How to Handle a Gluten Free Diet During the Holidays

Here come the holidays. Are you ready to handle them gluten-free? Whether it’s your first gluten-free Thanksgiving, Christmas or it’s been so long you’ve lost count, we’re here to help you get over some of the rough spots.

How to Diet During the Holidays?

Here come the holidays. Are you ready to handle them gluten-free? Whether it’s your first gluten-free Thanksgiving, Christmas or it’s been so long you’ve lost count, we’re here to help you get over some of the rough spots.

We can start by saying that the holidays have gotten progressively easier. Gone are the days when everything you made began with a complicated recipe and multiple bags of gluten-free flour. You can take a few shortcuts, just like your gluten-eating friends and relatives, by using some of the ready-made products on supermarket shelves or by using mixes to create dishes that feel homemade.

Growing awareness of being gluten-free has made it so that no longer is it a complete unknown when you sit down at the holiday table. These days it isn’t necessary to skip parties and other social events. It will take some getting used to, but you can reorient your emotional mindset so that you’re not focused on the food at all, just on the people and the celebration.

How Can We Get Through It All?
Here are five thoughts and ideas that may help you cope:
Acknowledge your feelings

It’s okay to feel sad. Food is a big part of most people’s lives, and it plays an even larger role around the holidays. When you’re faced with yet another holiday spread with nothing on it that’s gluten-free (but plenty of foods you’d really enjoy if you didn’t need to follow the gluten-free diet), sadness is a perfectly normal emotion. Acknowledge the feeling, but don’t dwell or wallow in it. Instead, promise yourself a safe treat at the earliest possible opportunity, and focus on the people and see how lucky you are – YOU ARE SUPPORTING YOUR HEALTH.

Don’t Take unnecessary chances

Cheating on the gluten-free diet isn’t an option. Even if you don’t get severe symptoms from gluten ingestion, you still run the risk of damaging your health. It’s easy to talk yourself into taking risks you wouldn’t normally take, especially if you’re drinking alcohol at the party. Just don’t do it. You will regret it tomorrow!

Remember that your friends or relatives are uneducated, not unfeeling. It’s easy to feel excluded at a holiday gathering where no one has bothered to provide anything for you to munch on. I’ve felt that way even when I’ve told people not to worry about making anything for me. It is still unfair and irrational, I know, but it’s tough to shake those emotions. Acknowledge the emotions and try to move past them. You’re there to see the people, not to eat Christmas cookies.

Don’t get judgmental 

Try to keep quiet about other people’s gluten issues. This is another big one for me I get upset when I watch people (both relatives and friends) gorging themselves on gluten foods when it’s clear they have health issues that indicate a possible problem. It’s difficult for me in those circumstances not to say anything, as these are people I care about. Nagging people to get tested or go gluten-free won’t help in some cases, and even saying something might alienate you or jeopardize your relationship with them.

Host your own holiday gathering

When you are in control you can make sure everything is gluten-free. This is my favorite out of the five tips as I know that this option will take food out of the equation and guarantee me a stress-free time. I can’t stress this option enough: it’s wonderful to be able to socialize and not worry one bit about the food, because you made it all and it’s all safely gluten-free. It’s also pretty difficult to feel excluded since everything at the party is safe for you to eat. It’s a lot of work, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Enjoy the season

Prepare as much as you can in advance and leave some time to share important holiday traditions that don’t have anything to do with food. Enjoy your time, relax and live in the moment!