How Important Is It, Anyway?

The following post is from Amy of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free:

source: iStock Photo
source: iStock Photo

For those of us with certain dietary restrictions, gathering at the holiday table can be stressful. Or worse, it can leave us feeling on the outside of the celebration. We can feel as if the holiday spirit is lost on us. I’ve felt that way more times than I can count.

There is a certain magic that happens when people sit down to break bread together. There is laughter, conversation and bonding. As we nourish our bodies, our souls are nourished through the fellowship that takes place as the meal is shared.

When you can’t share in the meal, or certain parts of it, it’s so easy to feel left out, alone, not cared about. It’s easy to let the fact that your plate is quite empty leave your soul feeling empty too.

And, when traveling for the holidays, it can be nearly impossible to make time to cook food you can eat due to flight times and travel conditions. I’ve been in this place many times. Today, I find it even more difficult as my son has dietary restrictions. It can quickly become overwhelming.

For me personally, I learned to let go of what I wasn’t eating and to focus on being of service. I learned to add to the celebration by sharing in the conversation, helping the hostess serve food and  with clean up (even if she didn’t set aside any mashed potatoes before adding milk and butter). Yes, serving the food that I couldn’t eat always helped me to focus on being a part of the celebration because I was focused on what I was giving, not what I was getting.

I have had to accept that, on the instances when I can’t share in most of the meal, it’s just not that important. What is important are the people in front of me and the comradery that takes place.

If my son’s food intolerances persist, I will teach him the same thing. Sometimes you just can’t have a piece of pie and it’s ok. Yes, there can be situational joy while eating the pie. But the pie doesn’t define your happiness. I will teach him to define and be responsible for his own happiness. And I’ll start with helping him learn to focus on giving of himself. That’s what the holidays are about.

When you are not feeling the holiday spirit, how do you recapture your joy?

A stay-at-home mom, wife, and passionate cook, Amy strives to make each meal healthy and delicious. When she’s not doing laundry, dishes, or caring for her son, she plays around with food in the kitchen developing new recipes, which she shares at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free. Amy also publishes The Balanced Platter and authored the book Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free: 180 Easy & Delicious Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less.