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What do you do when you spend the night or week-end at someone's house and they're not raw. Do you take your blender and all that

Super question, Joanna!? I'm sure you also have a great answer for this. I think I do, too, but it's probably more complicated than a lot of people would like.For me, the factors that complicate the "travel to non-raw households" issue include, but are not limited to:

  • the length of time you're staying;
  • the eating habits of the people you're staying with;
  • the overall importance of food in your relationship with the other party; and
  • how badly you feel you need your appliances.

LENGTH OF STAY: If it's literally for a night or so, I personally can get by fine with just some fruit and maybe a salad -- even just a bunch of bananas, really. In fact, I know that a number of raw foodies would prefer this kind of lifestyle all the time, and would therefore have no issue whatsoever with existing on whole, raw foods. (It's also extremely easy to simply throw some raisins and nuts into a bowl for yourself for some additional snacks.)

Personally, I really do like smoothies, though. So, if it's going to be a stretch of more than a day or so, I'll likely bring a Vitamix along (especially if it's really close friends or family and I know they won't mind my taking over their kitchen a little bit). Now, if I'm traveling alone (or if Wendi is), this brings up the added complication of: Who gets the Vitamix !? (Ahh, the weird arguments that only raw foodists can ever enjoy!) But, there is definitely a relationship between the amount of time I'm staying somewhere and the likelihood that I'll bring appliances.

Of course, there are also prepacked raw foods that many raw foodies find helpful and/or at least comforting during such times -- the Gopal's power wraps, various raw breads and crackers, raw power bars and brownies, Lara bars, Pure bars, raw chocolate bars. (Okay, I'm getting hungry!) Any of these can kind of help extend the time away from a food processing appliance for many people.

OTHERS' HABITS and FOOD's ROLE: These two are closely interrelated. If you're going to someone's house and the main point of the visit is food-related (e.g., Thanksgiving dinner, or a "luncheon," or some other holiday dinner), then that does throw a wrench into things. I visited my family in St. Louis last Thanksgiving and maintained a 100% raw existence during a very food-oriented holiday. I'm pretty sure everyone thought I was nuttier than the stuffing, but after a while it didn't seem to bother anyone.

So, what I'm saying is: If your friends are close, or if they're family, they'll probably wind up (eventually) accepting that this way of eating is something you're into. If your friends are not so close, and if the reason for the get-together is actually kind of food-oriented (as a surprising number of events are), then things can and may very well turn out not so spectacularly.

Food does play a key role in so many relationships. You start to see this so clearly when you go raw and realize that your days of simply "grabbing a bite" with someone (say, for a business lunch) are changed for good. Sure, you know that you can usually still order a salad at most places. But, you also soon realize that the salad you get at, say, Outback Steakhouse pales in comparison to the one you could make yourself in your own kitchen.

I'm of two minds about this, really. On the one hand, it's great to hang out with friends, or be a good sport at work, and not be a pain in the neck. I mean, if you have a lot of friends who are not raw, they're not going to want to go to the raw food restaurant -- and your coworkers will probably not "get it," either. So, you can resign yourself to enjoying your friends' company and not worrying about the food -- just ordering that awful, barely edible salad and then grabbing something nutritious later when you return home.

On the other hand, food is important to you, too, and on some level you know very well that you simply don't want the miserable plate of uninspiring iceberg lettuce with the meager sprinkling of shredded carrots and junky oil!? So, for me, it's not the fact that you CAN actually eat at a restaurant like Outback Steakhouse that's exciting (as many raw foodies like to point out); it's more of a question of, "Do your eally want to " And for me, the answer is: No! No, I don't! What I really like is good, wholesome, nutritious raw food! And if I sacrifice that for any reason, I'm usually kind of bummed out about it.

In a way, this idea of "sacrificing" meals really hits on something. If you feel it's a sacrifice, then you're probably in a place in which you don't really want to be. So, when you're with your non-raw family or among non-raw close friends, you're perfectly happy to grab some bananas, or order that junky salad -- because it's the company that matters, not the food. But, if you're at a business luncheon, or some networking meeting, and you find yourself thinking of how you're really "taking one for the team," then it's likely a message: You don't want to be here!?

So, I don't have a super-great answer for the above dilemma other than: Change your life so you don't have the dilemma. This isn't easy, and takes a LOT of work to achieve. (I've been working on this for a few years now! And it's frustrating! And it's a huge lesson in patience... But, one day soon, my days of business luncheons and finding ways to "be the square peg and still fit in" will come to a joyous end.)

PERSONAL ATTACHMENT: Obviously, this last factor is different for everyone. While I'm fine with just apples and bananas for a day or two, I know 100% that this kind of existence would drive a lot of raw foodies ... well, totally bananas! Some people are really attached to their Vitamixes (and I readily admit this as well), and in love with their Cuisinarts!? They really are modern miracles.

Fortunately, at this point in our lives, anyone we know well enough to stay with knows that we'll likely have some appliances in tow (if necessary, as many of our friends and family also have Vitamixes and Cuisinarts now!). Likewise, anyone staying with us knows that we have pretty much every appliance raw foodies use and love daily! So, no need to lug anything to our home!

Well, that answer may have been rambling at times, but it's getting late and time to hit the old "publish" button. If I think of any more pertinent info, I'll return and edit this!

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On November 9, 2009, jprostko wrote:

It's funny you mention the Outback salads, seeing as I had a couple of those on Saturday while over a friend's place. Everyone else ordered their dinners, and they let me have the salads...all ordered without cheese, croutons, or dressing. :)

It worked for me, as fortunately I had brought two avocados along as well. Them with the salad made it a much more satisfying "dinner".

I agree though that family will eventually "get it" and stop bothering you for the most part. I still get occasional ribbing about my eating, but I don't care anymore. I figure I know what I'm doing is right, so everyone else can think whatever they want.

Being raw does make business or other social lunches/dinners difficult though, like you said. Sometimes there is no normal salad option, and then you have to end up ordering a chicken salad without the chicken...or cheese, or croutons, fries, or whatever. I think this would all be easier to deal with if more raw options were available, but that doesn't really seem to be the case all tat often.

So yeah, I say just try to do the best with whatever the situation is. I always try to make the best food choice I can in a given situation...even if that means not eating anything at all.

On November 10, 2009, Joanna_Steven wrote:

wow, thanks!! That's really nice of you to cover this, and so soon! And the post was really funny too, I laughed out loud quite a few times :D

This is really tough... About a year ago I visited my grandma in law, and bought a beautiful watermelon I was going to have for breakfast. Well, I did have it for breakfast, and she was totally chocked I was not having cereal and milk. Another time, I pretended like I was not hungry and once in a while I'd say "mmm I think I'll have a banana... I'm not too hungry" and managed to eat 4 of them, which was OK.

But I'd like to say "look, I don't care what you eat, so why can't I eat what I want ". The problem is that it probably all comes from good intentions, they are probably afraid I'd get really sick without cake or something (lol), so now I try to avoid get-together. It's only temporary, I think, until I learn what I really should do.

It's getting a little easier. Once we went to my sister in law's, and I brought some avocados, bananas, apples, and containers of berries. They were supportive, and at some point we were talking about cancer, and she said if she got cancer she'd got on a 100% fruit and veggie diet. So, I think deep inside, people know I'm doing the right thing. Maybe some of them feel threatened, or judged (even though I try not to judge)


On November 10, 2009, Kandy wrote:

I would like input on work lunches...I have been taking my blended salads in a thermos but I get many strange looks and questions that I happily address. I get tired of regular salads and since it is getting colder here in NY would like some examples of good, warming meals...I have a husband and son who eat all cooked foods and when I get home at night I am hungry and have not been meeting my own goals.

On November 10, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

I hear you... It can be tough to eat nothing. Not only do you "go hungry," but then everyone looks at you the whole time and wonders why you're not eating. I know Wendi will order nothing sometimes, as she *strongly* prefers to eat organics -- which are unheard of in mainstream restaurants. I'll take a nonorganic salad from time to time if I'm out. But it's those Subway iceberg lettuce salads that are most depressing. I've had to get those a few times & was never happy about it.

It was nice of your friends to chip in & give you their salads. That's a funny story, actually! I think, in a lot of cases, people are happy to get rid of their salads. There's a guy here at work who will NOT eat any vegetables at all. He's 100% carnivore. (I wouldn't hve the heart to ever mention the China Study to him.)

On November 10, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Funny how people say that a lot -- "if I got cancer, I'd go vegan." That's such a strange thing to say, isn't it ! It's like they know, as you said, on some deep level that it's right, but just don't want to think of life without meat. They'd rather live with constant risk... That, and they're addicted to the meat and the dairy, both emotionally and physically. So, it's partly misinformed good intentions, but also partly a threat to the security of maintaining their addiction.

On November 10, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Kandy, my advice on that would be to scroll back on the blog a few weeks. I did a piece on staying warm through the winter while raw. It's got some great ideas, and also links to others who have great ideas on this topic. NY is even colder than PA, so I know you'll appreciate it! Aside from staying warm, there is the larger issue of your getting enough to eat. You definitely need to pay attention to that. Check out, for example,, where you can track your caloric intake (for free). Raw foodies fall into this trap a lot because raw food has far fewer calories than cooked. So, you definitely need to watch this! (Of course, sometimes you WANT fewer calories -- e.g., if you're trying to lose weight or soemthing. But, even then, you need to make sure you're not under-doing it in terms of calories.)

On November 10, 2009, Joanna_Steven wrote:

Actually they are vegetarian, but I think they are caught up in the super busy American lifestyle, and also think that from time to time, bad things are OK. And being different is not well seen, too. I really wonder what I'll do when I have children and they go to school... I already looked at the school menu, and they have a weekly pizza lunch, and the vegetarian options are awful -- though when my hubby was a kid, they had no vegetarian options and one time he got "punished" because he wouldn't eat his meat. Crazy!

I think we are very blessed to get bad consequences from cooked food non vegan food quickly. A lot of people feel fine... until something really bad happens. With us, we got all these problems that were so debilitating, we HAD to find a way to be healthier. In the short term, it can be annoying (although raw is such a pleasure for me now that it's not annoying anymore) but in the long term, I really think we'll be the healthiest of the bunch.

On November 10, 2009, Ruthann wrote:

I like to take one of those small portable smoothie blenders and pack fruit along with powdered Spirlina for my greens. That way I don't have to worry about keeping greens cool and fresh plus those small blenders can't handle greens anyway. Great for a weekend getaway.

On November 10, 2009, TerriDactyl wrote:

This is a great article.

For my first attempt at raw, I said, I'll be raw until my aunt's birthday party. 14 days at 100%. But, . . . why did I say that? It was really nice in that my aunt made some meatless chile for me, but yes, it was cooked. I have no idea what I will do for Thanksgiving. I'll probably just try to be at least - vegan.

I'm Mexican, and so much of our BEING revolves around food. I mean, we talk about food constantly, we get together and cook food, . . . heck, I'm even going into business selling cooked, meaty food. *sigh*

I guess need to be content with where I am now, in this transition, and be happy with being high raw. I'm sure I'll move forward to 100% raw at some point, because it is my focus. For now, I'll graciously accept that my family is tolerant of my switch into health. They all need to get healthy, and I intend to be their example. I just hope I have the strength to teach and not preach, and stick to what I believe is right.


On November 16, 2009, secretivegardener wrote:

My husband has been back and forth about my raw lifestyle. Supportive, then alarmed, angry, threatened, back to supportive. He is from Iowa, so it has really challenged his beliefs about food. I am from Alabama so I knew where he was coming from!

But now, more than a year later, he is evolving. Recently he said, "I don't want to eat meat at all." He's added lots of raw. And this last statement is big. Really big.

I didn't bug him about it, lecture, etc. It was simply osmosis. And I am thinking as more of us "infiltrate" the general population the same kind of changes can happen. And then it can be easier to exist "out there."

Heading for Alabama soon for holidays. So happy to see the folks. But the food thing is a bit touchy.

On November 17, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

I like this suggestion... Spirulina, Vitamineral Green, etc... A good green posder is highly portable!