The holidays are fast approaching and for many this means a calendar full of festive events and gatherings. Normally, the idea of a big feast is exciting but for those suffering from symptoms of gastroparesis a large dinner is something to avoid. Fear not, there are still plenty of ways to attend holiday celebrations while catering to the demands of gastroparesis. Read through these tips and tricks to ensure that you enjoy this holiday season to the fullest!
1. Be positive! Easier said than done. The holidays are the perfect time to relax, enjoy the company of loved ones, and give thanks for all that you have. It is quite easy to focus on the things you don’t have, but this is the perfect time to change that mentality. Give thanks for another year of life and all of its ups and downs. Feed off of the positivity energy that accompanies the upcoming season. A calm and positive state of mind is a sure way to decrease symptoms and improve overall wellness.
2. The most important thing to remember is that while most holidays, especially Thanksgiving, are centered on a huge meal, the actual time spent around the dinner table is significantly less than all of the time spent preparing for the celebration. This is great news for those who feel their best option is to limit food intake. Indulge in conversation with friends and family you may not see very often. Enjoy the televised parades and sports that add to the festive mood. The holidays have more to offer than food, and you should take every opportunity to bring new meaning to them.
3. If you like to cook, bring a dish. The host will never turn down help with cooking, and it also prevents you from showing up empty handed. Knowing there is something available to eat that digests easily can make the night so much more enjoyable, especially when everyone gathers at the table for dinner. Make sure to cook or bring something that works for your specific symptoms, don’t worry about having a crowd-pleasing dish.
4. Bring or suggest playing a game. Start up a card game with the post dinner coffee crowd or a family game of charades. This will help you to feel included throughout the night and may even keep your mind of any symptoms you may be experiencing. It will also keep you busy so that you aren’t tempted to eat too much of the food and candy that is usually put out for before and after dinner. Your game may be such a hit that you start a new tradition!
5. If you know that you will be attending an event where you don’t have much control over the environment, it may be a good idea to eat beforehand. This ensures that you know exactly what you are eating, and you can do so in a comfortable stress free environment. Too much excitement at mealtime can slow digestion, which will not help symptoms of gastroparesis. You can always bring some gastroparesis friendly snacks like low fiber protein bars or a meal replacement shake in case you need some nutrition throughout the night. These options fit well in purses or pockets.
6. Traveling is a big part of the holidays and can be daunting for those who suffer from gastroparesis. It is important to remember that many over-the-counter nausea medications come in tablet form, which helps when it comes to following traveling guidelines. Make sure to pack plenty of gastroparesis friendly snacks in your luggage. Planning ahead keeps you from having to eat something that may not settle well or cause a flare up of symptoms. Always have enough food on hand for the days you spend traveling, as airplanes and rest stops probably will not have much to offer for restrictive diets.
7. While we encourage you to be as involved as possible throughout all of the festivities, we realize this may not be realistic. If you know that you will be forced into eating things that exacerbate symptoms or cause flare-ups, it may be better to time your arrival for the post-dinner celebrations. Have your meal of choice at home where you will be free of peer pressure to overindulge and take a bite of everything being served. Speak to the host ahead of time to let them know why you will be showing up late, people are likely to be more understanding than you think!
It is important to remember that you can partake in all of this year’s upcoming celebrations. The key is to plan ahead and stay positive. This may not be the best time to experiment with new foods so that you don’t end up missing out on any of the fun. Stick to what works for you. Remember, when you feel your best, it shows on the outside as well!