Surviving the Holidays Gluten Free
I made it through Thanksgiving staying gluten free. For those who don’t ‘do gluten free’ it might sound silly but most who’ve had to go gluten free can clearly remember each first holiday.
You might be wondering why I chose to go gluten free, after all I eat a pretty clean organic diet with food made from scratch and do green smoothies almost every day. It is simply… doctor’s orders. You see I’ve taken several gluten tests and they’ve all come out negative or ‘inconclusive’. So I didn’t think it was a problem. Then my doctor ordered a more invasive test and there it was.
More and more we are seeing that people with gut issues, autoimmune and other chronic issues do much better on gluten free. They feel better and some symptoms seem to lessen. For some people it is quite dramatic.
I started this gluten free journey with the expectation that I’d do it, nothing would change and then I’d go back to normal. Except I had two accidental exposures. One from a product that was on the list of gluten free (but they’ve since removed that label) and the second from a product without gluten processed in a plant with the same equipment that gluten is. Both times I had a really nasty reaction. (I’ll spare you the details but extreme GI distress). I know it seems weird but when you are consuming it all the time you are in low level reaction all the time and have occasional spikes. When you don’t consume it then all you see is the spike (aka nasty reaction) when it is consumed.
So here I am navigating the treacherous gluten free waters. I have to admit I’ve noticed a very real difference. So I thought I’d share with you some of the tips that I used to help make it through Thanksgiving without feeling like I was really missing out because Christmas is coming…
Pie… there are a surprising number of pies that do not use flour in them. So I chose one of those for me and used… a nut crust with no flour. There are tons of recipes for them so it is easy to find one that meets your other dietary restrictions. Most pie recipes have versions where you can easily substitute flour for cornstarch or tapioca powder so there are lots of pie choices. I chose a Raspberry White Chocolate Cream Cheese Pie. (I’ll be sharing the recipe soon).
Photo credit Zoe Eiseman (c)
Gravy… this was actually the easiest and most amazing because I’d always used the traditional roux method. Just used 1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of Cornstarch for each cup of liquid you are using. If you are like me and use the liquid from the turkey, just take measure it and take one cup out and add all the cornstarch to it and whisk or use an immersion blender until all the lumps are out. Then add it to the rest of the liquid over medium heat and stir until thick. Warning… this stuff thickens fast. The old flour method used to take about 20 minutes and this was done in less than 5 minutes. So it kind of messed up my timing and I had a little panic moment since someone was still carving the bird.
Bread Stuffing… this was my least favorite of the attempts. Don’t get me wrong, it was okay. It probably would have been better if I only made the gluten free one but I made both and so it was made in an oven bag instead of the bird. It was okay but certainly not the same caliber of my mom’s bread stuffing that I’ve had people beg for (seriously beg). So I just used my usual recipe with gluten free toasted bread.
So in the end the gluten free Thanksgiving was a success. Everyone was happy and I enjoyed it. Hopefully these little tips will help you too!