food on friday: social dining {a.k.a. when the diet gets left behind}

I had a friend make an interesting comment about the original food diet the other day. He said something like, "it sounds like a good thing, but the biggest thing about it is that it makes it difficult to be social."

I agreed with him.  It's not easy to eat a special diet in a group setting.

I told him that's why we decided early on, back when we decided to make the big diet change- if we were at someone else's home or party, we would eat what we were served, and if we were to go out for special occasions, we would eat and enjoy whatever food we wanted to eat. Life and people are more important than food.

Food plays a big role in social events, and it's important to us to enjoy this life and the friends we are given. :)

We are very blessed to be free of medical needs that make a special diet necessary. We choose to eat vegan foods while we are at home, and if we go out, we try to follow those rules unless it's important to the situation or to us to eat whatever we want at that time.

So I'm still doing the original food diet, for the most part. :) The other part has been lots of special celebrations! :D We've been busy celebrating life, milestones, and good things {like anniversaries!} for the last few weeks, and it's a good thing. :)

In fact, we hosted a little dinner party shower a couple of weeks ago, and I made pasta with chicken and sausage:


along with homemade marinara and sun-dried tomato basil cream sauce:


My sister-in-law made italian creme cupcakes....


and we got to visit with these lovely people who are being blessed with twin girls in the next month or two!
{and their cutie-patootie Della!}


I definitely ate more than my fair share of pasta, chicken, bread, and cupcakes. I think we both did:


And you know what? We had a wonderful time! {And I think eating vegan foods may make regular food taste even better!}

The pasta and meat were really good, and the bread, salad, and cupcakes were even better {thank you, Jolinda and Cayse!}. It was so much fun eating and enjoying time with our sweet friends!

And honestly, this is so what I wanted to do with the cupcakes too, Della:


They were YUM!

Here's to good food, good friends, and new babies!  :D 

{and going back to the ofd when the parties are over! ;)}


Q: When you're on a special diet, how do you handle social meals? 
I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

19 comments

heatherc said...

Mandy, I would love it if you could share your recipes for your homemade sauces you mentioned in your post. I'm fairly new to your blog, so if you've already shared the recipes, could you kindly point me to that post? Thanks so much, you're an inspiration in so many ways! HC

mandyBH said...

I totally agree with you Janell! I think health reasons are very good reasons to eat differently in a social setting. :)

Janell said...

My husband and I like to follow a gluten-free and dairy-free diet. But like you, in social situations, we eat what we are served. We don't want to be rude. I do think though, if you are on a gluten-free diet because you are celiac or allergic or if you're dairy-free because you are lactose intolerant, so you are doing it for health reasons, than you shouldn't eat just because you don't want to be rude. Just eat what you can and still enjoy the fellowship.

Jennifer said...

I am currently on a low carb diet, not by choice but because I have an insulin resistance. I am new to this way of eating and have my first event tonight eating out with friends & family. I am hoping that I can stay within my daily amount of carbs. I agree with you, if it is a diet by choice then you should eat was is provided and enjoy. If it is a diet of need for health reasons then try to find the healthiest options and load up on those versus eating everything put out.


For tonight I plan on looking up the menu ahead of time and having my order read when I go in so I am not tempted by the fattier carb loaded options.

Amanda B said...

My husband and I are on week two of a self-imposed 28 Day Vegan Challenge, mostly due to high cholesterol on his part. So far, we're really enjoying it and it will definitely be a catalyst for an overall change in our family's diet. However, we both agreed upfront that if we're invited to anyone's house we want to honor their generosity and hospitality and will eat what they provide. Same goes for special occasions. When we invite someone into our home, I try to remember to ask if they have any food allergies, though.

Genevieve Williams said...

My husband and I follow a paleo diet. It's a choice we both make, to live a healthier lifestyle and eat natural foods that haven't been packaged, refined, etc. A southern girl through and through, I eat whatever I am served! So when we go to a friends' for dinner, or holidays, etc, we definitely eat what is on the menu, and thoroughly enjoy it. Dairy and carbs taste so wonderful when you never have them!

Cheryl said...

My family has gone Gluten free because of health related issues, so when we go to someone's house for a party or just to visit I make sure to pack food that we can eat. I also ask before hand about the food that will be served so that I can come fully prepared if it's not GF. If they go to a birthday party I try to bake some cupcakes to send along ~ enough for everyone to share ~ so that my kids can enjoy the party as much like everyone else as possible. We LOVE to fellowship with our friends, and I don't want to make what we eat a burden to them.

Abbie said...

ha! I love that look on Della's face when she's eating the cupcake. She means BUSINESS! Thanks again for such a yummy spread. I totally need to know what you put in your tomato basil cream sauce because it was delish!

Deborah Lynette Marrero said...

I've been on a special diet for some time now. But I do the same that when its a social event. I will enjoy whats served. I don't want anybody to feel obligated to make a 'special' side for me, or even worse, talk down about the food being served by saying " Oh, I don't eat 'that'." I've had my moments where I'll have my meal at home before going somewhere and just have a few drinks or maybe a dessert. But I do my best to keep it simple and just enjoy.

Keri said...

Yes, you guys ARE very blessed to be free of medical causes for special diets! Trust me, it is a challenge to have food allergies/sensitivities. I have suffered from migraines for 13 years, and my three biggest food triggers are: MSG, aspartame and gelatin. Dining out is a challenge. I grow weary of being called "picky" or "difficult" because I have to ask about ingredients. Even recently at a shower, I had to make sure the punch was made with good ol' fashioned sugar, rather than diet soda or my greatest nemesis, Crystal Light. MSG - monosodium glutamate - is an evil, EVIL substance with dangers that our government refuses to acknowledge or regulate. It contributes to hyperactivity in people with ADHD and Autism, and it can lead to obesity, fibromyalgia, and tons of other ailments. It is hidden under other names and found in thousands of foods you wouldn't suspect. I'm not on a vegan or paleo diet, but natural foods are easiest for me to eat. Hence, I'm the opposite - social situations are where I tend to eat less, and yes hosts and hostesses have been plenty offended but my health comes first! :) Praying that our baby does not have to worry about these things, or peanuts, or milk, etc. Good going with your diet! :) Other than not having meat, it sounds like something that would make me feel good! And I agree with Abbie - need the recipe for that tomato basil sauce!

mandyBH said...

thanks for sharing! Whoa- I didn't realize those could trigger migraines! I had a migraine today for the first time in years- so interesting! I hope to have a recipe up sometime- I think I need to recreate it since I did it all from my head. :D That's a good reason to! ;)

mandyBH said...

love that! drinks and dessert works! simple is good! :D thank you for sharing!

mandyBH said...

haha! It was fun! I need a good reason to make it again! ;) Maybe I can bring some over when the twins arrive! :D

mandyBH said...

that's a great idea! sharing what you can eat with friends would be a great way to stay GF!

mandyBH said...

Oh, we do too! Bread is heavenly, isn't it? Heheee! I even gained a couple lbs. from our anniversary weekend- all the food was that good!! :D

mandyBH said...

that's a great idea- I forget sometimes to ask about allergies/preferences! Do you cook vegan food when you host at your house? I try to have non-vegan options but I also love to cook the best vegan foods so no one notices the meat is missing! :D

mandyBH said...

I love this!
"If it is a diet of need for health reasons then try to find the healthiest options and load up on those versus eating everything put out. "

looking up the menu first is smart! we had a hard time finding foods to eat at first, but it got easier as time went on- we knew what to order after lots of conversations with the waiter! Sometimes they will even make you special dishes if you request them! :D I hope your diet goes well! My dad has almost reversed his diabetes by cutting out refined carbs. I'm excited to hear how it goes! :D

Stephanie said...

I think health reasons are even necessary and un-budgeable when eating socially. I have a dairy allergy and if I eat that luscious looking lasagne, I will have to take Benadryl and leave before the drug knocks me out, or sit there miserable in the throes of an allergic reaction. It's part of being a good guest that I let my hostess know what I can and can't eat so that I can actually stay for the time I was invited and contribute to the festivity! :)

Pieper said...

I have been struggling with this issue having been recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes for the first time in three pregnancies. I am doing well and am trying to cut the sugar. Carbs aren't as big of the issue for me as the sugar. And this thought has crossed my mind several times in regards to social dining with the kids. Do I let my kids have the (fake) sugar loaded ice cream because the other kids do when I normally would not if we were dining alone as a family? I do let them, but being SO involved and so social no longer makes it "in moderation". Ugh- these dilemmas! So tough sometimes!