Meal Time with Others

How do you respond to someone offering you food during a traditional meal time? When I was working last week, I sat with some people while they ate lunch. One woman asked me a couple times if I wanted some of her salad because “there is too much here.”

meal time

While offering some of your food is a considerate, warm thing to do, it can cause a person with Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis to feel uncomfortable. I, personally, don’t know how to react. I never want to come off rude. I want him/her to understand that it isn’t the food (or them) that I am rejecting. I also want someone to know that I appreciate them offering.

Now that I am more open with my situation, a lot of the times I want to just be honest but I am not sure if it is too much information. I see how much easier life is when the people I am with understand my situation and let me do my own thing. It has been a breath of fresh air these past six months or so to feel like I didn’t have to automatically start being secretive when I am around people.

I think not being quite sure how to react in this type of situation comes back to me never wanting to seem like a downer or illness- focused in anyway. I thought about revealing a little about my situation the third time salad was offered to me but I figured maybe next time. Don’t want to turn a nice offer into a sad story. But then I think, if this person knew, she wouldn’t care, she would understand as much as she could, and we would go about the day.

What are some of your thoughts about this? How much do you tell someone about your situation if  you are in a food setting?

  • Victoria marie

    Being a vegetarian there is always a ‘fuss’ when I am around a new group of people out having lunch/dinner. People seem more concerned about what is on my plate than what is on their own. So for me my vegetarian option is more of a draw than my choice due to my Colitis. I imagine a simple ‘no thank you’ should be enough. Don’t feel like you have to explain yourself to people unless you want to.

    • Marisa Lauren

      Is it difficult to be a vegetarian with Crohn’s?

  • bodhisattvaintraining

    I say go for it – explain. Some people will continue to offer regardless! 😉

    • Marisa Lauren

      I am going to now! :)

  • Hope

    It depends on who I’m with. Most of the time, if I’m with someone for a meal, they know me well enough to know my situation. It surprised me at first how kind and supportive people are, even people I’d consider more “friendly acquaintances” than friends. Someone I work with has even gone to the effort of learning what restaurants in town have food I can eat so I can go out to lunch with the group.

    With my job, however, I often end up at lunches or other food-centered events with people I don’t know well, where I don’t want to tell people about my illness. It’s difficult because I was raised in the South and taught that it’s rude to turn down food, which is something I am having to relearn. Usually I just say, “I have food allergies, but I really appreciate your offering.” I haven’t had anyone get pushy enough that that didn’t work.

    • Marisa Lauren

      Same here.. If I’m eating with someone I usually know them fairly well. Saying you have food allergies is a great excuse if you don’t want to get into things. I’m glad you’ve found people not to be pushy after saying that. Good to know… 😉

  • Josh

    This is a good question to ask. I’m around co-workers I say unfortunately 5 days a week. Simply put I have gotten to the point where I don’t care what someone else is eating. I bring my lunch every day because I know what works for my body. When we have days when people bring food to share I simply do not participate. It’s not me being rude I simply know what works for me and my situation. I seem to find a way to always run my mouth so most people where I work know I have chrons probably cause I simply like telling people and don’t care what they think. So simply put if someone felt I was rude because I rejected their food oh well, at the end of the day they are not US!

    • Marisa Lauren

      You’re awesome!!! Very true. Keep sharing your story.. It always helps raise awareness!

  • jojocrabb

    “Thanks for the offer, I just don’t think its a great idea to try right now for me”. I’m stuck too..

    • Marisa Lauren

      That’s a great response! I might steal that one 😉

  • liz sangster (@TiggyLiz)

    I was really honest about getting an ostomy increasing awareness etc. but now I find people have prejudices. At pot lucks for instance nobody eats what I make and I feel it’s because of their ignorance. I tend to avoid these situations and only eat socially with friends and family.

    • Marisa Lauren

      What kind of prejudices have you found Liz? :( people need to mind their own business!

  • Tita

    I think that most of my co-workers know that I have this disease (I was on a sick leave for 3 months), so if anyone offers anything I just say that I can’t have that. Sometimes I add ”Well unless I want to be home again for a few weeks”. Whenever anyone asks why, I just tell them what might happen and they usually understand.

    • Marisa Lauren

      That’s the perfect answer. I also say things about trying to avoid the hospital .