Whether you are celebrating on the water with close friends and family or hosting a safe BBQ gathering at your home, Memorial Day weekend is such a fun time to be with the ones that you love and to celebrate your freedom and remember those who gave their lives serving our country so that we might celebrate that freedom. My wish for you is that you are able to thoroughly enjoy this holiday weekend, whatever that looks like for you, without the fear of GI symptoms ruining the celebration. While I believe and teach that the #1role of food is to nourish our bodies to be able to do all of the wonderful things we want to do, there is also a social and emotional aspect to it, and I want you to enjoy those occasions. Here are my top 4 tips for you to enjoy your Memorial Day while still honoring your body’s needs:
Hydration is key: Whether you are indulging in foods that aren't a normal part of your rotation, traveling away from home, or aren't getting the sleep you're used to, good hydration can help to offset some of these other activities. And it's something that you can control, even if you aren't making all of the food choices. I recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle along with you so that you are able to always have water wherever you go!
Consider eating a small meal before you go out: If you know that you will be somewhere that may not offer foods that won’t trigger your symptoms, then opt for eating a small meal before you go so that you are not hungry! This will prevent you from overeating (or eating the wrong things) when you arrive. Most people with GI upset can have enhanced gastro-colonic reflux meaning that when fatty foods hit the gut, they trigger the gut leading to symptoms like cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea.
Focus on other ways to celebrate other than food: have a corn hole tournament, or go for a swim with your children! Food gets SO much attention in our culture around the holidays, but it is important to remember the laughter and time together so much more. What are some other traditional (or new!) activities you can enjoy with people you are surrounded by? A game, a walk outside, conversation at sunset, a fire pit, or even a dance party - there is so much opportunity this season that doesn't involve food.
Listen to your body: The best “survival” tip that I could give you is to listen to what your body is telling you it needs. Eat slowly, and enjoy each bite. When your body is satisfied - your stomach is comfortably full, the most recent bite didn't have quite as much deliciousness as the ones before, put your fork down and move along to the next activity.
By preparing yourself mentally and physically you can better enjoy this time of love, sharing, happiness, and laughter. Keep in mind that symptoms may occur, but they won't last forever.