What do Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Kwanzaa and Eid Al-Fitr all have in common?
Lots and LOTS of good food.
No matter what holiday it is there is typically a huge spread of food out on the table. This can be absolutely INCREDIBLE, but for people who struggle with IBD, IBS, or other digestive issues, this can be a disaster.
Food is often at the center of these events, and so it is not only expected, but it is also encouraged to eat in mass quantities.
Over the years I have learnt a few tricks on how to mindfully enjoy the food over the holiday season without getting sick. So, today I will be sharing those with you. If you do enjoy this post, please share it with a friend.
Tip #1: Be Honest
It can be very difficult and annoying to be repeatedly asked over and over and OVER again to try this, and try that. So, it is important to be honest and to learn how to say NO. If you are watching your weight, struggling with your stomach, or you simply are not hungry, be honest with those that are around you.
At first, they may be annoyed that they made all this food and you aren’t eating, but it is important for you to tell them your goals and/or concerns. For me, I simply say that I would rather skip on the *insert yummy food* in order to avoid being on the couch in pain. You know your body better than ANYONE. So, it is important that you stand up for yourself, be honest, and say NO when it is necessary. It may take a little while, but your family/friends (hopefully) will understand and will get off your back.
Tip #2: Chew, Chew, Chew
During the holiday season we are often eating indulgent foods that we don’t have most of the year. This means that we may be in contact with foods that our bodies are not used to digesting. Therefore, it is SUPER important to be mindful while eating your food.
It is great to sit, eat and chat during the holidays, but this is one of the easiest ways to under chew your food and mess up your digestion. But, don’t worry, you don’t have to sit in a corner by yourself to eat mindfully! You just need to remember to chew (and chew enough) before talking. Did you know that we should be chewing our food 30-70 times per bite. So, make sure that you are being conscious and aware of what food you are eating, and how you are eating it.
Tip #3 : Bring Your Own Dish
If you are eating a very particular diet for either weight loss purposes, or for a digestive condition, you may want to bring a dish to the event. This will help to set your mind at ease because you will know that you will have at least ONE THING you can eat. But, this can take a load off of your families shoulders.
When I was briefly gluten free, I made sure that I always brought an option that I knew I could have. This way my relatives didn’t have to stress about it, and I knew that I would be set. This is also a great way to introduce your family members to your diet and show them that the food you eat can still “taste good”. We have all been there when someone is like “Wait this is gluten free/vegan/vegetarian??” It opens there eyes to a new way of eating without being pushy.
Tip #4: Be Prepared
If you know that you do struggle with your digestion be sure to be prepared with your emergency kit in case you do have problems during a holiday party/dinner. For me, I personally always make sure that I bring my Peppermint Halo oil from Saje Wellness for any abdominal cramping or bloating, a Gas-X pill in case I get gassy or bloated, and a peppermint tea bag.
After almost every meal, the host will offer the guests coffee or tea. This is the perfect time to aid your digestion with a nice cup of tea. My favorite for post meal is Peppermint. However, if you do suffer with acid reflux I would avoid Peppermint and opt for Licorice tea, because peppermint makes the acid reflux worse. Alternatively, any herbal tea will work. I also like Chamomile Lavender , Turmeric or Lemon Ginger tea.
Tip 5: Don’t Be Afraid
It is SO hard to look at all the yummy food and desserts and think “I can’t eat that, it will go write to my *insert body part*”. But, I am telling you to throw that thinking out the window. Everything piece of food you put into your body is a CHOICE. Nobody is holding you hostage and stuffing food down your throat (at least I hope they aren’t). So, remember that you have a choice to make with everything you eat.
With that, I want to remind that you should be able to chose to have a brownie and not beat yourself up about it for a week after. Don’t be afraid of food, try new things, but most importantly listen to your body.
With that, I hope that you enjoyed your holiday season and that these tips help you out for your next party or event.
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