The silly season tends to come around way too fast. And it’s usually a time when we let our hair down a little bit (and there’s nothing wrong with that!) but when you have food intolerance, you might be a little more concerned about how you’ll get through. This article runs through some of our top tips.

1. Reduce stress- We know stress aggravates IBS and food intolerances. During this busy period keep up your existing relaxing techniques e.g. regular exercise or meditation, aim for 7-9 hours’ sleep per night and be organised- see point number 2.

2. Be organised- Honestly most of us are time poor and the best way to manage our time is to plan ahead and be organised. A great place is to start scheduling your time. Use a diary- your phone, online app or paper based- schedule all essential commitments eg: work, events, then add in exercise and other activities you like to do. Next think about meals and snacks, this can be a simple task with some or all these elements e.g. creating a meal or snack list, buying the ingredients and cooking or preparing and freezing or storing prepared meals in the fridge for the following few days. Meals that freeze well include soups, casseroles, lasagne, Bolognese, omelettes and rice based meals. Making meals and freezing ahead can make your life easier because on those nights you’re feeling too tired or busy to cook, you can have dinner reheated quicker than you can go and buy a takeaway meal and what’s more is that your gut will love you for it. Save takeaway or restaurant meals for the nights you’re out socialising, and this will help keep your symptoms settled. The same applies to snacks- if you have fresh fruit and nuts or other healthy snacks available your gut will feel better.

3. Stay hydrated- at this time of the year it’s easy to forget to drink water. Aim to drink around 8 glasses or more if you are exercising excessively and sweating. Did you know caffeine can be a gut irritant for some people? So try swapping a few coffees for herbal teas or cold glasses of water with refreshing fruit e.g. orange or lime slices, frozen blueberries or raspberries.

4. Moderation- At this time of the year alcohol and ‘treat foods’ are everywhere, but for those of us with a sensitive gut know that too much alcohol and fatty foods can actually trigger symptoms. When going to a party take a plate of something you can eat, such as a salad or platter with veggies, fruit and nuts so you have foods that you can enjoy while you are socialising. Alternate your alcohol with cold refreshing water or make a non-alcoholic fruit drink. We’ve all overdone it before and know what it feels like the next day if we’ve overindulged, so being mindful and enjoying foods and drinks in moderation will ensure you feel good the next day. Lastly if you go overboard and overindulge in foods that make you feel unwell, return to your safe diet, treat your symptoms, be kind to yourself and try to relax so the symptoms settle sooner.

The key to surviving the Silly Season is to relax, plan, drink plenty water, enjoy everything in moderation and be gentle to yourself if your symptoms flare up. We hope you have a wonderful Christmas!