Sometimes what we hope to accomplish meets reality. You had high hopes for serving delicious, nourishing hot meals three times a day to your family (all nicely fitting into your food budget of course). Then your menu plan falls apart, the kids are all sick, you are running around like crazy and you serve frozen burritos five days in a row. A sense of hopeless disappointment comes. You have failed your own expectations.
Or, you are new to this type of cooking. Each change feels major. While you are excited about change one, you haven’t made the next five changes. Your other “Nourishing Tradition” friends won’t eat with you, because they know that you aren’t quite “up to par”. Your excitement cools right along with the friendship
I have one word for you: grace.
A simple explanation of grace includes a“disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency”.
Grace for Self
First, be kind to self. Extend grace to yourself. Do I believe that nourishing food is important? Yes. But I have had numerous times in my life when circumstances made it very hard to eat as well as I desired. The biggest example was a few years ago. I got very sick with infections after Elena was born for about three months straight. I needed nourishing food the most during this time period.
If ever I could have benefited from a nourishing diet, it was then. But you know, I couldn’t do it. I was in survival mode and literally barely cooked a single meal for weeks. My body felt terrible not only because I was fighting off infections and lack of sleep but also because of the take out we were consuming night after night. I do think that if I was somehow able to get more nourishing food during that time, I would have recovered more quickly. Yet even knowing that, I don’t judge myself because I know I really truly was doing my best.
Do your best, and leave it at that.
Grace for Others
But also extend grace and kindness to others. If you are the queen of healthy cooking, it could be easy to make others less skilled than you feel judged. Those very experienced in nourishing cooking need to accept that some people are still in a journey towards better eating habits. Some people think that eating healthy food is a joke. That’s okay, you can still be friends as most friendships don’t center on what you eat.
“They don’t even want me to bring something for dinner!”
The other situation that needs a lot of grace, kindness and patience is when working with a family who has higher standards of eating than you. This often comes out when trying to plan a meal together with another family.
Let me share where I am at right now. When I have people over, I often tell them not to worry about bringing anything, not because I look down upon their food (that really truly isn’t the case at all). I just don’t want to put them under the pressure of having to make a dairy and sugar free dish, which is quite difficult for many people. I don’t mind doing the cooking, and don’t want to put any burdens on a guest.
I have been at the place where even a dab of dairy left me with terrible cramps (this was when I was in the healing process). If I ended up curled up on the couch in pain from their food, I would hardly feel the gracious hostess! I have had people bring food before only to realize that it did have sugar in it (which also causes reactions for me). I have often, as a hostess, felt very awkward trying not to hurt any feelings. Sometimes I have eaten it. I was raised to be polite and that’s the polite thing to do. And I did pay for it. Other times I have quietly not eaten it and hoped nobody noticed.
But even though that’s where I am right now, I really wish that I didn’ t have to be so strict. I have always felt that it’s very impolite not to eat what is served or shared with you. Nourishing food or not, refusing to eat at another’s table historically is a grave insult. While we may not feel like that is true now, it’s still can feel very insulting to refuse another’s cooking.
All to say, I need grace and kindness extended to me, and I know that I will have to extend grace and kindness to others as well. Food is a wonderful way to show love for each other (in bringing meals, sharing dinner together etc), but we can still be friends with those who don’t eat just like us!
I think that it is so important we all act kindly towards each other, even as we encourage each other towards better eating. Life is not perfect, we are not perfect and other people aren’t perfect. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, unless we learn to show kindness and grace to others.
Now I open the floor to you all! What struggles have you experienced in this area? What has helped you? How have you dealt with sticky situations with friends in the food area? What advice do you have?