3 Tips to Eating well for Gut health this Christmas

Christmas & family gatherings can be the most challenging time for people with food intolerances and allergies—or even just for those of us trying to eat a little better. Not only is it a time of excess to celebrate with friends and family, but it is also the time when foods are prepared communally—and let’s face it, ‘traditional Christmas food’ (in the western world) is far from healthy. At best, it’s just eating too much delicious roast veggies (if that’s possible), and at worst, it’s rice pudding eating competitions and an extra 5kg.

Food is central to life and eating together—whether it be brunch with friends, family meals, ice cream and popcorn in front of a movie, or the Christmas feast, food is a way to bond, share, and care for each other. Making the change due to health issues or living with allergies that require you to eat differently can be isolating, alienating, attract unwanted attention and teasing, or leave you hungry. Even though eating differently (whether it be dairyfree, glutenfree, cane sugar free, vegetarian, vegan, free range only, or nut free) can mean that you feel physically better, with less headaches, body aches, clearer skin, or even healthier weight, it can be emotionally challenging when everyone around you is sharing in something you would rather not eat. It can also be hard if you’re away from the comfort of your fridge and pantry at home.

So, here are my holiday survival tips.

#1. Prepare. Come with snacks for when everyone else is having cheese and crackers. Don’t be caught out. Make sure you always have something ready to go in case non-allergy-friendly dinner is dished up. The worst thing is to be caught hungry surrounded by people who are eating.

#2. Replace! Choose your favourite dish, the one Christmas dish you just ‘can’t live without’, and make an allergy friendly version. Make it edible—something that everyone can eat!

#3. ….and bring extra! No doubt your friends and family will be curious about what you eat, and they’re probably going to want to try whatever amazing dish you whip up. While it can be an additional load on the preparation to make extra to share, this can pay great dividends in allowing others to experience that food can still tasty delicious when it’s different. Instead of an argument about the validity of various food choices, it’s often better to just focus on eating delicious food. Opening the door for others to explore eating for their own health as well can allow for a sense of connection & understanding that would otherwise be missing.

You never know, next time someone else might bring food that’s ‘Edible’!

For gut health specifics including supplements for healing, dietary changes, meal sizes, chewing and more, as well as body-friendly food inspiration, see ‘Edible’ by Angela Flack http://www.ediblethebook.com.

How much of this? he says.

Cooking in my kitchen: There’s no eggs to be cooked through. Real fruit and vegetables vary in wetness and size. I don’t know where the scales are kept or how well done you like your pumpkin; I rarely shop with a recipe in hand. I’m not sure how tart the lemons will be. And I am in possession of a poetic licence.

I’m not much for recipes. But I want you to try this delicious thing I created the other day, really I do. So I will tell you what I used (if I remembered to write it down) and you will need to meet me part way.

Use a splash. A pinch. A handful. Balance the ingredients with each other, not me. Taste it, smell it, feel it and decide for yourself. If you see an image of it slightly different, or you have some leftover raisins to use up, exercise your god-given liberties. Take responsibility for what you create, and make it your own.

I’ve heard it said that it’s about the journey, not the destination. And while I want the destination to be lovely, pretty, perfectly risen and textured; In truth, I’m not sure it will be. And frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

I want you to make a mess. I want you to have fun. I want you to explore and create and discover, and report back, or not.

Keeping company with slightly offbeat and wonderfully spontaneous combinations is how I roll. So, please recreate and correct my so-called ‘recipes’. I’d be disappointed if you didn’t. x

clear conscience

too many people have food guilt. too many people hesitate before they have a bite, or swallow without fully savouring what they have in their mouths. too many people say ‘no’ when they would be much happier saying ‘yes’.

I have found that I have the most guilt when I am not living in alignment with who I really am. I worked answering the phone for Telstra for 6 months, to the day. In performance reviews with my manager, no matter how constructive or wonderful she was, I would feel guilty. And why? Because I was attempting to live in a circumstance that was not conducive to me. I was attempting to fit into a mould that was not ‘me’. I felt I ‘should’ be different, but I wasn’t. Because to work for a company that operates for profit and to be in an air-conditioned office 9-6  is not me.

This leads me to my favourite thing about being vegetarian, and about eating naturally sweetened whole foods. It wasn’t until I explored vegetables that joy took centre stage in my relationship with food. Thoughtlessly eating factory-farmed foods is not part of who I am. Neither is eating processed, nutrient-deficient inedible ‘foods’. Now I know what sits well with me, and it is not the bodily discharges of unhealthy, caged animals.
Living in alignment with that, I can eat this

gluten-free, dairy-free, naturally sweetened pumpkin pie to my heart’s content. Guilt free all the way. Doesn’t hurt my belly, and doesn’t hurt the cows. It will make me grin. It will satisfy me. I will share it without hesitation. And then, my body will tell me quite clearly when I have had enough, when I start lusting after crunchy greens or savoury tempeh.

When I listen, my body will steer me towards balance. And everything I eat can feel joyous. That’s my favourite part.

For my absolute favourite take on dietary balance, Check out Jessica Porter and Macrobiotics at  http://www.hipchicksmacrobiotics.com/