if I should I just bring something small to show camaraderie and team building. She brings an item to participate even though she doesn’t eat anything either (her and I have similar diets). She wasn’t trying to call me out, she gently asked if I thought about participating. I don’t know…I didn’t think it was a big deal at all. I’m not being rude by being “that person” that eats a bunch of food when I didn’t bring a dish myself. I’m simply not participating. It’s even become a “thing” at potluck time, which we have one pretty much once a month: “What’s everyone bringing…well, all except Ruthie…hahahaha?”
Am I being rude in not participating? Or cold? Should I just suck it up and go buy pita and hummus once a month? I mean I’ve tried explaining why I don’t participate and I got this retort: “Oh stop lecturing…you KNOW you TOTALLY eat junk food when you’re at home alone!!” 0327-13
Unless it is a company mandated potluck, there is no obligation on your part to participate. However, if I were in your shoes, I would view it as my personal challenge to bring something to each potluck that fit within my dietary choices but fooled everyone else with its tastiness. For example, black bean brownies. I made those for a potluck a few months ago and the women loved them. The guys, however, suspected something healthy about them and turned their noses up. More for us! Muhahahaha! German chocolate fudge balls (sweetened only with dried dates) was another successful potluck offering. There are so many cool recipes online these days that are gluten free, paleo, low sugar, etc that its easy to find something to tempt the staunchest of junk food eaters.
And you have a compatriot to help you in this. I would collude with your co-worker friend to try new recipes for each potluck so that you both get to try something new. You have an opportunity to sway less informed co-workers to the benefits of healthy eating by providing an alternative that may convince them that a healthy diet doesn’t have to be so draconian. Other potluck offerings you could bring: Roasted garbanzo/chick peas, fruit salsa with whole grain baked cinnamon “chips”, Cookie Dough Dip, and on and on.