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How to enjoy a Gluten Free Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is celebrated by sitting around the family table with your extended family eating a huge, calorie laden dinner. It’s easy to eat until you’re bloated and too full/ tired to function but it’s a huge pain when you’re on a gluten free or any other restricted diet and need to avoid getting sick. You see the sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie and stuffing and already know you can’t eat those but what are your alternatives? Are there any other foods to watch out for?

Main Dish

The turkey (or ham) is the default with Thanksgiving. Make sure the seasoning is safe. If they use anything other than normal herbs and spices, it could have hidden gluten and not be safe. The gravy is another big no- unless you make it specifically yourself, you cannot be sure what it’s thickened with and it’s best to avoid.

The best ways to be safe are to make sure your turkey has no skin and no topping but spices. Keep away from gravy, or take some broth before it’s made into gravy and add your own ingredients to thicken it.

Sides

Stay away from stuffing, unless you get a gluten free bread or stuffing mix and make it your own. Stuffing is bread, so it’s obvious that it will not be safe traditionally.

Stick with normal veggies. You can ask about the ingredients in the sweet potato pie and there is a decent chance it’s safe, but is it worth the risk? To know you’re safe, stick with green beans, spinach or any other side that contains no additives. If that sweet potato pie only contains sweet potatoes, brown sugar, marshmallows and a few other items they can easily list (or show you) it’s safe. (Yes, sweet potato pie is my favorite dish)

Stuffing- gluten free version

Stuffing isn’t hard- take your favorite gluten free bread and tear it up, add it to broth (or gluten free gravy) and let it soak, then toss it with the celery, onions and anything else you use and wrap it in aluminum foil and bake it the way you normally bake your stuffing.

They also have gluten free stuffing mixes for people who don’t cook it totally from scratch- located in the gluten free section of the local grocer.

Hot Rolls

Rolls are another obvious issue- they are nothing but flour but there are gluten free options out there, more than other subs. You can find frozen gluten free rolls, normal rolls in the bread aisle and there are countless recipes out there for gluten free rolls, so you have many options. My personal favorite is to take a normal hot roll recipe and convert it- they taste almost the same and are a tried and true recipe.

Deserts

Pumpkin Pie

I think it’s safe to assume, the pumpkin pie is one of most peoples’ favorites. The pumpkin itself is fine- pumpkin, milk (or milk sub), cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg/whatever other spices you use, sugar, eggs- all of that is gluten free. You can bake it all in a pan to make a pumpkin pie pudding type of dish or you can head to the local Kroger (it’s the only store around here that sells them) and pick up an extra gluten free frozen pie shell. (Wholly Wholesome makes a really good crust- but pay attention to the label because some of their crusts are whole grain- meaning wheat and they are usually together in the frozen coolers).

Pecan Pie

There are plenty of recipes out there to make gluten free pecan pie and I’m not sure, besides the crust how much needs to be avoided.

Use your other Wholly Wholesome pie shell and find one of the many pecan pie recipes and test it out

 

It may be a bit more time consuming on your end and you may end up offending family members by your “diet choices” but it is very possible to be included in the big family Thanksgiving meal while staying safe and not getting sick.

If this is your first year, it will be more challenging but just remember- your body won’t care if your aunt was offended by you not wolfing down her rolls. Your body won’t care that you had a moment of weakness and took a few bites of that pie or stuffing- your body will mind that you just put an ingredient in it that it cannot tolerate and your comfort is more important than someone’s feelings. If it’s store bought, always look for the gluten free label and if you’re in doubt, keep away.

 

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These are a few of my favorite things

I’m wanting to step up my diet a bit more.

I have been strict gluten free for a year now, I’m almost fully dairy free but soy is my problem.

I think I’m going to fully take dairy out at home and out of home then work on soy.

Already- those homemade lattes I posted- just as good and cheaper than Starbucks doubleshots

Earth Balance instead of butter

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Silk Almond milk for baking and for my kids (and me occasionally)

I use the nonflavored and unsweetened for cooking

Enjoy Life as a snack

 

It’s delicious and dairy, soy and gluten free- full winner

and you have to have salad dressings when you eat as much salad as I do

They aren’t perfect, they do have soy but I’ll phase soy out like I did dairy. I do use replacements for sour cream and cream cheese as well and I’m really liking Daiya cheese on sandwiches.

Other than that, I bake deserts from scratch- that way I can control what is in the cookies and cake and I try to always cook my lunch for work before I go. I’ll possibly do that for my younger daughter when she starts school since she’s restricted.

I’ll be posting more of my favorite gluten/dairy and/or soy free products as well as more recipe conversions and recipes as I make them.

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Homemade Mocha Latte

I love mocha lattes from Starbucks and finally found a recipe for it a while back. It tastes just as good as the ones from there.I was able to make it Gluten/Dairy/Soy free

Fresh brewed coffee

Cocoa Powder

Sweetened Almond milk

Sugar

Brew your coffee then mix a spoon of cocoa powder, 2 spoons of sugar and add milk to your preference.

The alternative I found was to use chocolate almond milk and it works almost as well (not as good, but still good)

If you don’t need it to be dairy free, add some whipped cream on top and toss in a few df/gf/sf Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips on top.

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Home made Pumpkin Spice Latte

I know this is early, but the coffee post made me think of it.

I found a great recipe for gf/df Pumpkin Spice that tasted as good as any you’d get professionally. I played with it and tweeked it til I found a great combo.

Ingredients-

Coffee

1 tsp Pumpkin (canned or pureed)

sprinkle cinnamon, ginger or the pumpkin pie mix

1 tsp sugar

add in as much sweetened almond milk as you want (or instead of cocoa powder and sugar, add sweetened almond milk)

Brew your coffee as normal

Mix the pumpkin, spices, and sugar together

Add the pumpkin mix to the coffee, add in milk and sprinkle cinnamon on top.

The pureed pumpkin doesn’t always mix in fully with the coffee (sometimes it does) so most of the time, it’ll be a weird texture but it tastes just as good- has a lot less calories and is allergy friendly.

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Gluten and dairy free salmon pasta salad

I made this for dinner and it turned out great.
It’s a gluten and dairy free pasta salad.
I just threw it together, so I didnt measure things.

This will be an unprofessional recipe, but I made this tonight and only measure when it’s important

Gf/df pasta
2 tomatoes
1/2 package of celery
1/3 bunch of green onion
1-2 cups mayo
1 full sized shredded piece of cooked salmon (2 cans of tuna would go well as well)
Cook the salmon and boil the pasta
Shred salmon while cooking
Chop celery, tomato (chunks) and cut green onions and combine in a large bowl
Toss, add in salmon and drained noodles
Mix in mayo and serve

Cant tell you exactly how many servings it made either but it was fast and extremely easy- and my two year old had fun helping me mix.

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Dairy free, gluten free, lactose free… oh my

So, my 2 year old daughter and I ate out for my birthday with the rest of the family (My parents, husband and 6 year old). We had one of the best waitresses I’ve had- to the point I thanked her.

She made sure the croutons were on the side so I could eat salad, didn’t include cheese and added the dressing on the side so she could eat. She walked us through the allergy menu and made sure the items for me were totally gluten free and the items for her were fully milk/dairy free. Neither of us had reactions after eating there (I made the mistake of trying to eat around croutons last time and spent the whole next morning hurting and in the bathroom)

I swear, though, trying to get the hang of reading labels to make sure something is truly dairy free (not just lactose free) is really adding extra time to grocery shopping and the number of times we slip and give her something we don’t realize has it is too much.

I know, just like I have learned most of the red flags for gluten, it will take time but right now, dairy and cows milk free is overwhelming.

We have her next appointment tomorrow so I’m hoping we will have an answer- cows milk, casein, allergy, intolorance or virus (unlikely since its lasted since last month). I hate playing the waiting game.

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We took my 2 year old to the ER a few weeks ago. 

We were told to keep her away from dairy and her diarrhea (reason we took her) was likely caused by a virus. Well, we took her off dairy and her diarrhea cleared up. We reintroduced it many times and the very last time my mom attempted to give her cows milk, she spit it out and didn’t want to drink it. Each time it has given her diarrhea. It’s lasted way more than 10 days (did test positive for a virus- this specific one lasts 10 days and it’s been well over that and she still gets diarrhea when she eats yogurt, most cheese, ice cream or milk. She’s also developing a taste for my gluten free snacks instead of normal. I have read picky eating can be a sign of a food intolerance. We are pretty sure lactose intolerance (I am) because the diarrhea has been a recurrent issue her whole life. We have an order to have her tested for Celiac due to my medical issues, her sisters gene and her symptoms. 

If she isn’t able to to back to cows milk, it’ll be all three of us women in the house who don’t drink it. Her older sister could easily live without dairy and I’m lactose intolerant myself. 

This is a whole lot of fun going through the tests, dealing with the diaper and trying to figure all this stuff out. Even with the medical help, it is still too long a process. 

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Day 2 gluten free

I cut gluten out of my diet again. This time, I’m better educated than the first time (I’ve done 3 elimination diets over the years- all three times for different amounts of time and all 3 times I had benefits that were noticeable). This time, I’m doing it after being suggested by multiple professionals and even told to act like I have Celiac and avoid it.

The problem with not being diagnosed by a blood test, but being professionally diagnosed as having Gluten Intolerance is what to say when I am at a restaurant. I cross contaminated myself once by picking salad around the croutons, getting crumbs and ending up running back and forth to the bathroom all morning the next morning. I have read more than one example of people being purposely contaminated by self righteous waiters who assumed they were following the trend and giving them regular food instead of gluten free food so what am I supposed to say when a waiter or cashier asks why I’m wanting the gluten free menu? Do I lie and say I have Celiac? From what my doctor told me, what I did (eliminate it and readd) that’s enough for him to prescribe a gluten free diet to his patients since he has dealt with so many false positive and false negative Celiac blood screens, he no longer uses the tests to confirm or deny the results.

I did find major benefits when I cut it in the past (over the summer from July to November) and reverted back in November and December. Because of the results I got when I cut it in the past (lost 20lbs in 3 months, got rid of my IBS morning diarrhea, was able to drink coffee again with no issues, had more energy, felt better, 0 arthritis flares- just to name a few differences) my doctor told me to ignore the negative Celiac panel and live like I have Celiac Disease since I do have autoimmune issues and gluten itself does play a role (I went on a processed gluten free diet- to avoid feeling better due to eating healthier foods- I ate a ton of gluten free pasta and didn’t cut dairy)

I guess when I get myself into the full swing again, I need to look at other things. I ate a lunch of baked fish (no breading), baked potato and mixed vegetables and my blood sugar dropped within an hour of eating. I have been told to eat sweet potatoes instead of white and to avoid white everything (flour, bread, sugar, etc) due to my reactive hypoglycemia. I’ve also been advised to stay on the low glycemic diet as well as cutting gluten (and not by medical professionals, but due to self testing and elimination diets- diary. I haven’t been tested, but I did find out I’m lactose intolerant as well)

I really wish I could gain the self control to go on the Autoimmune Paleo diet. It’s only 30-60 days and would probably help more than this random trial and error I’ve been doing.

On the other side, my healthy daughter (2 years old) has just had a stool sample taken in and has an order for a full GI panel as well as the Celiac panel. She’s had diarrhea and we have eliminated dairy for the past 2 weeks. We have tried giving her regular milk (got diarrhea again) then we tried giving her cheese and other dairy items- once again, got diarrhea again so it does appear dairy at least is an issue but since we’ve been dealing with more diarrhea from her than just the past 2 weeks (and a rash that comes with it) and our older daughter had a positive gene test for the Celiac gene, it takes around 2 years for an autoimmune disease to start showing, I guess it’s time to get her screened for the first time. Our older daughter has to have the screening on a regular basis and she probably will as well. Once I get the gluten free diet fully down for myself, I may start looking into talking to the pediatrician and testing both of my girls (closer monitored to make sure they don’t miss anything needed)

 

I truly don’t understand why people want to go on this as a diet just to “lose weight” or “fit in” with other people. It’s more expensive, more restrictive and a huge pain when everyone around you is having cake and you’re having to say “no.” I kept re introducing it as a way of trying to convince myself I had no actual symptoms from it so I could go back to eating normal foods- unfortunately, I couldn’t ignore the symptoms and felt sick 100% of the time (even a few times I didn’t realize I ate it). I’m no longer eliminating it as a trial and am now avoiding it and doing the research to “live like I have Celiac” since that’s what my doctor told me to do.

I do have to wonder if beauty and hair products also count- I have Eczema on my hands and face and Seborrheic Dermatitis on my scalp. I’ve started using sensitive skin cleanser (Dermalogica) and moisturizing facial masks for the past few weeks and I LOVE Hand Food from Ulta (hand lotion and scrub) for my dry hands (thanks to the cold weather, Hashimotos and Eczema- fun combo)

The Seborrheic Dermatitis has been an embarrassment for years. I’ve had it since I was a child and it looks like I have dandruff or worse- but it’s just dead skin cells. When people get close enough they can see it’s dead skin but I’ve had 2 managers tell me I needed to get rid of it. If it was that easy, it would have been gone years ago.

I use T-Gel daily and that keeps it from itching, unless I start sweating. I was told it was SD but I’m pretty sure it’s Eczema since I get Eczema outbreaks on my hands and face anyways.

 

My featured image is from when I was 24, a new mom and the toddler was my oldest- who’s now almost 7.

 

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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (gluten and lactose free)

When I was gluten free years ago, I mixed tapioca, brown and white rice flours and made my own baking flour. I do not know if it would work for all cookie recipes, but these cookies look, feel and taste the exact same as they do with normal flour.

1/2 cup oil (I use EV olive- use whatever baking oil you normally use)
3/4 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups (gf mix or all purpose) flour
2 tsp baking powder

Mix oil, chocolate and sugar and blend one egg at a time until well mixed
add vanilla
stir in salt, flour and baking powder
chill
drop tsp full of dough into confectioners sugar
shape into balls (roll in sugar)
Bake 2 inches apart on greased sheet at 350 for 10-12 minutes

I will post other recipes I find are good or as good as normal that are dairy, gluten or other allergy free.

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One week left in 2017

I do resolutions yearly. It’s more of a list of things I’m wanting to do as a challenge to see if I can do them. I love trying to challenge myself on a daily basis. At work, I give myself private challenges, same with home. At times I’ll secretly compete with coworkers or at home I’ll even secretly compete with my husband. It all depends on what I am doing and how hard it seems to be- if it’s hard, a fun challenge makes it easier to do. I figure if I make larger lists, I’ll be more likely to find a way to succeed with some instead of failing at all. This list is what I’m hoping or needing to change over the course of the next year or so. I do know from experience that making things public does help me stick to it- more accountability.

Most of the time, I do fail to complete the resolutions but it’s still fun sitting down at the end of the year and making a list. I have a few I’m determined to actually do this year.

1. Reprogram my mind to think more positive. I am a realist so at times I come across as pessimistic but I also come across as highly optimistic at other times. I have been working through the past year on trying to distance myself from people in my life (in all areas) who complain a lot or just have a more negative vibe and it’s been working a bit.

2. Think less about the diagnosis’s and medical issues. I’m still in the coming to terms with not being fully healthy stage so it plagues my mind constantly but I found that pushing the thoughts about OCD to the back of my mind gives me longer times of not obsessing over something (I have been having issues with the OCD being an OCD obsession lately so not researching it and trying to think of other things has been helping me a tiny bit)

It may or may not work with the other medical conditions, since they’re all physical but it does help with the OCD. I have conditioned my body to function with the fatigue that comes with Hashimotos and I found the gluten free diet clears all my digestive issues up and makes the Osteo pain a tiny bit easier. My Osteo acts up but not always horrible, I found that really cold and warm weather both have no effect, it’s mostly moderately cold and wet weather. I am determined to find a way to slow it down. I know it’s progressive, but I’m still able bodied so I should be able to slow the progression down.

3. Find more easy for lunch and good dinner recipes to stick with the gluten free diet. I have been studying it for years, learning about it, following pages and blogs and saving recipes for a long time but for some reason, rice pasta became my go to for work lunches. I could toss it on the stove and forget about it for a bit but certain brands turn to mush no matter low low I set the heat or how long I cooked it.

4. Quit eating out at work. It ends up costing way more than I’d like to spend. I could take the money I waste on lunch and save for something different- something for the family or even treat myself to something. You also consume manmore calories with store bought or restaurant cooked meals than you do with making things from scratch.

5. Cooking and baking more often. When my 6 year old was younger, I stayed home. I was on Pintrest for new craft and recipe ideas constantly. I’m planning on returning to that since I have been working with 2 kids for 2 years now and am finally getting to the point of having a set routine that works. I’m able to spend quality time with my kids, work, eat, sleep, shower and do my hair and makeup and we don’t have a dirty house (it is a bit messy at times, but we do keep it clean). From the time my younger daughter and I wake up until I go to work, I have a schedule I just fell into- it’s not set in stone but it works and I get errands, doctor appointments and readings done in a decent time and since the holidays are over, everything is slowing down so I can focus more on the home making skills I developed from staying home for four years.

Those are five and along with those 5, staying gluten free without cheating or going back to a normal diet and quitting smoking are both listed.

I read that if a smoker quits by 30, they go almost to nonsmoker risk of dying from smoking related diseases but where I have OCD it turns into an extreme- “I have to quit by the minute I turn 30 or I’ll be doomed to die” and it will start to feel like I HAVE to do it, put tons of unnecessary pressure on me that I do not need and I know isn’t necessary and I’ll freeze and fail. Every time I quit, the OCD puts undue pressure by making me think in extremes. I know the problem, I know the cause and I have been working on trying to “rewire” my brain. I can think logically now, even when the OCD is kicking in, so now I’m working on easing the anxiety by facing whatever causes the anxiety in the first place. It’s always going to be there, it will always act up but the more I work on controlling it, the easier it is to differentiate between reality and the OCD.

I do have to wonder if other people with OCD have serious problems quitting smoking due to the OCD. How it affects me, it almost seems like it would be normal.

 

There is my list- put up publicly because, accountability. Do you do resolutions? If you have that tradition, do you fail or succeed typically?” Is it for fun or serious attempts at improving your life?