In addition to fun and fellowship, most holidays, regardless of which ones are celebrated, involve feasting on rich food that can wreak havoc on delicate digestive systems. Holidays can be hard enough when you're vegan and have nonvegan family, friends, and coworkers, but throw IBS into the mix and navigating these events can seem impossible.
Fear not. With a little advance planning, you'll be able to enjoy the festivities without spending the following day regretting what you ate. Here are my top tips for managing the holiday season without a flare-up:
Holidays are stressful for everyone. However, stress is a leading trigger of IBS symptoms. Knowing this can help you plan ways to keep stress under control.
Exert portion control.
While it's enticing to pile your plate high at a party, the more you eat at a time, the harder it is for your digestive system to process all that food. When only a few vegan items are on the menu, it's tempting to load up on those, even if they contain high-FODMAP ingredients. The key is to pace yourself. Eat a small meal before you go to a gathering so you aren't ravenous when you arrive, and space several meals throughout the day rather than gorging at a banquet.
Don't skip meals.
Skipping meals can make us feel less bloated, boost a sluggish appetite, and minimize IBS symptoms temporarily. Avoid that temptation! When you skip meals, energy wanes, resolve flys out the window, and there's a greater chance of binging.
As vegans, we know that options at "mixed" gatherings may be limited. As vegans with IBS, our choices are further limited, often drastically. In addition to eating something safe to quell your hunger before going to a party or buffet, stash a few low-FODMAP snacks in your purse or pocket.
Exercise nips stress in the bud and also keeps the digestive system relaxed and moving more effectively. Walk, participate in physically engaging games, or dance.
Banish the bubbly.
At many holiday get-togethers, boozy beverages are flowing, but alcohol is a common symptom trigger for many people with IBS. Steer clear of alcholic drinks, especially anything bubbly, such as champagne, beer, and fizzy mixers, to avoid becoming gassy and bloated.
Drink the good stuff.
Water, that is. Water aids digestion and also prevents dehydration, which we can be more prone to if we're overindulging in food or alcohol. Sip peppermint tea during the day or bring some bags of peppermint or ginger tea to a party and make a cup for yourself if hot water is available.
Do you have additional tips for how to manage the holidays as a vegan with IBS? Please share them with us in the comments section below.