Graciously Accepting and Declining Non-Primal Foods


A few weeks ago we took our son to a neighbor’s house for a playdate. It was our first time at their house and they very kindly made homemade pizza for us because they remembered my son telling them that he likes pizza. I hadn’t prepared for this possibility and didn’t handle the situation well. I blurted out that I wouldn’t eat the pizza and then later explained that I was eating Paleo/Primal to help with digestive issues. I ended up eating the toppings. They were very polite but I felt like I had rejected their hospitality.

Since that day I’ve thought about how to graciously decline food when it’s offered and wondered about circumstances where I should choose to accept non-Primal food. I don’t have any allergies or major health issues so it wouldn’t be terrible for me to eat anything that was offered. However, as much as possible I want to be honest and eat as healthfully as possible. It’s so hard to eat something once you’ve learned all of the negative effects it can have on your body.

Green Tea Cakes

So I’ve come up with a few guidelines for myself so I won’t be caught off guard in the future.

  1. Say “No, thank you” whenever possible. This applies to most situations, especially when the food wasn’t prepared by the person offering it.
  2. When possible tell people ahead of time. Send an email before visiting someone for a meal to let them know what food I can eat.
  3. When someone has prepared something be considerate of their time and effort while politely declining. Something like “Wow, that looks really great but I’m no longer eating grains/sugar/legumes because of digestive issues”.
  4. Remember that people are more important than food. If someone has spent a lot of time preparing something special or they’re offering to share what little they have it may be appropriate to accept what they’re offering.  

In Romans 14 Paul addresses a similar food issue where some Christians ate foods considered “unclean” and others didn’t.

“I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.”

Since the most difficult situations often involve people that I’m not particularly close with yet (because my family and close friends already know what I eat) I want to be sure that I’m not giving people a reason to be offended or hurt by me. I don’t want my food choices to ever become more important than showing the love of Jesus to another person.

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