Christmas and the holidays are a time of celebration and food usually takes a central role, so what if you need to avoid certain foods to prevent having symptoms over the Christmas/holiday period? You can eat food and take some steps to reduce the effects, should you wish. It is possible to eat nice food and prevent spending boxing day never off the loo and with a covered hot water bottle strapped around your stomach. You just need to plan ahead – a reason why this post is going to be published early. First lets talk about Christmas lunch – skinless turkey, carrots, parsnips (use spray oil to roast) and potatoes are fine to have. When making gravy use stock from the turkey and spoon off or pour off the fat that settles on the top of the stock, thicken with corn or rice flour to make a nice gut-friendly gravy. For roast potatoes you could parboil the potatoes for about 5 minutes and then drain off the water, keeping the potatoes in the pan, shake the pan to soften the potato surface – spray with oil and then place in the oven to roast. Trimmings such as cranberry sauce is OK – only have a small portion, wheat free stuffing is also possible using herbs and wheat free bread crumbs (see the LOFFLEX Christmas post for the recipe – although you can use whole fresh herbs) or rice crumbs (available from larger supermarkets.) Again it might be better to trim any bacon fat and grill bacon to reduce the fat levels and prevent diarrhoea, and grill wheat free sausages. These are ideas to help, but of course, if you know your IBS well, you may want to eat normally, it may possibly be uncomfortable for a short while but won’t necessarily do any lasting harm. The following recipe is for Low FODMAP christmas cakes, hope you enjoy!
150g dairy free margarine
150g soft brown sugar
3 eggs (room temperature)
1 cap full (1/2 tsp of vanilla essence)
150g of the wheat free self-raising flour blend.
1tsp of mixed spice
1 flat tsp of cinnamon
1 flat teaspoon of ginger
2 tablespoons of chopped roasted pecan nuts
5 tablespoons of lactose-free milk.
Icing sugar, ready-made fondant icing sugar (check label for fructose) and water to decorate.
Cream together the butter and sugar till the mix is pale in colour.
Add one egg at a time and one tablespoon of flour, mix well till all three eggs have been incorporated. Add vanilla essence.
Sieve the spices and flour into the mix and fold in till well incorporated, add the milk and nuts and mix well.
Spoon mix into paper cases.
Bake in a preheated oven gas mark 6/200 C until risen and browned.
Allow to cool, add some water to icing sugar to make a thin coating. Using ready prepared icing, roll out and cut shapes. ‘Stick’ the icing sugar shape to the cake with runny icing made from icing sugar and water and decorate as wished.
Eat one – (or maybe two if you must! ;-))
I hope all my readers have an enjoyable Christmas (or holiday) and here are some tips that might help –
You DON’T have to be a domestic goddess this Christmas, plan ahead and remember that having time with your family is the most important thing – they will appreciate you just being there, not frazzled or tired after trying to be perfect. Remember that being a perfect ‘housewife’ or ‘househusband’ is a marketing concept and these concepts are usually impossible to attain, no matter how you try (or, in fact, how much you spend!) Children, in particular, appreciate time with their parents more than anything.
Plan ahead if you can – now is the time to take a break and sit and plan your shopping and meals for over the holiday period. Shop online if you don’t like large crowds.
Plan a short walk with the family after Christmas lunch – will help constipation and stop the slump in energy levels after lunch.
Don’t slouch on the sofa eating snacks whilst watching the afternoon or evening movie, try to keep your posture and sit up straight if you can.
Moderate your alcohol intake – who wants to spend boxing day with diarrhoea, abdominal pain and a hangover?
Eat slowly and chew your food well, savour your meal – you have worked hard for it!
Christmas can be a stressful time and this won’t help your gut, IBS is not ‘all in your head’ but stress produces hormones that affect your gut, this can make symptoms worse. Avoid arguments over the dinner table, this may be difficult if you have critical family members. Tell them beforehand that arguing or criticising is NOT acceptable, you are making an effort for them and that should be appreciated, if it is not, then perhaps they are not welcome at the lunch? Be assertive and stay calm!
Don’t have unrealistic expectations, setting yourself up for disappointment, do what you can – nobody will or should expect more.
Here is some fun stuff
Does your granny always tell ya that the old songs are the best?
Santa Claws – Simon’s Cat – Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, your ornaments are history! (Simon Amaranth)
A beautiful rendition of In The Bleak Mid Winter