It can be daunting to think of all the food pushed at you, enticing you to take at least a bite of everything in sight this holiday season. However, you know what will happen if you indulge. The cramping, the aching, the bloating and then just plain discomfort for the next 24 hours to name just a few of the possible symptoms.
That’s no way to spend the holiday season when all you want to do is enjoy the food, the company and, oh yeah… the food! Whether or not you have sensitivities to gluten (what’s found in wheat products), eggs, nuts or dairy you can avoid the discomfort and completely savor every holiday morsel you desire! Here are three ways to enjoy the holidays, even if you have food sensitivities.
First things first: KNOW and pinpoint that you actually have a food allergy and what foods are the triggers to your specific reaction. Heres a short list of common foods that are known to elicit an allergic response.
Wheat/Gluten: hives, eczema, constipation, diarrhea, leaky gut, excessive bloating
Eggs: hives, stomach pain, nausea, runny nose, eczema, rapid heart beat
Diary: (main culprit being pasteurized/homogenized milk) diarrhea, leaky gut, bloating, nausea, abdominal cramps, eczema
Nuts: These are actually legumes, like beans. You may experience rashes, swelling in arms, hands, legs and/or feet, redness and tenderness, or hives.
These are just a snippet of possible food allergens or food sensitivity reactions that you may have experienced. Dont feel the need to discount a negative reaction that you personally have that isnt listed. Youll know whats working with or working against your system, so trust how your body feels.
Try this easy test to see if you are reacting to any possible food:
Completely eliminate ONE of the foods listed above (or another food you think may be the culprit) for a minimum of 2 weeks.
This gives your body time to adjust to not having that inflammatory response and to regulate itself. After the two week period, reintroduce the possible food that may be ailing you, making sure to not include anything new that you havent already been eating the past two weeks. Take notes of your physical condition before the food, while eating the food, 10 minutes later, 30 minutes later, 1 hour later, and up to 6 hours after eating.
If you have any possible reaction, you may be allergic.
Now that you either know for sure your food allergy or have just discovered it, fear not, it does not mean you cant still enjoy the surplus of goodies during the holidays!
1. Inform the Host(ess)
It can be a relief to see a variety of choices on the menu offering options like vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free food and the like. If you have been invited to a holiday event where food will be served, simply inform the host of the event of your food allergies and see if they are willing to accommodate you. For the most part, if its a large enough crowd or a smaller setting, these requests will be taken to heart.
Bring Your Own Food. Now before you show up at a formal holiday event with a sack lunch its always good to simply notify the host that you are sensitive to certain foods and to make sure you are fed well, youll bring some food that you know agrees with you. This way, youre sure to get enough to eat as well as partake in any foods you know are on your personal safe list.
If anyone asks, simply let them know youd rather not spend the evening in the restroom! Make it fun and comfortable for you as well as other guests. Its not as big of a deal as you may think. Plus, there are some fancy cooler bags that look similar to purses that you can show off! Check out some of these fun styles.
3. Provide A List or Recipes
If your host event is willing, send them a list of foods that agree with you (and more than likely, many others) as well as any simple recipes that they may send to their caterer. If this is more of a family event, you may also consider preparing your food in advance and having it already at the holiday event ready for you. It can be specifically labeled for you or as the food intolerance, ie. gluten free / grain free pumpkin pie, egg-free pound cake, etc. However, to make sure its not all gobbled up before you get a chance to eat it, have it specifically labeled; again keeping it light-hearted and fun. Try something like, Katies Special Christmas Cookies, Do Not Touch! :-).
If you need some recipe ideas for holiday cooking, simply search for the food allergy you want to avoid. Try these search phrases:
- Gluten-free holiday meals
- Dairy-free treats
- Grain-free turkey stuffing
- Dairy-free and grain-free pumpkin pie
- Gluten-free desserts
- Grain-free turkey sandwiches
You may also try to interchange gluten-free and grain-free, as youll probably come up with similar results; it just depends on how the recipe is worded. Eat and eat well without the worries of embarrassing or troublesome food allergies while participating in all the festivities!
The holidays are a joyous time for gathering, sharing, feasting, families and being thankful for all that you have. No need to think that you cant fully enjoy the company and atmosphere or fear any embarrassing reactions that may happen when you eat what everyone else is eating. The more you are informed as well as informing others, the more they will be willing to accommodate you and make you feel just as welcomed and eat just as well as everyone else too!