Thanksgiving; a day of being thankful, but more so in our society a day centered around food. If you are a normal person, Thanksgiving may be the best day of the year! A full day to fill your plate and your belly, until you are uncomfortably satisfied.
However, any IBS, IBD, food allergy sufferer, or anyone who has to stick to a strict diet, will understand that Thanksgiving is often a dreaded holiday. For many reasons. The comments, the questions, the judgement from others, and the feelings inside yourself, feelings of deprivation, or missing out on fully participating in life. I have spent many years feeling this way, so trust me when I say; I understand, and you are not alone.
Here are some tips for getting through a Holiday meal, or any social gathering for that matter (because let’s face it, in todays society; all social gatherings are centered around food).
- Bring a dish, if there is something you can eat, bring that to share. Whether that be a certain fruit, veggie, healthy carb, or snack. You can bring a fruit or veggie tray, you can bring a roasted veggie dish, make low a low carb or paleo version of a holiday favorite.
- If you are confined to a liquid diet, bring that to enjoy while everyone eats. If you drink a smoothie for every meal, make it before you go and bust it out when everyone else eats. You can even put it in a bowl and eat it with a spoon to make it feel more “normal.”
- Have plenty of fluids. Make sure you have water, bring tea. If everyone is enjoying cocktails and you have to refrain, you can enjoy a sparkling water with a lemon or lime wedge (if you can’t handle the carbonation just use water of course), put whatever you are drinking into the same type of glass everyone else is using.
- When it comes to desert, again; do what you can do. Have a plate of fruit, have a protein bar, bring a version of a desert you can eat, or make a cup of tea, or mix some hot water (or nut milk) with some raw cacao powder and call it hot chocolate (add some collagen peptides for gut health, protein, and some extra creaminess), if you have to sweeten use honey, Yukon, maple syrup, or stevia if you can handle that (I personally try to stay away from artificial sweeteners, because they are an IBS trigger, but they are perfectly fine for people just trying to live a healthier lifestyle and keep the calories low).
And the most important tip of all;
- DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU! Nobody else has to live your life, or live in your body. People may not understand your limitations or the decisions you have to make. People may even think you are crazy, or being dramatic. Whatever, that is their problem. Again, they don’t have to live in your body. Your health is 100% about YOU, so do whatever you need to do to feel the best that you can feel. The people that really truly love you, and the people that are actually worth your time, will understand and support you in whatever you need to do.
Be as open and honest about your situation as you desire (or as discrete as you want, again it’s your life). Do what you gotta do, and make the Holiday what is best for YOU. The holidays, and life for that matter, are not about what you can or cannot eat. It is about being thankful for what you have, who you are, and the body you are blessed to exist in. No matter the condition of you body, or your health, you still have life, and that is still a blessing.