Eating over the festive season can be delicious fun but it can also be a nightmare for someone with a sensitive gut. It is so easy to find yourself in situations where friends and family want to be sociable and share food and drink with you without realising the kind of food that can upset you.
In the run up to Christmas we will post some recipes and ideas that might help you stay well and keep symptoms under control.
First up is ‘communicate’. If you are eating out or with friends and family it is important to let them know the real difficulties you have with food and see if they can accommodate your dietary needs. Keep advice to them simple and don’t expect too much. You can also offer to bring along something you can eat and others might like to share. Our book Cooking for the Sensitive Gut (Pavilion 2016) has lots of good ideas and you can buy a copy here on Amazon or at other good book shops.
Our book contains a comprehensive list of the key ingredients that you can include in your diet including fruit, vegetables, meats, fish, cheese etc.
So let’s start with planning your Christmas meal.
- The good news is portion of turkey is low in Fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) and should not cause most people any problems.
- Small quantities of any meat and fish can be tolerated by most people as long as they are not too fatty. Just watch the sausages because they usually contain wheat flour and a lot of fat. Both can upset a sensitive gut.
- Keep portion sizes small. Most people eat twice their normal intake of food on Christmas day. This is not a good idea if you have IBS and a sensitive gut because a lot of any food can trigger symptoms.
- Gravy can be tricky for some if it has been thickened with wheat flour and contains onion. If it is home made from the roasting juices it can be tasty and shouldn’t cause a problem. If you want to thicken the turkey/meat juices use cornflour.
- Potatoes can usually be tolerated by people with a sensitive gut but they should not be dripping with fat or oil.
- Avoid large portions of bread sauce unless it has been made with gluten free bread. Cooks often add cream and butter to bread sauce so it can be very rich.
- Two Brussels sprouts are low in FODMAPs and can be tolerated by most people. Sprouts contain useful amounts of micronutrients and dietary fibre. A small quantity is good for the gut and the microbiome that helps overall health.
- Carrots and a small portion of parsnips can be tolerated by most people with a sensitive gut.
- Christmas pudding is a bit of a problem because it contains a lot of dried fruit which can ferment in the gut and trigger symptoms. I will come up with some suggestions for other puddings in the run up to Cgristmas.
In my next post I will give you the recipe for a wonderful stuffing to accompany your Christmas meal.