Holidays, IBD & Food

With the holiday season upon us, I wanted to take a moment to remind a few people that the holidays are not easy for many of us. For people who live with a chronic illness like inflammatory bowel disease, their lives are full of unknowns. In many situations, especially around the holiday, they may be nervous or have anxiety about socializing, especially if it's an event focused on/around food. Please be gentle with us, as many of us will smile, but grimace inside hearing the comments about the foods we may choose to eat or may not be able to eat.

When it comes to consumption of food, please do your best not to judge.

When we say "I'm sorry, it looks delicious, but I just can't have that," it means having that could potentially put us in the hospital and we must be extremely structured with our diet 99% of the time; many of us deal with blockages and stricture among many other complications & to put it simply, WE know which foods are "worth the pain."

But when we DO consume foods that you know bother us, please keep your comments to yourself. There is nothing worse than not eating your favorite food for more than 15 years, only to try it and be reminded by family and friends who give unsolicited advice about how to handle our business.

We know you care, but we also know that sometimes you're watching the things we do and judging us. I encourage everyone to do their best not to say or do things that might hurt someone else's feelings this year.

Holidays can also be a trigger for many people, with or without illness.

Seasonal affective disorder and depression/anxiety can worsen during the winter, and especially around the holidays. Social anxiety can worsen IBD symptoms or trigger a short-term flare. If you're hosting and you'd like to privately ask that person if there is something you can make that won't bother them, I think that's a very thoughtful idea. Though, if/when you do ask many of us, we've already rearranged our schedule when, where and what to eat before visiting around the holidays. For me, I don't want to make someone put more work into what they've already done, so I do my best to eat ahead of time a lot, so I know what ingredients are in each dish - that's a big one for me.

Don't be offended if we don't eat at your house.

We're just happy to be out of our own homes sometimes and celebrating with the people we love most.

With that being said, I hope you are ALL able to physically and emotionally enjoy the holidays and keep those who are less fortunate than us in your heart. If you can, take a moment with your family to send thoughts and prayers to those who do not have a home this holiday season.

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