Happy Thanksgiving to my friends in the U.S. (myself included)! Today’s post was not planned until I woke up this morning and decided I wanted to share a little something with you for the holiday!
We’re in full turkey day prep mode this morning and have a DELICIOUS Paleo gut-friendly feast on the docket: A spatchcock turkey on the grill (Diestel brand, from Whole Foods … you better believe it’s organic!), a Paleo green bean casserole (recipe from Detoxinista, sans caramelized onions), roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce (and cornbread stuffing for the fiance), and I made a special pumpkin pie that is absolutely gluten free, dairy free, added sugar free, and has nothing but the GOOD stuff – healthy fats, pumpkin (did you know that most pumpkin pie doesn’t actually have any pumpkin in it? It’s usually squash based because it’s sweeter and more flavorful than actual pumpkin and what we think of as “pumpkin flavor” is actually a mix of spices – nutmeg, clove, cinnamon allspice and ginger.)
P.S. I got the pumpkin pie recipe from Lil Sipper. Check it out here if you want to know how to make it. She created little pumpkin pie pops, but I decided to use a small rectangular glass Pyrex because I didn’t have paper cups, OOPS!
I’ll be posting pictures of our feast on my Instagram (fitfoodistsf) later today/tomorrow, but what I really wanted to share with you guys is how to still enjoy your Thanksgiving feast if you suffer from digestive/gut issues like IBS, SIBO, even Chrohn’s, etc.
Lucky for me, we’re doing Thanksgiving at our apartment again this year so we’re not going to a family or friend gathering so I am totally in control of what we’re preparing and eating. HOWEVER, if you aren’t doing that, here are some tips to manage your digestive troubles while still having fun and most importantly, without stressing out or getting sick!
I am definitely guilty of not wanting to be an inconvenience to my host or fellow guests whenever I go to a party where there will be food that is not gut-friendly for me. Don’t feel guilt or shame. It’s OK to let the host and others know that you have certain food limitations, allergies or intolerances, especially if they affect your health!
Use your judgement. I am dairy and gluten free by choice, so sometimes I choose not to over-stress on those foods. If I have some gluten (because I choose to have gluten), I won’t die, and in a day or two, I won’t even remember I had that dinner roll. But if you have a gluten sensitivity or something as serious as Celiac’s disease, absolutely let people know ahead of the event because that could be life threatening or cause you serious illness.
I hope that your friends, family and coworkers would be understanding of that and conscious of it. You could even ask the host to consider food labels if it’s a buffet style feast so that you know exactly what it is you’re eating.
Because of my IBS and SIBO I absolutely cannot have garlic and onions or nightshade veggies. I can’t risk eating a food with those hidden ingredients or I will get sick, and that’s no fun for me or anyone around me!
Hopefully you are able to ask ahead of time what’s going to be on the menu and if there’s nothing that works for you, then make sure to bring something you CAN eat. Even if it’s a veggie or fruit platter or something simple like a salad.
By having a few foods or snacks available that you know are safe for you to eat, you’ll feel more comfortable, won’t starve and hopefully will quell your anxiety about having an empty plate while everyone chows down.
This is also an option! If you’re in a situation where the menu simply won’t work for you, eat beforehand, whether it’s breakfast or just a snack. That way, you won’t be ravenous when you arrive, and won’t be greedily eyeing up your Uncle’s green bean casserole and stuffing while your tummy rumbles for sustenance.
This sort of plays into the above tip. Overeating is one of the WORST things you can do for your body if you suffer from IBS and SIBO. By eating too much food at once it can really tax our digestive systems in general, and if you already have a pre-existing gut issue, then that will only make it worse because your body has to work overtime to digest it and that can cause indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux, bloating and even constipation.
I am the WORST at this. I just can’t seem to eat small portions. I want it all at once! I don’t want to eat a little bit at a time, but I feel so much better when I do it that way. I will actually get nauseous if I eat too much and my IBS will go into full swing.
If you eat ahead of time, you could prevent yourself from overeating because you aren’t already starving or arriving on an empty stomach.
And I know this is hard but try not to go back for seconds (Unless you’re purposefully eating smaller portions, but even then, be careful!). One trick you can do is to tell yourself ahead of time you will only have one plate of food, will wait 30-60 minutes, and if you’re still hungry, can have some more, or save yourself for some dessert.
When we eat too much at once, it takes a while for our brain to catch up to our bellies to tell us “hey there kiddo, we’re at max capacity right now.” That’s why you should ALWAYS chew your food slowly and thoroughly (did you know you should chew each bite an average of 20-30 times? That helps our digestive enzymes – saliva – in our mouth help start break down our food so we can digest it. Digestion starts in the mouth!)
I know, I know, it’s the HOLIDAYS! That means bounties of booze! But alcohol is a gut irritant. I’m sorry, it’s true. IF you have IBS or SIBO, alcohol is really hard on the digestive system and can aggravate your symptoms, especially if it’s carbonated. Carbonated beverages introduce excess gas bubbles to your gut and if you have IBS you already have enough gas problems to worry about to begin with. Adding more will only make the bloating and belching worse.
If you feel comfortable enough to imbibe, then do it to it, sister! But try to keep drinking moderate, and have a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume.
Dehydration makes us feel hungry even though we aren’t. So even if you aren’t drinking alcohol, try to drink water consistently throughout the day/night to stay hydrated.
Lastly, my friends, HAVE FUN! Listen, if you’ve been on a strict “diet” or have been eating all of your fruits and veggies and whole foods consistently, it’s OK to have something that you normally wouldn’t eat as a treat (as long as it doesn’t make you sick).
Today is about appreciating what we have and who we have in our lives and to remember what we’re thankful for, so be thankful for your health and don’t stress about eating that slice of pecan pie if you really want it. Have a little food freedom today. That means, if you make an active decision to eat something that maybe has too much sugar or some gluten or dairy, and you know you can tolerate it, then have it, savor it, and MOVE ON. Don’t let food guilt bring you down today.
Cheers to a day full of fun with friends, family and FOOD!!!