Thanksgiving is here. Fall leaves decorate the yards in their golden beauty, children squeal over a long weekend, and families make plans to get together to stuff their faces with more food than many small countries will see all year! Ah, the delights of pumpkin pie, the mouth watering mounds of whipped buttery potatoes, and the steaming golden alter of ‘Tha Turkey’. Divine!
That is until you realise that the largest threat on the table isn’t Aunt Martha’s lime pineapple jelly ring! Wheat ( Gluten) can turn a fantastic family dinner into a roller coaster nightmare in our world. The initial disappointment as you do a mental tally of all the foods you will NOT be partaking in and realise you are down to the honeyed carrots and mashed potatoes. ( Oh yes… and the lime pineapple mass). If you also avoid sugars in your meals ( like I do) then there goes the carrots and potatoes too. Sighs…. Remind me again to be thankful?
So what are some ways to turn Thanksgiving Dinner into a safe place to over indulge? ( You know you are going to so why pretend otherwise? lol )
1) Be safe about cooking the bird!
Yes, time + temperature is critical but stuffing can be a allergen’s death trap! Do not accept the thought of ” well, I will just take some of the breast meat and it will be fine. I am sure it hasn’t been contaminated.” O.O That bird had it’s entire juicy cavity stuffed with the Evil Grain and then basted in it’s run off’s for how many hours? YES, The breast meat is contaminated! There are many options for stuffing that are delicious and easy!
2) Talk to the Host Ahead of Time!
If you aren’t the one in control of the kitchen, there are many ways you can help out. If the host/ess is not particularly understanding or responsive to the Gluten Free thing, simply explain that this IS an allergy and offer to bring your own turkey breast or chicken breast. Don’t make a big deal of it, being respectful of your Host’s world is just good ambassadorship for gluten free! Slice up your chicken breast in the kitchen just before the meal is served and discretely go and retrieve it when the passing of the parade of food begins.
3) Indulge in the Veggies!
Almonds and asparigus, sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, and the myriad of other dishes that will be around the table can easily fill up a plate! Take a little extra potatoes or some other treat to prevent yourself from feeling like you are doing without!
4) Offer to Help Ease the Workload with Dessert
Dessert on Thanksgiving ( or any gathering) is an easy place to help out. Everyone loves ANOTHER pie or dessert. Offer to bring your pecan crusted pumpkin pie, Pumpkin Quinoa Cookies, or your cheese cake and use that as a smooth way to ensure there is SOMETHING there you can eat. I can skip an entire meal if I know I can eat dessert!
5) Laugh. A lot.
We know that we should be looking at this time as an opportunity for family but often we don’t do more than lecture ourselves on it. Pick up the camera, snap pictures of everyone laughing and eating! ( Yes they may hate you for it later!) Have people write out on pieces of paper what the ONE thing they are deeply thankful for ( or if it’s a birthday – their wish for the celebrant, Christmas – their greatest joy ) and while they are sharing it with the table, take pictures of them with the note. While you are capturing memories you AREN’T Eating!
Being involved in the day can keep your hands and heart full!