Navigating the Festive Table: Eating Healthy with Bowel Disease During the Holiday Season by Sue London

I remember all those years I had Crohn’s disease; while I would be struggling, sick in the washroom for hours at a time, my family waited patiently for me to get better. Before we could start our yearly rituals of seeing what Santa brought everyone, the holiday season would often find me grappling with the challenges of managing my health. The festive season, with its array of tempting foods high in fat, sugar, and preservatives, posed an additional hurdle in maintaining digestive well-being.

Negative Effects of Alcohol:

Adding to the complexity, the holiday season often involves social gatherings where alcoholic beverages flow freely. While it’s tempting to join in the merriment, it’s crucial to be aware of the negative effects of alcohol, which can include increased inflammation, disruption of gut bacteria, and potential irritation to the digestive tract. For those with bowel diseases, moderation and mindful consumption become key considerations.

Strategies for Healthy Eating:

1. Plan Ahead for Gatherings:

Before attending holiday gatherings, communicate with hosts about your dietary needs. Many are willing to accommodate special requests or provide details about the menu, allowing you to plan your choices and ensure there are options that align with your health goals.

2. Opt for Simplicity in Cooking:

   When hosting or contributing to a holiday meal, prioritize simplicity in cooking. Choose recipes that are gentle on the digestive system, focusing on well-cooked, easily digestible foods. Consider incorporating steamed vegetables, lean proteins, and easily digestible grains.

3. Mindful Eating Practices:

   Practice mindful eating by savoring each bite and paying attention to your body’s signals. Eating slowly and being aware of portion sizes can help prevent overindulgence and reduce the likelihood of triggering digestive discomfort.

4. Stay Hydrated:

   Adequate hydration is crucial for those with bowel diseases. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you consume foods that may contribute to dehydration. Limit caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they can exacerbate dehydration and irritate the digestive tract.

5. Choose Fiber Wisely:

   While fiber is generally beneficial for digestive health, those with bowel diseases may need to be selective. Opt for soluble fiber sources like fruits, vegetables, and oats, while reducing intake of insoluble fibers found in certain raw vegetables and whole grains that can be harder to digest.

6. Mind the Triggers:

   Identify and be mindful of specific food triggers that may exacerbate symptoms. Common triggers include spicy foods, high-fat dishes, dairy, and artificial sweeteners. Knowing your triggers can help you make informed choices at holiday gatherings.

7. Bring Your Own Dish:

   If you’re uncertain about the available options at an event, consider bringing a dish that aligns with your dietary needs. This not only ensures you have a safe choice but also introduces others to delicious and health-conscious alternatives.

8. Focus on Gut-Friendly Desserts:

   Indulging in sweets is part of the holiday experience. Opt for gut-friendly desserts like fruit-based options, yogurt parfaits, or desserts made with easily digestible ingredients. Explore recipes that use alternatives to common triggers like refined sugars and artificial additives.

The holiday season is a time of indulgence, but for those managing bowel diseases, it can present unique challenges. The good news? With mindful choices and careful planning, you can savor the festivities without compromising your well-being.

As you navigate the holiday table, remember that a mindful approach to food choices is your ally. Strike a balance between enjoying delicious seasonal treats and prioritizing your health.

Overcoming Crohn’s: A Message of Hope for the Holidays

For years, I battled Crohn’s disease, enduring 18 surgeries, a burst intestine, and the loss of 3 feet of intestines. Despite the odds and the label of “incurable” from doctors, I made profound changes in my life and triumphed over Crohn’s. I share my story as a beacon of hope.

As we approach the end of the year, let it be a reminder that every new year holds the promise of better health. If you or someone you know is facing the challenges of bowel diseases, know that healing is possible. Reach out to me at, and let’s embark on a journey toward a healthier and brighter tomorrow.

Embrace the optimism that a new year brings, and believe in the possibilities of healing. If you’re seeking support or guidance on your health journey, I’m here to help. Reach out, and together, let’s make the coming year one of renewed well-being and vitality.

Wishing you much love & many blessings,

© Sue London: A Beacon of Healing and Inspiration – Award-Winning Hospice Pet Doula, Animal Communicator, Podcast Host, Author, Speaker, Trainer and Esteemed Healer

Former President of the Crohn’s & Colitis Halton Chapter, Ontario, Canada, Sue London has dedicated her life to fostering healing and inspiration. With a remarkable background of working with over 10,000 individuals with bowel diseases, Sue is not a doctor and does not prescribe medicine. Instead, she made a transformative turn on her path, shedding stress and worry, and healed through the same method she now offers her clients – Reiki!

Sue London is globally recognized and respected, having been honored with the prestigious Humanitarian Award and acknowledged as the Empowered Woman of the Year for 2024.

Her unique skills extend beyond the realm of pets to people, making her a beacon of hope and solace in holistic healing. Sue’s profound ability to connect deeply with individuals and animals is rooted in her personal journey of surviving two near-death experiences, transforming her into a powerful bridge between our world and the spiritual realm.

Drawing on her empathic gifts, Sue channels heartwarming messages from the souls of people and pets, providing closure, healing relationships, and fostering understanding that might otherwise remain elusive. Through her transformative healing techniques, Sue has helped countless individuals find solace and forge a deep sense of inner peace.

Discover more about Sue London, her work, products, and services at

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