**coined by my dear friend Carol Harrell. I love it!
Thanksgiving, that mine-field for the gluten free, is just a few days away. I've been to two TOTALLY gluten-free Thanksgiving dinners, for which I'm eternally thankful, this year, but both of them reminded me of a few things that bear remembering this holiday season. It all kinda starts creeping up on me this week, as the holiday season gets into full swing.
1. If in doubt, bring your own food. And smile a lot!
And if that thought annoys you, stay home. SERIOUSLY. If you're having 12 people over and I'm the only GF one at your table, I will bring my own plate of food or eat before I go. I don't mind, really. If asked, I might even contribute a GF casserole for everyone. I promise it doesn't hurt my feelings**, and I truly appreciate your trying to tell me what is GF. And if I'm in doubt, I'll discreetly bring my own.
(**The only time this DOES NOT APPLY is if you're related to me by birth or marriage. If you exclude me then, I'll just be upset and think I don't matter in your world. If you're my family and the roles were reversed, I'd do it for you.)
2. If someone goes the extra mile for you (or even a few extra feet!) Make sure they know how much you appreciate them and how THANKFUL you are for what they've done. Because it touches my heart every time a student or friend makes me gluten-free brownies, or when Mary and my Dad make sure the meal on the table is one I can eat, or when ANYONE make sure I can eat at a restaurant for safely. This is a time for thanks-giving, so be sure to give thanks to them!**
**Oh, and that said. If someone tries to make you something gluten free and you don't happen to enjoy that food, try to be polite. Your Mama raised you better than that.
3. Be a smart gluten-free diner, even when you know the dinner is GF. Don't automatically expect that something marked GF is the cause of your immediate (or long-term) gastric distress after a holiday meal. Seriously? If you filled your plate with a lot of GF food, don't you think THAT might make you feel like the proverbial stuffed turkey? What if you introduced a new GF food to your diet at that meal? That doesn't mean contamination -- it means there just might be something different triggering it.
For example. Yesterday and last Saturday I had delicious GF meals prepared at the Middle Georgia GIG and Atlanta Metro Celiacs gluten-free holiday lunches. I ate myself silly with a delightful assortment of guaranteed GF food. And honestly, I felt sick all night. I wasn't glutened -- I know that. In spite of my medicinal preparations, I just ate too much AND ate GLUTEN-FREE things I shouldn't have. But that was my choice.
Don't immediately jump to conclusions that a GF food is not GF if it causes a reaction. It might be that you're sensitive to it or ate too much.
3. There is no such thing as "just a little bit." No, you can't have the first slice of a gluten-stuffed turkey. It's filled with gluten! No, you can't take the crust off the pumpkin pie and eat it just this once**. And yes, Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup has gluten in it! So do some instant mashed potatoes. But plain mashed potatoes are ok -- as long as a fresh stick of butter was used with them. And homemade potato salad is ok, too -- as long as they used a new jar of mayo and pickles and mustard without knife crumbs in it. And coleslaw? Same.
And for those family members who insist you try "just a little bit" or who just don't get it? Show them this.
It's not worth it to ingest just a little gluten. You'll feel horrible for days. **That said, if it is killing you and you can't stand it and you're willing to suffer the consequences with a gluten item, you are able to make your own personal choice. But don't complain to me if that happens. You know?
4. Try to remember, as I have for the past three holiday seasons, that Thanksgiving is about more than food in its historical meaning -- and try to adopt that attitude. I love being with my friends and husband on Thanksgiving, and I love the penny-ante poker game after the meal. I either bring my own food or I eat before I arrive. They try to make sure I know what is gluten-free. And I make choices. But I have always had fun! So much love and fun in one room is worth it.
5. Finally, the resources for GF Thanksgiving items are endless. I've listed two for you here, and if you look down the side of my recipe file on the side, you'll fine more. I honestly can make ANY of my favorites GF. If I choose to cook, fine. If I don't, it's my choice, too. But I WILL eat totally gluten-free through the holidays.
Here is Celiac.Com's guide to a gluten-free Thanksgiving.
The new site The Gling @thegling on Twitter has a new menuzine for Thanksgiving.
Oh, and I have a new GF recipe I'm testing that might be good for you this season. I'll report back...as it might work for the December and January holidays!
But I WILL be Thankful this ThanksLiving! I will. And I hope you will, too.
Much love, and happy ThanksLIVING!