The holidays are a cherished time for everyone.
However, the over-reliance on processed food during these weeks can create several potential problems when it comes to dealing with relatives and your SCD quest to heal your gut. Friends and family always “know” best and the first thing I always hear is why I need carbohydrates and then they proceed to need to know all about my specific experiences and the ins and outs of the diet. Then, 90% of the time they will once again try to denounce the diet as unhealthy and sometimes even go as far as to try and tempt me some delicious sugar cookies.
Now, hopefully, for most of you, your loved ones are more understanding than mine. But, if not, the first thing I encourage you to do is understand that the negative remarks are really positive remarks. That last sentence was a bit of paradox, but it makes a lot of sense if we drop our guard and approach these types of conversations from the skeptical interviewer role.
There are two main roots that seem to capture 80% of where our skeptic’s (family’s) negativity towards our grain-less diet originate:
- The first is most people like to believe the world is a never-changing reality and any new behavior that deviates from your historical behavior is going to force them to either accept your changes or resist them. Most people do not have a healthy relationship with change and will resist or protest any informational or behavioral changes that force them to question their status quo of “truth” or behavior.
- The second root can be deeper in that maybe they are having some of the very same intestinal issues that everyone on the SCD diet has dealt with. However, they haven’t been able to deal with these issues yet and therefore are jealous of the fact that you have courage to make the changes and progress you have.
So, what’s an SCD’er to do when confronted in these situations where the focus should be on family time and not debating one’s current diet and health status? The first is to realize the way we talk about the SCD diet can be the launch pad of many of these negative conversations. When speaking about the SCD diet as much as possible, I try to make non-argumentative statements in regards to my health and the diet in general.
How do you do that when facing the judge and jury who are insulting your way of life, you ask? The best way I’ve found is to start all your comments off by referring to yourself or your experience and do not generalize to the person asking or the public in general. The statement “The SCD diet eliminates all grains because… (any number of reasons)” is going to be argumentative no matter how you pose it. However, if you change it around and say something like “In my experience, or in my research, my body seems to respond so much better when….(insert anti-grain comment),” the statement is all about your thoughts and feelings and is much harder for Mr. Negativity to pick a fight about because he will now be directly insulting you rather than arguing with a general statement.
Even if you manage to navigate the holiday waters avoiding the illegal sweets and heated arguments, you may encounter situational conversations in which someone close to you is really trying to understand your troubles and the SCD diet. Whenever I got into these conversations in the past, I usually got all excited and start talking in depth about the principles of the SCD diet and topics like leaky gut, inflammation responses, villa etc. Then, when I would finish I’d look up and see two glazed donuts for eyes and know once again I was speaking to deaf ears. Lately, in an effort to encourage my friends and family to rethink their relationship with grains I’ve resorted to higher level facts about processed carbs and the effects they have on the human body. This is the best article I found to date that can give an SCD’er ten quick points to talk about (or even send them the link and ask them to go read the article).
If they are still interested and not arguing with me after talking about these points, only then will I engage in an in-depth conversation about the SCD diet. So, if you have loved ones who want more info on how grains are harming them (even though they claim to not have any intestinal problems), have them read the article above.
Otherwise, just remember most people resist change at all costs and it’s sometimes better to swallow our pride and deflect questions about our diets and lifestyles until we know they are going to meet us in the middle and have a real conversation.