Having to restrict oneself from food at any time is always tough; whether it ‘s food restrictions, weight loss or for healthier eating; surviving the holidays eating safely can be overwhelming.
Surviving the Gluten-Free Holidays
Holidays affect everyone differently; a cheerful season to some can be a very stressful season to others. There are many demands placed upon individuals as they try to find the perfect gifts, attend social and family obligations; baking, cooking, traveling, sticking to your diet and the dreaded shopping trips that make completely normal individuals turn into animals fighting over the last trendy ‘must have’ toy of the season.
A multitude of activities happen within the short months of the happiest time of the year and to top it off, you have to get through it being gluten free. This is a tough time for people who suffer from any type of food allergy, even more so than normal day to day.
With holiday food and treats popping up all around you, most of which you cannot eat; do not allow yourself to cheat rationalizing that the molten lava chocolate cake is worth the consequences you know will eventually hit you. And it will eventually hit you.
Living a gluten free lifestyle requires constant preparation when dealing with food and eating; during the holidays this can be especially stressful and overwhelming on a person. An important rule of thumb to ease some of that anxiety is to Plan Ahead.
If traveling to a new city, Google, gluten free+(enter city) and find out as much as you can about the area. Call ahead to restaurants, check to see if your hotel caters to people with Celiac disease and gluten free sensitivity. If traveling by plane, call airline ahead of time to make special GF meal requests and always bring snacks with you just in case. Feel free to offer to bring food to the party, at there will be one thing there that you know is safe.
For those occasions in which you have no control over, use your best judgment and be aware of cross contamination. Do not ever assume those preparing or delivering your food have any knowledge of what Celiac-safe or cross contamination means; be direct when asking questions and clear when giving directions.
Always ask questions and read labels, if you do not get the answers you are looking for than do not take the chance and eat it.
Staying ‘holiday healthy’ as you are barraged with candy, chocolate, pastries and greasy fatty food is almost too hard to pass up. Which is why, the number one new year’s resolution is to get back in shape and lose weight; for the first few months anyway.
Moderation is key when is comes to surviving the holidays, after the holidays and in between the holidays. Keep in mind that the words ‘Gluten Free’ are not equivalent to eating healthy, processed food is processed food. There are many GF products filled with sugar, chemicals and cheap ingredients; making healthier choices when grocery shopping is a great first step.
Maintaining a lifestyle filled with fresh, whole foods and healthy fats are not only the roads to healing the gut, but to keeping it healed. Leaving dirty oil in your car inhibits good performance and the longevity will suffer; the same line of thinking applies to what you put in your body.
Try not to think of certain foods as something you ‘can’t have’, but as something you ‘choose to have’ once in awhile instead. You are choosing healthier options for optimum performance. This does not mean that you should restrict yourself from eating a piece of your favorite gluten free cake; try opting instead for a smaller slice.
Holiday stress is inevitable, tackle it with a healthy attitude and be as prepared as possible to eat gluten free safely. Bring snacks, ask questions, call ahead and never assume something is gluten free without making sure first.
When you start to feel overwhelmed and stressed, take a step back, smile and allow yourself to breathe. Through all the craziness, your immune system sustains most of it to keep you in tiptop shape, make sure to reward it with the nutrients it deserves.
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