It was Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend, a holiday centred around food. Holidays become, at best, a lot more difficult when you have significant dietary restrictions. The food, often an integral piece of the celebration, can become a source of disappointment or even stress. Food is deeply social; a universal experience that everyone can appreciate, a bonding point that lies at the centre of nearly every large gathering. Food brings people together; after all everyone needs to eat.
Eating is so common that it’s nearly impossible to imagine that some people, people who look no different from the outside, simply can’t do it. Some can eat with restrictions, some can eat with pain and nausea, some cannot eat at all. For these people, for myself, nutrition is consumed through alternative methods, but some of the joy of connecting with others over a meal can be lost. Acceptance of the gift of familiar flavours is replaced with awkward attempts at explanations as I try to deny what I want the most in that moment. Wanting to stuff myself while knowing it will hurt me shortly after sometimes feels like being on a diet that never ends: a constant test of my self control.
On a day dedicated to being thankful, I am infinitely grateful for my life, quality of life, and my loved ones. I can’t help, however, wish that there wasn’t so much focus on a single meal that I cannot fully enjoy. I hope that these days get easier with time.