How To Enjoy Holiday Meals Even If You Have Food Allergies

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These days a lot of people, are becoming prone to food intolerances, or sensitive. Only a food intolerant people can understand what its like to enjoy Thanksgiving far away from your home.So try being patient with your friends and family, and know that you can and will get through this mother of all food-fests.

First, it’s important to understand that food intolerances are not the same as food allergies. A food allergy is a far more serious and potentially life-threatening condition, which generally requires keeping an EpiPen on hand 24/7. If someone is food allergic, its recommend not to eat anything unless you are 100% sure about it, as well as what it contains and how it was made. Simple mistakes like as simple as using the same utensil in two dishes can cause cross-contamination that can trigger an allergic reaction. A food intolerance is not the same as Celiac disease, which is also a kind of very serious medical condition caused by gluten.

Food intolerances are different, and often its difficult for others to understand. When you are sensitive to certain foods (like lactose, gluten, soy, eggs, or corn), eating them can trigger a wide range of troublesome symptoms, like bloating or digestive upset, skin inflammation, itching, and a flare-up of an existing skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis. Other reactions may also include headaches or migraines, fatigue,  brain fog, irritability, and generally just feeling under the weather.

While not as serious as a food allergy or Celiac disease, a food intolerance can lead to problems you just don’t want to experience, especially on a holiday weekend. So how can you avoid the reaction,  when you are dining at the home of your friend or family member? Below are some tips that can help you to deal with it.

Talk to your host about the menu ahead of time

Don’t mistake that you are asking your host to make special dishes for you.It is perfectly fine to tell about what will be served so that you can plan ahead. Tell about your situation either over the phone or in person (don’t send this up to text or email). Your host might not be knowing what food intolerance is, so briefly share your story. And make sure to clarify that you are not asking for any recipe changes; you just have to know which all dishes have to be avoided so that you can feel your best and enjoy the day.

Bring a safety dish (or two)

After you are done with sharing your problem, ask your host if it’s okay for you to bring a few dishes you know is quite safe for you to eat. Maybe he/she understands your situation and feel relieved by the suggestion. If so, bring enough to share, if in case others also express their wish to sample your recipe.

Mashed potatoes with syrup

For example, if you already know that the mashed potatoes will contain butter and cream and you are dairy intolerant, then consider bringing oven roasted sweet potato wedges, seasoned with maple syrup, coconut oil, ginger, and cinnamon. If the green beans will be made with add-ins and you cannot eat—such as nuts or gluten-containing fried onions—then bring some olive oil oven roasted Brussels sprouts.

In general traditional Thanksgiving desserts also contain a wide range of ingredients to which you might be sensitive, so don’t forget to bring a sweet treat too. To avoid awkwardness or a sense of competition, present something that is not on the menu, instead of a modified version of something that is already being served. This will raise the chances that others will enjoy the dishes you have brought.

Plan to have some snacks before and after

If you think your choices are limited at the main event, then better you eat something before you go, or have a meal when you get home. If you are staying in a hotel, stock your room with snacks beforehand only, so that you don’t have to scramble after all the stores are closed.And if you will be out all day, load something in your bag to bring with, and find a private place to eat if needed.

Practice meditation or breathing

Holidays are fun periods but it also has stressful moments. However being surrounded by foods you are not able to enjoy or have to explain (again) why you can’t eat homemade rolls—probably adds another layer of anxiety. Before you go to the gathering, find some quiet place to do a guided meditation.

Researchers are finding exciting evidence of meditation’s effects on the brain: new clues to why it can help calm emotions, sharpen reasoning…

If you feel you are stressed at dinner, focus on inhaling slow, controlled breaths. Or get outside for some fresh air or a neighborhood walk. If you receive push-back, or someone comments like, “It’s all in your head,” then reach out to a friend who gets it. A quick text exchange will calm your nerves and will remind you that you are taking best care of yourself.

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