Enjoying the holidays on a low nickel diet

As challenging as the holidays can be with work or family gatherings, enjoying them with a food allergy can be downright trying at times. Often it is annoying to have to miss out on eating processed holiday desserts or continually tell your colleges and family members you’re allergic to whatever they are serving.

When I first started the low nickel diet 9 years ago, I didn’t deviate from it at all. My eczema had been so embarrassing for so long, I wanted to continue reaping the benefits of eliminating foods high in nickel from my diet. Especially since my eczema was especially bad on my face, to the point that I didn’t want to be photographed. Eating a low nickel diet resolved all of my eczema within 3-4 weeks and it seriously felt like magical trick.

Over the years, I have learned that I can indulge during the holidays sparingly. I do not always have the severe eczema reactions I originally did prior to starting the low nickel diet. For me there are these specific chocolate, peanut butter oatmeal cookies I love. In 9 years I’ve only eaten them 2 times and it felt like a total indulgence. In an attempt to reduce my body’s the absorption of nickel, I always try to also eat something high in iron and/or vitamin c or both. Occasionally I even resort to taking Benedryl that same evening and using anti-histamine eye drops.

Over the years I’ve also found my own low nickel indulgences, that vary from food to reading. Knowing what makes me happy and what I am passionate about allows me to enjoy the big and little moments of my life. When I do participate in holiday events, I always bring my own pot-luck side or main course, so I have something to eat. Sometimes I skip the alcohol or bring my own of that too. The last thing I want is to feel isolated and left out of a good party.

No matter where you are in this journey of being allergic to nickel, I think it’s important that we don’t punish ourselves for trying to accept and adapt to the low nickel diet. We’re only human and all trying our best to deal with this unique and challenging food allergy.

What tips do you have when you’re invited to group activities or holiday events? I’d love to hear about solutions you’ve found in the comment section below.

  1. Happy holidays to you! I know how hard it is when you have a food allergy to feel “normal”. Suffering from food sensitivities myself, I try to be sensitive to all my guests. I want them to feel healthy and happy. Cheers to you in the new year!

  2. I’m a newbie to the avoiding nickel in my environment and diet and it has been a serious learning curve. I’m a tinkerer and have to touch everything to see how it works. Oh that shiny stuff that I now need to remember “No Touch”. The hardest part of a special diet is remembering to think of all the ingredients before eating. The other day I had a Roast Beef sandwich and didn’t realize that the bun had sesame seeds on it until I started breaking out later.
    It’s good to see that things get better and that I may be able to indulge in foods that I currently cannot. It would be great if somebody came up with a recipe book just for the Nickel Free Diet.

    1. Michael,
      I totally relate to your comment. It also took me a long time to adapt and remember the different foods I have to avoid. Things like sesame seeds on buns or on sushi still get me sometimes! It’s always remembering to ask questions when ordering. I bet you’ll get the hang of it. I would love to publish a low nickel cookbook. Currently I am slowing adding more recipes to my blog.

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