If you haven't already noticed Christmas and all holidays for that matter revolve around food. Family and friends dinners, work parties with finger food and treats everywhere. Sadly strict gluten free often means you can't eat much of anything while out and about during the holidays. So how do you have a stress free, festive and fun holiday season? Here's my best tips I've learned after spending the last few holiday seasons gluten free.
Let go of the fear of not fitting in
Don't avoid events because you're afraid others might judge you because you aren't eating. I know it can feel weird, like you aren't participating or like you're the odd one out. Join in! Be positive and clear that even though you can't eat that you're still happy to come to any event.
Offer to bring treats
Bringing your own contribution to dinner parties and events can be a win win. It's a hostess gift and you get something to eat all night! Bring a GF appetizer or dessert and chances are there will be other gluten free people who will be happy you did.
Whatever you do, don't be tempted to eat turkey that's been stuffed with gluten bread. You might be thinking, well if I choose meat from the outside of the bird it will be gluten free right? Unfortunately no, the juices flow throughout the turkey, and carry the gluten protein throughout, as well. If you do this, you'll get sick guaranteed.
Serve yourself first
If you have a holiday meal that involves some side dishes or foods you can't eat then make sure you serve yourself first. People are known for just picking up one spoon and serving all the different foods, this will cross contaminate your GF dishes.
Cook at home, and make everything gluten-free.
By far, the easiest way to ensure a gluten-free holiday meals is to make it yourself and have it all be gluten free. Then you get to enjoy your holiday meal without worry.
After all it’s what the season is all about! Be mindful of your blessings, the wonderful and supportive people in your life, and everything that brings you joy. Don't focus on what you can't have, focus on all the wonderful things in your life.
You don't have to give up traditions
You don't have to give up your holiday favourites. You can find gluten free versions of most holiday recipes online now. Be creative and find ways to keep traditions alive.
Make time for yourself
Although the holidays are a time to gather with loved ones, remember to make time for yourself. Do something every day to relax and relieve stress, whether that’s taking a walk, meditating, taking a hot bath, or practicing yoga.
Be mindful of your gut
It’s very easy for your gut to get out of balance during the holidays. The stress, indulgences, and change in schedule can leave you eating tons of sugary foods, trying new things and taking more risks eating out. While this is fun, the aftermath of either getting glutened or aggravating your gut isn't. Remember that while treating yourself and having some fun to be mindful that you're on a strict gluten free diet.
Plan non-food fun
Even though most holiday events are food centered that doesn't mean they all have to be. Every year my family rents out a ice rink on Christmas eve, we also do holiday light tours, and visit a local garden that's decorated with the 12 days of Christmas. Find events going on in your town and have some fun!
This holiday season focus on what you can eat during holiday celebrations, give thanks for your improved health, and create some new gluten-free holiday favorite foods you and your family can enjoy for years to come.