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Do you make special requests of people bringing you food for support (as in illness/new baby/etc.)?

by (12174)
Updated about 4 hours ago
Created January 18, 2011 at 3:06 PM

This is a question on my mind recently as I'm planning on bringing meals to a couple of local mothers of newborns. When you are eating paleo-style, and you have a life event which results in a lot of people bringing you meals as a supportive measure - do you make special requests to shape the meals brought to your paleo way of eating?

On one hand, it seems like looking a gift horse in the mouth if you get to the point of telling someone (probably a Standard American Diet eater) that your family eats no sugar, no grains, no industrial oils, no MSG, no trans fats, etc. On the other hand, you don't want to have a waste of food (not to mention the cook's time and efforts!) if they bring you lasagna with French bread and a cake for dessert!

My current thought for the next time that we find ourselves on the receiving end of such kindnesses is to at least say that our household doesn't eat wheat.

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32518 · September 17, 2011 at 3:33 AM

I would. My clients have. Why not? Check out this site: http://mealbaby.com/

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12174 · September 17, 2011 at 1:46 AM

I don't know anybody who eats only 100% organic - even those fortunate enough to live right near farmer's markets and organic restaurants. Sooner or later conventionally sourced stuff makes it in, might as well be from the loving intentions of those trying to support me. Besides, we currently can't afford time/money wise to go all organic on our produce when feeding ourselves, so I certainly wouldn't put that very pricey restriction on anybody generous enough to offer home-cooked food for us.

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2729 · August 24, 2011 at 5:58 PM

love this answer! "Perishable poison" - perfect!!!

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2729 · August 24, 2011 at 5:57 PM

Great question! This hasn't come up for me yet, but when I do bring meals to new mothers (which I do often), even if they're not paleo, I try to bring them paleo meals. Kind of hard when they're a vegetarian, but a fun challenge.

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1303 · January 20, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Yes, this is one area that I'm grateful that my husband and I are rather anti-social IRL. We each have a few close friends- mine are unlikely to cook for me, but know my restrictions if they do, and his are even more unlikely to cook for us. My parents totally get what I'm doing, and his parents eat mostly whole foods with the exception of bakery bread and margarine.

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18701 · January 20, 2011 at 5:18 PM

That's awesome that Paleo fit everyone's needs!

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18701 · January 20, 2011 at 5:17 PM

You can tell you are used to fresh seafood being on the East Coast! Thank you so much for the recipe. I forwarded it to my pescatarian sister as well!

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15229 · January 20, 2011 at 3:14 PM

oh, and i always add some fresh chopped kale, and if you dont can your own tomatoes, the muir glen organic fire roasted tomatoes are the best ones on store shelves (and now are going to be in BPA-free packaging!) and fresh clams are NEVER optional, IMHO. canned clams are an abomination.

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15229 · January 20, 2011 at 3:10 PM

melissa, this is the recipe i use, but i sometimes add some chorizo to saute with the onions. i make it a few times during cod season here. fresh cod is the most divine thing. http://www.yankeemagazine.com/recipes/search/onerecipe.php?number=535

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18701 · January 20, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Do I have to be sick to get some Portuguese Fish Stew? While it's still cold out you could freeze it and send it to me! :)

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18701 · January 19, 2011 at 2:57 PM

I've never know anyone that "up and at'em" postpartum. Certainly not up to blowing away someone with my knowledge. I just wanted to sleep. LOL.

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12174 · January 18, 2011 at 9:11 PM

Yes - I'm fairly reluctant to say anything lest I offend, but for fear of waste. I foster a tiny hope that a non-wheat meal is manageable to make for even most SAD eaters.

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1023 · January 18, 2011 at 8:42 PM

We just had a baby, and didn't say anything to the people who brought us food. We were also so tired, that we didn't really care too much - food was food, although I started cooking after a few days because I wasn't going to eat vegetarian lasagna. However, compare this to someone who is vegetarian... they would definitely let you know they don't eat meat, so what;s wrong with saying we don't eat wheat? Or corn, soy, polyunsaturated seed/vegetable oils, etc :)

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12174 · January 18, 2011 at 4:30 PM

If only I _did_ have perfect BMI, healthy skin tone, sparkling white of eyes, etc. immediately after having a baby (or during a time of family illness, for that matter). If I was that up and at'em postpartum there wouldn't be a need for help with meals, etc.

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12174 · January 18, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Ditto! I wish instead of the standard pan of baked ziti and tray of cookies that *BEEF* and veggies was the go-to meal for new moms. Beef pot roast is what I almost always cook for new moms when I bring meals.

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12174 · January 18, 2011 at 3:35 PM

I'm in a scenario right now where I'm bringing a meal to a gal from my local MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group - and since it's a large group that I just joined this past fall I wouldn't say that I know her well enough (as I would a close friend, anyway) to know her dietary restrictions. Fortunately in the case of this group any dietary restrictions are well-publicized in the "Baby's here!" email that goes out to notify other group members that the family is ready to receive meals - it just made me wonder about scenarios where an acquaintance offers a meal but doesn't know the particulars.

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10 Answers

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038
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4124 · January 18, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Yes, I do make requests.

I request very, very politely, that they not bring me any food, at all.

I thank them, as kindly as possible, for their kind intentions and tell them I am on a special diet. I state my request again, and if they try to insist, I repeat whatever version is necessary. :)

Perhaps it is a bit easier with older folks, as most have some health challenge and need to avoid some things.

It is tedious to have to find someone to whom to give perishable poisons, or sad to have to throw away what someone meant as a gift of love.

There are hundreds of lovely, practical things to give as gifts.

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2729 · August 24, 2011 at 5:58 PM

love this answer! "Perishable poison" - perfect!!!

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1103 · January 20, 2011 at 3:54 PM

LOVE this question. My husband and I joined a Bible Study group and the people hosting it at their home offered to make dinner the first meet and greet night. Normally we would have just eaten whatever was provided but we were doing a 30 day challenge with our gym.

Without going into great detail I sent the leader and the group an email thanking them for the offer but that we had so many dietary restrictions that WE would be happy to make a meal for everyone. (I know not what the question was about but hear me out...) Once I wrote that people were saying left and right what they could and could not eat. (guess what, Paleo fit everyone!)

what I'm trying to say is that there are SO many allergies out there today that MOST people understand. If it were me I would say "thank you for the offer but we have lots of dietary restrictions. There are many other ways you can help us they include _, , __, If you would still like to provide food we mostly eat veggies, meat, and fruit. We are allergic to/cannot eat: grains including corn and rice, dairy, legumes, peanuts (most people don't know that peanuts are legumes), sugar, and salt. Thank you"

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18701 · January 20, 2011 at 5:18 PM

That's awesome that Paleo fit everyone's needs!

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13983 · January 20, 2011 at 3:44 PM

I think it's perfectly okay to make special requests if the forum for those requests is present. However, if food arrives that is not "paleo" then you should feel free to regift it (ie give it to your neighbours, non-paleo friends or family).

When making requests, I tend to simply say "no wheat/gluten (or dairy) please." I think it's too much to ask for the oils and food sources to be clean.

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15229 · January 20, 2011 at 2:57 PM

for both my babies, people were great about asking what we would like for food. i love to cook (and am pretty good at it, if i do say so myself) and many of my friends are way into food, too. people would call and say, "we would love to stop by and see you, and bring you some food, too- is there anything in particular you would like?" i often requested fresh fruit and veggies, since its so hard to get to the store in those first few weeks. one sicilian friend killed it with an incredible eggplant parm using his grandmother bolognese sauce and no breading on the eggplant.

i personally think that food is love and really enjoy cooking for other people i care about when they are sick or sad, but i always call first to ask about food allergies or diets. EVERYONE gets inundated with lasagnas, so my specialty is chicken soup or portuguese fish stew. its simple, healing, and easily frozen. for vegetarians i like to make a great, healing soup from 101cookbooks. THIS is one of my favorites. just because i dont eat certain things doesnt mean i wont cook them for other people.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051
15229 · January 20, 2011 at 3:10 PM

melissa, this is the recipe i use, but i sometimes add some chorizo to saute with the onions. i make it a few times during cod season here. fresh cod is the most divine thing. http://www.yankeemagazine.com/recipes/search/onerecipe.php?number=535

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705
18701 · January 20, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Do I have to be sick to get some Portuguese Fish Stew? While it's still cold out you could freeze it and send it to me! :)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705
18701 · January 20, 2011 at 5:17 PM

You can tell you are used to fresh seafood being on the East Coast! Thank you so much for the recipe. I forwarded it to my pescatarian sister as well!

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051
15229 · January 20, 2011 at 3:14 PM

oh, and i always add some fresh chopped kale, and if you dont can your own tomatoes, the muir glen organic fire roasted tomatoes are the best ones on store shelves (and now are going to be in BPA-free packaging!) and fresh clams are NEVER optional, IMHO. canned clams are an abomination.

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18701 · January 18, 2011 at 3:19 PM

I would think if I knew a personal well enough to make them food I would probably know their eating requirements. I'm not that generous though, so I'm not in the situation often.

If someone asked, I would definitely tell them what our household was likely to eat. If they didn't ask, I would smile and take the offering and pass off the carb bombs to my MIL. ;)

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12174 · January 18, 2011 at 3:35 PM

I'm in a scenario right now where I'm bringing a meal to a gal from my local MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group - and since it's a large group that I just joined this past fall I wouldn't say that I know her well enough (as I would a close friend, anyway) to know her dietary restrictions. Fortunately in the case of this group any dietary restrictions are well-publicized in the "Baby's here!" email that goes out to notify other group members that the family is ready to receive meals - it just made me wonder about scenarios where an acquaintance offers a meal but doesn't know the particulars.

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970 · January 20, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Just my $.02: I never accept food from anyone I don't know closely. Those from whom I do accept food already know my lifestyle and exactly what I will and will not ingest. :)

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1303 · January 20, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Yes, this is one area that I'm grateful that my husband and I are rather anti-social IRL. We each have a few close friends- mine are unlikely to cook for me, but know my restrictions if they do, and his are even more unlikely to cook for us. My parents totally get what I'm doing, and his parents eat mostly whole foods with the exception of bakery bread and margarine.

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787 · January 20, 2011 at 5:19 AM

I've had various dietary issues (allergies, mainly) for ages now, and friends of mine are vegetarian (which can be problematic in the midwest). We all have developed our own ways of saying "oh, I'm sorry, I can't/won't/don't eat X, Y, and Z." Depending on the situation and the gifter- it might be easier to say "gosh, I'd rather not burden you with all our quirks, would you mind just a grocery card/diaper service gift card/three cans of green beans/flowers/helping babysit in a year or two?" Definitely better in some cases than saying- "well, we don't eat glutens- no, not just wheat, it's also (insert MILLIONS OF THINGS THAT HAVE GLUTENS), plus no soy, and no meat, definitely not that thing you always bring to potlucks..." and having to educate them, or reveal your entire medical history.

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7324 · January 18, 2011 at 3:53 PM

No. After surgery I got several things of lasagna, brownies, cookies, and chocolate dipped strawberries. I just smiled and gave them to my SAD family.

If only people would give grassfed ribeyes...

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12174 · January 18, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Ditto! I wish instead of the standard pan of baked ziti and tray of cookies that *BEEF* and veggies was the go-to meal for new moms. Beef pot roast is what I almost always cook for new moms when I bring meals.

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1816 · September 16, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Now, on to the next level of pickiness:

If you tell people of all your dietary restrictions, do you also tell them that you only eat certain foods if they are ALSO organic?

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12174 · September 17, 2011 at 1:46 AM

I don't know anybody who eats only 100% organic - even those fortunate enough to live right near farmer's markets and organic restaurants. Sooner or later conventionally sourced stuff makes it in, might as well be from the loving intentions of those trying to support me. Besides, we currently can't afford time/money wise to go all organic on our produce when feeding ourselves, so I certainly wouldn't put that very pricey restriction on anybody generous enough to offer home-cooked food for us.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · September 17, 2011 at 3:33 AM

I would. My clients have. Why not? Check out this site: http://mealbaby.com/

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40 · January 18, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Excellent answer. If you just had a baby, lean proteins will help with the milk production. That can be specified. It would only be true to say that you are allergic to wheat, dairy, legumes , sugar and salt. It is not unusual to have celiac, be lactose intolerant, have peanut allergies or any number of reactions to the neolithic foods out there. That way you can go straight to the point of what you can eat. At some point in the conversation you can and most probably will have to explain your concerns with those foods. They will be blown away by your knowledge. If you have been on the Paleo Diet for a while, you will have much more energy. You will most likely be doing more sports or exercises. You will look great, you will be close to or at your ideal body mass index. Your skin tone will be a healthy one, and the whites of your eyes will be sparkling. You won't look sick one bit, and that will further convince them that you are telling the truth. It's win-win. They may be on the 30 day trail the following day. Enjoy it. this is what we have to do to change the course of history. It's a slam-dunk.

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12174 · January 18, 2011 at 4:30 PM

If only I _did_ have perfect BMI, healthy skin tone, sparkling white of eyes, etc. immediately after having a baby (or during a time of family illness, for that matter). If I was that up and at'em postpartum there wouldn't be a need for help with meals, etc.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705
18701 · January 19, 2011 at 2:57 PM

I've never know anyone that "up and at'em" postpartum. Certainly not up to blowing away someone with my knowledge. I just wanted to sleep. LOL.

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