There are many reasons why we start living the Paleo way or following free-from diets. For many it’s because they want to lose weight, get fitter, and be healthier overall. For others however, it’s because they’ve discovered they’re suffering food allergies, autoimmune conditions, or even become diabetic.
Your friends are perplexed by the strange brands in your cupboard, and some days even you are confused.
Suddenly they find themselves forming a variety of new habits that they never even thought about before, which brings new levels of social anxiety. Here is our top 10 list of pet peeves that we’re sure all people who follow free-from diets will relate to…
10 Frustrating Things You Can Always Relate To
1. Breakfast Doesn’t Always Mean Cereal
Eggs, bacon, fruit, nuts, steak, mixture of leftovers, and yes you may even resort to chocolate. Breakfast no longer equals a bowl of cereal with semi-skimmed milk. Suddenly, breakfast turns into any other meal of the day and a whole host of options. Let’s be honest though – once we’ve found our new breakfast favourite we will stick with it most days.
2. Food Containers Become Your Best Friend
You suddenly find yourself surrounded by food containers galore and you have a specially designated cupboard to boot. It greets you with a symphony of loud plastic crashes every time that you open it. You like to cook everything from scratch but let’s face it you’re a busy person with a busy life – which means you have to bring your food with you everywhere you go – along with a whole lot of food containers. You own an abundance of these beautiful plastic treasures because cleaning them everyday is simply not a feasible option.
3. Your Cupboards Become Filled With Brands Most People Haven’t Even Heard Of
The wonderful world of the ‘FreeFrom’ aisle! Your friends are perplexed by the strange brands in your cupboard, and some days even you are confused. Is it really healthy? What are all these words I don’t understand on the ingredients list? The entire market is a minefield and you’re constantly tiptoeing around just to find the handful of brands you can trust and eat.
4. Famous Last Words
People will ask “Can you eat this?” – whilst chowing down on a Jammy Dodger – proceeding to kindly offer you one. You naturally decline this offer politely even though inside you just secretly want to devour the entire packet yourself. And of course you can’t forget the guilt that comes from the declining this sweet gesture – “It’s not you, it’s the food. I really do love them, they just don’t love me back!” narrates your inner monologue. The guilt rapidly disappears when someone insists on you trying a “little”… Sure thing, but someone better sit next to you at A&E.
5. You Don’t Eat Meat So You Must Be Dairy-free
Let’s be fair. Keeping up with the list of banned foods ourselves is difficult enough sometimes and it’s not your fault that we’re being so picky (as I said above – it’s not you, it’s the food!). But we do massively appreciate the effort you put in to cook for us, but just know that the basics are fine. Most of the time simplicity is always the best option.
6. You Read the Back of EVERY Food Label
In your previous life you could whip around the shops at break neck speed but now your average weekly shop takes at least an hour, and even that’s considered a personal record (you may even time yourself some day!). Things you wouldn’t have given a second thought before, a bottle of wine for instance, may contain a forbidden ingredient. You are now a member of the growing number of people, standing in the aisles of supermarkets up and down the country, analysing every ingredient to see if it is ‘safe’. Either way your once weekly shop is an endless obstacle race course – you have to jump through hoops just to feed your body.
7. You Often Find Yourself ‘Supervising’
Grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend is no longer the simple task it used to be and you find yourself supervising the making of said coffee. On the other hand, you are more organised with alternatives. Sometimes the plain and simple black coffee just isn’t enough when you want something to perk you up and give you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. There’s only one way around it. Your bag is no longer merely for your purse, keys, phone, and other ‘normal’ items to get you through the day – it is now packed with the essentials to a good drink – sweetener of choice, almond and coconut milk, and even a sneaky natural snack bar becomes a regular.
8. Before You’ve Even Reached the Restaurant You Know What You’re Going to Have
Either you ring, research, or look up the suggested restaurant so that by the time you’ve got there you might as well recite the menu to your friends and family. You’ve scanned the ingredients with so much detail that you’ve practically memorised the whole thing.
9. You Choose the Salad – and Not Because It’s the Healthy Option
Waiters are confounded when you switch your chips for veg, and when the salad does arrive the minute portion goes nowhere to satisfy for your newly found gigantic vegetable intake. You then suffer the embarrassment of sending the salad back because it has a mysterious salad dressing and the waiter can’t tell you what’s in it. Followed by the dread that they might spit in your food for being so ‘fussy’.
Eventually you cave in and realise that asking for the allergens folder* is always a sensible start – you can satisfy your acute paranoia to see what’s in the aforementioned salad dressing. You quickly learn to ask for your salad without the dressing, although even that isn’t fool proof!
*If you haven’t discovered the restaurants’ allergens folders then it will become you new-found best friend when it comes to complex meals and wading your way through your variety of allergies. Don’t worry, after a few years, you soon learn what is in everything and this becomes a distant friend.
10. People Underestimate the Volume of Food You Can Eat
You go out for a meal or visit a friend’s house for dinner and everyone looks askance at your enormous plate of food. You can see them thinking “You’re not going to eat all of that!”. Meanwhile you’re too busy thinking about what you’re going to have for dessert. Just because you can’t eat some things, doesn’t mean you’ve lost your appetite. In fact, it’s quite the reverse!
Have we missed anything? What else have you found has changed since going Paleo? What social faux pas have you experienced?