I love to bake. Around the holidays, the motivation to bake things and give goodies to all of my friends and family increases.
It’s something that I take great pride in, but it hasn’t always been that way. After I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, the gift of food made me quite anxious. Even though I have Celiac Disease and all of my loved ones know that, it doesn’t mean they didn’t go ahead and make their favorite desserts and wanted to share them with me. I mean, really,who doesn’t love getting homemade baked goods during the holidays?
However, I was in a bit of a pickle. Do I eat this to please them and get sick or do I look like a rude, ungrateful friend? Let’s face it…not everyone likes to air their dietary preferences to their friends and family but sometimes you have to. I learned how to grac iously accept their food as a gift and not get sick at the same time. I still have to put this into practice and I’ve been gluten free for YEARS.
When someone presents you with the gift of food, typically, your mind suddenly frantically catalogues the possibilities of planning how you’re going to dodge this one. Maybe you’d intended to tell them ahead of time about your dietary restrictions and forgot or hoped you could avoid the issue altogether somehow. Either way, now you know there’s no escape. You don’t want them to think that their food is going to make you sick when, in fact, it probably will.
To avoid that, I have my usual script when I come across this issue. Here is what I say…
- I graciously accept their food, compliment them on how good it looks, or smells if you can smell it (unless you have nut allergies – then just put down the dish and stare at it) and then mention something of how thoughtful they are to think of me during this time to year.
- Then I say that I can’t wait to bring this home and share it with the people I love – they are going to love it. This way, you have taken yourself out of the equation without them knowing.
Usually this works with no other tricks but, every now and then you have that friend, colleague or family member that wants you to try it right then and there with them watching you. If this happens, here is what I always say…“I would love to try this right now but I have to avoid __________ (fill it in with your enemy ingredient), but I am sure my family is going to love it. Thank you so much for thinking of us.” This way, you turn it into a family affair! Someone in your family will be able to eat it right?! If not, no big deal.
There are a couple different items that are easy and edible gifts from your kitchen that you can give during the holidays that are usually safe for everyone. One thing that I have started doing is attaching a recipe card to the gift so that the person receiving the gift knows exactly what is in the gift AND it’s a gift that keeps giving all year round!
Tips for attaching a recipe card to your gift:
- Make sure you list all of the ingredients that you used to make this item – even down to the oil or seasoning that was used. You would be surprised at what people will react to.
- To make your items a little healthier use:
o Use coconut sugar, date sugar or honey in place of processed can sugar.
o Use coconut oil, greek yogurt or fruit puree instead of butter.
o Use flaxseed or chia seeds mixed with water to replace eggs in recipes. That mixture is 1 Tbsp flaxseed or chia seeds mixed with 3 Tbsp hot water. Mix together and allow to gel (2-3 minutes). You would be surprised at how many people cannot have eggs!
o You can always give fresh fruits and vegetables. I personally would love to receive fresh fruits and vegetables during the holidays!
This will make holiday baking and gift-giving a little less anxious for you and your family. This works great for teacher gifts and office gifts as well – not just for family and friends.
There are so many people out there who are avoiding different foods and food groups for different health-related reasons and sometimes it’s hard to avoid anything and everything that people are sensitive to, allergic to or just plain don’t eat certain foods for other reasons. This is a way to respect their dietary choices and let them know that you care at the same time!