The holiday season is a time of joy, togetherness, and delicious food. For those who are working on improving their digestive health & microbiome, navigating the holiday festivities can be a bit challenging. St. Nicholas Day and Christmas are no exception. However, with a little creativity and careful planning, you can enjoy these special occasions while staying true to your dietary restrictions. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips and gut health friendly recipes to make your holiday celebrations both festive and healthy.

Duck

Before we dive into the holiday specifics, let’s briefly recap the principles of the SCD / GAPS & gut health-friendly foods. This way of eating is designed to manage gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It restricts the consumption of complex carbohydrates and refined sugars, focusing on whole foods, lean proteins, and specific carbohydrates that are easily digested.

:Tips for Celebrating St. Nicholas and Christmas

Plan Ahead: Planning is crucial when following a specialised diet during the holidays. Plan your menu in advance, so you know exactly what you can eat, and prepare accordingly.

Be prepared to say no It is okay to decline a food that isn’t gut-friendly. Even when it’s offered with love and the best of intentions. 

Communicate Your Needs: Don’t be afraid to communicate your dietary requirements to your host or the person responsible for the holiday meal. Most people are understanding and willing to accommodate your needs. You can also opt to offer to bring your own versions so that it’s easier on them. The most important is to communicate with them.

Prepare Your Own Versions: Get creative in the kitchen by preparing microbiome-friendly versions of holiday classics. Let’s look at some recipe ideas!

Focus on all the other aspects of the celebrations: The holidays are about mroe than just food. It’s about spen ding time with loved ones and creating memories. 

Gut-Friendly Holiday Recipes

1. Roast turkey with gut-friendly gravy:

  • Instead of traditional flour-based gravy, make a delicious gut-friendly gravy using pan drippings, chicken or turkey stock, and arrowroot powder as a thickener.

2. Butternut squash soup:

  • A creamy butternut squash soup with homemade chicken broth, butternut squash, and a dash of nutmeg can be a satisfying appetizer.

3. Mashed cauliflower:

  • Replace mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower. Steam the cauliflower, then blend it with butter or ghee, salt, and pepper for a creamy side dish.

4. Gut-friendly stuffing:

  • Use almond flour or almond meal as a base for your stuffing. Add sautéed vegetables, herbs, and diced apples for extra flavour.

5. Roasted vegetables:

  • Roast a variety of gut-friendly vegetables such as carrots, Brussels sprouts, and courgettes with olive oil and gut-friendly herbs.

6. Gut-friendly cranberry sauce:

  • Make cranberry sauce using fresh cranberries, honey, and a touch of orange zest for a sweet and tangy side dish.

7. Gut- friendly gingerbread cookies:

  • Enjoy a holiday favourite by creating gut-friendly gingerbread cookies using almond flour, honey, and ginger. Get creative with your cookie cutters and decorations.

8. Homemade applesauce:

  • Prepare a simple homemade applesauce by cooking apples with a touch of honey and cinnamon. It’s a perfect accompaniment to your holiday meal.

Remember to double-check that all ingredients and recipes are gut-friendly. 

Here are some more ideas of gut-friendly dishes that you can enjoy during the St Nicholas and Christmas celebrations:

  • Appetizers: Deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, guacamole with vegetables, and cheese and charcuterie platter.
  • Main courses: Roasted duck or chicken with vegetables, grilled fish with roasted vegetables, and beef stew.
  • Side dishes: Green bean casserole, roasted Brussels sprouts, and sweet potato salad.
  • Desserts: Almond cookies, coconut macaroons, and fresh fruit.

St. Nicholas and Christmas celebrations can be just as enjoyable and memorable while following a gut-friendly diet. By planning ahead, communicating your dietary needs, and preparing gut-friendly recipes, you can savour the flavours of the season without compromising your health. Embrace the opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and share your delicious gut-friendly dishes with loved ones. Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!

St. Nicholas and Christmas celebrations can be just as enjoyable and memorable while following a gut-friendly diet. By planning ahead, communicating your dietary needs, and preparing gut-friendly recipes, you can savour the flavours of the season without compromising your health. Embrace the opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and share your delicious gut-friendly dishes with loved ones. Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!