In our world, food is virtually inseparable from socializing. Food is everywhere and it’s almost always a part of every social situation we are part of. So if you’re considering a juice cleanse, you’re bound to wonder how you will get through it without either offending people because you aren’t eating or boarding up your house and taking shelter as a juicy hermit until you’re done with your juice cleanse. And for many of my Juice Feasters who embark on cleanses several weeks or months in length, that’s a long time to stay in recluse. I’ve covered a few aspects of this in previous blog posts. I talked about how to talk with people about the fact that you’re doing a cleanse in the post Telling Unsupportive People That You’re Cleansing, and I addressed why you must value yourself and your desire to change your health in Why You Deserve To Change Your Diet. Our relationships and interactions with others around diet and cleansing are big topics, so I’ll just cover a few angles of this here.
Think Outside the Box
Many of us get into habits with our friends and family where we do the same things together frequently, and if those things circulate around food and eating–especially eating and going out to meals with people–we may be concerned we won’t enjoy ourselves as much as usual if we’re not participating in the usual ways. While it can be possible to attend food-centered gatherings and enjoy juice or simply water, sometimes it is best to try something new. It can be beneficial to break out of the ruts we are in with certain people and with certain things we do together, and aim to try new activities that aren’t all focused around eating. Some suggestions for non-food social activities:
- Watch movies at home or in theatres with people. Skip the soda and popcorn and bring a delish juice with you to sip. There’s also always bowling.
- Enjoy outdoor activities, such as gardening, or even walking around the neighborhood, sunbathing, floating in a pool, etc. Walking the dog with a friend definitely counts as quality time.
- Share exercise, which could include outdoor options like hiking, but may not — how about a dance class? Maybe something obscure you’ve always wanted to try, like tai chi?
- Partake in creative activities, such as crafts, knitting, scrapbooking or even gardening. You don’t have to consider yourself an artsy person, but most of us enjoy the occasional simple project among friends.
- Do community service, which when done from a pure desire and genuine place, can be true soul food.
- Play or listen to music! Most places, small towns and cities alike, always have some music happening.
- Be a tourist. I’m guessing there are things on your local city/town’s “things to do in _______” that you haven’t done. Go do them!
- Throw a juice party!! Have your friends/family bring over some of their favorite fruits and veggies, and make juice with them/for them. Everyone can benefit from drinking juice, and who knows, maybe they’ll get into juicing because of you!
If you do decide to be a part of something food-oriented, make sure you do the following things:
- Drink enough juice right before so that you’re not hungry when you arrive.
- Bring some delicious juice with you and drink it while there. There’s no need to go without just because others are eating. If anyone thinks it’s strange, that’s their issue.
Food-y Friends and Family
The truth is, anyone who really enjoys your company will want to enjoy time with you even if food isn’t involved. If they don’t want to bother with hanging out with you so long as you can’t eat together, you’ve got a person who might kinda want to spend time with you, but also kinda uses you as an excuse to eat food. And if you don’t feel like seeing someone if you can’t eat with them, maybe you’ve been kinda using them as an excuse to eat. You may end up finding out who really likes you for you. Sans food, sans alcohol, just juicy, hydrated you.
Enjoying someone’s company should be about just that–enjoying someone’s company. It shouldn’t matter at all whether we’re simultaneously putting food in our mouths. You can enjoy conversation and connection without chewing. I’ve personally learned some big lessons about presence and listening during socializing while juice cleansing. It reveals the times when I don’t really listen closely and am really just thinking about food, and times when I’m totally not even present. I’ve even found I enjoy some social events more when I’m juicing because I realize I’m so much more present and so much more myself (which of course is something to carry over into every moment of my life). When we are really listening to ourselves, we become better listeners to others.
Hermit Permission Granted
Many people find that they are less inclined to be social on a Juice Feast or fast, but not because they’re afraid of food or food-related situations. It’s just that many of us become more introspective on a cleanse and it can be really good to allow ourselves to have alone time and be a hermit if we want to. Many of us feel pressure to be cool and do cool things (and then post photos of it all on social networks), but there’s nothing wrong with bowing out of the world for a bit and turning our focus inward. It is ok to be “unproductive” and just wander and wonder by ourselves.
It is perfectly acceptable to suggest non-food related activities, and your friends and family who really want to see you healthy will oblige without needing extensive explanation. If you are invited to partake in food-related activities, you are allowed to decline invitations to go out or to be a part of something if you don’t want to. It’s not rude. You don’t have to make up an excuse. It’s ok to just not feel like it–no further explanations needed. If you go and you don’t really want to be there, you’re being dishonest with others and yourself and you won’t enjoy yourself anyways. In food-related settings, if you decide you really do want to attend, remember to honor yourself with proper juice preparation beforehand, and allow yourself to have fun! Let me know how it all goes. I’ve got your back.