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What to do when I can't even eat the food at Raw Potlucks!?

ajchanterajchanter Raw Newbie

Okay, so my ‘problem’ is this: Here in France, we have a raw pot luck. None of the people so far are completely raw (and there’s nothing wrong with that) except from me. The only trouble is (for me) that nearly all of the dishes have at least a few non-raw ingredients in them, such as normal cashews, agave, soy sauce etc…

At the first few pot lucks, I would just eat the food but as I keep moving on with my journey, I feel the need to eliminate all non-raw items to feel at my best, plus also the pot luck starts at 7:30 and I usually eat my last meal around 5/6.

So, my question is this.. Am I just being to picky and should I just eat the food anyway? or should I tell the truth and just be with them for company?

At the last pot luck, it was the first one were I didn’t eat anything there. I just said I had eaten before and they kindly let me have a goody bag. But obviously, I can’t say this every time!

I’ve gotten to know the main people at the pot luck well, and while they didn’t seem to mind me having a goody bag and what not, I still felt a bit uncomfortable, as they seemed a bit surprised.

And the whole point I go there is to be myself! So, what do you guys think!!?


  • RawKidChefRawKidChef Raw Newbie

    I think if you feel really good on 100% raw then you should eat that way. Hmm, well, why not bring a dish of your own that’d 100% raw? That way you could have your cake and eat it too! At least, to my understanding, a potluck is when everyone brings a dish to share? You could bring a pie that’s made with truly raw ingredients, some raw jam, banana pancakes, etc. You may want to bring a couple of things extra for yourself to eat.:)

  • troublesjustabubbletroublesjustabubble Raw Newbie

    that’s weird! I haven’t been to many potlucks but there was never a single non raw ingredient. I don’t know what I’d do really but I think I would eat what they brought. Mostly because it’s a raw community and that’s really priceless. You could just eat what you brought or you could confront whoever heads up the potlucks and tell them very politely that you’re 100% raw and don’t feel like you can really eat certain dishes that people bring and maybe they can mention to everyone delicately that they need to keep it raw.

    If they still bring items with non raw ingredients I’d say indulge because those things like soy sauce and agave(which I found out is almost always raw) are in such small amounts it shouldn’t matter to much.

    Happy eating! I hope this helps!

  • ajchanterajchanter Raw Newbie

    Thanks for your replies!!

    Yes RawKidChef, I always bring my own dish… but I guess that people would just think I’m too picky or something and get hurt I’m not eating their food!?

    Ahh, I guess I’m just too self-conscious!!!!

    tjab… Really? Maybe it’s because in france it’s hard to find raw products apart from fresh fruit and veg… so they just buy, like the normal cashews and use them! Do you find it easy to get raw products were you live!? (without ordering on line)

    Thanks guys!!

  • ajchanterajchanter Raw Newbie

    Thanks for your replies!!

    Yes RawKidChef, I always bring my own dish… but I guess that people would just think I’m too picky or something and get hurt I’m not eating their food!?

    Ahh, I guess I’m just too self-conscious!!!!

    tjab… Really? Maybe it’s because in france it’s hard to find raw products apart from fresh fruit and veg… so they just buy, like the normal cashews and use them! Do you find it easy to get raw products were you live!? (without ordering on line)

    Thanks guys!!

  • troublesjustabubbletroublesjustabubble Raw Newbie

    at the raw potlucks I’ve attended there were things like sweet potato puddings, avocado cole slaw, seed cheese with veggies to dip, salads etc. Not much in the way of nuts(since so many people have allergies to them) or things like soy sauce and agave. It’s refreshing since even the people who aren’t 100% raw(most of them) bring 100% raw vegan dishes. I’ve never seen a non raw ingredient in any dish. Maybe where you live they’re trying to do to many decadent desserts?

    I hope you can manage to stay a part of the group! Raw circles are hard to find!

  • blueyzblueyz Raw Newbie

    First of all I am glad you have a group to do a potluck with, I do at times and it’s helped a LOT but I know others aren’t that lucky where they live.

    If you are bringing a dish, bring 2 if needed, then you know there is at least one thing there you will eat. My question is how well do you know this group? Is there a way to suggest going more raw? Perhaps instead suggest a theme for each event if possible. I find when it is put forth as raw only people will be forced to get creative. Could you suggest that certain weeks/months(not sure how often you meet) are raw only, others can be vegan and then you can bring at least one thing you eat and just pick at the others. The main potlucks I do lately are vegan/raw but end up more raw simply because of the crowd and we’ve learned what others do/don’t like

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    we have a few people who don’t eat at out potluck. Sometimes it is because people are fasting, and also because other people do what you do and finish eating hours before the potluck starts. They come anyway to enjoy the company and have some juice or water. No one ever regrets coming – to my knowledge!! It is all about the support, sharing love and being together, whether you eat or not, or what you eat, who cares?

  • pianissimapianissima Raw Newbie

    ajchanter—where in france? i’m from the southeast (not currently, but before).

    it’s harder to turn down food in france. it’s VERY much part of the culture to share, so maybe that’s why it seems odd. HOWEVER, as long as you do it without being self-conscious or awkward, it should be fine. i find in these types of situations the outcome depends on how much I’VE made a big deal out of it…

    i also agree with zoe. have some water. who cares about the food?

  • bittbitt Raw Starter

    i’ve had this problem most of my adult life being vegan and gluten free. i always bring a dish i can eat. but i really don’t get too picky about things that are not going to make me sick or i am ethically opposed to. but at times i have indulged i things like nama shoyu and gotten a mild tummyache. not fun.

    so you said you needed to eliminate non-raw or controversially raw items to make you feel best. do they make you feel sick? if so, you have a legitimate reason and just tell people. also they may not know about non-raw ingredients or be able to afford the alternatives. you can encourage folks to bring things like salads with the sauce on the side, bowls of fruit, etc. this is popular at our potlucks as we have some 80-10-10 folks.

    my husband is in the same boat as you as he can’t eat garlic and almost everyone adds it to their meals. the key is to just tell people so you don’t think you are doing it to be rude. i assume they are eating more raw for health reasons so they are already likely to be sympathetic.

  • RawKidChefRawKidChef Raw Newbie

    things with pasteurized nuts would cause problems for me but I agree that small amounts of cooked spices, seasonings, and extras wouldn’t cause a problem and if you’re pretty certain not to eat the food just take a small plate and take a few bites of it, just say you’re trying to eat lightly or something, or you can just say that your goal is 100% raw.

  • KrystaleKrystale Raw Newbie

    I go to potlucks often, and we have a heck of a mix of people. People bring something they can or will eat, and if other people’s also does they’ll try that too. It’s a fun place to hang out, not a food critique. If people ask, tell them. We have people who even bring a small something to share and also their own dinner, sometimes they’ll have a bit or two of other people’s but not always. Sometimes no one eats mine. So I bring it home. It’s not a big deal. It’s not like I made something I wouldn’t eat, usually. (Except that time I was sick of cabbage and used that, but then, I therefore can’t blame them for not wanting it.)

  • ajchanterajchanter Raw Newbie

    Hi! pianissima

    (: Thanks for replying! ... I'm on the border near Geneva, Switzerland - in Ferney Voltaire. Yeah, I agree about the water thing..

    It's just easier said than done!!!



  • ajchanterajchanter Raw Newbie

    Yeah, thats what I plan to do next time!

    Although, I don't know... I don't want to sound... picky.

    But that is one of my faults. I care to much about what people think. I am a very self-concious person.


  • ajchanterajchanter Raw Newbie

    Thanks for the insight!

    When you didn't eat stuff that others made, did they mind?

    Yeah, I think I will just bring a simple dish to share, instead of doing an elaborate raw dish, that even I feel uncomfortable to eat!


  • 1sweetpea1sweetpea Raw Newbie

    They're probably too busy worrying about what you'll think of them or their dish. Most people are pretty self-absorbed and don't take nearly as much time to consider everyone else's actions and motivations. If you don't draw a lot of attention to what you are and are not eating, chances are, few will even take notice. Bring something that you would really like to eat that day. Some might eat it, others won't. Don't make what you think they'd like. Make what you'd like. Lead by example. If people ask about your dish, emphasize that it's 100% raw and pure vegan goodness. Explain that too much nuts or sweet stuff doesn't make you feel good, so this to your preference.

    As to not eating at all, do what you have to do, but couldn't you make an exception for this one evening and save your last meal until 7:30 pm? Just eat your dish, which you will have prepared to be light anyway. That way, you won't seem odd for not eating anything. Very occasionally, a dinner won't happen until 8:00 pm, which I hate. I like to eat earlier so I can rest better during sleep. I don't eat early, then tell others that it's just too late for me, so sorry. I'll just watch. I do it, but eat a much lighter meal, if possible. If it's not possible, I'll grin and bear it, but probably skip breakfast the next day, since I'll still feel full from the night before.

    This past September, when I was at my cottage, we had a friend up for the weekend, and I made raw dinners. The friend is a die hard omnivore who loves to try new things. He wasn't put off at all by the raw vegan concept. Everything he tried, he loved. Will he become raw? Not in a million years, but he enjoyed the experience for a day or two. People will surprise you and if you gently teach them something without being pedantic about it, they might absorb the info and incorporate it into their lives.

  • RawsikiRawsiki Raw Newbie

    I had this same problem. I couldn't eat food at vegan parties cause everything was cooked, and the one time I went to a raw restaurant, everything had salt and agave in it (these things I don't eat). So, I ended up getting a gross casserole thingie bereft of salt and agave. Looking back on this, I think I should have just gotten whatever was there, whaterver I wanted. With agave or salt or whatever. It's not every day that I am given a chance to taste raw food that someone else made and to be around others who eat like I do and share similar ideas on health. I would rather just eat it. I was alienating myself...that's not healthy. Just do what feels best.

  • I don't have any problem admitting pickiness. I don't even consider it to be an obstacle in terms of explaining myself. I just eat before I go, bring something I know I can have, and if anyone offers something I don't want, I'll tell them I'm just here to socialize tonight, or even, "I am trying a really restricted diet, so I ate before I came. But what you have there looks really yummy! Thanks for the offer!" Or something like that. As mentioned above, the community is really priceless and I'd go to a potluck even if I weren't eating anything just to see my friends. Who knows, maybe somebody will bring something new that you can have that you didn't know about before! Good luck.

  • SuasoriaSuasoria Raw Newbie

    I agree with Bitt. If I don't have any ethical or health issues with something, I'd probably eat a little of it to be polite. Also like RawKidChef says, seasonings and other ingredients used in small amounts don't normally matter to me.

    On the other hand, honesty is the best policy, so you should be able to say "No thanks, I'm trying to be really, really raw these days" and feel good about it. Hopefully the more you have this conversation, the more conscientious people will be when they're bringing dishes.

  • Be yourself, be honest with yourself and with others and how could anyone ever fault you for that? It sounds like the uncomfortableness is a story you have going on about their own thoughts about you not eating, etc etc...it sounds clear to me. You go cause you like the company, so be honest, tell them you eat at such and such time cause that is how you feel best and you so enjoy the potlucks for the company (and perhaps the inspiration behind the foods? Who knows?)

    Good luck, and don't worry.

  • I think you should be flexible and eat what is served. I used to be close-minded and would not even consider dishes that had undesirables in them. When I opened up, I was fine (none of the foods poisoned me). My mom says something that is good to remember when you are feeling unreasonably rigid and set in your ways: If 98% of the time, you follow your standards, and the other 2% of the time, you are not so rigid, you will make yourself and others much happier.

  • internettouristinternettourist Raw Newbie

    It's nice that you have a group of people that believe in the benefits of being raw and wish to have you for get togethers. Do whatever you feel comfortable doing? If they know you wish to be 100% raw, they are the people that are least likely to give you problems about it.

    I myself have trouble bringing dishes to normal gatherings. I have brought sliced cantaloupe trays and sliced mango bowls. I am not one for processing my raw foods into a dish. I just juice greens or eat fruit. I am probably 60-80% raw, but no dairy and no chemicals.

    When someone invites me to a restaurant that is very junky, I just tell them that everything has meat, cheese, or dairy on it. And the two or three things that don't are just pitiful. So please just let me drink hot tea and socialize with you. I'll have my meal just a little later.

  • Raw CurlsRaw Curls Raw Newbie

    I'm a little surprised there isn't even a basic fruit or veggie plate available. Well maybe not too surprised, I once went to a raw luck where the host wanted *everything* to be high gourmet raw recipes. I don't care for that, there should be balance - some high gourmet recipes, and plates of simple fruits and veggies. Eating those gourmet recipes all at once is not too great for my digestion.

    Also, I wouldn't say that I'm trying to be really, really raw or that I'm on a "restricted" diet. I would be more honest and say that the complex recipes are too hard on my digestion or that I just don't eat recipes and thrive on simple foods. I don't think there is anything wrong with being honest, so long as you are not insulting to anyone or insinuating that the recipes with all the transitional ingredients are wrong to eat.

  • joyous figjoyous fig Raw Newbie

    Understand that raw potlucks are for everyone in any stage of the journey, beginners to 100% raw. You certainly don't want to scare the newbies away from this group so i agree, eat what you bring. I belong to a group that is mostly new people and 2-3 of us are more experienced with un-cooking. I bring more for that reason. I go to dine with like-minded people and eat only what I like.

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