Learning How to Ease the Stress during the Holiday Season

It is almost Thanksgiving!  This means, tis the season for more parties than you have attended all year. Not to mention the amount of sweet treats that are lurking at every corner. Then there is the dreaded family member asking why you are such a picky eater. I’m not a picky eater; it is called a food intolerance. Full disclosure here, living a healthy lifestyle and having certain dietary restrictions can be stressful during the holidays.  My family and my husband’s family go all out for the holidays. Both Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities are filled with more food than an army could eat and it is all homemade. When I first started my healthy lifestyle, holidays would stress me out so bad. I would wonder, “What was I going to eat, would I break my healthy streak and eat the slice of cake, or how many questions would I get about my diet?”  When that family member says, “You just need to eat more dairy and gluten and you will be fine. The reason you are allergic is because you don’t eat enough of it.” That is not the way a food intolerance works people! But that is the kind of comments I would get from family members. Now not all of them feel this way but you always have a few who just never understand why you can’t eat certain foods.

After several years of stressing myself out every time I would have to go to a family meal, I just realized that the worrying wasn’t worth it. I do have gluten and diary intolerances but I can eat a slice of cake without it killing me. So here are a few things that I do when experiencing the holidays with family.  First, I bring a side dish that I like but that I know my family members will like as well. That way, I don’t have to fill my plate up with mac and cheese and mashed potatoes because yes in the south, both of these side dishes are considered vegetables. Second, there is always some type of meat at any of my family dinners so I try to fill up on protein and vegetables like salad, green beans, green peas, whatever is being served. Third, I don’t stress out if there is a little gluten or dairy on my plate, because in retrospect, one meal is not going to kill me. Now if I filled my entire plate with gluten and dairy then I would regret it later but when it comes to spending time with family members that I do not see on a regular basis and gathering around the table enjoying a home cooked meal, it’s not worth making a big fuss if I have to eat a little mac and cheese. And if I want the slice of cake, then I get it. Eating one meal that does not adhere to my dietary restrictions is not going to crumble my entire healthy lifestyle. So I have learned to enjoy the moment and not stress about one or two meals during the holiday season.

The holiday season is supposed to be filled with excitement and it will be gone again before you know it. So enjoy yourself, eat the slice of cake (but not the whole cake), and remember that your hard work and healthy lifestyle is for you. If you maintain a healthy lifestyle all year round, then it is okay to indulge a little around the Thanksgiving table. I hope your holiday season is filled with no stress and lots of fun memories!

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