I have to tell you, that if my experience is anything to go by, switching
to a vegetarian and lowfat lifestyle does not have to cost us our friends.
It depends, I am convinced, on how we ourselves handle the switchover.
There are 3 basic precepts with which I approach living: I am powerless to
affect change in anyone else's life other than my own; other people's
opinions of me are really none of my business; moderation in all things
rather than extremeism in any. These precepts work for me. They allow me
to take responsibility for my own issues, avoid assuming responsibility for
those things that are not mine and to enjoy my fellow human beings.
So in applying these to my chosen way of eating, when invited to a friend's
for dinner, I always bring something. I might bring a dish to share or I
might just brown bag my whole meal. (Brown bagging it is reserved for my
closets of friends). I mention it to my inviter. I don't make a big issue
of it, I limit myself to "I" statements. Something like, "I have
discovered that I feel healthier when I do such and such. " or "You are
probably not aware of this, but I am a vegetarian. May I bring a
vegetarian entree for everyone to share?" I try to make it very clear that
i am speaking of my own issues and not hintng anything about my inviter's
cooking habits. The person doing the inviting may assure me that their
cooking habits are similar. I might still bring my own dish to contribute.
(In any event, I was raised not to accept a dinner invitation without
bringing something along, a bottle of wine, or a dessert. It's just a ?? of
changing what I bring along.<g>).
It may be that I might choose to accept my inviter's assurances that what
is being offered will be in line with how I choose to it. And it might
happen that the meal may or may not conform. If it does I rejoice
inwardly. If it does not, I eat it with good grace.
The point of a get together over a meal is the get together, not the meal.
I believe that good manners are a higher priority than what I ingest. I
don;t think it will do me harm to eat incorrectly once in a while. If I
eat unhealthfully at one meal, I can be extra careful at home for 2 or 3
I don't believe it is my job to convert other people to how I eat or live.
I don't believe that I have the power to convert anyone to anything. I do
believe in setting an example and I would hope that the health benefits I
accrue would convert others on their own terms. I know when I first
starting exploring the benefits of the vegetarian lifestyle, I made a right
awful nuisance of myself by preaching to others. Friends didn't want to be
with me because they were gonna get preached to. As I advanced in
recovery, I realized that I was trying to make my issues theirs. That
I have discovered for myself that the most important issue in being a
vegetarian with some SAD friends is my attitude, how I handle myself. If I
am gracious and validating of them as persons, they will be gracious and
validating of me. So i don't belittle their food choices while flaunting my
own. I simply say "I prefer to" or "After so many years, red meat just
doesn't appeal to me any loger and when I was xx years old, I would never
have thought I would ever be saying that".
Well, I guess In have gone on long enough.
In La Mesa, CA, 1 town east of San Diego where, hallelujah, we once againn
have ...sigh...perfect weather and a lovely breeze and not so darned hot!!