Asian man and Black woman chat with each other with peanuts behind his side, avocados behind her side.

When You and Your Family Follow Different Diets

I’ve changed my diet a lot over the years to address countless health struggles including migraine, multiple sclerosis, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, and much more. Migraines were actually the catalyst that set me on this health journey with food. I was struggling with decades of debilitating migraines before my neurologist casually mentioned there were some foods that may trigger migraines. I took that list and ran with it. It was a long and tedious process, but one that was incredibly well worth it.

Diet has helped me find control over migraine

I’m by no means “cured” of migraines – there is no cure. But I don’t feel like they dominate my life the way they did years ago. So, you can imagine how important continuing on this food plan is to me. It felt like it gave me my health and my life back. Now, being married and sharing a kitchen with someone who doesn’t have the same struggles with foods triggering migraines can create a bit of stress for me. How could I maintain the safety of my health but not obsess over everything my husband did in the kitchen?

Communication is key

As with everything in marriage, communication is key. To set the foundation, I had to share with my husband what changes I made and why. I needed him to understand that this wasn’t just a random diet to fit in skinny jeans by Friday or a new bathing suit by summertime. This was for my health – my quality of life, which affects both of us.

Kitchen setup

From there, we were able to figure out what changes we needed to make in the kitchen to support his desired foods and my health. This meant keeping his peanut butter in a separate cabinet from my food. It also meant that if he brought anything with gluten into the house, like bread or pizza that needed to be separate from my food and if there were leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer, it needed to be stored in foil and a Ziploc bag. It’s an extra step that might seem unnecessary, but it gives him the ability to still bring some of his favorite foods into the house and me to have peace of mind that my health needs are still being met.

Eating out

Getting things set up in your own kitchen may take some time, but because it’s your home, you have control over the space. Eating out at a restaurant is a completely different scenario.

My husband and I are foodies too, so bringing food restrictions into the mix can make it a little tricky. It can feel limiting and restrictive. But what I try to remind myself is that they play a big role in enabling me to feel well enough to go out for date night and other social dinners. I’ve taken it upon myself to do the research on which local restaurants have allergy-friendly options. I’ve also gotten creative with what I can order off a “normal” menu. There are quite a few options beyond salads! Even at a bar, I can enjoy a bunless burger, dry rub wings, guacamole, and carrot sticks.

So, while it may require some extra steps, it is possible to meet your health needs while sharing a kitchen with family and/or a roommate.

Do you have any tips on sharing a kitchen with someone when you don’t share the same diet? We want to know. Post below!

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