Magazine (and internet) articles, diet books, and all manner of healthy eating guidelines offer a number of tips to make dining out easier, whether it's at someone else's house or a restaurant. Dressing to the side, nibble on the vegetable sticks, ask the chef to leave out the cheese, forego the wine, share a dessert. Lots of these ideas are great if you want to keep healthy without sacrificing a social life, but sometimes they involve stepping into social and commercial etiquette grey areas.
So, I've been wondering- when does keeping "healthy" become impolite? And, in a time where all the focus is on fighting the good ol' obesity epidemic, does "healthy" automatically provide a rudeness get out of jail free card?
This was prompted by a couple of things. The first was a fellow blogger doing a raw foods detox asking restaurants to create special salads for her. The other was hosting a brunch for friends on Saturday. I tried to keep it reasonably healthy as I knew one of our guests watches her weight very closely (for context, she's a size 6runner, not a size 26 type-2 diabetic), and made some "fancy Bircher", a platter of fruit and a batch of homemade brioche. Our guest brought her own lo-cal hot chocolate, and refused to even try the brioche, although luckily she ate some bircher. I felt a little slighted- first, because I had consciously tried to make healthy options (realising of course that brioche is hardly multigrain toast- but it's also hardly muffins or donuts), secondly, because her abstinence meant I felt like a big fat pig as I dug into my second warm brioche, and thirdly, because I felt as if as a host, I had let down my guests by failing to meet their needs (yes- me= oversensitive).
Now, I don't think our guest crossed the line into rude- it's just an example and she's certainly no worse than the bridesmaid who refused to eat anything but vege sticks at my hen's night. But where is the line, and when is it crossed? And does the line move depending on how overweight (or not) the guest/customer/whoever is?