Author Topic: Selective Eating  (Read 13179 times)

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Alpacas

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #105 on: August 29, 2013, 04:49:40 PM »
So, now I have to go shopping with a Geiger counter?

No need for that. Just check if its glowing or has more than two eyes.  ;D

Drunken Housewife

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #106 on: August 31, 2013, 02:15:51 PM »
I'm sadly weighing in as someone who, like the OP, has been judged for calling myself a vegetarian when I have been seen eating a fish.

In my case, I don't want to eat seafood for ethical and moral reasons.  However, while it has been easy for me personally to give up eating all meat and birds (I have not once knowingly eaten anything containing any traces of a mammal or a bird in over 30 years), it has been difficult for me to abstain completely from seafood.  I'm originally from Maine -- which is famous for its seafood -- and so not eating seafood is a personal struggle.   I have gone years and years without once eating a bite of seafood (I think perhaps I have gone 8 consecutive years as my longest streak), but sometimes I am weak.  When I was pregnant, I had such powerful cravings for lobster that I was going insane.

If you were to see me having cracked and given in to these powerful cravings, not feeling great about it or myself, and then you (general "you") were to add extra judgment and tell me you were disgusted by my calling myself a vegetarian and how as I once gave in to my lower nature (my view of myself-- I don't run around judging others), I should always do that at your home, well, that would very likely be the end of the friendship.

I think it's sad if people judge those of us who are trying to make meaningful-to-us choices about what we eat, for whatever reasons.  It's also sad to judge those who don't.  Less judgment all around, please.  Does it really  hurt you if I break down and eat a lobster or fish after several years of craving and abstaining and then go back on the wagon the next day?  If you saw me or someone else once eat something, they are forever required to never abstain again in your presence?

For me, it's a bit (but less extreme, of course) like an alcoholic who normally successfully stays on the wagon.  I know alcoholics who relapse -- I don't tell them they have to drink wine with me now I know they sometimes imbibe what they normally are able to keep away from. 
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TootsNYC

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #107 on: August 31, 2013, 03:36:59 PM »
[
I think the answer to this is to communicate them as if *you*, the requester, is the unusual one as opposed to the host. "Thank you so much for the invitation, I'd love to attend your dinner party. I'm afraid I'm a bit of a picky eater, but I can eat anything that is vegetarian."

This isn't a lie (the way "I'm a vegetarian" is), so you don't have to worry about getting caught. It also gives the host a clear idea of what you will eat in the simplest terms (anything vegetarian). Plus, it leaves it open for them to inquire about more details if they'd like to.

And really, you are the unusual one. Not because your preference is unusual or bad, but because as a guest accepting hospitality the norm is to graciously accept what is offered. Its on the guest to acknowledge that *any* restriction (even a medical one like an allergy) is outside the norm and may be an imposition on the host.

I would never say the bolded to someone, and especially not to someone who has graciously invited me to their home to enjoy their hospitality.

"Picky eater" is very pejorative, and I would never introduce that into a conversation, especially not about myself.

I think the OP did fine, and I think this woman was looking to be offended. I can sort of see the "but you wouldn't eat MY fish!" hurt, but that's sort of minor, in my opinion. (Though I do see Lynn2000's point! I've had to go gluten free, and it's *sometimes* a PITA; I've cooked gluten free for others before, and while it really isn't difficult, it does involve some deliberate effort and care. And then if I saw someone cavalierly break that restriction, I'd be much less enthusiastic about helping them. Instead of making an entirely gluten-free dinner, I might just be sure there were three things they could eat instead of all seven. Though I'd never expect them to drop their restriction completely.)

My daughter has started to identify herself, sort of, as a vegetarian because she doesn't like most meat. Just doesn't like it--no values, etc. But she hates the pressure she gets; she hates the whole "now it's a topic of conversation!" bit. She will probably run into this when the people who invite her to dinner discover that she likes chicken nuggets from Burger King.

I'm thinking of suggesting that she say, "I'm pretty much a vegetarian." The little qualifier in there might save her from some of the pressure later.


Tea Drinker

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #108 on: August 31, 2013, 03:42:22 PM »
I'm sadly weighing in as someone who, like the OP, has been judged for calling myself a vegetarian when I have been seen eating a fish.

In my case, I don't want to eat seafood for ethical and moral reasons.  However, while it has been easy for me personally to give up eating all meat and birds (I have not once knowingly eaten anything containing any traces of a mammal or a bird in over 30 years), it has been difficult for me to abstain completely from seafood.  I'm originally from Maine -- which is famous for its seafood -- and so not eating seafood is a personal struggle.   I have gone years and years without once eating a bite of seafood (I think perhaps I have gone 8 consecutive years as my longest streak), but sometimes I am weak.  When I was pregnant, I had such powerful cravings for lobster that I was going insane.

If you were to see me having cracked and given in to these powerful cravings, not feeling great about it or myself, and then you (general "you") were to add extra judgment and tell me you were disgusted by my calling myself a vegetarian and how as I once gave in to my lower nature (my view of myself-- I don't run around judging others), I should always do that at your home, well, that would very likely be the end of the friendship.

I think it's sad if people judge those of us who are trying to make meaningful-to-us choices about what we eat, for whatever reasons.  It's also sad to judge those who don't.  Less judgment all around, please.  Does it really  hurt you if I break down and eat a lobster or fish after several years of craving and abstaining and then go back on the wagon the next day?  If you saw me or someone else once eat something, they are forever required to never abstain again in your presence?

For me, it's a bit (but less extreme, of course) like an alcoholic who normally successfully stays on the wagon.  I know alcoholics who relapse -- I don't tell them they have to drink wine with me now I know they sometimes imbibe what they normally are able to keep away from.

That's a useful analogy, I think. I know people who are mostly vegetarian but accept that their bodies will occasionally demand animal protein, and think of it as "at least I'm only eating a little meat." I know other people who used to be vegetarian and no longer are.

If I saw you eating fish or lobster, I might well ask whether your dietary rules/goals have changed: if someone had been avoiding fish, or red meat (or any other category of food) and that changed, I wouldn't want to deprive them long-term. There are a very few people whose limitations I keep track of; if I'm going to be hosting anyone else to a meal, or choosing a place to eat together, I ask. In some cases it might be "we haven't had dinner together in a while, I don't remember whether Chinese food works for you" or "are you still avoiding XYZ?" rather than "what don't you eat?" But I ask, even if it's someone who had no restrictions last time: tastes change, food sensitivities change, and so on.
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White Lotus

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #109 on: August 31, 2013, 05:02:14 PM »
I don't think I "judge" anybody on dietary choices -- and I appreciate Drunken Housewife's struggle (filed under Why I Am Not A Raw Vegan; I try, I lose) -- but I do object to people who regularly, even if infrequently, eat meat, fish and/or fowl claiming to be vegetarian and screwing up MY LIFE by making MY DIET a topic of conversation when I turn down the fish or chicken or chili con carne or beef stew (no, I can't just "pick it out") because these people have changed the definition of Vegetarian or Vegan to suit their own ego needs, rather than using the actual definitions of the words.  I don't think that applies to OP, though I would prefer s/he use "primarily veg" for clarity, and I don't think it applies at all to Drunken Housewife.

DH, it is perfectly OK with me if you eat seafood occasionally and if someone says, "I thought you were veg," to answer "yeah, but every five years or so I can't resist a lobster."  Or, "unless I am in the Famous Seafood Region, when I eat seafood sometimes."  I absolutely do not have a problem with this -- it is clear and honest.  For OP to say, "I am very careful of the fish I eat, and I don't eat fish very often anyway.  It is too much of a pain to explain to people, as I eat vegetarian almost exclusively, and that is what I say, as I can eat anything veg."  Clear.  Honest.  It is the misrepresentation that gets to me, and the bad ways it affects my life.

The "I need protein" thing is specious.  All that means is the speaker needs to eat protein, which comes complete from plant sources like soybeans and quinoa, and through plant food combinations, like beans and rice.  That has nothing to do with needing MEAT, FISH OR FOWL, and shows a lack of knowledge of vegetarian/vegan cooking and nutrition.  I see it as a excuse and fundamentally dishonest. So I guess I am "judging" on the question of fundamental honesty.

Nobody, ever, should have to argue about or justify what they eat or don't eat, especially and particularly in a social context.  It is rude to comment at table about what others do or don't eat, generally (there are a very few exceptions) and I solidly object to people starting arguments with me over what I eat, waving meat under my nose, justifying their own food choices, and generally making ME uncomfortable and MY experience unpleasant.  Especially since I, as a general rule, Do. Not. Care. what others eat, do not wish to discuss it, be attacked about it, listen to their justifications and so on.  And I hate it when another veg/vegan pulls out a soapbox just as much, because that is equally rude and unpleasant.  I just want everybody to shut up and eat.  I am not pushy or preachy at all -- I grew up veg and have never seen a reason to change that -- and just want to eat what I want to eat and extend others the same quiet, unremarkable, courtesy.  So I guess I am "judging" on common courtesy, too.

If you're coming to my house for dinner, I do want to know if you have any other limitations, so I can work around them, so I will probably ask. And if I see you doing something else later, such as eating sugar or gluten, I will most likely think you just changed your mind, and will ask again the next time I invite you over.  But I will not make an issue of it, ever.  That is the rude part, IMO.

cass2591

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #110 on: August 31, 2013, 07:28:58 PM »
Toots, why doesn't your daughter just say she doesn't like meat? There's no shame in it and it avoids potential drama, etc.

I don't like meat either and I haven't eaten any since I don't remember when. I do, however, eat poultry and fish so I don't say I'm a sort of vegetarian because it's simply not true. 
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PeterM

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #111 on: August 31, 2013, 11:07:20 PM »
Toots, why doesn't your daughter just say she doesn't like meat? There's no shame in it and it avoids potential drama, etc.

It doesn't avoid potential drama, though, because there are plenty of nitwits out there  who will leap at the chance to make drama about that sort of personal choice. They're best avoided, of course, but that's not always possible, especially in work or school settings where you can't really control who you interact with.

Psychopoesie

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #112 on: August 31, 2013, 11:23:14 PM »

I don't like meat either and I haven't eaten any since I don't remember when. I do, however, eat poultry and fish so I don't say I'm a sort of vegetarian because it's simply not true.

If a guest told me they didn't like meat, I'd be surprised if it turned out that they ate poultry and fish. Meat to me means any animal flesh. Saying they didn't eat red meat would be clearer. Also closer to the mark than mostly vegetarian (which works better for the OP's situation or similar).
 

kareng57

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #113 on: August 31, 2013, 11:30:59 PM »

I don't like meat either and I haven't eaten any since I don't remember when. I do, however, eat poultry and fish so I don't say I'm a sort of vegetarian because it's simply not true.

If a guest told me they didn't like meat, I'd be surprised if it turned out that they ate poultry and fish. Meat to me means any animal flesh. Saying they didn't eat red meat would be clearer. Also closer to the mark than mostly vegetarian (which works better for the OP's situation or similar).


I agree, "don't eat red meat" would be a lot clearer to me.  I'd be pretty befuddled if a "non meat eater" turned out to be freely eating poultry and fish.  I'm not saying that I would call her on it, but I'd really like the situation to be clarified, for future reference.

TootsNYC

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #114 on: September 01, 2013, 09:53:15 AM »
Toots, why doesn't your daughter just say she doesn't like meat? There's no shame in it and it avoids potential drama, etc.

It doesn't avoid potential drama, though, because there are plenty of nitwits out there  who will leap at the chance to make drama about that sort of personal choice. They're best avoided, of course, but that's not always possible, especially in work or school settings where you can't really control who you interact with.

PeterM is right.

Here's what I originally said:

Quote
But she hates the pressure she gets; she hates the whole "now it's a topic of conversation!" bit.

People here have said it over and over. The moment you say, "I don't like dip," there is a high change of SOMEbody starting a whole argument with you about it. "Oh, you'll like MY dip/meat"!

And she just doesn't want her personal food likes or dislikes to become a big topic of conversation. And in her experience, it does. If she says, "I'm a vegetarian" (or even maybe "I'm eating vegetarian tonight"), people leave her alone.

miranova

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #115 on: September 01, 2013, 11:09:28 AM »
PLEASE answer the question if a host asks you "what do you mean?  What do you enjoy eating?  What can you eat?"  As a host, if I am taking the time to ask those questions, it's because I truly WANT to accommodate you.  I like to learn new things, challenge myself as a cook, and fix something fantastic that you can actually eat.  But if someone just says "Oh don't worry about it, I'm used to eating before and after", it is frustrating because I'm inviting you in order to host you.  I don't feel like a good host if you are eating before and after instead of enjoying my hospitality.  At least give me the chance to serve you something you can eat.  I'm talking about the case where the host asks clarifying questions, if they are asking, you are not "burdening" them.  If they are asking, they want to know.

CluelessBride

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #116 on: September 01, 2013, 12:24:11 PM »
Toots, why doesn't your daughter just say she doesn't like meat? There's no shame in it and it avoids potential drama, etc.

It doesn't avoid potential drama, though, because there are plenty of nitwits out there  who will leap at the chance to make drama about that sort of personal choice. They're best avoided, of course, but that's not always possible, especially in work or school settings where you can't really control who you interact with.

PeterM is right.

Here's what I originally said:

Quote
But she hates the pressure she gets; she hates the whole "now it's a topic of conversation!" bit.

People here have said it over and over. The moment you say, "I don't like dip," there is a high change of SOMEbody starting a whole argument with you about it. "Oh, you'll like MY dip/meat"!

And she just doesn't want her personal food likes or dislikes to become a big topic of conversation. And in her experience, it does. If she says, "I'm a vegetarian" (or even maybe "I'm eating vegetarian tonight"), people leave her alone.

But she's creating drama for others (people who actually are vegetarian) by creating confusion.  And that just strikes me as selfish. It's like saying you are allergic to something when you aren't - it may make your life easier, but it makes someone else's more difficult (general you of course).

I don't like my personal likes and dislikes to become a topic of conversation, either. So I eat around what I don't like instead of telling a host that. If she eats meat sometimes, then there is no ethical objection and no medical reason she can't eat meat. So she can eat around the chicken in chicken  cesar salad (as an example) like I eat around the raw tomatoes on a garden salad.  I've never had anyone push anything on me because I'm so casual about it "Oh, no thank you. I'm enjoying the other food". The people I see things pushed on are the ones that make a big deal out of it. They make excuses. They ask for menus to be changed to accommodate them, etc. So the same people that accept my "no thank you" will pressure them to try whatever it is they don't like.