Most of our important family and social events involve food. Christmas, birthdays, and celebrations usually incorporate food in symbolic and important ways. December and January are months where we holiday, celebrate and align with our family and friends—and we use celebratory foods and drinks as a primary way to do this. For those of us eating a ‘restricted’ diet, such gatherings can seem somewhat challenging. But it is possible to have your Christmas cake and eat it too!Christmas dinner
Firstly, I wanted to introduce the importance of food for humans as social beings?
While foods are essential for life by producing energy, nutrition and sometimes medicines, the entertainment value of foods has assisted human survival over hundreds-of-thousands of years. Of all the current primate species, humans are the only species that, when we find a food we rarely eat it in the vicinity, but prefer to take it back to a camp, prepare and share it with others. We are also the only primate that puts the group’s survival above the individual’s survival. All other primates, in their behaviour are the opposite. This group-supporting behaviour is now a part of our genes. Individual hunter-gatherers would have found it almost impossible to survive in nature by themselves—we do not have claws, fangs, nor are we a large animal. When individuals focus on ensuring that the group survives, then their own survival quality and potential also increases. We use communal cooking and eating of foods in order to align everyone into a tight-knit group. Those foods that smell good, taste good, have the right texture and crunch, produce laughter, positive bonding and connection, are the foods that assist our happiness and social congeniality. Without quality eating we lose some of our drive to tackle the challenges of surviving.
Unfortunately many of the foods that we find entertaining are the ones that impact on our health.  Also, consider this – most are derived from the plants we eat. Although plants may be entertaining and provide some nutrition all plants are, to some degree toxic and poisonous (particularly grains and sugar).
No plant wants to be eaten.  Plants protect themselves with spikes, some have woody tissue that makes them impossible to digest, but most use chemical warfare to protect themselves. Think of mushrooms – most of us wouldn’t risk eating a mushroom we find in the wild due it’s potential toxicity.  Also consider, there are more than 350,000 fruiting plant species in the world and we only eat a few hundred because the rest are either too poisonous or impossible to digest.
Plus to add into the mix, as we age, from around 35 years, our immune systems begin to scar and, for most, they scar around the naturally occurring plant defence chemicals of the grains, vegetables, salads, fruits, herbs, spices, nuts and seeds we eat. So while, it is is important for humans to enjoy the social interactions that sharing food engenders it can seem that some of our entertaining foods are out to get us – or at least our immune systems think so!.
So how do we reconcile this challenge?
The key is to tailor your diet to your individual needs so you can create space for entertaining foods in your diet, and promote excellent and sustaining health throughout your life.
For optimal health and longevity it is best to eat a specific diet customised to you and your immune system as you age that allows a degree of entertainment, of course. This is much better than just eating whatever you like, whenever you like, and turning to drugs and doctors to address any chronic health symptoms – which in many/most cases will be associated with problems with plant defence chemicals.
If a person is free of chronic symptoms and between the age of 14 and 35 when the immune system is at its optimal and strongest stage – which naturally tends to coincide with the most reproductive range for women and the age for most Olympic athletes etc, then you can probably eat any sort of diet, in any way and still remain perfectly healthy.Think bcak to your 20’s!
Unfortunately as we age changes will be occurring to our immune systems – naturally it will start to decline in strength and efficiency and if we experience chronic symptoms, then we would be wise, at least initially,  to look at the plant foods as the source of our symptoms. Most people with chronic symptoms would benefit from removing all grains from their diet as a first step.
But there is usually more to the story and although the removal of grains will lift you to some degree we work with people with chronic symptoms to uncover all the lifestyle factors that may be impacting you.  When you work with us, we take you through protocols to help you design your own individual diet. We also take people through specific protocols to test type-1 allergy diets, grain-free diets, signature diets, immuno-compromised diets and others to determine what foods are right for you for optimal health and wellbeing.
Armed with this knowledge you will know how much ‘entertaining food’ you can tolerate and incorporate those ones into your celebrations – without the hangover of the foods that trigger symptoms in you.
We say enjoy your Christmas – enjoy the meats and fish foods aplenty but if you are ready to get yourself on track in the new year – we can help you! Contact us for a free 45 minute consult to find out how!