How to Respond When Someone Gives You Something You Can’t Eat

No eat cookie

It sucks, right? When someone gives you something that you can’t eat. What do you do in these situations?

Normally around the holidays, cookies start showing up at my place and people’s moms’ try to make me stuff. How do you inform them that you can’t eat that cookie or you’ll die (ok so maybe you won’t die, but being in pain is bad enough, am I right)?

I have a few suggestions for how to deal with these unfortunate circumstances, whether they happen with a family member, a neighbor, or someone’s mom. They could happen around holidays, birthdays, or times of woe. Here are my suggestions for how to respond when someone gives you something you can’t eat.

Tell Them the Truth

This works best when you’re dealing with family, friends, or neighbors who are unlikely to move anytime soon.

You don’t have to be mean about it. You can just politely say, “Oh, I’m so sorry, but I’m gluten and dairy intolerant.” To your surprise they may say, “Bitch, I made these with flaxseed and coconut flour!” or they may say, “Oh sorry! There’s definitely butter in there”.

Regardless of what they say, you’ll know you told the truth.

Benefits of this scenario:

  • Next year, they will (hopefully) remember that you can’t eat gluten or dairy and will not make you any more cookies, or attempt to make you special cookies (which are, admittedly, the best kind).
  • You won’t have to lie when they follow up with you: “How were the cookies?!”
  • You’ll feel good speaking up for yourself and informing your giver.
  • You won’t have any cookies to dispose of to the raccoons (who should really not be eating gluten anyway).

Cons of this scenario:

  • Your giver may not remember that you declined these cookies, and give them to you again.
  • Your giver may not remember that you didn’t eat their cookies, and still ask you how they were later.
  • Your giver may misunderstand the meaning of “intolerance” or “allergies”, and think that you’re just avoiding these things for other reasons such as weight loss and say, “But you’re so skinny!” prompting you to think that they secretly think you’re fat and are therefore trying to be reassuring about your slimness.
  • You may feel rude for declining them. And you’ll definitely feel left out when everyone is eating them and you’re not.

Politely Accept and Say Nothing

This is best when you’re working with an unfamiliar host or giver. It’s likely you’ll never see them again and who cares if you touch those cookies and then toss them in the trash?

There’s no follow-up, no thank-you cards (“Thanks so much for the plate of sickness you provided me. I was on the toilet all night and had extreme muscle pain for days. Happy Holidays”), and no confrontation.

Saying thank you and moving on is easy. Defending your honor is not.

Benefits of this scenario:

  • It’s easy!
  • You don’t have to explain your intolerance or allergy.
  • It means little to no extra attention for you and people looking at you like you’re crazy.

Cons of this scenario:

  • You’re a liar. You’re lying by omission. Shouldn’t that woman know she almost just sent you to the ER?
  • You may feel voiceless and unimportant. Why shouldn’t you speak up for yourself?
  • What the hell are you going to do with those cookies now????

LIE

This can work well with people you almost never see, but are not quite strangers. This can also work well with distant neighbors (at least two doors down) or relatives.

Now, I’m not about lying, so I wouldn’t recommend it. There’s a hefty chance it will come back and bite you (like 100% chance). But damn it, sometimes it’s just so much easier! “Thank you so much for the wonderful milk chocolate covered pretzels. They were wonderful.” Barf.

Benefits of this scenario:

  • You won’t offend the wonderful people who tried to make an effort and give you this food (which may be partly vegan but is definitely NOT vegan).
  • You won’t have that bad feeling after you crush their hopes and dreams of giving you cookies.
  • You will not appear ungrateful in any way.

Cons of this scenario:

  • You obviously just told a huge lie about your body and your health. While you did not admit to eating them, you implied it, and your giver will probably make you the same thing next year and the year after that and the year after that. It’s a huge waste, not to mention you’re indirectly supporting animal torture: you may not be buying the milk that went into that milk chocolate, but this giver is buying it for you. Get it?
  • You may get found out, which will look really bad for you and all parties involved. Your neighbor may tell your mom, “Oh, Jenn just absolutely loved those milk chocolate covered pretzels” and your lovely mother will say, “Jenn doesn’t eat milk you ignorant fool!”
  • You’ll feel crappy for making your giver feel loved and appreciated when really you are flushing those pretzels down the toilet while sticking a finger in your mouth in a gagging impression

At the end of the day, you need to decide which one you can live with. I will always advocate for the truth-telling scenario, but will admit that sometimes I fall into the other scenarios. It just depends on who you’re dealing with, where you’re at, and what works for you. Whether you accept the desserts or not, make sure you don’t eat them!

Is Eating Out Gross?

Is eating out gross? Maybe, maybe not, but you need to be this skeptical when ordering in a restaurant.

It doesn’t matter which restaurant it is when considering is eating out gross.

It could be a fancy expensive restaurant.

It could be Chipotle. At least those people are making your food right in front of you and you can see whether or not they sneeze on it.

But I’m a little less concerned about hygiene and more concerned about the actual food. Some things to consider when considering is eating out gross?

You have no idea what is really in this food

The menu tells you some things that are on the dish, but what about the things that they don’t tell you?

How many times have you ordered something only to have it come out smothered in marinara sauce, which you hate? Infinity times, if you are me.

The restaurant is legally required to share every single ingredient with you if you ask. I went to Panera Bread years ago and couldn’t decide what to order. The friend I was with requested their ingredient and calorie book, which was readily supplied to us. Needless to say, I walked out of there without ordering anything.

But seriously, they could be putting butter in your food if you are dairy intolerant. There could be high fructose corn syrup in your lemonade. There might be artificial flavor (gasp!) in your dessert.

How do you know exactly what’s in there?

There might be hidden scary things in there like MSG (monosodium glutamate), aspartame, or gluten. You have to ask people. Sorry, you have to ask when thinking is eating out gross.

Is The Food Organic?

Needless to say, if you’re ordering in a restaurant, the food is probably not organic. UNLESS the restaurant is an all-organic one or the menu specifies that the ingredients are organic.

Which means you’re eating pesticides and GMOs. Restaurants are probably hesitant to invest in organic because of the crowd they serve—how many people actually care?

(I do!)

Fortunately, it seems like more people are caring more and restaurants are taking notice.

How Was It Prepared?

YOU might hate Teflon, that devil non-stick bastard, but, the chef probably doesn’t.

In fact, he or she probably loves it as it saves time heating up, makes all the food look perfect because it doesn’t stick, and is easy to clean. They also might be washing their dishes with commercial soap that’s been tested on animals, which means there’s probably still some residue on those dishes that they are cooking your food with.

Are they heating up food items in plastic?

Has the cooking oil reached dangerous temperatures?

And has that KNIFE TOUCHED gluten?!

It’s impossible to know these things.

The truth is, you don’t know and you never will unless you storm into the kitchen. So you may never know the answer to is eating out gross. Preparing food at home is cheaper, safer, and more enjoyable (in my humble opinion).

The Cleanliness

Ok, I lied; I am concerned about the hygienic issue. Because when you’re thinking is eating out gross, you’ve got a lot to think about.

Is the kitchen clean? Is the chef clean? Is my waitress drunk and not washing her hands after using the bathroom, and then sneaking a bite of those potatoes I’m about to eat in the above photo?

I don’t know!

And just how often is everything in the kitchen washed and cleaned with sustainable, non-chemical cleaners and natural disinfectants like vinegar? It’s not, ok! It’s just not.

I humbly apologize to those awesome restaurants out there that source locally, purchase organic, and are mostly vegan and gluten-free. You guys are awesome!

Eating at a restaurant and having a limited diet do not mix. More on this next time.