If you’re like me, when you think of Thanksgiving, you think of family, friends, and most of all…food. Whether this is your first holiday eating gluten-free, or your tenth, there are several things that can cause a bit of a gluten-induced depression. If you remind yourself of the points highlighted below, you are sure to successfully make it through the holiday feasting.
Gluten-Free on Thanksgiving:
While family members enjoy heaping plates of every fried turkey/potato/bread combination possible, don’t feel sorry for yourself. It is important to be in the quality vs. quantity mindset.
Think about the quality of food you are able to eat vs. the quantity of dishes to choose from. Even though you are unable to have everything under the sun, you can still eat like a King/Queen. Also, the quality of life you have while living gluten-free is much better than before. Remember when you used to frequent the bathroom more times than you could remember? Eating gluten-free has eliminated that disturbance from your life, among others. Finally, the quality of your health after treating your body has improved immensely. All of those trips to the doctor ending in unanswered questions are done and over with. You now know what your body was trying to tell you all those months and/or years. When you put the above into perspective, it’s not that big of a deal that you can’t eat a piece of your Grandma’s pie…now is it?
It is also important to remember that you may not have as many choices as you used to, but you still have choices.
What is one dish that you have always “identified” Thanksgiving with? For me it’s the dinner rolls my Aunt bakes. In the pre-GF days, I would make turkey-mashed potato-gravy sandwiches out of them. Talk about glorious…(except afterwards when my intestines hated me). Before I go crying a river because I can’t eat these fluffy dinner rolls anymore, I remember that I can easily pack my own gluten-free version. If you love dinner rolls as much as I do, and gluten-free brands are not available at your local grocer, maybe this is a good time to treat yourself. Order a bag online. This is a special occasion and you deserve to enjoy the meal just as much as everyone else!
If your Thanksgiving vice is stuffing (dressing), you can remedy this gluten-filled situation by packing your own pre-made batch! Just pop it in the microwave when the dinner bell rings and you’re good to go. By doing so, you can ensure that you have enough stuffing to “stuff” yourself, and there’s no risk of cross- contamination.
One other Thanksgiving-esque issue is the possibility that your family misunderstands the gluten-free diet. Do they really know what gluten-free means? Do they understand that you can’t have a piece of turkey that was lying on a bed of stuffing? Will they listen to you when you say it is important to keep utensils separate in order to reduce the risk of cross-contamination?
It can be tough educating your family on the above issues. Many of my family members still don’t fully understand the extent to which the gluten-free diet is taken. No matter what, you must ALWAYS remember to stand your ground. Don’t let so-called “little things” slide and risk your well-being, simply because you don’t want to be “annoying”. Put yourself first. If you believe that you will be a hassle during the meal, pack your own plate to take out when it is dinner time. This can also give you peace-of- mind, knowing that you prepared your meal and there’s no risk of getting sick later.
Above all, the most important thing is your health. Stay free of gluten during the holiday season because that’s the only way you will fully enjoy the important things – family and friends.
Laura Hanley, known as G-Free Laura, has been gluten-free since 2009 and reviews products, restaurants, and writes about gluten-free experiences on her blog, www.gfreelaura.com. Laura’s passion for spreading g-free love has led her to become a Guest Blogger for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, writing bi-weekly reviews on the Gluten-Free Hot Products Blog. Visit Laura on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Google +