Surviving social life on the AIP can be tricky … sorry … there’s no coconut-sugar coating this one.
Figuring out what’s safe to eat and how to politely convey your needs can be downright challenging. But having food allergies or intolerances doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun – or good food!
The first thing I want you to remember is that you’re not alone! Secondly, let me assure you that you don’t need to miss out or feel like a burden! There are so many tips and tricks on how you too can survive the holidays … or any other celebration or invitation where your AIP Lifestyle might be “challenged!” You’ve got this!
Preparation is Key!
Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
Never were truer words spoken than these
… especially for those on the AIP!
Okay, let’s get this party started!
Know Your Why!
Take some time now to remind yourself what your WHY is … WHY are you on the AIP … WHY do you want to feel better? Having a firm resolve, or “WHY” in mind as you head into the season of temptation will help you to navigate the pitfalls with more resolve for sticking to your healthy intentions. You might also want to check out this book by Kelly McGonigal – “The Willpower Instinct – How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters and What You Can Do To Get More Of It.”
Communicate With the Host & Be a Good Guest
Right along with preparation goes communication! If you’ve been invited out the first feeling is typically excitement, quickly followed by a wash of fear and panic … but I’ve got you boo!
If you’ve been invited to an event at someone’s house you’ll need to communicate your food allergy or intolerance – it’s a must! Don’t be embarrassed or sheepish about it, food intolerances or avoidances are NOT unusual these days, BUT many people may be unfamiliar with exactly how to accommodate your needs and unintentionally “gluten” you or incorporate an ingredient that isn’t idea for your dietary needs – so communicate well and be a good guest.
Asking ahead of time what is on the menu and explaining exactly what you need to avoid can go a long way to helping both you and your host feel more comfortable.
It’s always a good idea to bring a dish or two that you know you can eat and that everyone will enjoy. Desserts on the AIP can be especially tricky, so opting for fresh fruit is a great way to go – it’s one of my favorite things to take to someone’s house as it won’t out-shine the meal and most people enjoy something light and refreshing.
If you need some recipe ideas, be sure to join my searchable Facebook Group!
Just Eat Real Food
I say this a lot, but the best bet for those with food sensitivities and allergies is to focus on the basics rather than having to dive in and scour ingredient lists to determine if something is safe for your needs or not. Opting for fresh or cook veggies, meat, salad and fresh fruit are typically good options, but you need to be mindful of seasonings too (see below). If you’re ever unsure what’s in a dish, politely pass on the option and if need be simply mention you have food sensitivities and need to be extra mindful – that is typically enough to help avoid any hurt feelings from whomever made the dish. Remember, eating food you’re uncertain of isn’t worth the risk of triggering your allergy or intolerance and feeling downright rotten for days afterwards – your body will thank you for watching out for it.
Know What It’s Swimming In
If you’ve been on the AIP for any length of time, you know that watching the ingredients on seasonings, sauces, marinades and dressings is essential. Gluten, refined sugars, soy, eggs and dairy lurk everywhere!
Obviously you wouldn’t ask or expect the host to cater to your every need and check all of their spices and condiments so they suit your needs, but there’s no harm in asking that they “hold” the marinades and sauces in your case by keeping a portion of meat, veggies and salad aside for you. Offer to bring a homemade salad dressing that everyone can enjoy and maybe a sauce to add flavor to your unmarinated/unseasoned meat and veg.
Don’t Show Up Hungry
Studies show that we make poor food choices when we’re hungry or tired, so be sure to get a good night’s rest and eat well-balanced meals before the big event – you’ll be less likely to be tempted into indulge in something you shouldn’t.
Bring Back Up
If you know options will be limited for snacks, appetizers and the main course, be sure to slip some AIP options in your pocket or purse that will travel well – things like AIP meat bars, packets of coconut butter, coconut chips, dried fruit or fat bombs will help keep your blood sugar stable – check out my big round up of snack options here – there are lots of premade options and coupons to help you get through.
One big question I get from new AIPers is, “what can I drink?” This can be an even bigger concern during the holidays or at social events, but let me assure you, you don’t have to feel out of place – there are lots of tasty options – you’re not stuck drinking water for the rest of your days!
Sparkling water with frozen blueberries is actually my favorite, but there are dozens of recipes for AIP mocktails and hot beverages posted in my searchable Facebook Group – be sure to check it out.
If you’ve always been a social drinker and are having a hard time in social situations where alcohol is on offer, I’ve dedicated a whole post about to the topic – “Do I Really Need To Give Up Alcohol?” – click here.
Can I Cheat … Just This Once?
This question comes up a LOT … especially during the holiday season! Because it’s a FAQ, you guessed it, I have a post for that – check it out here.
Gave In To Temptation or Accidentally Ate Something Non-Compliant?
Don’t freak out! What ever you do, DO NOT stress about it! The effect of stress on the body can be worse than the actual item you ate (unless of course you’re actually allergic to the ingredient). Trust me, everyone slips up from time to time, whether intentionally or by accident. Now is the time to show self-compassion, be kind to yourself and move on. Be sure to drink plenty of water and enjoy a cup of ginger or peppermint tea to help your tummy. Over the next days, be sure to focus on nutrient density and gut healing foods like bone broth and soups that are gentle on digestion. Get plenty of rest and listen to you body. You can read more in this article – “Gluten Explosure – A Healing Guide.”
Looking for tummy taming recipes – click this handy link to the search result for that in my AIP Recipe Collection Facebook Group (you can also search there for “tummy tamer” or “under the weather”).
More Advice & Tips
How to Really Eat AIP – Top tip from Angie Alt – “Don’t Be Weird!” This post is perfect to consider before you hit the holiday season – don’t let FFFEF stand in your way!
Navigating The Holidays & Social Situations on a Healing Diet – Some of the best advice I’ve read about the topic – by Mickey Trescott.
Maintain Your Social Energy This Holiday Season – This one includes how to prepare your “Elevator Speech” – so you don’t have to be weird about your AIP lifestyle!
You Don’t Have to Apologize for Changing Your Diet – This is a very practical and helpful article that will help you prepare your mind for how to deal with the skepticism of friends and family.
15 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season