Whether it’s tofurkey, turducken, or seven fish, the autumnal holidays often revolve around a minefield of food. The overabundance of savory aromas poses a problem for even the healthiest celebrator but can be especially challenging with an abbreviated digestive tract. Below is a “recipe for success,” advice whipped up for those with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis to enjoyably eat, and digest, during the holidays (sans obstruction).
Unleash your inner food scientist.
As frustrating as it is to hear this when you just want a list of universally approved colonless holiday foods, everyone’s body really is as unique as a snowflake and thus responds to the same food differently. That green bean casserole may be no big deal for one j-poucher or ostomate even though it adds an extra few bathroom breaks for another colonless comrade.
The best way to know what works for you is to constantly experiment and gradually add things back into your diet. Just because the deviled eggs didn’t jive with your digestive system last Christmas, doesn’t mean the same will be true this year. Keep a food journal (which makes a great addition to your holiday gift wish list) handy to track what your palate’s testing out so you’ll know the culprit if something goes awry.
Embrace the holiday spirit (without the spirits).
Everyone (over 21) may be joyfully imbibing around you but, alcohol without the colon’s water re-absorption capability can dampen your present opening/giving skills come the next morning. Given the disruption in your regular meal routine, it may be best to skip the added risk of dehydration that comes with alcohol or to try to limit yourself to one glass.
Get into the giving mindset.
Already experimented and determined your digestive tract can’t steer too far off course from its usual diet? Offer to bring a dish that you know is a winner for your palate (and bring a secret stash of snacks to ward off the temptation of problem foods as the night continues). Who knows, your family could discover some new holiday favorites!
Now if you have a friend or family member who’s being too giving and won’t stop insisting on sharing his/her culinary creations with you, feel free to say you’re full from a party you just attended and ask them to pack some in a to go box instead.
Avoid the aft-ER party.
It’s the holidays and you should absolutely treat yourself. If your stomach is feeling on edge, you can indulge in non-caloric treats like sleeping in or an online black Friday purchase. If you do decide to give yourself the gift of rich, out-of-the-norm foods, take small bites, chew thoroughly, and try everything in moderation. The days after Thanksgiving and Christmas have some of the longest ER wait times of the year so goal number one is to keep yourself obstruction free!
Shift the focus and fill up on what matters to you.
We’re always criticized for overlooking what’s really important during the holidays in favor of inconsequential details like food. If you can’t eat this holiday season, frame your holiday participation around family and friends. Watch the game, wrap presents, or take a walk during the eating portion (or ask if you can come earlier and skip dinner).
Don’t want to miss out on the dinner table talk? Get involved by helping to set and clear the table. Ask if you can bring your phone to the table just in case your hands get fidgety while others yield forks and knives. Share some tips ahead of time about enjoying dinner with someone using a feeding tube (courtesy of The Mighty). And don’t forget to decorate your enteral bag!