When I was diagnosed with celiac disease in April 2012 (four years ago), my “food” awakening began. I finally made the connection that food – gluten-free food, processed food, and sugary food – is what ailed me. And as much as food ailed me, it would also be the key to healing me, my gut, and my whole body.
Anyone who tells you you’re wrong for thinking food directly impacts your health is someone in denial, and she is someone who so attached to her food and her poor food choices that she can’t see straight.
There is no doubt in my mind that poor food choices are the root cause of disease in our country. It’s not the ONLY cause, but it is a cause nonetheless.
As a nutrition and health coach, I have been awakened… and with that awakening, I am passionate about helping others. Sometimes I can’t help myself…
Although, I can’t help but wonder if I’ve crossed a line when it comes to helping those I love MOST – my friends and family. If I give my friends and family gentle advice, or try to share something I’ve learned, they turn their nose at me. Why is it that my friends and family support me LEAST and are least willing to listen to what I have to say?
I’ve been in this tricky situation twice so far. I know more times await me.
Just the other day I was at one of my friend’s house for dinner. I shared some advice about healthy living that I learned on my journey to heal myself. I thought it could help her as she was dealing with some serious health issues and following a gluten-free diet. When I gave her a few pointers, she gave me a look like I should stay out of her business. It was cold, unfriendly, and uninviting. It was unlike her. It’s as if she didn’t trust information from me when it came to food advice. I can feel her cold stare on me now as I write this.
After reflecting on this, while I’m not sure why a good friend, one who I care deeply about, wouldn’t eat up the advice from me, I do understand her. She is not there. She doesn’t see the correlation between food and disease. She is not supportive of my new career, either.
When I needed to buy a home, I found a family friend who was a Realtor to help me. When I get in legal trouble, I ask my father-in-law, a lawyer, for advice. So when you get sick and have to change your diet, should you seek someone who has studied nutrition in earnest? And if you’re on a gluten-free diet, wouldn’t you consult an gluten-free expert? I guess that is my approach so it’s hard for me to understand why my friends and family wouldn’t see it that way, too.
Honestly, NO ONE is going to take care of you and have your best interests at heart like a good friend!
I’m not going to lie. My friend hurt my feelings – even if she did so indirectly. I can see how she might reframe it as, “My friend Jenny has lost her mind and is trying to tell ME how to eat and feed my family. No thank you, I know what I’m doing.”
I realize now that most people know nothing about nutrition (even if they think they do) and most people believe many of the lies purported about nutrition, many which have been proven to be completely and utterly false (i.e., a low fat diet will actually make you gain weight and become super unhealthy).
Someone who thinks they know about nutrition but hasn’t studied it in earnest has a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset.
But my disheartening experience with my good friend isn’t the only close encounter with the fixed mindset.
I told another friend, who was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, that she should examine her diet and consider going gluten-free. There is a STRONG and undeniable tie between gluten and autoimmune. (Learn more about autoimmune disease in this article.)
I knew something that could benefit her life in an amazing way. I knew something that was too important not to share. However, when I shared what I learned with her, she didn’t even reply to me, ask me any questions, and she outright ignored me. I don’t quite get it. Are my suggestions taken as criticism? Or maybe she sees them as judgemental? Or maybe she knows I’m right and I simply touched a nerve? Should I have said nothing and just let her be unhealthy even if I held information that could help her through this difficult time?
So, as you can see, this all weighs heavily on my mind.
I’ve been changed. I’ve been awakened. I’ve grown.
Some of my friends and family haven’t changed. They haven’t been awakened. They are fighting growth. But my hope is one day they will be right there with me. It takes time to change mindsets, and it takes time for new ideas to become common ground.
Part of me wants to find a way to keep my mouth shut, just let people do what they want to do. The frustrating part is when someone tells me about their ailments, I feel obligated to give them some ideas based on what I’ve learned and crowdsourced over the years. Part of me feels like I have a DUTY to share such information if someone is opening up to me (otherwise they’re just whining about it – I genuinely think most people are looking for ideas to improve their health and life). Is withholding information worse than sharing it with someone who isn’t open-minded to changing, learning and growing? I’m so torn.
Has anyone else dealt with pushback from people they love most?
PS: If you are open to learning and growing about how food can hurt and heal you, please visit my Nutrition and Health counseling page. I specialize in helping people take control of their food choices – specifically coaching anyone new to the gluten-free diet. I take an integrative approach – which means I look at the whole body and help my clients explore and uncover the root cause of their chronic diseases, ailments and aches and pains.