Telling other people about your diet

A red character is speaking to seven white characters.Some find it easy to tell other people about their condition and diet, while others struggle because they feel embarrassed or otherwise reluctant to reveal private information. Although it’s not necessary to tell about your condition to everyone you meet, there are situations when it’s advantageous, for example, when you go to a restaurant or a dinner party.

How to best convey information about your special diet?

Be knowledgeable about your condition and diet.
If you understand how your body works, it’ll be easier to explain it to others.

Communicate clearly.
When you’re explaining your condition and diet to people who are not familiar with it, don’t use complicated vocabulary. Keep it simple and clear.

Assess how much information you need to give.
Generally speaking, it’s best to keep your explanation as brief as possible. People will ask questions if they want to know more. If want to discuss your condition or diet with someone in depth, find people who have the same condition or follow the same diet and exchange thoughts and experiences with them. People who are not affected may not be in a position to offer you emotional or practical support.

Don’t assume that people understand the details of a specific diet without any explanation.
Make sure you give all the relevant information so that others can take your diet into consideration. If you’re gluten intolerant and someone is planning to cook you a meal, it’s not enough that the person knows that you can’t eat gluten – they may not know what gluten is. You need to explain what this means in practice.

Be polite.
In some cultures the refusal to eat food, especially if it’s been cooked for you, can be taken as an offence. In these situations you need to be tactful and explain your diet carefully, and hope that the host will understand. (However, you should not feel pressured to eat something that will make you ill as a consequence.)

It may be frustrating for you to explain your condition and diet over and over again to different people. Try to remember that for some it may be the first time they have come across a person with your particular condition or diet, and they are, understandably, curious.

Copyright © Tarja Moles 2012. All rights reserved. Photo © Amritanshu Singh | Dreamstime.com

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Tarja Moles is the author of No Naughties: Sweet Treats without Sugar, Wheat, Gluten and Yeast. Visit www.nonaughties.com for free recipes and information on special diets and living with multiple dietary restrictions.

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