It’s your first holiday season diagnosed with celiac disease and you’re feeling sad and overwhelmed. What do you do?
"It’s important to get to the root of the problem so that you can address it. It is natural to feel a sense of loss and you have to recognize that you feel like you are giving something up. Different people come to terms with this in different ways. If you are overwhelmed at having the conversation with your relatives about your needs, it may be easier to bring your own meal so that you can have the whole fixin's without having to worry. Or you can opt to cook with your relatives and learn together. There may be a support group in your area that celebrates holidays together. Often these events are before the actual day, so you can ask for both cooking and relationship tips from the pros. If you like to cook, challenge yourself to make your favorite dishes gluten-free. If not, it may be best to focus on achieving one thing…making gluten-free stuffing or finding the best tasting gluten-free pie around."
- Jennifer North, Beyond Celiac Vice President
"Cut yourself some slack. This is a huge lifestyle change so cry, scream, and wail if you want. It's okay. Feeling sad is a natural part of loss, so acknowledge it. Change isn't easy and being overwhelmed is also normal, but you can do something about it. Begin by educating yourself (BeyondCeliac.org resources will help!), get support (find a local support or Meetup group), and pamper yourself, too. Also, try not to focus on the "food" aspect of the holidays if you can, but don't deprive yourself either. There are many gluten-free treats and substitutes that taste great and are easy to make. Remember the New Year is coming, so get excited about a happier, healthier 2016!"
- Beckee Moreland, Beyond Celiac Director of GREAT Kitchens
"A couple weeks beforehand, I go online to do some research about what others with celiac disease do for their holiday meals. I visit my local health food store and prowl the aisles, looking for likely fresh or gluten-free packaged substitutes for my favorites. I give myself permission to grieve a bit for the loss of some traditions, try some new things, make some mistakes, and take the pressure off myself. I reach out to my loved ones for extra support."
- Claire Baker, Beyond Celiac Director of Communications and New Media
"If you haven’t done so already, this is a great time to join an online and/or a local celiac disease support group in your home town, to help get you through your first gluten-free holiday season and beyond! Not sure where to find a support group? Beyond Celiac has some resources to get you started: Celiac Disease Support Groups. In addition, take some time during the holiday season to have fun and experiment with re-creating gluten-free versions of your favorite holiday foods, as there are so many wonderful gluten-free blogs and cookbooks these days to inspire you!"
- EA Stewart, The Spicy RD