NAVIGATING HOLIDAY GATHERINGS IN A HEALTHY WAY

December 8, 2021
holidays, food allergies, food intolerances, diet, family, traditions, holiday diet

They tell us family gatherings at the holidays “should be” filled

with JOY

with LAUGHTER

with FUN

In reality,

does sitting down for a meal with your relatives sometimes make you feel less than thankful?

Does it fill you with fear, anger or resentment?

For those that have food allergies, special diets or food intolerances eating in large groups can be a challenging and isolating experience. 

With a few healthy boundaries, it’s possible to look forward to holiday gatherings with those you love.

That’s why Dr. Mary Rondeau ND is offering these tips to help you navigate your needs this holiday season:

1. SEE YOURSELF AS A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION FOR HEALTHY CHOICES.

Explaining to those around you that you do not eat a certain food because it has negatively impacted your health is an opportunity to inspire someone else to make a change.  

For example, you could say, “Even though I love deviled eggs at Thanksgiving, I have stopped eating eggs because that food was contributing to my chronic sinus infections.  Since I stopped, I have not had to take any antibiotics for sinus infections.  It has really changed my life.”

Giving a concrete explanation will help your family and friends understand this is not just a FAD diet you are trying this week.

Be careful not to offer unsolicited advice; it rarely stimulates action in someone else. Let them put the pieces together about how you got better.

2. BRING A DISH TO SHARE

Often those with special diets are left to bring their own food to the party, leaving them feeling left out. 

If you have strict diet needs, make a dish or two and enough for everyone so that they can have the experience that special diets do not equal deprivation. 

There are so many allergen-friendly, super tasty recipes that would impress the most picky tastebuds. 

I do this often at our family gatherings. I will bring an old classic just revised to meet our large family needs.  Or I’ll make something completely new and start a tradition.  

Did you know that dairy free mashed potatoes taste just as good as butter and cream filled mashed potatoes?  And gluten free apple pie will still make you savor every bite just like regular apple pie?

3. ASK FOR HELP AND ACCEPT THAT HELP

If you are invited to a holiday celebration, do not forget to tell the host your needs.  Most people that host parties want to be inclusive rather than exclusive for their guests. 

Give them a few ideas of things that will work for you so they do not have to spend hours trying to learn what gluten is or what is dairy free.  I have found this to go over very well with my friends and family.

Our family traditions have kept the same essence throughout the years, but we have adjusted to the needs of certain family members that need different special diets. 

At our traditional Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner, we now proudly serve vegan pierogies and gluten free pierogies, vegan creamed mushrooms and vegan and regular cabbage rolls to name a few. 

I challenge myself each year to perfect another allergen safe version of a classic.

I hope these tips help you express your needs and may even inspire a change in someone you love.

Please contact the Wholeness Center if you have questions about integrative medicine, and/ or mental health assistance. If you live in the Northern Colorado/ Ft. Collins area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs the Wholeness Center has to offer, please call 970-221-1106 or email info@wholeness.com.

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Posted in Health and Wellness, Nutrition by Wholeness Center | Tags: , , , , ,