Fast Food and Friends
I have a very strict diet because of my eczema. I don’t eat meat, with the exception of pork. I avoid most fast food and don’t drink soda. At first, this diet was extremely hard, but as time went on it got easier. One of the really hard things was going out with friends who didn’t have a strict diet.
Eating out is hard to do
My friends and I go out to eat quite a bit and we usually end up going somewhere like Wendy's or KFC. Once I began restricting my diet this became difficult because I wanted to go out and have fun. But, I also didn’t want to eat anything that triggered my eczema. I felt like my only options were to not eat while out or to prepare or take a chance by eating what they were. The last thing I wanted was for my friends to have to change what they ate.
Trying different tactics
For a while, I just kept eating what they were eating and it didn’t end well for me. I’d get sick and my eczema would swell and itch. I’d be tired and extremely quiet, all because of the food I ate. After that, I decided I’d just eat beforehand. However, watching my friends eat and smelling their food made me hungry! Then I realized that I needed to do something else.
A new solution
I decided to bring my own meals, like fruits and veggies, my own sandwiches, or Subway since I haven’t had a problem with them. It was and still is awkward to walk into a restaurant with my own food. Thankfully my friends understand why it is better to bring my own meal then to get sick and have my eczema react poorly.
I don’t always have time to prepare my own meal or to pick up a healthier option. When this happens I give myself a break and deal with the consequences.
When there aren't other options
Last weekend I was at my friend's going away party and he noticed my eczema. I told him it was fine and that my healthy diet keeps it from flaring. He smiled and looked over to the 8 boxes of pizza and goes “Well, sorry we don’t have anything healthy for you.” I chuckled and told him it was fine. I ate super well that week and this would be the last time I’d see him, so I didn’t mind eating a bit poorly.
Sometimes I have to allow for a little flexibility in my diet. As long as I don’t let McDonald's become a giant part of my diet, I’ll be fine. I don’t like when I eat that type of food, but life isn’t always perfect. Eating out can be extremely difficult, but learning my limits on certain foods, eating something healthy beforehand, or taking my own meal has helped a lot. Having friends who understand why I do this helps even more. And who knows, maybe one day they will also think that grabbing a smoothie bowl for dinner sounds like a great idea!
Do you find it difficult to follow your dietary restrictions when out with friends? How do you address those difficulties?
Have you completed the Atopic Dermatitis In America survey? Answer poll for survey link.