Social gatherings and food choices

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As we approach a season of many different holidays, our thoughts often turn to food. There is usually food at most any holiday gathering- which can be both a pleasure and a grief for those dealing with a chronic illness. Those with a history of endometriosis can often have gastrointestinal symptoms that are exacerbated by certain foods or patterns of eating. Those with endometriosis may also have other conditions with specific dietary guidelines (such as interstitial cystitis or migraines).  

We have noted before that while there is no specific diet overall for endometriosis, nutrition can improve symptoms as well as overall health and well-being. Nutrition should be individualized to your specific needs. As we approach the holidays, you really have to know your body. For example, one person may tolerate gluten in small portions, while another cannot tolerate even an occasional cheat. Knowing your body and practicing mindful eating can lessen the stress and enable you to more fully enjoy gatherings. Because food is not only essential to our basic survival, it is often at the center of community gatherings and part of the pleasure of living.  

Some preplanning to accommodate dietary choices can minimize the interference of enjoying social gatherings. It may be bringing a dish that you know you can eat, having a small meal beforehand so you won’t be as tempted to indulge in things that don’t agree with you, or having an artful dodge if someone comments on what you are or are not eating (or better yet- as Toby Amidor put it- “don’t be afraid to politely say, ‘no, thank you’ without giving a long explanation…you don’t owe an explanation to anyone — so don’t feel obligated”). Sometimes dietary choices can feel like a punishment- a series of avoiding things. Focus on what you CAN have and enjoy. From time to time we have to Jedi mind trick ourselves by knowing that we can eat whatever we want, but we are choosing something better for ourselves (because you are worth it!). And if you throw caution to the wind and indulge, then don’t beat yourself up over it. Next time you eat, you’ll eat something better for yourself. If you are still in the process of finding what food choices work best for your body, then here are a few things to consider: 

Diet and Nutrition:  

Is There an Endo Diet?:  


Mediterranean and FODMAP:  

Celiac Disease and Endometriosis:  

Interstitial cystitis:  


Amidor, T. (2018). How to Navigate a Holiday Party With Dietary Restrictions. Retrieved from