Healthy for the Holidays

I was going to title this post Christmas with Chronic Illness and then decided that just sounded depressing. Healthy for the Holidays sounds more positive, no? Anyhow, it’s been a year since I was diagnosed with endometriosis and adenomyosis during surgery. Since both are inflammatory conditions, and medication only does so much, I’ve had to make a lot of dietary changes in order to feel good.

Shortly after my diagnosis, I went on an elimination diet. Alcohol, sugar, wheat, lactose, caffeine, red meat, sulfites and other potential inflammatories were all gone. And that was in addition to the things I did not eat because of my food allergies and my daughter’s fructose intolerance. Merry Christmas, right?

Slowly, I’ve been able to add some things back. I eat lactose-free Greek yogurt most mornings and once again eat cheese (Comté makes up for a lot of things I miss.) I eat some sugar. I eat dark chocolate. Wheat seemed tolerable in France, which means I’ll just have to go to Paris a lot. And there are actually some decent gluten-free, egg-free breads out there (I’m looking at you, Little Northern Bakehouse.) I now prefer alternative milks in my coffee and tea. I’ve been off red meat, but might have the occasional steak if I have a craving since it does not seem to be a problem.

Sadly, alcohol is a no go. Even if I just have a little, I really feel it the next few days and it’s just not worth it. I’m perfectly happy with my cranberry soda, but alcohol is such a social thing. I find that when I don’t drink, some people can be funny about it. It’s honestly the biggest drag of this whole thing. Well, that and not being able to eat General Tso’s chicken on Christmas Eve anymore.

A lot of my treats are now in non-food form. I treated myself to this gorgeous little water colour by Carol Gillott at Paris Breakfast since it was about the cost of one dinner I can’t eat. Isn’t it pretty?

It reminds me that strong things endure and Our Lady will rise again. I find it inspiring. Dramatic? Yes. But did I mention I can no longer drink champagne?

Do you have any food restrictions? Do you find it harder over the holidays?

Xx

12 comments

  1. Hi Jen, I’ve never understood why some people get so snippy about others not drinking. Probably because they’re aware that the non-drinkers have a clear view of how some people behave when in their cups!

    Paris Breakfasts was one of the first blogs I started reading when I got into French Style over 10 years ago. (I had always admired French style, and was delighted to find a whole raft of blogs about it.) I haven’t checked it out in a while, must do so, I love her illlustrations.

    I don’t have any food restrictions per se, I just have to be careful about salt – I find it gives me a headache if I consume to much salty food at one time, which is tricky because I love olives. Despite your diagnoses, with your new diet you are probably healthier than most of us now!

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    • I love Paris Breakfast too. Isn’t the internet wonderful for linking up so many kindred spirits? Salt is my one allowed vice. Thankfully, I have low blood pressure so it’s not too bad for me. I think you are right on the drinking front. I think that non-drinking writers have a tendency to make others paranoid at times! Xx

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  2. I’m so glad to see this post. Last April, I had a GI bleed that turned out to be Diverticulitis and have been Gluten free ever since. I have found a wonderful flour so I can bake for Christmas but have had to give up Ice cream, although I can drink milk and eat some cheese. It is very difficult but more and more restaurants have some Gluten Free items on the menu. I do drink a little red wine now and then. I eat Yogurt almost every morning and have found some passable bread and pasta.

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    • I’m glad you are on the mend. That sounds like it was very painful. I find most restaurants are very accommodating. Even in Europe this summer, I was able to find things to eat. Fast food is tougher. It was so much easier when I could just grab a bagel if I was running around. Now, I need to plan more and bring a bag of almonds! I’m glad you found some good baking flour. That will make the holidays more enjoyable! Xx

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  3. I have some other friends who can’t drink due to medical conditions and I don’t even notice it anymore, I always have Perrier around for parties anyway. When I was dealing with my ulcer I couldn’t drink but it has healed now so I’m back to having wine, although I never have too much anyway as I’m afraid of triggering a migraine! And of course I’ve never had hard liquor I can’t stand the taste. How MrBP can drink Scotch I have no idea, I kind of wish I had the taste for it though, it’s so cozy seeming!
    I’m happy you’ve found a place with your diet that seems to agree with you, it’s no picnic (literally) dealing with a condition that can be triggered by food and drink. I think you’ve dealt with it with a lot of grace and style… as per usual!! xox

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    • You are too lovely. I’ve always wished I could drink scotch too. Lagavulin (beloved by the Scots in my family) has such a lovely smokey scent. I wish they’d make a candle or something so I could partake! I’m glad you are feeling better and can enjoy a glass of champagne this Christmas! Xx

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  4. My diet is absolutely riddled with food restrictions, unfortunately. It wasn’t always like this, though. When I was younger – and even well into my teens – I could eat anything and everything. It’s only as I’ve gotten older that I became intolerant to a lot of things. It all started in my mid-20s when I was diagnosed with IBS and a dairy allergy. In my 30s, the doom continued and I realized that a lot of processed, fried and frozen foods give me acne. There’s very little I can actually eat now without suffering painful effects. I stick to plain food (red meat, veggies, fruit, gluten free grains, and herbal tea). I don’t touch alcohol at all, but then I’ve never been much of a drinker anyway.

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    • Oh gosh. It’s hard, isn’t it. Have you tried the FODY products for IBS? The IBS and Fructose intolerance diets tend to overlap so I use a lot of their products. I love the FODY ketchup, sauces, pasta sauce, salsa, salad dressings etc for my daughter. We’ve been able to reintroduce some flavour into the house without her having to take a dextab to offset the fructose in garlic, onion and high fructose corn syrup. They are Montreal based and sell online and at most Metro stores now (look for the purple tops in the gluten free section.) I can tolerate them well too. Xx

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  5. An intriguing discussion is worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you ought to publish more on this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but usually folks don’t discuss these subjects. To the next! Many thanks!!

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