My family gets insulted when I won't eat their food. How do I handle a situation like this? I don't want to eat unhealthy, but I don't want to hurt their feelings either!

This can be especially challenging situation, and it’s not easy, especially when you have put in a lot of effort and have made a lot of positive changes. It can feel like disrespect and, when I find myself in these situations, I first put it in context and say, “How would Jesus respond?” Second, I look at their lives and sometimes feel sorry for them because they are in some ways enslaved to food and making decisions because of what they think about food (or don’t think about food because they never thought about food this way), not knowing they are addicted and are eating emotionally. They don’t understanding the pain that it is causing in their lives, and they make these decisions because it’s too uncomfortable for them to move to where you are. They often can’t see their own addiction to food, and they don’t have the bigger vision like you do, or understand the consequences of continuing to eat like they eat. Having never considered or thought about those things, it’s much easier to drift back to the status quo because it’s comfortable.  

One of the things you realize as you look at history and your own life, is that when you make changes and you start to move away from the status quo, it makes the people in the status quo very uncomfortable, and they respond, not always with love but with criticism and cynicism, and it can be very uncomfortable. If you look at history, especially biblical history, as Jesus combatted the status quo of his time, and moved way beyond that, people got extremely uncomfortable; and the way to silence their discomfort was to kill him! The same was true for the disciples. 

So we have to understand as we are moving forward and making healthy changes, that we are pushing the limits on the status quo and making people uncomfortable; people who are addicted to food, people who are eating emotionally, people who like their comfort foods, people who don’t want to be seen as different because they are comfortable in their groups. And so, we are going to have people who create resistance against us, not because it is against you and I, but because of the internal discomfort that they might feel making that lifestyle change.

I think also in the context of Christ, what happened to Him when He challenged the status quo. I pray for them, and sometimes, as strange as it sounds, Scripture says we are to, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds...” (James 1:2 ESV) We are supposed to “count it all joy” when we are challenged for our faith in Christ, because we are doing what’s right, and the same can be applied to what we are doing about food. Even though we encounter opposition, we are moving forward, we are influencing people’s lives positively, we know that what we are doing is correct, and we continue, knowing you have to let it just roll off your back like an armadillo: thick on the outside and soft on the inside, responding with love, and offering to bring a large salad the next time you get together with them.