That said, choosing to eat raw when out and about doesn’t have to mean that the dining experience needs to become something you come to dread.
Follow my 5 Top Tips for Social Success and I’m positive your future meals out will be all the more enjoyable for it!
1) Remember, you are a pioneer – not a weirdo! Im amazed at how varied other peoples perceptions are when I first tell them I eat raw. From fascinated to critical but most often confused, it pays to remember that everyone is going to have an opinion on your eating habits but whats really important is yours! So when the fingers start pointing and the comments and questions start coming, take a deep breath, smile and then. . .
2) Choose your line! Different people choose different ways of handling these situations depending on how confident they are about what theyre doing and also depending on the company theyre with. For instance, in the early days I was really embarrassed about eating raw. I was young, still learning and I didnt know the answers to all the questions that were being asked of me, I also felt like everyone was out to criticise what I was doing. So, to make life easier, rather than announcing Im raw for life and this is how its going to be!, I chose to say that I was experimenting with a new way of eating that made me feel much better and gave me more energy (everyone wants more energy!) and this worked a treat. Other good lines to use if youre not ready or keen to be open about your lifestyle choice is to say something like Im on a detox or something similarly vague when people think that what you are doing is temporary or you speak in language that they can relate to they feel much more relaxed and are far less likely to harangue you for the rest of the meal!
3) Watch yourself! Pay attention to what preconceptions you may have about what people think, because these may colour your attitude and the response you get far more than you realise. By this I mean, if you are insecure in any way about what youre doing and dont choose a get out line like one of those above, then people will pick up on your insecurity and proceed to pick away at what youre doing in all manner of ways theyre not always out to bring you down, but you may end up feeling as if they are, and thats obviously not a nice feeling! So, work on educating yourself, feeling confident in what youre doing, ideally have some tangible positive results to show them (e.g. weight loss, stronger nails, shinier hair, clearer skin, more energy etc.), some great recipes to share – maybe even have a book stashed in your bag to show them – and then youll be able to direct the conversation away from you and onto the benefits if theres potentially something in it for them youll find that suddenly theres a lot more genuine interest!
4) Keep things light. Once the conversation is flowing (it will usually be hard, if not impossible to stop it!) do your best to remain upbeat and positive about what youre doing. I have found that the key word here is light keep things light, fun and airy laugh about it, talk about your triumphs and disasters in equal measure be human. And steer away from proselytising, trying to convert or telling everyone how much damage theyre doing with their knife and fork! I have found that the best way to handle any of these situations is to remain as neutral yet positive as possible. No blaming, nothing negative, just answering any questions that you may be asked as best you can, with a smile, no judgment and sharing your successes without sounding evangelical or anywhere near patronising.
5) Stay consistent. It sounds obvious, but you really do need to walk your talk if you dont want to attract yet more attention. For instance, if you start the evening raw and end it with the largest chocolate sundae on the menu, then you really cant expect people to take you seriously! Theyre going to put that weight loss, shiny hair, strong nails and clear skin down to your ice-cream habit, not your fruits, salads and smoothies! Why? Because they want to! Hence the importance of not overplaying your hand with what you choose to announce at the start of the meal – i.e. dont say youre raw if you just know that the dessert trolley has your name written all over it!
Have fun – and enjoy your meal.
(c) 2008 Karen Knowler