Traditionally Christmas is a time for eating drinking and being merry and for most it is the one time of year we give ourselves permission to overindulge. With work Christmas parties, catching up with friends before the holidays, family gathering the all important Christmas Dinner and the weeks of leftovers following the big day, all involving food and or drink you would be forgiven for gaining a few pounds throughout December.
For those who suffer with intolerances, Christmas can be a difficult time, depending on the severity of your symptoms. I have IBS, I have not properly tested out the boundaries of the condition to determine which foods affect me the worst, so I am trying to stick to a Low FODMAP diet. Although I will be eating and most likely a lot of foods I should not be eating I will be following these tips to help reduce the symptoms when I do eat something I shouldn’t.
Planning has been key to sticking to this Low FODMAP Diet so far, and will be key in keeping it up over the Christmas period. I notice a big difference in myself when I am unable to plan my meals. Create a meal plan for the holiday season and stick to it. I find batch cooking meals on a weekend for my weeks lunches and some of my dinners a life saver. If you have your day to day planning sorted you will have more time to focus on your Festive Food Planning.
Exercise, I have found to improve my ability to eat certain foods high in FODMAP’s. If like me you suffer from wind, going for a long walk or a run is a great excuse to relieve this build up and prevent the awful cramps if you do start to feel bloated. Exercise is also a great stress reliever, I find stress to be one of the biggest factors in affecting my bodies reaction to food. Even 10 minutes of exercise can help, perhaps schedule in a post Christmas dinner stroll with the family to let out the farts, you know the olds will be doing it anyway so get them outside!
Drink of the alcoholic variety is a big part of most peoples christmases. Whether its getting completely rat arsed at the works Christmas do or trying some of your grandad’s homemade wine on Christmas Day it’s something you are likely to be around. Alcohol is however a gut irritant and can cause IBS to flare up. Knowing your limits both in general and with IBS and drinking alcohol in moderation is a important to make sure your Christmas more comfortable.
Sleep is key to me being able to function day to day. I am an 8 hrs + kinda girl. Even I have the odd late night and these can become more frequent around Christmas with Parties to attend and I’m A Celebrity on past 10pm. However a lack of sleep can lead to an increase in stress which is a big trigger for a lot of IBS sufferers. So try to stick to a good routine for sleep and if you do find yourself out late try and make up the hours of sleep where you can.
DeStress. Most of these points can help reduce stress levels in general and around Christmas time. With planning and preparation you can relax on Christmas day knowing everything is already done. Exercise and a good amount of sleep will improve your moods and reduce your stress levels. Try and stay out of the family dramas, take some time for yourself, have a nice bath and put your feet up! Do you really need and excuse?
Wishing everyone a stress free, comfortable Christmas Season!