Enjoying the Holidays with Food Sensitivities

by Helen Rose, Raw Food Chef & Founder of Superfoods on Main

It can be daunting to think of all the food pushed at you during the holidays, enticing you to take at least a bite. However, you know what will happen if you indulge; the cramping, the bloating and then just plain discomfort for the next 24 hours to name just a few of the possible symptoms.  That’s no way to spend the holiday season when all you want to do is enjoy the food and the company.  Whether or not you have sensitivities to gluten, eggs, or dairy you can avoid the discomfort and enjoy holiday dishes.  Here are five ways to enjoy the holidays, even if you have food sensitivities.

BYOF (Bring Your Own Food). Offer to bring safe food so that you know there will be something there that you or your children can eat and your host doesn’t have to worry about separate food preparations.   Included in the article are two recipes that are dairy-free and gluten-free.  If you want to learn more recipes attend a workshop on how to create gluten-free and dairy-free “Holiday Recipes”.  

Inform your host.  It is polite to inform the host of your special dietary needs so they are aware.   This does not mean they have to make special food for you and your family, but sometimes there can be easy substitutions that the hostess is willing to make. If you're hosting a party, seek a caterer that is knowledgeable in food sensitivities to include a try or two of vegan and gluten-free foods.  

Start the trend. Include an ingredient listing card with your food contribution to the party.  If you are hosting, keep all labels from the food you prepare in case one of your guests has a food allergy as well. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness at a party and with friends.

The rules. Go over “the rules” for parties with your kids in the car so that the most important safety rules, such as not eating a food unless he or she has checked with you first, will be fresh in their minds when you arrive.

Order ahead. Still not sure or do not have time, order meals ahead that meet your dietary needs from a cafe that is knowledgeable in food sensitivities.

By preparing ahead of time, you can enjoy your holiday, share awesome delicious recipes with others and have a healthy holiday by boosting your health with delicious and healthy foods that meet your dietary needs.  Happy Holidays!

 Butter Nog (recipe by Jeff Rose)
This recipe in our opinion is better than the original!

1 butternut squash, seeded, peeled, & cubed
1 T. brazil nut oil
2 c. almond milk
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. ginger root, fresh
1 t. pink rock salt or Celtic sea salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. cardamom
1/4 t. allspice
2 T. dark agave nectar (can substitute other varieties if you'd like)

•Blend all ingredients in your Vitamix until just past room temperature. Serve in cups with a dash of cinnamon on top! Enjoy!

Helen Rose is founder of Superfoods on Main, a vegetarian cafĂ© a superfoods store.  It specializes in vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and raw vegan dishes and is located on Main Street in Mount Airy Maryland.