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Celiactive: Preparing for your gluten-free Thanksgiving

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The passing of October brings us to a vital point of every year. The crossroads of the mounting Halloween sugar-high and that 2000 calorie dinner we affectionately call Thanksgiving.

Isabela Moreno

Isabela Moreno

This is where I have a confession to make; I really hate Thanksgiving and Christmas. I also hate a number of other holidays for similar reasons but these are the ones that I always dread the most.

“But how in the world could you hate these holidays?” you might ask.

Well, as far as Christmas goes, there’s a variety of reasons that are deeply personal. Long story short, I won’t be getting into it.

Thanksgiving however is like too many other holidays: it’s all about food. It’s really not the fact that it’s food that bothers me. It’s the fact that it’s food I can’t eat.

Take turkey for instance. While I can digest turkey itself much of the time it is made with stuffing in it. A large ingredient in stuffing is flour.

Likewise, creamed corn is also made with crackers, flour, and a number of other ingredients that are not good for people with my condition.

Then there are dinner rolls. Oh, dinner rolls taunt me like no other. There’s nothing like those flakey, buttery, delicious mini bread loafs that make me salivate like nothing else.  Sure there’s gluten-free biscuits and such but it’s not the same.

Then there’s gravy (made with flour) and pie (wheat) and casseroles (most likely made with flour) and the list goes on. That generally leaves potatoes, corn and turkey if they’re made without wheat. Oh, and cranberries but I have a huge vendetta against cranberries that you do not want to get me started on.

I love my mom’s mashed potatoes more than any food on the planet, though they’re not made with the same Thanksgiving recipe that I grew up with.

We have made it a little easier by getting a little creative. Since my mom was diagnosed I’m not the only one who needs to be accommodated anymore.

And since there’s maybe only three of us (her husband is a marine), there’s no need to make a full turkey.

So we make a chicken instead with mashed potatoes, corn, asparagus, squash or yams, and gluten-free dinner rolls. We also cycle out one dish a year for something new. This year it’ll be pumpkin pecan muffins for dinner rolls.

So Thanksgiving isn’t so bad now that we have some new traditions. It’s just the one thing that I have gluten hang-ups about, but like anything you learn to cope.

So be creative with your dinner. Try something new. Revamp something old. Make it your own holiday. Make it a reason to celebrate. And remember: it just takes a little creativity.

2 Comments on Celiactive: Preparing for your gluten-free Thanksgiving

  1. Tania Florio // November 7, 2013 at 6:15 pm // Reply

    Thank you so much for your very witty and well written column! I am a local nurse and though I am not Celiactive, many of my patients are. I enjoy reading about your real life experience living with this under diagnosed condition. It is very informative. I often refer my patients to this space to gain knowledge and tips. Keep writing it!

    • Isabela Moreno // November 11, 2013 at 10:32 am // Reply

      Wow! I’m honored that you refer to my column for advice but to enjoy it as well? I’m flabbergasted! Thank you so much!

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