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How do you handle the critics?

Just wondering how you all handle the critics in your life. I've had people tell me "Just chill out and enjoy a cheeseburger" "You're too radical" "Get off your high-horse" "Not everyone has the same high ideals as you" and many other things. I'm not going around preaching the raw-food diet (though it wouldn't be a bad idea) I know people aren't receptive to it. I don't criticize others' food choices, why do people think it's OK to comment on/criticize mine? It's really bringing me down and making me feel like maybe I really *can't* do this after all. Maybe I should just shut up and enjoy that cheeseburger with everyone else, who cares if it makes me fat and unhealthy. Especially on Sundays I have a hard time. After church we always go out to eat with a group of people. Lately I've been avoiding church altogether just so I don't have to be forced to go out to eat and eat non-raw foods. I can occasionally eat out with friends and not feel guilty, but I'm not willing to go eat burritos every Sunday, know what I mean? SO how do you all do it? How do you still have friendships with people that don't eat like you? How do you handle social situations? HOw do you handle the criticisms? Sorry for the long post, I'm just really feeling down about this. :(


  • sisterbeckysisterbecky Raw Newbie

    People may feel sensitive, thinking that you are passing judgement on their food choices just because you are eating something different. Even when you AREN'T being judgmental (and it sounds like you aren't).

    Sometimes vegetarian, vegan, or raw foodists (or any other diet, way of life change for that matter) can become so excited about finding something that works for them that they do becoming a bit much for some people with all their excitement and wanting to share their joy with the world.

    I doubt that's you from your description. But, they may have run into someone before who harassed them about their lifestyle choices, and you are getting the leftovers from a previous bad experience.

    Maybe. Anyways, I wouldn't just break down and have the cheeseburger and fries (unless YOU truly want to).

    IF you are only high raw, I would use those times out with friends to eat the cook food. If you are 100%, then get a nice salad. I try to aim for high raw- so I get soups, salads, sometimes the rice dishes, baked sweet potato or steamed veggies when I go out.

    Most places have some type of salad (for the 100% raw folks) Don't be ashamed to order TWO side salads if all they have is that. I've found not all restaurants understand what a big salad is:-)

    If you drink hot tea or coffee, those are good relaxing and time consuming drinks to have if you aren't eating as much as others. I wouldn't get into the whole "why raw" discussion. Just tell them that you feel better when YOU eat whatever it is you are eating. Keep it about you, not them. If they launch into "I don't feel good when I don't eat meat, or when I eat mostly veggies" ect, I always try to be vauge about it. I mention that they have to listen to their own bodies, and figure out what makes them feel health.

    I've been a vegetarian for 10 years, and I still get a lot of stories about how their child or their friend was vegetarian for a while but didn't do well on that diet. A simple, "hmm that's interesting. It seems to be working well for me. If it doesn't, I will listen to my body and change my eating."

    So far, being vegetarian (and sticking with whole foods and plenty of raw fruits and greens) works for me.

    If your friends are worried you are not eating enough (if your stuck with two side salads and lemon and ice water that may look kind of skimpy) just tell them you mostly came for the good company and encouraging conversation.

    That might gently remind them how their fellowship is what is important to you, not what you are eating. Sometimes people kid about your food choices, and don't mean it as badly as it comes out. Trust me, I've been a vegetarian for 10 years (deep in the heart of meat and potato land). These days people where I live are a bit more use to it.

    But, 10 years ago- it was a bit unsettling to people. Coworkers and family still raze me a bit, but I just assume it's out of fun and love.

    If it isn't- I'm still no worse for wear not letting myself feel negative about it.

    And if you truly get an obnoxious person (they do exist) who isn't kidding out of fun- just remind him/her that you don't bother them with what they eat, and you'd appreciate them not worrying about what you eat.

    Good luck

  • kellyannekellyanne Raw Newbie

    i found it was a good idea to take a break from certain social situations that revolved around food. right now i am focusing on my health and i value that much more than being around people that are not supportive.

    if you do want to go out there are still a lot of options for eating raw or eating healthier cooked items if you wish to do so. salads with tomato, avocado and lemon or lime juice are great, some places have fruit plates, salad bars, and plain steamed veggies and plain baked potatoes are still healthier than most foods. in my case, i've had too many bad experiences where i asked for a bowl of plain lettuce and it came out covered in salt, or with dressing, etc. going out to eat eventually became unpleasant for me. there are still times where i will meet someone for food so i suggest places like whole foods or other markets that have prepared foods so i can buy a bunch of fruit and sit down to eat with them.

    i also found it a good idea (for my sanity and well being) to limit my time with people that are judgmental, critical, not supportive, and negative because it doesn't feel good to be around people like that. misery loves company and a lot of people will try to bring you down when you try to do something extraordinary (it's sad that eating healthy is extraordinary nowadays). i've had people try to sabotage me, or try to pressure me or guilt me into eating food that i don't want and i just ignore it. i've had people tease me about foods and say oh you cant have that and i just say i can have whatever i want, i just choose to not eat it. don't ever feel like you need to eat certain foods because of other people. if you give in for their satisfaction it will not end there. they will only keep doing it.

    surround yourself with positive, supportive, loving people and it will make your journey so much more pleasant :)

  • Lyn_goes_greenLyn_goes_green Raw Newbie

    I totally feel you! I'm just out of HIGH SCHOOL(raw for most of it) and that's not even easy for SAD eaters. Plus, I'm the only vegan in my family(except an obscure aunt...) so it gets hard, but it worthit. If you spend A LOT a time with a person or group of people chose a time to explain your views calmly, personally, and finally. Other than (and after) that, try to avoid the subject and agree to disagree.

    Different people will respond better to different aspects of your resoning as well. I showed my brother a video about animal cruelty, gave my best friend a pamphlet, told my dad eating this way makes me happy and healthy (most people will respond well to this one), and launched into a long complicated health diatribe with my mom( shes an RN--this one takese a special person to work on). Ultimately, though, you know the person--decide what theyll react to with the least resistance/condescension.

  • tabbycats_tofutabbycats_tofu Raw Newbie

    You should know that people only comment because they feel a bit guilty about their own food choices. You're an example to them, a role model, that they (deep down?) feel they should follow but aren't ready/willing/brave enough to commit to following.

    I really feel that people only comment because they're jealous of what we eat...how strong willed we look because we don't follow the typical diet...It's sad really, and I tell them so. Sometimes I say nothing in return, but there have been times where I've quietly said that I feel sorry for them...because they've no idea what they're doing to their bodies, and one day they'll regret all the crap they've eaten.

  • Deadly SteveDeadly Steve Raw Newbie

    If there were any rules about adopting an "unconventional" lifestyle like vegan and/or high raw, the first would be DON'T PREACH!! It antagonises people because, as has been said already, they feel like you're judging them or having a superior attitude. Answer questions by all means, I do all the time (been vegan about four years).

    I agree that people sometimes have their own petty motives for criticising your choices. Once I had a woman try to talk me out of veganism because "there are some things God means us to eat". Ha! Just mentioned I was an atheist and that got rid of her nicely.

  • superfood2superfood2 Raw Newbie

    My friends and people who care about me know 1) we go to places that have something for me to eat as well 2) I am vegan for ethical reasons, it's not a joke about being "fat" and not eating a cheeseburger, I care about life.

  • i really don't have this problem, because i strive to surround myself with like-minded or positive, tolerant people.

    when i can't, i change my surroundings.

    when i can't do that, i only let my RAW lifestyle come into play in a situation, when necessary as subtle as possible. for example:

    at the office potluck, i made a RAW apple cobbler. all of the traditional Southern ladies in the office loved it, and commented on how much it tastes like the 'real thing' which...inmyhonestopinion...isnt the real thing, haha.

    at home, i make raw desserts and leave them around the house, and my roommates love eating them with me.

    if out to dinner with people, i simply order a salad, or a fruit cup. (hold the cheese and egg and meat on the salad where applicable), and simply ask for oil and vinegar). no one thinks anything of it, usually. or if someone comments, i say, 'oh i wasn't feeling very hungry; i figured i'd go light'

    i also leave out some of my RAW nuts and fruits and veggies, so that they have them accessible should they choose to incorporate more RAW in their life and diet.

    in sum, i don't feel like my lifestyle has to be setup in such a way that its 'me or the rest of the world'

  • I guess I'm lucky in a way. I came to raw foods when I was so sick I weighed 82 lbs and had grey skin and teeth, along with an "incurable disease". People are so amazed at the transformation that they don't criticize, they want tips on how they could incorporate some easy raw into their diet. I also still have a lot of allergies so I always bring a small bottle of homemade salad dressing with me and let them try it. They always like it better than the restaurant or bottled crap, especially if it's Honey Mustard!

    They can only make you feel bad if you let them, and they will only continue if they see it actually has an effect on you, because people are generally bastards like that. If they ask why you're doing this, tell them you're tired of having stomach issues which you'll gladly describe in graphic detail over dinner if they'd like... Or tell them you want to be the first person in your family to not develop ________ (insert family disease).

    If you're strong in your conviction to eat raw and are happy about it, it will show. If you're missing burgers and burritos it will also show...

  • I think the best way to handle critics is to just be healthy and to radiate that health in general. I am 31 weeks pregnant (my first), vegan, and usually make 1-2 meals per day large-ish quantities of fresh fruit. I was a little nervous for my pre-natal appointment this morning because I had just had blood/urine analysis done during my last appointment. The results came back just fine--my midwife was especially happy about my glucose score--despite the numerous bananas, berries, pineapple and canteloupe I may eat in a day.

    While I was with family over the holidays, I know that many of my relatives were skeptical of my "weird" diet, but how can they argue with a visibly healthy pregnant lady who has a very active fetus!? My mom kept commenting that I looked to be carrying a basketball under my shirts because I have not gained much extra weight anywhere else! My point is that being living evidence of a healthy lifestyle "working" is the best counterargument to present to anyone who is critical.

  • You know I never really believed that raw food makes you "radiant" until I saw a picture of myself raw and WOW!! I was definitely radiating all over the place!

    So far I've been lucky in my raw journey. My family is extremely supportive of my journey with raw food, especially my meat-eating husband. He knows how much it means to me to be as a raw as I can be, so he's always very encouraging. When I'm temped to eat something healthy-cooked, he'll immediately suggest a green smoothie for me--and I'm happy as can be simply because he suggests it.

    THERE ARE WAYS AROUND THE SOCIAL BARRIERS!!! If you are 100% raw or are striving to become 100% raw, I suggest making your own salad dressing ahead of time before you go out, order a salad with no dairy/meat/cooked anything--slip the dressing or sprouts or whatever your brought with you out of your purse, and pile it on and enjoy! Also by simply squeezing a fresh lemon on your salad and adding a little sea salt if you have any would freshen things up and help you enjoy a salad from any gathering.

    GOING TO WORK? GONG ON A TRIP? Bring your own raw food! Even if you bring a big tote bag, bring it with pride! This is YOUR life, and you're capable of making your own decisions.

    I used to be very embarrassed bringing my HUGE bag of food with me to work (and even started a topic on this) but immediately felt better when someone said to carry it with pride! Think about all the people who are UNASHAMED shoving hamburgers, french fries, apple pies in their mouths day after day! Why whould we be ashamed of living radiantly?

    Be confident with what you're doing and it will be evident to all. You may even inspire a few people to eat healthier, if not raw.

    Keep visiting raw websites, continue eating as raw as you can get, and feel inspired with how healthy YOU'VE become and embrace it! Don't worry about any snide remarks from other people--THIS IS YOUR LIFE. Congratulations for embracing this lifestyle!

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