Navigating Holiday Celebrations with Digestive Sensitivity: Insights from Dr. Lynn O’Connor

With several holidays in the coming weeks (Purim, Holi, Easter, the end of Ramadan, and Passover), and as someone who specializes in colorectal health, I understand the challenges individuals with digestive issues face during festive gatherings. I’m Dr. Lynn O’Connor, and I’m here to share some valuable insights on handling holiday gatherings with grace and care, ensuring a joyful celebration without compromising your digestive well-being.


Plan Ahead: Know Your Triggers

I have found that a key aspect of successfully managing digestive issues during holiday celebrations is understanding your triggers. Identifying specific foods that might exacerbate your symptoms empowers you to make informed choices. Before heading to a holiday gathering, take a moment to review the menu or inquire about the dishes being served. This way, you can plan your meal strategically, avoiding potential triggers while still enjoying the festivities.


Communicate with Your Hosts

Open communication is vital when dealing with dietary restrictions or sensitivities. As someone who has navigated this myself, I encourage individuals with digestive issues to communicate openly with their hosts. Share your dietary concerns so they can better accommodate your needs. Most hosts appreciate the heads-up and are often willing to adjust to ensure everyone enjoys the meal.

Portion Control: Quality Over Quantity

Holiday celebrations can tempt us to indulge in large portions of decadent dishes, but I advise a different approach for those with digestive sensitivities. Instead, choose smaller portions of well-cooked, easily digestible foods. Quality over quantity is key. Choose foods that are kinder to your digestive system, focusing on lean proteins, well-cooked vegetables, and easily digestible grains. Moderation is the name of the game.


Mindful Eating: Savor the Flavors

Amidst the hustle and bustle, I’ve learned the importance of mindful eating, particularly for those with digestive concerns. Take your time to savor each bite. Chew your food thoroughly, as proper digestion begins in the mouth. Mindful eating not only aids digestion but also allows you to appreciate the flavors without overindulging.


Stay Hydrated: Water is Your Ally

I can’t stress enough the importance of staying hydrated, especially during holiday meals. Drink water throughout the meal to aid digestion. Water is a digestive superhero; it helps break down food and move it through the digestive tract. Sip water between bites and opt for still water over carbonated beverages to avoid potential gas and bloating.


Bring a Dish: Ensure a Safe Option

If you’re uncertain about the menu, I often find that bringing a dish that aligns with your dietary needs can be a thoughtful solution. By contributing a dish, you not only ensure there’s something safe for you to eat, but you also share a bit of your dietary preferences with others. It’s a considerate way to navigate holiday celebrations without feeling restricted.


Conclusion: Celebrate with Care

Amid this season of connection and celebration, it’s crucial to prioritize your digestive health. As someone who has dedicated my career to colorectal health, I want to emphasize the importance of planning, communication, and mindful choices. By approaching holiday gatherings with awareness and care, you can navigate the season with joy and celebrate without compromising your well-being.

Remember, holidays are a time to enjoy the company of loved ones and create lasting memories. By incorporating these strategies, you can savor the festivities while respecting your digestive health.

If you find yourself facing persistent digestive challenges, consider scheduling a consultation with me. Together, we can explore personalized strategies to enhance your digestive well-being. Contact my office to book your appointment and embark on a journey towards a healthier you.


Contact Information:

Colon and Rectal Surgery of New York: Lynn O’Connor, MD, MPH, FACS, FASCRS

380 Park Ave, Huntington, NY 11743

(631) 350-6277