The months of October thru December have always been my absolute favorite, but when I first started on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) to help my ulcerative colitis, I can truthfully say that my excitement for this time of year really diminished.
The main reason for that is of course, food. Holiday parties and social gatherings in general revolve so much around food and I would get SO upset when I couldn't indulge in any of it.
Eating healthy is HARD. Eating healthy while in a social setting is even harder!
With the passing of time I've come to accept that I'm not going to be able to have the sweet potato casserole, the chocolate cake with ganache filling or the eggnog made with condensed milk. What I can have is my health! Which, let's be honest, is the most important thing!
The other thing I have is the knowledge and piece of mind that everything I'm eating is helping me on my road to recovery and you know what? The food I'm eating is pretty gosh darn delicious in its own right!!!!
So, here are some tips to help you make it through the holiday season with your healthy eating diet intact!
If there's only one thing you remember from this article, let it be this...eat before attending any social gatherings or parties!
If you eat a filling meal beforehand you'll be much less tempted to cheat. I can't tell you how many times doing this has been my saving grace.
Attending a wedding? I eat beforehand. Holiday work party? I eat beforehand. Going out to a restaurant? I eat beforehand.
Eating before social gatherings and keeping snacks in my purse or car has been key in keeping me from cheating on the specific carbohydrate diet.
Also, try to limit the amount of alcohol you consume. Drinking tends to lower your inhibitions thus making it easier to convince yourself that eating a whole tray of gluten and refined sugar filled cookies is perfectly fine!
Share your goodies!
I find that being invited to a pot-luck is a best case scenario during the holiday season or social event! You have the opportunity to bring a dish you love and share that delicious food with others.
There is also almost always a fruit or cheese plate that you can snack on, but even if there's not, at least you know that there's one thing there you can eat!
Just be sure not to wait too long to serve yourself or the food you brought might be gone. Yes, this has happened to me, lesson learned!
bring your own food
When invited to someone's home for a meal, give them a call and explain that you have dietary restrictions or allergies, which will prevent you from eating the delicious meal they're planning BUT you don't want to miss out on the party.
Ask if they'd be okay with you bringing your own food. I've done this numerous times in the past and it's never been an issue!
You can expect people to ask about your diet and why you can't eat certain things, just be honest about it. I'm always happy when people make the time and effort to get to know a bit more about me and why I eat this way.
However, if you're not comfortable talking too much about it, I find that a simple, "I have food allergies." is enough to satisfy the curiosity of most people.
Keep expectations low
I'm going to be very blunt with my next tip...get over the idea that people should cater to your dietary needs! Seriously, get over it!
As an adult I made the decision to eat this way to better my health and disease, that doesn't mean that others in my life HAVE to make me meals that I can eat.
With that being said, I do want to share with you that I am lucky enough to have two women in my life that go out of their way to cook me foods I can enjoy when we're together.
The first is my mother, who probably has more specific carbohydrate diet cookbooks than I do! The second is my good friend Angela, who goes above and beyond to make sure she crafts a meal that won't make me sick!
While I absolutely LOVE that they've taken an interest and the time to learn about my diet, I don't expect it. They are the exception, not the rule.
Bottom line, you'll be much happier if you don't expect others to cook special meals or pick specific restaurants for you. Go out, enjoy the company of your friends and family, and focus on your blessings, not your limitations!
don't give in to temptation
When in a situation where you might be tempted to cheat, think about how far you've come and the healing that you've accomplished so far.
Is that piece of chocolate cake worth the pain, the extra bathroom trips, and quite possibly a trip to the hospital? The answer is no, it really isn't! The instant gratification of food is not worth your health. Especially not when there are SO many delicious foods and recipes you can enjoy that are going to continue to promote healing. Finally...
don't be too hard on yourself
We're all human and we all slip up sometimes. If you do give into temptation and eat or drink something you shouldn't, don't be too hard on yourself! Following a healthy lifestyle long term is not for the faint of heart and there are bound to be setbacks along the way. Dust yourself off and the next day (or the next hour) get yourself back on the wagon!
- Holiday parties are the hardest for me to navigate. Here are some of my FAVORITE and most popular holiday inspired specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) recipes for you to check out!
- Click here to find out more about me, IBD, and why I'm following the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD).
Although following the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) can be challenging when in a social situation, hopefully these tips will help!
Do you have any tips that help you stay on track with your diet while in a social setting? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!