This is always a stressful time of year for people with food sensitivities.
When I was growing up before food sensitivities happened, Christmases centered around the
wonderful world of foods that my Mom and my Aunts would make for us to enjoy on Christmas Day. To be honest my Mom started baking much earlier! September was reserved for making fruitcakes and Christmas puddings that needed to be ‘aged’ with some boozy liquid or another. Never fear the kids getting alcohol as none of us would touch that stuff. We left it for the adults, who would rave over the efforts of the baker.
My Mom started the real Christmas baking in early December, and often had to replenish the supply before the day arrived to share with the other families. Back then my whole family lived reasonably close to each other so we would regularly gather to share a meal. The adults would chat away and solve the problems of the world while the kids ran wild.
Fast forward to a time many years later when I developed food sensitivities. Big family Christmases and other celebrations were not as common as we were all spread out across the country. When we did have big celebrations having food sensitivities often made me feel excluded, always invited but bring your own food please. Rarely was I able to enjoy the family baking efforts as they were now guaranteed to make me sick. There was a lot of quiet explaining to do regarding the fact that my food sensitivities were real and not a choice, and I was not trying to be difficult. So for many years I would take my own food, and would eat at the table with everyone else,….just to watch everyone eat the foods I so dearly wanted to eat too. Sometimes I would bring the recipes of the foods I was enjoying to share with the host and others, but no one ever took it on that the whole meal could be made everyone ‘friendly’.
Later after I had children a wonderful thing happened. I was able to hold Christmas! I was able to plan the menu to include my favourite foods Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free which everyone could enjoy. So by taking control I was able to be included and include others as well.
Between the years of taking my own food, and taking on the event, were the years where my immediate family decided to focus more on being with the other people, then on what we were eating. An amazing thing happened. We played games, we played cards, we went for walks, tobogganed and much more. We celebrated each other rather than the foods we were to eat that day, and it was wonderful.
One service I offer today comes out of all this, and that is recipe creation with a specific person in mind. You can do it yourself with a little research, or I can do it for you, but what it means is that you can make something special for someone, and give them the recipe as a gift. I once made a cupcake recipe for a friend’s birthday, baked the cupcakes and give her the recipe and cupcakes as a special gift. I cannot tell you how amazed she was at her birthday gift.
Including people with food challenges is a special gift you can give, and your effort will be appreciated for many years to come. Whether it is swapping out an ingredient that you usually use, or trying out a whole new recipe, you have the ability to extend a hand to include the food challenged person in your life.
In this year where we may not be able to gather together as we might wish to, remember maybe it is not about the food, but just simply finding a way to be inclusive and be together whether in person, or virtually, inside or outside. The gift of kindness is never overrated.
Wishing you all the best in this Festive Season, with Health and Happiness in the coming year.
The Food Sensitivity Coach and Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert
Helping you Explore the Wonderful World of Food!
The Food Sensitivity Coach
I am passionate about exploring the world with a view to food allergies and sensitivities. I look forward to sharing with you what I find, from books, blogs and websites to recipes, hacks, inspirations and opinions, join me in a journey to live your best life.