You would think that at 51 years old I would have figured out my body by now. I am usually great at seeing patterns all around me, but when it comes to my own life, I become oblivious. So here is how I solved the mystery of my annual December flu.

It’s really quite simple but it started with my 4-year-old grandson. Like me, his mom and his aunt, he has corn and wheat allergies. When he spends a day/days with his dad, he comes home glutened and then runs a high fever that night or the next night. It happens to him month after month, gluten=high fever.

So why, knowing this, would I attend three different holiday parties and risk eating food that is supposedly “safe”? Because I just want to be normal once in a while. I think that everyone on a special diet fudges once in a while hoping that “this time will be different.” That may be okay if you give up sugar or caffeine, but not when it comes to an autoimmune diet.

Those of us who have autoimmune conditions such as celiac disease or other food related allergies need to remember a couple of important facts before consuming something questionable.

  1. If you don’t make the food, it isn’t safe, realistically we all know that as a fact. I call it the onion ring in the french fry situation. No one cares about your allergic reaction as much as you do.
  2. If you eat something you are allergic to, you are going to get sick, and not just food allergy sick. It’s an autoimmune response…. if your body is sending all your white blood cells and defenders to your gut to kill the food, and everything around it, it’s not protecting you from viruses and germs in your environment. Basically, all your defenders left their post when you needed them the most.
  3. You’re going to lose 1-3 weeks of your life! Is that steak, salad or casserole worth it? At least one week will be with the fever, the potential cold or flu, the digestive issues, the nausea, and let’s not forget the fatigue. December is a bad time to have fatigue and it lasts three weeks for me. Now don’t forget to get out the Christmas cards, prepare for overnight guests, family dinners, wrapping gifts, shopping, etc.
  4. You are going to be emotional. As if bloating, diarrhea, constipation, hives, fatigue, a fever and possibly a cold or flu weren’t bad enough, you are most likely going to be moody. I am moody 2.0 otherwise known as irritable, short tempered and just all-around b!tchy. Since you most likely will suffer from insomnia with or without the cold/flu issue, your patience will be hair trigger thin. Add anxiety and depression to that and Christmas is not looking very merry.

So, on this first day of the new year, I am hoping that this will serve as a reminder to me, and maybe you, the next time you plan to attend an event or holiday party. This year, I am going plan ahead, make my own meal and pack it in my bag to eat next to my hubby. I am not going to avoid holiday parties, just the food that is poisonous to my body. So if you are like me, Christmas cards will be going out in the mail before Valentine’s Day and if all goes as planned, before Christmas 2018.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2018 filled with family, friends and safe food!