Dear Snarky – My MIL Is Mocking My No Lactose/Gluten/Sugar Lifestyle

Dear Snarky,

My mother-in-law is being a huge jerk! I have put my family on a gluten, sugar and lactose free diet and I sent her an email to get rid of any foods that fit into those categories when we come to visit for Christmas. She replied and said she would need proof from a doctor that the diet was a “medical necessity” before she “ruined” Christmas.

I’m furious. I don’t need a doctor’s permission to cut crap out of my kids’ diets. Furthermore, who does she think she is the food police? I told my husband we’re either not going or staying in a hotel? The worst part is he’s taking his mother’s side and telling me to “chill out.” I’m thinking of just blowing the whole thing up and staying home. I’m I right about this?

Signed, Healthy Mama

Dear Healthy,

 As a sugar loving fiend, I must confess that right now I love your mother in law. #slayer. But, I’m going to put my long-term relationship with desserts aside to help you out. Here’s my sugar-free advice. You were a jerk to send your mother-in-law an email telling her to pretty much empty her kitchen out. There were much better ways to coordinate meals that fit your new dietary guidelines than being a diva. As for calling your mother-in-law the “food police” may I suggest you look in the mirror.

 Here’s what I think is happening. You don’t like your mother in law and you’re ticked about having to spend Christmas with “that side of the family” so, to use a parenting term, you’re acting out. You need to buck up, do some grocery shopping once you get to your mother-in-law’s, adhere to your eating plan without creating a scene, and not ruin your children’s Christmas. This whole thing is not about your new diet it’s about control and I suggest you control yourself.

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice With an Attitude 😉 – email me at or PM on my Snarky FB page.

19 thoughts on “Dear Snarky – My MIL Is Mocking My No Lactose/Gluten/Sugar Lifestyle

  1. Tanya says:

    Great answer. I cannot imagine how self-absorbed this woman is to ask her MIL such a thing. The whole world has to accommodate her new eating habits?? And it’s not even for severe allergy reasons?? She must be a blast to go out to dinner with. I’m stressed out by her just reading the letter!! AND, I AM gluten free, dairy free, plus a few other weird food issues for medical reasons! I think her MIL’s reply was perfect.

    • loptastic says:

      My thoughts exactly! I’ve had to cut out several foods due to allergies and there’s no way in HELL I’d ever demand other people to empty their kitchens or change their menu simply to fit my necessary diet. Well– one exception: I wish I mentioned my peanut allergy to my hosts at Thanksgiving; it hadn’t occurred to me that turkey would be fried in peanut oil and that caused a bit of “gastric distress,” to put it gently. But again– that’s a severe food allergy, not just a preference. If she wants special foods/accommodations she can bring it herself! Every picky eater knows to bring their own sides and this woman is no different.
      Bravo, Snarky, for calling her out!

  2. texashomeschooler says:

    I think special snowflake is exceedingly rude! You don’t show up at someone’s house (even if it’s family) and demand to fed xvz, that’s just bad manners! For crying out loud, it’s just once a year! Want a divorce? You are well on your way with this stunt!

  3. Grumpy Cook says:

    It used to be enjoyable and easy to have guests for dinner….not anymore…sigh….
    Widely disparate food fads have made it almost impossible to have more than one couple at a time.
    Growing up, my Mom taught me to always eat a little bit of what was served to me, and to NOT complain about any of the food…what happened to that?

  4. Grumpy Cook says:

    Thank you Tanya….I also have some very gracious relatives who do have legitimate food problems,but they never make a fuss, sometimes bring their own side dish, and do not draw attention to their needs.

  5. BJ says:

    I’m with the MIL. This is her grandchildren. I think it is great the limit all sugar, however, kids are little engines they need plenty of healthy foods, that includes gluten (unless your kids have Celiac). So limiting foods is never healthy. I agree this is about control, over YOU and your KIDS. This is evident from the fact that Dad doesn’t agree with your food choices.

    Now on the visit! This has to be the rudest think I have ever heard. You are a guest! Act like one.

  6. Donnadon says:

    Methinks mom and MIL have a contentious relationship and this could be a way for mom to “get back” at MIL for some perceived slight. I have food issues myself, people who invite me over know about them and they are usually pretty cool about having a couple dishes geared toward my needs. Ultimately it’s up to me to decide what to put in my face. MIL could be gracious and make one or two dishes per mom’s preferences. It’s up to mom to monitor what her kids eat not MIL.

  7. Kira S. says:

    Only people with celiac disease shouldn’t eat gluten. Only people with lactose intolerance or a milk allergy shouldn’t consume milk products. I seriously doubt anyone in the woman’s family has these problems. These are fad diets and no one should be asked to cater to her whims. When this woman is eating at someone else’s house, she should bring her own food if she doesn’t want to eat what the hostess provides. As far as sugar, no, it’s not the healthiest thing in the world but one dessert after a holiday meal isn’t going to hurt anyone unless they are a severe diabetic, which I also doubt applies to anyone in her family or the mother-in-law would already be aware of it. She was extremely rude in her email and I agree that it’s likely she has had problems with her mother-in-law in the past and this is her way of trying to avoid having a holiday dinner at the in-laws. I feel sorry for her husband and children. And for her mother-in-law.

  8. Kathryn says:

    Dear Healthy Mama: Please, please stay home so that your children and husband can enjoy the holiday.

    Your mother-in-law has endured enough of your sanctimonious crap. Next year it will be something else. Whatever the banned food ingredient du jour is at that time will be the suffering your family will have to endure.

    Because you swallow whatever the crunchy people are selling at the time.

    Your mother-in-law is the mother of your son and the grandmother of your children. You would be smart to honor her.

    But you sound really rigid and righteous so you will stand on your box. All by your righteous self.

    Your husband will never be able to please you. Because he loves his mother. Every smart woman knows that the way to a man’s heart is through his mother.

  9. Jeanine says:

    I thought people with diet preferences normally just chose from the food offered without making a fuss. And not bring their own food either.

    But, actually, since it’s not a medical issue, what’s the harm in eating foods you don’t normally eat for one meal or day?

    • cspschofield says:

      My Lady has multiple serious diet issues. We work it out with the family, and bring stuff of our own to gatherings. It just has to be that way. But we don’t get sanctimonious about it; this is OUR problem, and thank you very much for helping.

  10. Pam says:

    yup….if it’s not due to an allergy, then this was out of line to request
    And if she makes food such an issue on a trip to grandma’s, while the kids are still (assumedly?) young, she’s going to have “fun” parenting the bigger issues when the kids hit high school. 😦
    I suggest a Xanax casserole with a side of gf-df-sugar free- valium

  11. Meg says:

    As a parent, i have every right to decide what my children can or cannot have. Grandparents do not have the right to override that decision.

    As a guest, i absolutely do NOT have the right to demand voluntary diet restrictions be met by others. It is my responsibility to provide meals that accommodate my families diet.

    If a host chooses to help or tweak meals to meet our dietary needs, that is solely at their discretion and through their generosity.

    • Donnadon says:

      Meg, I agree whole heartedly. I don’t expect anyone to prepare foods to my preferences unless I’m at a restaurant. MIL’s house does not qualify as a restaurant.

  12. Colette Klein says:

    I really do not appreciate it when someone force their lifestyle onto me. I have a daughter who lives a control freak life like healthy mom and she turns a lot of people off. Healthy mom word to the wise, not everyone practice your extreme and controlling lifestyle. Ask for a compromise on meals and you might bet a warm response. I feel for your children and husband. Your children and husband is probably looking forward to going home to eat some real food and getting a break from your food purgatory.

  13. Hannah says:

    THANK YOU for calling this one, Snarky! SO tired of those who feel the need to foist their food agendas on others. When you are a guest in someone else’s home (family included!), you should gratefully eat what is offered. On the off chance you have a life-threatening food allergy, a mere polite advance reminder and/or inquiry should suffice to avoid a trip to the ER.
    I have some food intolerances that cause hives and indigestion, but have learned to work around them w/o drawing undue attention to them. In contrast, my CrossFit (aka CultFit) obsessed (soon to be ex) husband never misses a chance to criticize anyone who consumes “processed foods” (apparently, his protein powder doesn’t count) and brag about his (selectively) Paleo diet. At meals with family and friends, he has no compunction about helping himself to giant portions of meat and vegetables from serving dishes and leaving little (sometimes none!) for those after him. And then holding forth during the meal about why he isn’t eating any side dishes or using salad dressing (strongly implying those who are doing so are at fault). Where i come from, that’s just plain boorish behavior.

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