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Christmas Dinner With Crohn’s Disease

Christmas Dinner With Crohn’s Disease

Merry Christmas my Beautiful Who’s,

Are you all as excited as I am for Christmas this year? I am slightly gutted that I will not be able to celebrate with the whole family, I spent two years in a row in hospital on Christmas Day and my Christmas Dinner was chicken soup, and I made sure I  switched off social media as I was so envious of all the tasty meals everybody was eating. Last year was my first Christmas out of hospital and I am a bit upset to not be able to celebrate again fully this year. HOWEVER, I am grateful I am alive and healthy.

I wanted to talk about my Christmas dinner as its not your typical one. I am half black and my dad’s side of the family are from Barbados. Our Christmas dinner is a West Indian style one. Nan always goes full out for Christmas, we eat starters, mains and of course dessert. Before I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, I suffered from the worst pains known to man, this limited what I could eat at Christmas. I wouldn’t be able to eat hardly anything, it was horrible watching everyone enjoy their food and drink knowing I couldn’t do the same. Honestly, when you have tasted my Nans cooking you then know how much of torture it was for me when I was restricted on what I could eat.

Have a look at what our Christmas dinner usually looks like:

Starter: Home-made Prawn Cocktail, Hot Crusty French bread with Butter/Pâté

Main: Chicken, Duck, Ham, Rice and Black-eyed or Pigeon Peas, Macaroni Pie, Roast Potatoes,  Pigs in Blankets, Souse, Fish, Broccoli, Brussels, Carrots, Home-made Coleslaw, Fried Fishcakes and Gravy (The rice and peas are always cooked together).

Dessert: Different family members bring each year so it varies from Apple Pie, Cheesecake, Gateau to Ice-cream.

Drinks: Juices, Coca Cola, Mauby, Mount Gay Rum, Capri Suns

We all are told each year who is in charge of bringing what, for example, I may be asked to bring dessert and one of my uncles the drinks etc.  For those wondering what some of those things I have listed are, Souse is a Bajan dish, it is cucumber, pigs’ trotters, pig belly all seasoned with salt and pepper, don’t knock it till you try it, it’s one of my all-time favourites.

Mauby is a Bajan drink made from the bark of the Mauby tree, boiled with cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg and cloves and sweetened to taste. We buy the syrup and just mix with water to drink. It is an acquired taste and not everybody will like it, finally Mount Gay rum, Barbados’s very own rum.

When it comes to my own plate I am fine with the hot French bread and butter,  Prawns for some reason make my tongue itch which is so annoying as I love them. For my main I eat most things apart from the Duck as I am not very good with red meat, I cannot have the broccoli or brussels either, I have the smallest amount of coleslaw even though the dietician has told me if I do that then I cannot mix anymore fruit and vegetables for the rest of the day, this is totally worth it if you have tasted Nans coleslaw.

Drink wise I will stick to the Coke-Cola (and Mauby if I am really in the mood for it), I know Coke isn’t the best for you but hey, its Christmas.

I am so grateful that I have a big family and that I always have a laugh on Christmas, and we WILL all get back together again. This year, sadly it won’t be that way. I shall be spending Christmas at home just me, mum and the cats which is fine, but nothing compares to Nans Christmas dinners! Mum and I will be buying Iceland dessert and cooking our own roast dinner, a more English style one this year. I think missing one Christmas is okay if it means we can get our lives back on track, stay safe and next year all celebrate in style. The cats don’t mind as long as they get their share of the chicken and their ‘Dreamies’ in their stockings.

Christmas is about spending time with loved ones, watching your favourite Christmas films, in my case ‘The Grinch’ and  ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ and just appreciating the little things. For me, I am grateful that I can now eat way more than I could before I was diagnosed, it gives me Christmas back. I am grateful that I get to spend it in the comfort of my home, some people are not as lucky as us, for a variety of reasons. Some may be alone in hospital this Christmas with only their nurses and doctors for company, some may be homeless. This year hasn’t been the best for us, but we just need to remember it isn’t about the gifts, it’s about appreciating how lucky we are to be able to spend another Christmas alive and well. Christmas is being about embracing our inner ‘Who’s’ and not our inner Grinch.

I hope you all if reading this before Christmas you have a beautiful one and if reading after I hope you had a good one.

I will see you in the New Year!

Love

Natalie-Amber

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Meet Natalie-Amber, a model and local BBC Radio Presenter from Swindon.