‘Tis the season for holiday meals with friends and family! Sometimes having a special diet during the holidays can come with an extra side of planning. We asked our Nima community members to share their experiences, and any nuggets of wisdom they’ve gained along the way.

What's the wildest question you've gotten about your special diet? (How to Talk About Your Special Diet During the Holidays)

 “You have Celiac? So, you can’t eat celery, right?”

“Why don’t you just cheat?”

“If I eat this gluten free stuff, will I get Celiac disease too?”

So you can still have beer right?”

Can’t you eat these gingerbread – there’s not that much flour in them?”

“Is it contagious?”

What do you say if you don't want to explain why you have a special diet? (How to Talk About Your Special Diet During the Holidays)

“I usually find it easier to just say it’s an allergy.”

I tell them it’s an allergy and that I will die at the table. That gets their attention. :D”

“It’s complicated.”

I DO want to explain but nobody wants to listen. They’ve heard it before so it’s just blah, blah, blah to them.”

“I ate before I came.”

“I have plans and don’t want to sleep on my bathroom floor for the next 3 days.”

Do you have a special way to prepare for holiday gatherings? (How to Talk About Your Special Diet During the Holidays)

“We either host the holiday ourselves, or we tell people beforehand and eat before so we’re not very hungry, just in case!”

“Bring something I know I can eat & my Nima.”

“We always have a gluten-free serving table and a regular table. Everyone eating from both tables hits the gluten-free side first.”

Educate about gluten ingredients, cross-contamination, and Nima.”

“I make everything at home and transport.”

Any advice for folks who might be attending their first holiday gathering with a special diet? (How to Talk About Your Special Diet During the Holidays)

Eat from community buffets FIRST – people will contaminate everything by touching utensils to other food items that contain gluten.”

Always ask questions about sauces, even if they say it’s safe. They don’t always think about it.”

Don’t feel pressured to eat something you’re not comfortable with. Your health is more important than others’ feelings.”

Eat before you go and don’t make the gathering about the food!! It’s about being together.”

Take your own food until everyone gets used to your needs. And even then most of the time still take your own.”

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A special thank you to our Nima community for sharing their stories and advice with us! You can check out more community stories here.