Tomorrow is Christmas. All around the world, people will be celebrating the day with family and friends; opening presents, listening to Christmas carols, and sitting down to Christmas dinner.
But Christmas can be difficult to those of us with food allergies and intolerances. It can also be hell if your family members don’t understand those food issues.
We have all seen the movies where families squabble over politics, current events, race, religion and values. Add food issues to the mix, and you have a potential for world war three on your hands.
And it isn’t just hard on the person with the food intolerance. It’s hard on the person preparing the meal as well. Well meaning parents, aunts, grandmas and friends may believe that a “little bit”of gluten, dairy or nuts won’t ‘hurt’ you. They take it as a personal affront if you won’t take “just a bite” of their famous apple pie, or sausage stuffing. They may not even realize what foods contain these items.
There are ways to ensure that everyone has a pleasant experience. Here are some tips to help ensure that there is peace on earth and in the home:
- Talk to whoever is chief cook well in advance. Telling them two days before that you have food allergies or intolerance will not go over well.
- Ask if they can keep all boxes and bags so you can check ingredients for allergens or issues.
- Involve them in helping you eat safely, don’t insist but assist.
- Ask if they can swap ingredients-cornstarch for flour in the gravy, or cornbread stuffing instead of bread stuffing. You might be surprised.
- Explain why you can’t eat a certain ingredient. Knowing how you are affected might help them to not be insulted. They most likely have no clue.
- DO NOT tell them you have food allergies unless they are really life threatening. DO NOT say you have food intolerance if you just don’t “like” something. Just don’t eat it.
- If all else fails, bring your own food, but get the ok from your host. They might not agree-don’t just show up with your own food. Find out what they are making, then make the same thing according to your food intolerance. Bring it in a tupperware container, then plate on the family china. You will feel more like a guest, not an outcast.
- Some family members just don’t get it and will give you a lot of pushback. If this is the case, it’s best just not to go. Why put yourself through it? It’s just not worth it. Or just go for a couple of hours to spend time with them, and explain you have other plans for dinner. Leave it at that.
I hope that these tips will help you to have a peaceful and enjoyable day with your loved ones. Have Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!