Surviving (and Enjoying!) The Holidays with Dietary Restrictions

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or have health related dietary restrictions, holidays can be extra stressful.

The stress: You want to enjoy yourself and spend time with family and friends, go to parties- to be a part of the festivities. But what if there isn’t anything that you can eat there? What if Aunt Delores straight up refuses to accommodate different dietary needs? What if your family, friends, co-workers, etc. are not-so-nice- about food intolerances?

The good news: There is a lot you can do to ensure that you can enjoy festivities while keeping them copacetic and as stress free as possible.

#1 Offer to host the event

 When you host, you have more control over what food is prepared. Don’t make the same mistake that others have made with you and make your meal 100% tailored to your dietary preferences- Include some old favorites or ask a guest to bring those ever popular holiday dishes that you can’t/ won’t eat, but that guests would miss.

#2 Arrange to bring a few dishes to the gathering

Not hosting? Ask to bring a few dishes to share that you can eat.  Then load up on them first.

#3 Host having none of it? Explain one-on-one.

Politely have a discussion (preferably face to face) with Aunt Delores beforehand, and explain why your dietary restrictions are important to you.  Do not be combative or shaming- take the high road.  If it is a health reason, cite the health issue, and tell her how you feel if you DO eat offending foods.  Hopefully your Dear Auntie doesn’t want you to feel sick for days if you eat certain foods she’s preparing. If she cares more about you eating her food than you feeling sick, then its seriously time for #4.

#4 Ditch Aunt Delores. 

If your family, friends, etc. aren’t accommodating at all, then it’s time for some self-care. And that self-care may be to set a boundary and politely bow out. If there isn’t a way to make things happen nicely at the holiday event, find something else to do that is beneficial and less stressful for you! Make an excuse (graciously) or conveniently have other plans this year.

P.S. those other plans could totally be a secret night to yourself with a fire in the fireplace or a movie you’ve been wanting to watch.

#5 Bring your own food and have a back-up plan

Ditching not an option?  Still want to participate? BYOF- bring your own plate of food.

Additionally, there are digestive enzymes that you can take to help if you accidentally ingest problem foods (note: I’m talking about non-allergic food intolerances- always talk to your health practitioner first).

Purchase a full spectrum digestive enzyme that breaks down the major food groups as well as gluten and casein (DPP-IV is an enzyme for gluten and casein). Enzymedica (Their Spectrum product covers all bases) is a good store brand for last minute digestive enzymes before a gathering!