Holidays are a little different on an alpha-gal and EDS diet
Avoiding getting sick is better than fretting about food restrictions
As someone with significant gastrointestinal problems due to having both Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) and alpha-gal syndrome, I find that Thanksgiving isn’t as straightforward for me as it is for most people. I can’t simply show up at someone’s house for a meal and dive right in.
At this point in my life, I think it bothers me less than it does other people. I’m often asked if I miss the food I can no longer eat. That may sound like an easy question, but the answer is actually pretty nuanced. Do I miss being able to eat without worrying? Yes. Do I miss certain delicious foods I can no longer have? Yes. Do I crave them? No.
That last answer seems to surprise people. When I think about eating something I used to love but no longer can, I waffle between two different feelings: “mmm, that tastes good,” and “ugh, that makes me feel sick.”
A matter of adjusting
Because it took so long to figure out why my stomach was upset all the time, I felt like everything I ate made me sick. I was miserable. After I learned what was happening and removed triggers from my diet, I began to feel much better.
I don’t ever want to feel like that again, so the appeal of any food I know will make me feel sick evaporated. I’ve also learned that I can adjust nearly any recipe to fit my dietary restrictions. When I cook at home, I can make just about anything I want, and I genuinely enjoy cooking.
When I go out to eat with others, however, they always feel bad for me because I can’t just order anything. I explain that I’m so happy to feel better that it doesn’t bother me, but I suspect most people think I’m lying. I wish more people would understand that I really am OK with modifying my diet, and it doesn’t bother me that others can order what they want. When I’m out with friends, I’m just glad to spend time with them. As long as there’s something I can eat, I’m good. If not, I’ll plan ahead so that I don’t arrive hungry.
My dietary restrictions are only as big of a deal as I make them out to be. As we approach the holidays, when so much revolves around food, I hope that others will understand this and just learn to roll with me!
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