This is it! It is the time of the year where we start talking about Holidays... Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah and New Year...
And.. if you are following a special diet, it may also be the time where you are freaking out about what you will be able to eat when celebrating with your family and loved ones.
- They may not be used to your specific dietary choices or may not understand them.
- They may or may not be supportive.
- Are you afraid to feel pressured to eat food that will make you sick?
- You don't feel like having the energy to explain over and over again why you are not eating certain food.
I have been following a dairy-free diet for almost 20 years, became gluten-free 4 years ago and I have now been under the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) for the past 2 years. I have experienced those feelings a bunch of times! Even if my family and friends were always very supportive, it is always stressful. Ensuring they remember what I can eat vs what I cannot, volunteering to prepare something I can have to avoid frustration, especially at the time of dessert, etc. With the years and experience, I learned not to stress that much and I always enjoy our family and friends reunions!
Today I am going to share with you my essential guide to survive the Holidays when on a healing or restricted diet!
1. Focus on the people more than food. Enjoy time with friends and family. Laugh. Have fun. Play a game. Go outside for a walk with them if the weather permits it. Dance. Listen to music. Do a music quiz. If this is not a tradition in your family, talk about it, come with ideas and make people try.
2. Keep your WHY in mind. Write on a paper, a card, a journal or a notebook why did you start removing some food from your diet, what were your symptoms at that moment, how did you feel when you were not eating this food anymore, what are your reactions if you eat them again? Remembering your WHY will motivate you to stay on track with your choices and keep you focused on the positive results of this action. For most of us, restricting some food from our diet means following a diet to heal our body, therefore it is not a restricted diet but a HEALING diet! Mindset is very important. And it is usually easier and better accepted to say that you are following a healing diet to feel good rather than saying "No thank you, I'm not eating that food".
3. Enjoy what you CAN eat! ...instead of focusing on what you can't. Ask what food will be served, and suggest to bring some as well. Look for recipes resources on internet. There are a multitude of choice now, it's incredible. Everything is so tasty, even people not following your same diet will want to eat your food! Be ready to share! Prepare something you really like and want to eat. If it is a tradition to serve a specific meal, either find a way to re-create it OR bring something new! You can't be the only who would rather eat other dishes for the Holidays than always the same meal every year, over and over... And this dish will not be compared to the "original".
Now I want to hear from you. When it come to preparing the Holidays while on a healing or restricted diet, what are your biggest challenges?