Ever wonder why after a Thanksgiving meal, everyone retires to the couches and holds their bloated bellies? Gluten! This is one meal that is full of it, from the gravy to the stuffing to the pies and whatever else your family likes to add to the traditional offerings. It was right after Thanksgiving 5 years ago that both my dad and husband decided, independently, to stop eating gluten. I believe that was the meal that did it — they realized they both felt so much better without the gluten (they were both semi-gluten-free up to that point because of my mom and me). Both have been 100% gluten-free ever since.
Dairy is another common allergen, and another one that is present in so many of the traditional foods. Now how does one go about avoiding gluten and/or dairy on Thanksgiving? If you are simply a guest with no influence over the meal, I have to be honest: it’s not easy.
To avoid gluten: Stay away from gravy (almost always made with flour), stuffing (made with bread) and pies. The turkey should be fine, but if the bird is stuffed, you may accidentally get some gluten from that. Mashed potatoes should have no gluten, and neither should sweet potatoes. Cranberry sauces and salads should also be fine, but check with your host.
To avoid dairy: Gravy may or may not have dairy in it (some people add butter or cream). Stuffing should be dairy-free if the bread is dairy-free. Some people use butter in pie crusts, some use shortening. Mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes and any other side vegetables are often made with butter. Be sure to check with your host on all of the above.
If you are making any part of the dinner, you can make anything gluten and/or dairy-free. For example, I make a wonderful gluten-free stuffing every year.
And here are some more tips from some gluten-free friends around the web!
- is this your first gluten-free thanksgiving?
- gluten-free thanksgiving, 2008
- Thanksgiving Recipes & Tips for Gluten-Free & More
- Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Holiday Tips
- A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving
Enjoy your Turkey Day!