I always used to feel guilty asking people to accommodate my diet, especially in large groups. Every time Christmas, a wedding, girl's night out, or work parties came around I'd say ' no restrictions' and just eat what I was given. And every time, without fail, I'd finish my meal feeling as though you'd have to roll me out of there to get me home for the night. I just felt like feeling crappy for a day (or 2 or 3) was a better plan than inconveniencing the host.
Eventually, I made a switch and committed to the FODMAP process. To make it easier on others, I would pack my own food for gatherings, bring my own snacks when on the road, and be a little pickier with my restaurant choices. I also started to be more vulnerable and transparent with people who started to ask for details about my diet. And all of sudden, without even asking, everyone around me started accommodating my restrictions.
I have been overwhelmed with the generosity and thoughtfulness of the people in my life taking extra time to accommodate my many restrictions and the extent that they will go to ensure I can be included.
What I have really come to realize is people are genuinely happy to make you happy. It actually makes some people offended that you don't ask. And if you offer suggestions on how to slightly change a recipe it can please everyone in the room.
So don't be afraid to ask your aunt to use gluten-free flour in the gravy, suggest Freshii over Subway while on the run, or build-your-own-taco over pasta at your next friend's weekend. You might be amazed at how many people there are in your life that would be happy to help you with Make some Lemonade.
One thing that I would have loved to have when I started this journey and was trying to tackle the holidays were some practical tips on where to start. How to keep the holidays enjoyable, for my loved ones and me, and stay comfortable but still get to enjoy myself!
So here are a few things I have learned along the way that will hopefully help you wherever you are in your food restriction journey!
One of the best things about holiday dinners is that they are often loaded up with lots of options!
Turkey and ham, numerous veggie side dishes, like 4 different potato options - everything from scalloped to mashed to roasted, rolls on rolls on rolls, gravy and cranberry sauce....you get the point. But this totally works to our advantage! Often times there are at least 2 or 3 options that work for us as is, and then we just fill in the gaps.
That can look like:
And like I said before- don't feel guilty asking for some help from your family. There are often happy to make minor adjustments if that means you will be able to enjoy your night so much more!
Regardless of whether you have IBS or not, it is pretty standard to feel super full after a holiday meal.
And there is nothing worse than feeling super bloated while in your tightest jeans and best bodysuit.
Tight clothes on their own can trigger IBS symptoms, so to play it on the safe side, opt for some of your comfier ( yet, still stylish!) clothes to take some pressure off your sensitive stomach.
Some of my go-to's include:
Try out one of these options so that you can both look and feel good for any holiday event you go to!
Okay so we know that eating high FODMAP foods can flare our IBS symptoms. If you are reading this blog, I am sure that is well-established knowledge. But besides eating high FODMAP foods, there are other things that can contribute to your gut issues.
The amount of food we eat in one sitting as well as how fast we eat it can also contribute to those bloated symptoms.
Christmas or holiday feasts ( I mean come on, it says it in the name) are often loaded up with waaaaay more food than we typically eat in one meal. And often by the time the food is in front of us we are famished because we avoided eating all day in preparing for said "feast".
One way we can help ourselves out is to not skip meals for one. Eat a well-balanced, healthy, gut- appropriate meal to start out your day. If we eat our regular meals like always we are less inclined to overeat at dinner.
Then when it comes to dinner time, try to eat slowly and mindfully as best you can. Savoir each bite that you put in your mouth, chew each piece thoroughly and try to avoid shovelling those mash potatoes into your mouth ( although we all know it is tempting).
It might seem silly, but how fast and thoughtfully we eat our food can make a big difference in how we feel after our meal! It can also allow us to be able to listen to our hunger hormones when they tell us we are full. When we eat too fast, not only do we make it harder for our gut to digest everything, we often overeat before we give our hormones any time to react to the food that is entering our body.
Now I am not going to pretend that being mindful with your food while surrounded by the chaos of Christmas dinner is going to be easy. So try to be mindful of what you put on your plate in the first place. Start small and go back for seconds if need be. That way you don't have to rely on hunger hormones to tell you to stop on your pile of food while you'd rather focus on sharing old family memories with your loved ones around you!
Just like eating slowly, there are other things besides what we eat that can impact our gut. Physical activity and our stress levels play a huge role in how our digestive system works and therefore can totally impact how we feel.
Try some of these throughout the holiday season to keep your gut working in tip-top shape:
Well, after all, it is the holidays, right? And how are we supposed to go through the holiday season without treating ourselves a little bit (or a lot).
This can be grabbing your favourite gluten-free/dairy-free dessert from that local fancy natural food store to bring to the next Christmas party. That way you don't have to feel left out when all the desserts come out for the rest of the crowd. If you are looking for some ideas, check out my post on my go-to store-bought low-FODMAP treats . These are some of my personal favourite low-FODMAP desserts for when I don't have time to make something myself.
Or roll up your sleeves and bake your own batch of gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, gingerbread loaf, peppermint bark, or your favourite flavour of cupcake ( raspberry lemonade cupcakes anyone ? ;) )
And lastly, comes the alcohol. It wouldn't be a holiday blog without talking about alcohol. Most people look forward to a festive drink around the holidays. Whether that is eggnog with some spiced rum, mulled wine, or some spiked hot apple cider, often the holidays go hand-in-hand with an alcoholic beverage.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when drinking over the holidays when it comes to your low-FODMAP diet:
Keep in mind that these strategies that I have developed over the years have worked well for me. We are all individuals and you will find that not all strategies, tricks, and tips will work for you. When it comes to nutrition, things can get confusing and it really is an endless journey of learning. My hope is just that I can make it a little bit less bumpy for you!
if you have any specific medical issues or questions please reach out to a local health professional for help. It is best not to use "Dr. Google" to find a diagnosis. And as always, what I share here at Making Lemonade is for information only, and should not be considered a substitute for medical advice.
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