FOR MILLIONS of Britons, Christmas would not be Christmas without tucking into a plateful of roast turkey with all the trimmings.
But Becky Irvin will be having to settle for a festive meal on Tuesday with a little less sparkle than most.
The 33-year-old, from York, has been unable to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner for the last 15 years after discovering she is allergic to the main ingredients.
Turkey, stuffing, gravy, pigs in blankets, wine and sweet treats are all off-limits for the university administrator, so instead she will be stuck with a plate of dry beef and vegetables.
Miss Irvin, who will be sitting down to a Christmas Day meal with her family, said: “Due to the yeast extracts in turkey, stuffing, gravy and alcohol I can’t have any of that. This year I’ll be having a measly bit of dry beef, with potato, veg and no gravy because of the yeast. I don’t really like veg either but it’s one of the few food groups I can get away with.
“I’ll then be faced with everyone else’s plate piled high with all these delicious Christmas treats which I can’t have unless I want to feel horrendous.”
Miss Irvin discovered her problem when she was 18 and realised she was getting poorly while tucking into a traditional festive dinner.
She said: “I knew what would happen. I would get terrible bloating in my stomach and then stabbing-like pains, headaches, fatigue and sickness would follow.
“At Christmas, I would often eat and drink more than usual and so I was always particularly ill around this time of year.
“I was 18 the last time I had turkey with all the trimmings and my stomach bloated so much it looked like I was six months pregnant. It’s a good job we could laugh about it, but that was when I decided to get tested.”
After being wrongly diagnosed with appendicitis, Miss Irvin, who works at York University, took a food intolerance test which found she was allergic to yeast, eggs, sugar and fish.
She said: “The results from the food intolerance test rubber-stamped that the food I was eating was making me ill. It meant I wasn’t able to eat many of the foods I enjoyed, or drink any alcohol, but at the same time it was just nice to know exactly what foods were to blame.
“This year I might indulge myself with a small glass of wine or a piece of Christmas cake, but I know I’ll have to pay the price afterwards.”