Sometimes fun social occasions such as going to dinner a friend’s house can turn into a nightmare for those dealing with the food limitations of a restricted diet. The good news is that eating with allergies at a friend or family member’s house is definitely possible!
And today I invited an expert in this field to share her knowledge, since she has dealt with a challenging but rewarding diet like the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) since March 2014,
Today’s post is brought to you by Meagen Ashley from www.itsallaboutaip.com
This wonderful lady was able to put her chronic inflammatory skin conditions (Eczema and Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)) into remission thanks to a lifestyle change and a healing diet like the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).
Meagen works full time as a grade one teacher and she is studying at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition to become a Holistic Nutritionist.
When you are embarking on a health journey such as the Autoimmune Protocol, it can be very daunting. You are changing much more than just the foods you eat; it is truly a lifestyle change. That being said, it can feel as if you are changing all of the fun and enjoyable aspects of your life.
How will you ever entertain people? How will you go out for dinners? Dinner parties? YIKES! Staff lunches? EEK! You may feel like crawling under the covers of your bed and never coming out again. Not only have you had to say goodbye to your beloved coffee, chocolate, and wine, but now you have to say goodbye to your social life too? It’s just not fair.
Well I am here to tell you that while the autoimmune protocol is a lifestyle change and you will have days where you want to throw in the towel, it is in fact worth sticking it out. Oh, and you can still entertain people, go out for dinners, attend dinner parties and staff lunches all while sticking to the ‘limitations’ due to your food allergies or to the autoimmune protocol!
Just follow my 5 simple tips and you will once again be on your way to your next dinner party!
5 Simple Tricks to Eating with Allergies at a Friend's House
Communicate with the host – There is nothing worse than going somewhere for dinner (restaurants included) and not knowing what you will be able to eat, if anything at all. A rule of thumb is: Know before you go. Mention that you have some dietary restrictions and while you would love to eat their planned menu, you do have to be careful as you don’t want to have a reaction. Ask them what they were planning on making and then see how you could modify it.
E.g. Steak and baked potatoes with broccolini and a side salad. Ask if they could leave your steak plain with just salt and BBQ it by itself. Tell them you will bring your own sweet potato and that you love broccolini just steamed (no butter/oils).
If the host would like to know your dietary restrictions I recommend keeping it as brief as possible: gluten/grains, dairy, nightshades (explain if needed), and nuts/seeds and most cooking oils except olive, avocado, and coconut. Do this well in advance so the host has time to prepare.
Offer to bring something – Not only does this alleviate some of the pressure and stress on your host, but it also ensures that you have something AIP safe to eat. As I mentioned in the previous example, offer to bring your own sweet potato, and perhaps a salad with your own dressing on the side or even better make a salad that is AIP friendly that everyone can enjoy.
If your host doesn’t have a condiment or oil or spice you may need offer to bring it or even bring it just in case. It’s better to be prepared than underprepared!
If you know there will be dessert and your host wants to make something for you, I always suggest asking them to make a fruit tray and you can bring a caramel or carob dipping sauce or if they don’t mind, offer to bring an allergy or AIP friendly dessert. There is likely another gluten or dairy free person who will enjoy your sweet treat as well!
Keep the ingredient list to a minimum- Explain that because your diet restricts so many ingredients its best to keep the dishes simple and avoid sauces. Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, fresh herbs, and safe oils. If your host is having a Wing Wednesday night, ask to have your wings cooked plain with salt in the oven. Bring your own coconut aminos to have teriyaki flavored wings. Multi step recipes increase the likelihood of your host accidentally using an ingredient you don’t tolerate. When in doubt, keep it simple.
Help with the preparation/cooking- I always suggest offering to come a little early and help with any preparations or cooking. This gives both you and the host some peace of mind.
If they insist they don’t need help, make sure to bring a dish or two to reduce the hosts’ work load and ensure you have something to eat. Even a simple vegetables and dip tray is a great idea. Feeling adventurous? Bring an appetizer for everyone to enjoy. They won’t believe its allergy free!
Express your Gratitude – Hosting someone with food allergies/restrictions can be very intimidating and stressful.
Make sure to thank your host for the invite and for being so accommodating. Friends like that are hard to find! Always offer to answer any questions they may have and help out in any way you can. Saying thank you and showing appreciation goes a long way.
The bottom line is that the sooner you venture out to a friends or family members place for dinner, the better you will feel. having food allergies or following strict diets like the AIP can feel isolating and that is the last thing you want.
Remember this is a healing diet and that includes your mind!
After going to the same person’s house a few times you will really start to relax and enjoy yourself as the host will get more comfortable knowing what you can and cannot have. That way you BOTH can just enjoy the meal and each other’s company.
If you enjoyed this article, make sure to share it on your social media… and maybe it will help your hosts to better understand how to deal with your food restrictions!
What are your best tricks for eating with allergies at a friend’s house? Meagen and I would love to hear your feedback so make sure you leave a comment below!!
Lots of love and I will catch you guys next week!!