Overcoming objections to your dietary choices

Joy Cutrone, Wellness & Certified AIP Coach, FMCHC-Candidate
AdobeStock 106751265

You’re making specific dietary choices to support your health.

You’re having to navigate that publicly sometimes, either with friends and family, or with strangers in, say, a company meal or a restaurant. You’re doing what’s right for you — while they’re rolling their eyes like you’re a diva. Suddenly, you feel invalidated, unjustly judged and, worse, like you have to explain yourself. How dare they judge, when they have no idea what suffering you’ve endured to get here?

Breathe it out

Perceptions and objections can feel like rejection, even from strangers. Sometimes we don’t care but, other times, we do feel offended and hurt.

People oftentimes think dietary restrictions are a choice you’re making, like you’re a food snob, or a gourmet, and even, as if you’re implying that their food isn’t good enough. You’re a big inconvenience. You may be a foodie (I know I am), but I don’t appreciate being made to feel small that “I can’t eat that.”

This is when it’s important to understand that they don’t have any idea what it’s like to walk in your shoes. And that whatever is going on in their world that makes a person feel as though they’re in a position to judge another, well that’s a thing that’s making their world smaller – not yours.

Embrace your needs

Choosing healthy foods that are right for you is a medical reality, not a fashion. “Is that an allergy or a preference?” is a normal response these days in restaurants that are making an effort to accommodate dietary needs. And you can equally normally respond, “It’s an allergy,” which means they’ll use different utensils, cutting boards and cooking grill, versus co-mingling your selection with contaminants. Learning to speak up and disregard judgmentalism is empowering. And if you’re in a restaurant that’s offering that, you’ve already got an ally in there somewhere.

Resist the temptation to apologize

This is also a good time to remind yourself that you don’t need to defend yourself. You are entitled to what’s right for you. Period. (You’ve probably had enough of victimhood anyway, by the time you’re in this position.)

Having said that, once you find your voice, it can be an educational moment for the other person, too. After all, there is an increasing awareness of the effects of GMO grains, inflammatory foods, allergens and other non-nutritive foods on autoimmunity, even as there will always be people who don’t want to accept facts and are threatened by anything that doesn’t align with their status quo. This last kind of person you’re never going to win over anyway, so let it go. Deep breathe (“in with the good — all the way in as far as you can take in a breath — and then out with the yuck, all the way out as far as you can push out a breath, three times). That’s better.

Flip the glasses

If an entrenched resistor is someone close to you or someone you see often, sometimes it’s helpful to think of such people as being unwell. After all, how sad is that, to be someone who’s not open to learning or new understandings? Pretty lonely. Now you can sympathize with them, which lessens resentment and increases your peace of mind. That’s a key tenet of twelve step recovery programs, whose mechanisms for detachment and peace of mind — in order to maintain health and healthy boundaries — are well proven.


Your advocacy for your own health is paving the way for others who will follow. Some day, it will be normal for people around you to be eating well.  As more people understand how dietary choices drive chronic illness or wellness, it’ll be more normal in more settings, and the generations who follow will think of you as one of those trailblazing, strong people who went before and made their path easier. Blaze on.

Lean in to the boundary

So. Know your boundaries. Honor them. Breathe. Sympathize. And let go of the rest. It’s all good. You’re the one who’s going to sleep with your choices tonight.

See Also

Join our newsletter for our eBook – Honor yourself Autoimmune
No Thanks