Family vacation help!!


Audacious

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Hi everyone,

I need help. I am starting a Whole30 tomorrow, and I want to see this through to the end. However, on March 24th I am going on a family vacation. While I'm fine with navigating Whole30 at restaurants, my worry is what to say to my family when I'm there because I think they will be preparing some of the meals and I really want to remain compliant. While I'm hoping I can pick through meals, my worry is if they make a lasagna or something!  What are the best ways to inform my family that I have food restrictions right now without making this awkward and complicated? 

Thanks in advance! 

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I would offer to help plan and prepare meals. Send around a group email or Facebook message *now* talking about how you're super excited for the vacation and are also starting a Whole30, which will have a fair amount of food restrictions. Tell them why you're doing it and then say that you want to help plan. There are plenty of family style meals that can be made with only a few tweaks to be compliant for you. I love grilled chicken parm (the breading always gets soggy anyway). Leave the cheese off yours, spaghetti and salad for everyone else, extra salad for you. Things like that and then you're not really asking anyone to make a completely separate meal just for you. A chili bar made from a compliant recipe. There can even be beans on the side if some people really love beans in chili. Toppings galore and everyone fixes their own bowl. 

But you need to be involved in the planning. 

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It really depends on the family though. Mine is completely 100% understanding about whatever oddball diet anyone is on. There may be 3 different entrees at a dinner. When we rent a house together, there are 6 kinds of milk in the fridge. Then there are people that make you feel like crap about dieting or whine/try to tempt/be general jerks about it.

If you are in the first category, it's easy; just offer to plan/go shopping/cook. It is simply on you to communicate your preferences and perhaps come prepared. Lots of easy menus to take care of whole 30 AND keep non-dieters happy. BBQ steaks, burgers (you skip the bun), roast a chicken, grill fish. The downside is that protein centered meals are pricier than making a lasagna. Maybe offer to buy the meat if finances are an issue.

Second category....that's harder because they take eating personally and don't get why you can't have lasagna and tiramisu. I feel like people are more understanding about a restricted diet over allergy concerns than over a desire to lose weight or be healthy. I'd call and say "Hey Susie, I've been having issues with food allergies. Right now I'm really restricted to meats, vegetables, fruits and a few types of fat. I really can't have sugar/wheat/dairy until I get to the bottom of what is causing me to feel poorly. I know you will be cooking; would you mind if I helped prepare some meals that I can safely eat". The key is not to come off as judging their diet as fattening or unhealthy. The WORST thing you can do is say "I'm avoiding unhealthy foods like X,Y,Z that you enjoy". Then people feel all defensive. If you make the problem you vs their foods it just makes the dynamic better. 

Put it this way- I have a shellfish allergy. People are all "OOOooooOOOO shrimp YAY" and I say, oh yeah, I can't have that. Shellfish allergy. And people just move on and eat their shrimp. But sugar? People are all "OooooOOO let's go get ICE CREAM" and I say, oh yeah, I'm not eating sugar or dairy this month. The question barrage begins. People cajole. People start talking "moderation". People start whining about how they are fat. 

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I did not expect my family to be supportive but I sold it to them as an elimination diet to test for food sensitivities- they know I have gut issues- and they have been great about it.  If you can frame it as a 'science experiment' or health test, rather than a diet, would they be more receptive?

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Thanks so much for all the help! I am definitely going to tell them I'm on an elimination diet due to allergies, my family knows I have terrible allergies anyway. I know it won't go over well if I say it's for weight or health reasons. 

Thanks for the advice about being involved with planning - I'm definitely going to try and step in, that's a really good idea. I hate being a burden to people, but hopefully I can navigate this without it being a big deal. I'm sure they won't even notice what I'm eating for the most part anyway!  

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