4 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday and many of us look forward to it every year. Food-wise though, it’s also a holiday that can be tough on those struggling with dairy and gluten issues. Recently one of my gluten-intolerant patients came to me with a not so uncommon question: how to handle eating at Thanksgiving? She’d been suffering with Crohn’s disease for years and was now feeling healthy and strong thanks to a wheat and dairy-free diet. The last thing she wanted to do was take a step backwards at the Thanksgiving table.

To help keep her health on-track I put together a quick Thanksgiving work-around guide, which I wanted to share with you as well:

Herbed Gluten Free Stuffing

8 cups cubed of your favorite gluten free bread (1/2 inch cubes. crust removed)
1 teaspoon gluten free poultry seasoning
1/2 cup organic butter (1 stick)
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups diced apple (Granny Smith)
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
3 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
2 lightly beaten large eggs
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1 cup gluten-free chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350°
Add poultry seasoning to bread cubes and toss to mix well.
Spread bread cubes in one layer on 2 large baking sheets. Bake for about 12 minutes or until cubes are dry, but not browned.
Allow bread cubes to cool and place cooled cubes in a large mixing bowl.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and celery and sauté for about 10 minutes or until onions are translucent, but not browned.
Add apple and herbs to vegetables and sauté an additional 2 minutes.
Add vegetable herb mixture to bread cubes and stir to mix.
Pour lightly beaten eggs into mixture and stir to blend.
Add salt and pepper and stir to mix.
Add gluten free chicken broth and stir to thoroughly combine all ingredients. If the stuffing is too dry, add more broth, 1 tablespoon at a time until moistened.
Transfer stuffing to a buttered 13x9 inch baking dish and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Just add color!
If you’re doing the cooking, boost the veggie content of the meal, with simple veggie side dishes. As I’ve said before, eat the rainbow —even on Thanksgiving — to add more flavor and nutrients to the meal. There’s no reason not to add some roasted beets, herbed green beans and bright orange butternut squash to the mix!

Be helpful.
For hosts/chefs without gluten issues, asking them to create a gluten-free meal just for you is an imposition at best. Instead, if possible, discuss the menu with them in advance so you can identify which items will work for you. Offer to bring a gluten-free dish to make things easier on both you so you get what you need without adding more to the host’s to-do list! Here’s a gluten-free stuffing recipe that’s a hit with guests no matter which side of the gluten fence they're on.  

Prep your body.
Be it an everyday meal or an extra special one like Thanksgiving, I recommend digestive enzymes to many of my patients to help the body break down food more efficiently and to aid nutrient absorption — so remind yourself to take your enzymes before each meal to help mitigate the effects of any slip ups. Another way to prepare — and tamp down temptation? Eat a light, healthy meal or protein smoothie before you head out so you’re not ravenous when you get to the host’s house. 

Always “take time to thank your food,” says one Arapaho saying.
In other words, celebrate and appreciate the abundance before you, eating only the foods that make you feel truly good. Enjoy this special meal by eating slowly, deliberately and mindfully. Put the fork down between bites and savor the deliciousness! 

Wishing you and yours a restorative Thanksgiving,

Kathie SwiftComment