Holidays are a social time. When gathering with loved ones, it is often surrounding celebrations involving food. This can expose those of us on a therapeutic diet, with great temptation! It can also expose us to the criticism of our loved ones, who may be surprised at, or confused by our choices.
Making choices different from the crowd, can require extra courage, creativity and resilience. When the changes are well suited to our needs, the benefits make the work worth while to us and the improvement in our health is obvious to others. However it takes time to get to this point and some patient determination is required in the beginning.
The following tips are meant to inspire you to find a path that is right for you. If you find the right pace of change and a way of negotiating the social and emotional landmines of lifestyle and diet change, you are more likely to find your way to better health.
Adjusting to Change
Take care to introduce changes at a pace that is right for you, depending on the urgency of the need, your adaptability and the current level of stress in your life.
Focus on what positive changes you can make each week to take control of your diet and let the changes and benefits be accumulative.
Learn as much as you can about ways to enhance your recovery so that you succeed with your efforts!
Check out the Whole Approach welcome page page for answers to many of your questions including some you likely didn't know you had!
Change and our friends and family
Sometimes the lifestyles and attitudes of those around are as challenging as our own cravings and adjustments.
There's a lot to be said for practicing grace (at least on the outside), as you adjust to your Whole Approach candida protocol and candida diet. This will make it easier for others around you to adjust too.
Following are a few specific strategies to make communications with loved ones around food, easier:
Beware of trying to convince others in your life that you need to make changes. Let your improved health be enough justification for your efforts.
Sticking to it?
When you're socializing you'll have to decide based on your own goals, sensitivity, day-to-day self care and current state of health, how careful you need to be with sticking to the candida diet and abstaining from foods that trigger sensitivities for you. Below are some tips.
Though special occasions and traditions that always involve meals will require some navigation, at other times try to find novel options. Try organizing alternative activities with friends and family that do not revolve around food and drinks.
Some activities that don't revolve around food include: hiking, walking, bowling, frisbie, tea around a fire pit, board games, movies, dancing, dog centred sports like agility and more. Please share your favourite alternative activities!
If you take firm responsibility for what you can and can't eat and do not act apologetically or embarrassed, others will more quickly develop respect and acceptance around your decisions about what is right for your health.
The consensus from our members seems to be that generally, it's best not to mention candida issues if you can help it in your casual social or work circles. However, if you mention it to close friends, try to keep the details to a general, as-asked, and/or need-to-know basis.
Try not to get into a list of the foods or the details even if someone is showing interest. Change the subject to something interesting or fun if you can do so kindly and stick to positive statements.
Though people will try to persuade you for many reasons to eat sweets etc, but don't let this pressure you into inhibiting your health goals.
Try to appreciate their kind intentions while letting them know that you prefer to feel as well as you can to enjoy the occasion and that these choices are very beneficial for you.
If need be you can explain that eating even just a taste of sweets can trigger cravings and cause you to weaken you resolve to feel as well as you can. You could try telling them that for you, "Nothing tastes as good as your health feels".
Alternately some people use a simplified explanation, "I have digestion problems and they result in food intolerances."
Or you could explain blood sugar sensitivity…etc. Pick one and keep it simple and matter of fact with as few words as possible and change the subject. People will pay less attention to it if you do.
Sometimes our choices to do something different can trigger guilt or judgement from others. If you've lost visible amounts of weight, redirecting attention from your food choices will be under scrutiny as people will be concerned about you. Do all you can to get your weight up and make sure your loved ones know you're eating lots and consuming high calorie foods so they don't feel as much of a need to be protective.
If you are invited to a hosted meal you can tell them that you'd love to join them but that right now it's a bit complicated for you to eat out. You can explain that you have digestive issues and food sensitivities so need to choose your foods carefully. You could offer to have them over to your place.
Or (and this can be tricky) ...you can explain the above and ask if they would be comfortable with you joining them but bringing some substitutions that you could share with the guests if they like or save just for yourself if they would prefer. You can name a few things you CAN eat if they are prepared simply. Let the host know you can eat veggies dishes that have no added dairy, wheat, wheat soy sauce or sweetness. Even if they make something not quite perfect you may be able to enjoy it healthfully just the one time.
If bringing food, choose one or two dishes you can bring that are suitable for you to eat and constitute a balanced meal, (in case there is little else you can eat). Also try to make it something other guests will truly enjoy.
Another strategy when you don't know what food will be available...is to eat some healthy foods before going so that you can be prepared to nibble if that's all that works for you.
If you're going to a potluck gathering, you can bring a healthy dish to share and tupperware container of extra snacks for you. Then just fill up your plate with them discretely. If you know the group well enough, try to find a polite way to ask ahead if people would be willing to bring an ingredients card.
If you know there will be sweets there, consider taking your own homemade cookies or muffins.
Having herbal tea bags or small seltzer waters on hand can help you resist temptation.
Keep in mind that if you don't mention it most people won't notice what's on your plate as you think they will. You could even discretely add some foods you've stashed on a cold pack in your bag.
Concentrate on enjoying the people you are with and your activities and try to reframe thoughts of deprivation to thoughts of the advantage of knowing how to help yourself feel better
Try using humour if you're good at it and it's the right group: - one wonderful member Sharon offers the following:
"I'll say that I'm on a natural foods diet that contains nothing artificial and no preservatives. This sometimes brings facial expressions similar to aghast or consternation.
I take the lead from that and sometimes say, "Yes, and next month I'll be joining a commune in San Francisco where I"ll be able to grow my own organic vegetables and wear skirts made from hemp. I'll even be able to dye my own skirts with all the leftover veggie juice." Sometimes I get really carried away .... "Did you know that if you juice an organic carrot during a full moon that it will turn the loveliest shade of chartreuse? You have to remember to sacrifice a tadpole though during the first of the month or it won't work. And if you don't yodel during the sacrifice all will be lost."
I just say I'm on the Eye of Newt diet recommended by the American Association For The Beautification And Improvement Of The Bodily Organs And Tissues -- or whatever comes to mind. Sometimes I'll also say that I"m like the Wicked Witch from Oz -- sugar makes me melt and that's why I can't have any. But I have to be careful not to say that around small kids -- I don't want them to think I'm really a witch.
If you are dating you'll need to decide whether or not to explain. Hopefully you can make the choice about where you're going in a discrete way that does not demand you offer explanations. Just mention you know a great place to eat and mention some of the things you appreciate about it that you think will appeal to the other person.
In my opinion, most dates will NOT want to hear details, at least on first or second dates and maybe never. The most important thing you can communicate is that you are actively restoring your health from a set back and that your health care involves extra nutritional nurturing and a healing diet. Hopefully they will be inspired by your self-responsibility and your resolve.
When it comes to being sexually active if you have genital yeast you need to be sure not to transmit it- either by abstaining or by waiting till you know the person well enough to manage the situation with their input for the well being of both of you.
Above all- you're taking good care...
Try to remember how your 'old diet' would make you feel and how good your new diet can help you feel.
If you can find ways to integrate some of the above strategies in a way that works for you then all you have to do is resist the temptation to eat foods that take you off course.
Lao Tzu, a famous Taoist teacher says, "I can resist anything except temptation."