Leading up to Christmas there are always more parties, events and functions. This should be a fun time, but attending these can be a little worrying when you have digestive issues and food intolerances. You are either unsure if there will be anything suitable for you to eat, or you have to communicate your dietary needs and do some research in advance. Then when you get there, everyone else is enjoying something delicious looking that you can’t have!
Because of this, you might be approaching the upcoming events with apprehension, or just not looking forward to them as much. These sorts of thoughts and emotions activate the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the stress response by the body. This stress response impairs digestion, making your symptoms worse.
A big hurdle here can be the part about communicating your intolerances. We often feel like we are being a pain or that people won’t understand. But this is not the case anymore, as intolerances and allergies have become so common. Remember that the venue wants you to enjoy your experience with them and share your positive experience with others.
Practice by calling the venue in advance and talking to them about your requirements. Then start talking to your servers more. You will find that most of the time they are very understanding and accommodating. If not, don’t let it bother you as it is a reflection on them. The more you do this, the less awkward it will feel, and you will be able to relax knowing that what you are eating is safe.
Also tell other people - family, friends, co-workers - about your dietary needs. The more people that know, the more people you will have looking out for you and the less often you will have to explain over your meal.
If you are really worried that there won’t be anything for you, eat a small meal beforehand or take a couple of snacks like nuts or muesli bars to tie you over.
The other part to let go of is the feeling of missing out. It is not ‘missing out’ if that food will make you sick! Focus instead on the abundance of food that IS available to you and be grateful for that. It will quickly shift your mindset and you will enjoy what you are eating much more.