I love the holiday food! I can’t say I felt that way a few years ago. I was so paralyzed by fear that I could hardly move. Every party that would normally get me excited became dampened with fears around eating. All I could think about was all the food I couldn’t eat and all the explaining I was going to have to do. Would people understand or would they judge me as a paranoid health nut? It was very important to me that Arleena not feel deprived or out of place because she had a “special belly” that couldn’t have the gluten and the dairy. The thought of having to cook a complete meal every time I went to a family function was more than I could take. After much prayer and many inspirational audios I decided to face my fears. If this is your first holiday eating gluten free here are a few tips on how to make it an enjoyable one.
What I found was a lot of my fears were in my head. I remember picking up the phone and calling my aunt to see if anything that we normally ate was gluten free. I found that many things only needed one or two ingredients left out and they would be alright for us to eat. At this point I ran into much insecurity that I didn’t know I had. I didn’t feel that I was worth having people go to trouble on my behalf so I could enjoy the meal. The only reason I was even making these phone calls was because my Arleena needed to eat. If it had been just me I would not have even asked. I would have just brought a salad to eat. Wow! How often I discount my value and take away opportunities for others to help me. I had two of my aunts’ offer to bring special dishes we could eat and a loving sister who made a gluten and diary free desert. As a driven, independent person it is very hard for me to ask and accept help. This was something I could not do alone but would have to engage others in. You are worth helping just as I am worth helping… Please know that you matter to me and to God! As soon as I took that first step and humbly asked for help… the help came overwhelmingly. Now when I go to family events we are taken care of with plenty of dishes we can eat. As I talk to my family they all tell me that once they understood what gluten was and how to cook for us it was no big deal. My fears are gone and I have a large support system that makes sure we are always loved and supported. I am so thankful for my family and friends that always make sure I am fed with a smile on my face.