I just got back from a primal potluck, and I noticed some things. I am relatively new to this way of eating and I usually eat alone and quietly. This has supported my shifting diet and being able to listen to my body. At the potluck it sort of felt like a cheat. My plate was loaded up with lots of different foods, (typically I max out at three, meat and two veg) and I noticed that old feeling of being overstimulated with conversation, tons of people around and complicated food combos. I Desire to connect to others, but feeling a bit orthorexic and isolated now. I think this change will just take time to integrate into my life, but I would love some shares about starting out and normalizing the whole process. Thanks ya'll.
Seeing what others do is cool, but if it doesn't feel right to you, don't bother. There are so many ways to do paleo, so just do what you feel is right. You'll have plenty of time in the future to tinker.
Regarding orthorexia, try not to take paleo too seriously. In the few years I've been following this, I've seen nuts, fruit and dairy become less acceptable and sweet potatoes and even (heaven forbid) regular potatoes move up the okay list. Even if you want to be perfect now, you can't, because today's perfect is tomorrow's mistake anyway. Just do your best, but also remember that whatever imperfections you make will be nothing much compared to the gain by eliminating sugar, wheat and seed oils. Just tinker and enjoy the process.
As you mentioned, I think this potluck brought to the forefront some existing issues you might have with crowds and stimulus that have nothing specific to do with Paleo. Like you, I'm a very introspective, introverted person, and I prefer to eat my meals alone or with one other person. It's often a struggle for me to join in on group luncheons, although not so much from the food perspective.
Is it possible that you're disappointed because you thought a Primal potluck would be easier to handle than a conventional one, and yet it was still difficult? Just because you have common food choices, doesn't mean that an event is socially easy. We've got a Paleo meetup here in town, and I'm scared to go and meet new people, even though I wouldn't have to worry about the food choices.
Here are a couple of suggestions: If you're only comfortable eating 2-3 foods at a meal, that's all you need to eat! Fortunately for potlucks, you get to bring something you like, so bring a very simple dish that you can enjoy and others can taste. Then, if something looks great, just take a small portion and try it. If nothing else looks good, someone may ask you why you have less on your plate - just tell them you have some food sensitivities, and it's better safe than sorry!
As for the social aspect, it's an important part of life for us introverts to try to get out there and challenge our comfort zones, but you don't want to be miserable. So set limits. Say you'll be there for two hours at most, and then try to make an effort to communicate with just a few others during that time. Ask them questions about themselves, and then they'll start talking and you will hardly have to say anything! People like talking about themselves if the person they're talking to acts interested, so be sure to make eye contact. Practice really does make perfect, but social encounters are exhausting for people like me, so I feel better when I know I have an exit strategy and a timeline. Give it a try!
I know the feeling. I have tried to convert all my family and friends to Paleo with limited success. My mom is the only person who has gone full bore Paleo. She lost 20 lbs at age 62 and she looks vibrant and ageless! We talk nutrition together all the time in our phone conversations. I'm in college now studying nutrition and have only met one student who shares my views on Paleo. I actually just went for a run with another who is warming up to it. Y
You need to find your first convert - maybe someone in your family. You will feel so much better about this journey if you have someone to share it with!
After you change one person's mind you will have proven you can do it so keep recruiting!!!
I'm at the point where a girl loses points with me if she isn't health conscious enough. I actually seek out dating partners who practice good nutrition. If I meet a celiac then BONUS!!!
I too eat a substantial majority of my meals alone and used to get anxious when meals with others were on the agenda. I then discovered that meat and veggies are generally available at any gathering. You might be surprised that most people don't think twice if you eat your burger without the bun. In this day and age, there are so many "diets" out there, that people aren't as questioning as they may have been a few years ago. Don't be self-conscious. Be self-confident. The more confidence you exude, the less people will question you about your eating preferences.
If you are in a situation where the food choices don't include something you prefer to eat, then don't. Again, self-confidence is key. Keep a snack in your car/purse/wherever that you can rely on until you get a chance to eat something more suitable to your tastes.