As I sit in front of a cosy log fire, with the Christmas tree newly decorated, enjoying a hot chocolate stuffed with melting marshmallows and accompanied with homemade gingerbread for dipping, I can't help but reflect on Christmas's past before I was dairy free, lactose free and gluten free.
I am certainly happy that I never miss out on food or drink. I am still much more fortunate than many many people. My attention to my diet due to various health problems and symptoms has led me to lead a much more considered life. I seek out new foods at every opportunity. I take extra pleasure in finding things I can eat and do enjoy. And when the going gets tough and I feel like I'm missing out..... I bake! Cake, biscuits, fudge, flapjack, caramel, crumble, cookie dough and most of all chocolate (with a few meals in for vitamins and minerals!).
The free from market is changing. Thirty years ago when my mum was shopping to avoid artificial colourings and more for my brother we visited a sterile and bland shop which was inappropriately named a health food shop. Now you can step into most regular supermarkets and find something to eat. Most places will even stock more sweet treats than anything else in their free from range. The price can be higher but on the whole it is much more affordable now than it ever was before. There is still a long way to go before we have equal offerings for people with all kinds of food allergies and intolerance's but there is hope that change is ahead.
This year I am learning to appreciate what I can have, bring up my son with warm fuzzy memories of our kind of family Christmas and not worry about what we may not have. There will be Christmas dinner, cake and pudding, mince pies, sweets, chocolate and a few drinks. Food has not become a problem it has become a pleasurable challenge and a way of looking at things in a different way.