DEAR ABBY: I am a diagnosed narcoleptic. Medication helps with the symptoms, but not entirely. I looked into alternative options and found a fantastic diet. I recently went on it with amazing results.
My dad's side of the family is Italian, and a huge part of the culture is food. During celebrations, it's considered offensive to refuse food, and my family has always looked down on diets. If a family member is on one, they'll argue that it's a special occasion and it's only for one day.
Abby, I'm exhausted at family gatherings. If I try to turn something down, I get attacked because "Grandma made it," or "It's your favorite and we made it for you." I have tried explaining to them that I don't want them to alter their dinner arrangements to accommodate me, but I should be allowed to forgo eating foods that will make me feel like a zombie. They just don't get it, and it has caused arguments. How do I re-open this discussion without offending anyone? -- PANICKED OVER PASTA
DEAR P. OVER P.: Do it before the celebration by calling your hosting family member and explaining that there are now foods you cannot eat because of your diagnosed medical condition. Explain that you know they would not feed certain foods to a diabetic, and you need the same dispensation. Ask them to kindly not put you in the embarrassing position of having to refuse their delicious food, and if they feel it will cause a problem, they should excuse you from the event.