You have probably heard the term BYOB. It means “bring your own bottle”, and it refers to a party where you, as the guest, are supposed to bring your choice of alcoholic beverage if you want to drink. Recently I heard a variation on that term: BYOF. It stands for “bring your own food”. Dr. Eric Zelinski, who is a natural health speaker and author, discussed this on his podcast. Those of us with food allergies and sensitivities, or who are on a special diet for other health reasons, often find the holiday season difficult. Many events are centered around food. If you are like me and can’t eat gluten and dairy products, you may be left with very few choices at a party. Dr. Z suggested bringing your own food, which I think is an excellent idea.
Bring a dish to share
When you are invited to a party at a friend’s house, call up the host and offer to bring something to share. This should be something that everyone will like, but that will be substantial enough for you if there is not much else you can eat. If the event is a lunch or dinner, I often bring a quinoa salad which has black beans, tomatoes, spices and an olive oil dressing. I take this to our monthly fellowship lunch at church and a number of people always thank me for it. If the host is having appetizers, then bring something that you will enjoy such as a vegetable tray with an avocado-based sauce.
Bring part of the meal for yourself
We have a community-wide Thanksgiving lunch in Aiken called One Table. Food is cooked and provided by donation. It is open to all at no cost. This year they estimate they served 1600 people. My family wanted to participate in it a few years ago and I wanted to as well. However, I was certain that there would be little that I could safely eat there other than the turkey. So I made myself a large salad, took it with me and ate it along with the turkey they had there. I enjoyed sharing in the fellowship with Aiken residents and not worry about getting “glutened”.
Eat at home first
If nothing else works, then try and eat before you go to the event. Concentrate on enjoying talking with the people there and any other activities that they may have, instead of the food. It is not worth harming your health to eat things that you are allergic to. With some advanced preparation, you can enjoy events and remain healthy.
Remember to make BYOF the new “in” phrase!