How Not to be a Food Snob

As we were getting ready to leave for London (I’m here now safe and sound, thank you for all the well wishes!), Lesley sent me a bunch of links to menus of the restaurants she wanted to go to:

“To prepare yourself, let me know if any don’t work for you.”

My family is seriously amazing. They respect my choices and always look out for me. I told Les that I will be “good anywhere we go.” And it’s true. But I couldn’t have said that 6 months ago.

It’s no secret that I obviously eat a certain way. I choose not to eat a lot of things. I make food choices that work for me and my body. I choose to eat real food. I don’t think I am a food snob but I used to be a food snob. I know I was. I know I was a pain to go out to eat with because I made it into an “issue.” I was not subtle or accommodating. I was annoying. I brought attention to myself. Friends and family, I’m sorry.

Over time and through lots of learning about nutrition and my own body, I have figured out how to maintain my food philosophy yet not drive myself or anyone around me crazy because (shocker) it’s possible.

Start and do best you can

I made this a priority: I began making a conscious effort to stop being a food snob. I still maintain my real food philosophy but I handle it in an appropriate way. It hasn’t been simple but I don’t wanna be a food snob. I want to make my choices but make it work. So I do the best I can.

More often than not, I cook for myself – like 90% of the time. I carry Tupperware in my purse and I don’t eat out all that much (more so to save money). But I know I can’t live in the bubble of my kitchen – that’s just not realistic.

So for that 10%: I don’t freak out if the chicken at the restaurant isn’t organic – because it rarely will be. I don’t freak out if my meal doesn’t come with veggies. I don’t ask for a billion-and-one substitutions (two is my magic number). If it comes with bread, I don’t eat it. If it’s cooked in canola oil, I don’t have a kinipshin. I ask questions and make the best choices possible. I try not to draw attention to myself.

At our Passover seders, I wasn’t “in charge” of most of the cooking (other than dessert). My mom kindly made meatballs with grass-fed beef and had lots of roasted veggies. But I politely passed on the potato noodle pudding. I served the matzah ball soup rather than sitting down to eat it. I had a small piece of Grandma’s (non-grass-fed) brisket to tell her how amazing it was because that’s more important than how the animal was raised. I wasn’t cooking for myself and I was eating with other people who made their own food choices but I was determined not to be a food snob. And I think I succeeded. Afterwards, my dad (unsolicitedly) told me just this. He said that “no-one knew I had my shtick.” Which is a Yiddish word for something a person does, like a habit or something.

Chicken and Veggies in car
Eating on-the-go

I never want to impose my views on others. Sure I want to teach people about nutrition and spread the real food word, but ultimately the food that goes into your body is your choice. I never want to make people feel uncomfortable around me or that they have to make special accommodations.

I don’t think I am a food snob anymore. You may disagree and that’s totally fine but this is what I do in order to maintain my lifestyle, yet still live my life:

1. Make a game plan – If I’m going out to eat, I do look at menu beforehand and I pick a few options or figure out what I will order. For me this often means, a piece of protein and vegetables. I’ll ask for a side of olive oil if I order lean meat to get some healthy fats. If other people are cooking, I pick and choose. Like at Passover, I made sure to try the brisket but had more of the organic chicken.

2. Ask questions (politely) – If I’m out to eat, I try to ask how a food is prepared rather than, “is there gluten in that?” If I am going to a friend’s house or gathering, I ask if I can bring anything or help with the menu rather than, “what are you serving, I don’t eat x, y and z.”

3. Make reasonable substitutions – I try to limit my requests to two. Gosh, I used to basically re-create a dish. There are a few restaurant “biggies” for me: canola oil, dairy and grains. I try to request my meat to be cooked in olive oil and ask for things on the side or omit them entirely.

4. Do all of this quietly and discreetly – I have learned to zip-it until absolutely necessary. I don’t need to announce anything or exclaim anything (I am not deathly allergic) so I bring things up when necessary and I do so quietly and discreetly.

5. Sometimes you have to eat shit you don’t want to eat and you just gotta suck it up. No I don’t like it but it’s no use to cry over GMO chicken.

It’s a continual balancing act. From balancing vodka and veggies; to rest and running; to yoga and CrossFit; to blogging and life; to grass-fed beef and not. Balance. I do my very best to balance my food choices and fitness in order to be the happiest and healthiest version of me.

Mmmm liver
Mmmm liver

I’m in London now and I’m not cooking for myself. Of course I packed snacks but I am realistic. I don’t throw my lifestyle out the window when I travel but I aim for an attainable balance.

So excuse me as I enjoy some conventionally raised meat and a sugar-filled scone. After a banana and run through Hyde Park of course.

 

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Check out the posts below for more on healthy and balanced travel:

Healthy & Happy Travel: my travel philosophy

Balanced Travel Eats: fruit, cookies, salad, pizza

What I Ate In Peru: a lot of deliciousness

 

 

Questions of the day…

How do you deal with your food choices in social situations? 

What do you find most challenging about balancing your healthy lifestyle?

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33 thoughts on “How Not to be a Food Snob

  1. Sometimes I worry that I’m a bit of a ‘food snob’ however mine is more ED related. I have had issues with other people preparing food for me my whole life and have cooked for myself since I was eight. But last weekend I had a sort of ‘aha!’ moment when I realised it was okay to let go and relax. We went up to the river with friends and I had brought my tuna, sweet potato and vegetables to eat while they ate marinated (healthy!) chicken, steak, grilled potato and salad. When my sweet potato didnt cook properly, and I left the tuna in my cabin I panicked, but then I realised this was a test, and I relaxed, ate the same as everyone else, and felt so happy. Hope you have a fantastic time in London! Try to eat in a Pret a Manger – they do delicious healthy food! Sorry for the essay! x

  2. Luckily for you London is getting better at offering healthy options… check out roots and bulbs (little juice/smoothie bar with a daily organic takeaway lunch) in Marylebone (literally about 5 minute walk from Oxford Street) – I think you will like it… If you get time of course…I know your schedule is jam packed! Anyway I totally relate to this. I think it is important to enjoy eating out for the soul and not worry too much. If you want a healthy option there is always something you can eat on the menu even if its a starter and a few sides. And also it is not nice to make others feel uncomfortable :) At the end of the day though we are all on our own journeys and we can do whatever is best for us :) p.s. can’t wait for tomorrow!

  3. This is such a great article!! I think it’s awesome for people to be able to first of all recognize and then admit that they have food snob tendencies.. I feel like I’ve started to become one of those people, especially going out to eat and going to others’ houses, so it’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one. And thank you for some ways to try and reduce that :) I’m actually going on a two week trip to Europe soon (with a couple of days in London!) and that’s one of the things I’m most worried about. It’s easier for me to get through a meal or a day without my own kitchen and not freak out but I’m kind of panicking about two full weeks without ANY control.. Just wondering if you had any more travel advice or London tips!

  4. This is awesome! I don’t consider myself a food snob, but my pickiness does get in the way at times which can be hard in social situations. Most of the time I can deal with anywhere, but people assume I’m going to be a problem and always ask me beforehand if it’s okay. I try not to draw attention to myself either though. It’s just one meal and the people we’re with is far more important. Have a blast in London!

  5. I love how self aware you are in this post. I agree with you that everyone needs to make their own food choices, and I try to be respectful of that. For the most part, I know my friends’ diets and I try to plan accordingly. I would never invite you to Shake Shack, even though it’s my favorite, because I don’t think you’d find anything you wanted to eat. That makes life a whooooole lot easier – just being considerate from the get go. That being said, sometimes it is unavoidable and you have to suck it up and eat what’s in front of you. I am kind of worried about going home this summer because my parents’ eating habits are VERY different from mine. I don’t want to seem like I am pushing my views on them, but at the same time, I don’t want to eat the stuff I know they will be eating. I think it’s going to be a very interesting two months…

  6. I’ve arrived at the same place. I am now completely comfortable eating smaller amounts of food I wouldn’t normally cook in my own home. But you know what? Sometimes it’s more important to eat that dessert when celebrating, or taste that dish a family member lovingly prepared. I believe in doing the best you can and that that is enough. You are not in competition with anyone and stressing about every bite you take is hurting no one but yourself. Awesome post :)

  7. I love this. I think for those of us who enjoy eating healthy, it can almost be hard at first to not be a food snob. It used to kind of scare me to have to eat what other people cooked or to go out because you have no control. But then I learned that life is too short and food is too good to worry so much about little things like that. Everything is about moderation, and I definitely don’t want to make people feel like they have to cook a specific thing just for me when they have a bunch of other people to feed and worry about as well. If you have a food allergy that is a totally different story, but I know that when I go out with family and friends I don’t want to keep others from going to a restaurant they really want to go to or from cooking a meal everyone else loves.

  8. Living with a husband who has very different habits than me, I’ve had to learn to just do my own thing and not get preachy around others. I can always find something to eat when I’m out at restaurants, even if I didn’t pick the place. I think it’s good to recognize that when you’re at home you have total control, but when you’re out and about with others you just have go with the flow sometimes!

  9. I’ve always tried to be fairly flexible when it comes to eating with others for all of your reasons. One of my biggest peeves is when someone is super picky when we are traveling or going out to eat together. There’s a way to find middle ground and I think that you have for certain!

  10. I completely agree with you! I try to be more flexible when I go out to eat and often choose things that I might not make at home. Sometimes you just have to satisfy that craving for BBQ pulled pork (or is that just me?). I do tend to look at the menu before I go out to eat and choose a few things that would be good options for me. I’ve been trying to order more vegetarian dishes at restaurants (if they seem healthy-ish) because I’m pretty picky about my meat. This helps me try new things too!

  11. I love this post and these are awesome tips. My mom, being a mother, always makes a scene about my dietary restrictions when were out to eat and it drives me insane! Not having attention drawn to it is key. I’m glad you’ve been finding a way to make things work. I think having flexibility is key for adapting to different situations when you’re eating out or eating at a friends.

  12. I’m so much more go with the flow with my food now than ever before. In the past I would freak out about social occasions and even turn them down if it didnt fit into my plan but as of almost a year ago I’ve learned to let it go. It is definitely all about balance and controlling what you can but relaxing about it too.

    Glad to hear you’ve been able to move past some of your food issues too.

    Enjoy the time away :D

  13. I am so jealous you are there! Give my family an air hug for me please…..you are much closer than I am so it may reach them :P I am similar in the way that I panic a little when I cannot control what options there are, but i think you will fiind that there are a lot of healthy options there, and the portion sizes are much better!!!! Have a wonderful time :)

  14. Great post, Amy. I always pack & carry my food with me if I’m going to work, running errands, or while I’m traveling to a place (obv not there, other than oatmeal & snacks!). I have a hard time because my body runs like crap if I’m not eating protein, veggies & fiber so I just try to explain that to people if I have a say in where we eat but if there is something I can’t have or don’t wantC I just don’t eat it.

  15. Great post! I try to not be to snobby. A lot of people avoid asking me to go eat with them because they see all my instagram food posts and think “well she doesn’t want mexican food” but i really try to let people know i still love eating out, i just choose the healthier option and sometimes i don’t.
    I always do #1 before heading out to a restaurant though. Helps a ton!

  16. This is great. I think I’m still partially a food snob, but I also hate to make a big deal of things when I’m going to someones house or going out with people other than just my husband.. I don’t mind annoying him ;) Hope you have a great time in London!

  17. So smart!! I agree that I eat very differently from my family, but I don’t try to push it on them and I don’t try to force them to go to the little Vegan places that would so excite me! I know they get worried about picking restaurants, so I try not to make a big deal and just eat what I can then stock up their house from the grocery store :)

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