Explaining food choices: what to say & why.

All too often, I’ve felt forced to explain – no, DEFEND – my food choices as if choosing to eat unprocessed food is some crazy, fringe choice that’ll leave me – what? – McDonald’s deficient?
For a very long time, I approached the “so what’s this crazy ‘diet’ you do?” (ahem…the eating food that has always been food diet?) with a defensive attitude.
I would bristle, become frazzled, and either 1) over-explain so that the interrogator friend lost interest (eyes glaze over, hears Peanuts adult voice) OR 2) I’d become overly aggressive about my answers, as if their opinions or disapproval would somehow cause trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup to leap into my pie-hole when I wasn’t paying attention.
(Good News: nobody’s opinion can truly threaten your nutritional well-being; it’s not going to cause spontaneous ingestion of HFCS or Crisco.)
Even worse, I often assumed that the person asking was intent on disliking or judging my choices no matter what, rather than asking out of genuine curiosity. Lots of assumptions. And you know what happens when you assume…
Here’s the truth: the only person that chooses what goes in your mouth and why is you, and there’s no reason to be threatened by anyone else’s opinion. Hopefully your food choices bring you joy, don’t foster more food or Diet neuroses, and support a happy life; but whatever you accomplish with what you eat, it’s not truly necessary for you to convince anyone. Takes the pressure off, right?
What’s more important than making a case for Real Food? Check out my video to find out.
Enjoy, and give me your strategies in the comments! (If you can’t see the video below, click here.)

Thanks for reading & watching!
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22 Responses

  1. So true! I went gluten, wheat and grain free almost 3 years ago. I made that choice for health reasons and don’t waiver. There have been many times when I have gone out to social events and there is nothing for me to eat! Yet my decision has freaked out so many people. People ask me what I eat, I tell them real food, no wheat, no grains, no gluten, no additives, no sauces just simple real food. They simply don’t get it! I am ok with it now. Thanks for sharing and like you I am happy with my food choices today. Best Regards, Wendy

  2. Well said, Liz. I briefly wrote about this on my blog http://incurablyrude.com/?p=402
    when I tired of people arguing with me when they came for dinner. I admire your approach: love and compassion. I can be a bit more testy than advantageous at times. Keep up the great videos/writing.
    Thanks, Tracie

  3. That’s great if you don’t live with or share cooking with the person doing the criticizing. If my spouse makes a meal that I wouldn’t normally eat that’s a different situation than the one you’re talking about.

    1. Feel free to leave your advice here for that particular situation, M!
      I never claim to have all the answers, but hopefully this helps some people 🙂

  4. Gone Paleo for over 6 weeks now. Your book inspired my hubby and I. Yay! Losing some extra pounds and feeling great. Thanks Liz!

  5. I appreciate your take on this, however, I fell that when you have mutual kids it’s not that easy anymore… Who’s going to decide what they are eating?

    1. It’s true – and of all my friends with kiddos and that very issue, nobody has come up with a perfect solution. Most of them focus on educating their kids on what healthy food is, and help them connect their physical state (tired, cranky, hungry, digestive upset) to the food they eat so they make their own good choices and ask for the healthy foods they like. (Hopefully, eventually!)

  6. you’re amazing! i love this sooooo much 🙂 i love how you said…. if your food choices are making you happy/joy then that’s all that really matters 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. Love this Liz! Growing up with allergies to wheat and dairy since age two has made me somewhat bulletproof when it comes to defending some food choices but others are harder to explain. I tend to veer away from using any terms such as ‘paleo’ or ‘gluten-free’ and explain the whys only if people are interested – otherwise I remain a bit vague!

  8. Love this perspective Liz…so refreshing & so very true! Loving both of your books…in fact, I’ve been reading aloud parts of your “Eat the Yolks” book to my husband for a while & two weeks ago he decided it was time for him to join me on the Paleo journey!!!! I’d been wanting him to join me (he’s had colitis for nearly 25 years) but didn’t want to push him for fear of him feeling obligated. So when he just matter-of-fact, casually mentioned he wanted to go Paleo with me on our Saturday morning run…I practically fell over and had to try not to jump for joy and run circles around him!!! Two weeks in and he’s already feeling wonderful and has lost nearly 10 pounds! Your words, my voice, my example & my love for cooking = success!!!! Thank you Liz!!! oh and btw…you’re adorable!

    1. MICHELLE! You made my day with this comment. I wrote the book EXACTLY FOR THIS REASON! Thank you so much for being here!

  9. Totally awesome perspective. 🙂
    When I told my mom how we were eating now (after four years of being vegans like her – I know, I know), she FREAKED! Besides the typical you’re-going-to-get-cancer-tomorrow discussion, her biggest issue was that it would be “isolating” for us to eat real food. Like how would we manage at a BBQ at a friend’s house? I couldn’t believe the vegan was asking me this! Umm, Mom, how do YOU get by at the BBQ?

  10. Liz! Loved your book, and am voraciously consuming your delish blog now. Que awesome! Lately a theme in my life has been non reaction to any and all negativity-it’s just a waste of time and energy. Your glow in these vids reassures me that my gut and brain and intuition are right on about the whole foods thing. You glow, boo 🙂 thanks for rocking it out for us. On to podcasts…keep it coming xx

  11. This is SUCH a great video. I can’t ever figure out why people think it’s so nuts that I don’t want to eat something that came from a factory! Thanks for making this (and all of your other amazing content.) p.s. Love your book. I’m always recommending it to skeptics and inquisitors!

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