Everyone has seen that person. Some of us have even been that person. I’ve been that person, I’ll be the first to admit it. The Nutrition Activist and Enthusiast (henceforth referred to as NAE-sayer) who goes to parties and looks at every dish with her nose up in the air.
“What is this casserole made out of?”, she asks as she hunts down the dish creator.
“Oh, just chicken, pasta, margarine, and a can of cream sauce…” the home chef replies cautiously.
“Don’t you realize that margarine is full of GMOs? The chickens were probably fed tons of antibiotics, and the cream sauce has 10 preservatives in it that have been linked to cancer…” the NAE-sayer states, matter-of-factly.
“…No, I didn’t realize that…” the friend and neighbor replies, dismayed and discouraged.
Listen, I get it. I try to avoid these things, too. It’s one thing to educate your friends and family about nutrition and the best ingredients to use, but it’s another to put down someone’s dish that they put effort into for a party. If you don’t like it, don’t eat it; don’t make the person who made it feel bad about something in which they put time, money and effort.
Don’t be a NAE-sayer. Give your friends and family a break. They are not actively trying to harm you with the ingredients they use. Just like you, they try to do what they think is best for their family. Furthermore, it likely does no good for us to crucify our friends’ dish just because we don’t like what it contains. We will likely fail to get through to our friends and family using this approach.
If you are passionate about nutrition, organics, avoiding GMOs, or any other worthy causes, that’s great! Let’s find a way to actually motivate people and reach them with our message. Bring a delicious and healthy dish to that party. Tell everyone when they ask about it how it’s made and how your family lives. Don’t make it about them; make it about you. The more you set a good example for people, the more they will want to emulate you. If you talk down to them, you will alienate them and your message will be lost.
Let people make their own decisions about their bodies and their lives. If your husband decides to go for the Betty Crocker mix cake, that’s his decision and his body. If your friend is drinking a Coca-cola, she likely knows it’s not good for her and is drinking it anyway; that’s on her.
For this Christmas season, give your friends and family the gift of love and compassion. You were there once. You ate that stuff once. We all were there. We didn’t get out of it via snarky comments, but rather thoughtful education that opened our eyes. Give that to your friends.