How to navigate the holiday season with food sensitivities
According to some experts, about 32 million Americans battle with food allergies. Those who suffer from various forms of food intolerance will readily agree that while fretting over food is never fun, the struggle is especially difficult during the holiday season.
While gathering with family and friends for holiday meals, people who've been diagnosed with diabetes, celiac disease or other autoimmune-related food allergies may feel like a deer in headlights when faced with a dinner table that's full of 'triggering' delicacies.
But dealing with food sensitivities doesn't mean suffering in silence or simply refusing to eat.
Food Sensitivity Specialist, Megan Pennington, says people with food intolerances can enjoy the season by keeping five things in mind when heading into the holidays.
Focus on real food: A diet of non-processed foods is typically safer. This means focusing on foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and meats. Leave the processed breads, crackers, and cookies aside. These typically contain hidden ingredients that can trigger a reaction. They're also broken down into sugar, which feeds problematic gut bacteria and increases bloating.
Eat before going out: One of the easiest ways to avoid all the snacking and hidden ingredients is to eat a 'safe' meal at home before leaving. Eat something you know will leave you satisfied and feeling good, so you can go to the party with a focus on socializing instead of eating. This way you can selectively choose your favorite nibbles without feeling the need to overindulge.
Eat your known safe foods: If you know you don't feel well after drinking wine or cheese, listen to your body. This sort of discipline may be difficult to maintain at parties where the majority of guests are indulging in the very specialties that trigger you. But keep in mind the end result; if a food or drink will make you sick, it simply isn't worth the bite.
Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated will ensure that you're eating because you're hungry, and not because your body is confusing thirst with hunger. It will also replace the desire to quench your thirst with processed beverages like eggnog and alcohol.
Have fun: This may sound silly, but your body responds best to food when you are in a relaxed state (as opposed to a stressed state)! Having a good time will improve your digestion and your immune tolerance to food.
Click here for more tips on how to stay healthy when dealing with food sensitivities.
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