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From: ellie ( -
Subject: Re: socializing
Date: November 4, 2009 at 8:44 am PST

In Reply to: socializing posted by Robin on November 3, 2009 at 9:35 am:

I have mentally separated the social aspect from food per se, and, without much fanfare, have gotten my friends to deal with it that way too. About 3 years ago I moved to a new place and started work in a small department that was very tight-knit and very much about supporting one another (this is a very stressful job) and team building. A lot revolves around meals. I told them I was vegan but that they don't need to worry, that I can always find something I can eat anywhere we go. This is true, actually. I am polite but not afraid to ask for a dish to be modified - "the veggie fajita sounds great, can i get it with no cheese?" Or the thing I find might not be a full meal. Sometimes if we go out to lunch i end up with basically naked salad - and at that, I may have to send it back to the kitchen to get one with no cheese or bacon bits. I would end up still hungry, but I stash something to eat - soup or a sandwich - at the office, and eat either before or after the event. It's NOT about me getting lunch when we go out to lunch. It's about bonding with the gang. I take care of my nutritional needs separately when necessary, just nibbling something so I have something on a plate in front of me. I've told 'em, straight up, not to feel strange about this because it really IS about the good company for me, I can eat anytime but I can't always see my friends and spend time with them.

It's taken a little time, but by not talking too much about it, not drawing undue attention to it, just doing it, it's become a non-issue. My boss is now trying to lose a lot of weight, so now, she's having a similar difficulty, and she told me how helpful it was to her to have me make her feel it's okay for her just to have a cup of tea or something, not feel obligated to eat just to be eating.

The biggest change is that this year, for our big annual holiday go-out-to-lunch, instead of the steak place we are going to a pan-Asian buffet that has somethign for everyone, and is vegan friendly. yay!

When you go over to your friends' place, if it's dinner, bring something vegan (that's fairly mainstream-friendly) to share. or go out somewhere you can both find something you like. or do something non-food-related. My above mentioned boss has become a really good friend; sometimes, we just take our dogs and go hike up the mountain, maybe share trailmix, maybe make it a non-food event. or we bake (vegan) bread together and help each other cut firewood for the winter. Or take turns helping each other paint a room or finish a quilt or install a new well pump (yes, this is the country!). Or go kayaking on the river. Or browse the bookstore, get a cup of coffee and talk books. The cool thing is that once you get unhooked from the idea that social=food, you have more fun!

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