Buckle Up!

Approaching the holidays can be daunting.  We become busier than usual, consumed with more cooking, eating, socializing, gift buying.  If you are someone who is dealing with food sensitivities or a special diet, the holidays can create extra stress in your life.  I know this first hand.  This post is intended to help you breeze through Thanksgiving day.

Five Tips for People with Food Sensitivities on Thanksgiving:

1. Be prepared
The holidays are likely filled with foods you are trying to avoid, for example, gluten or dairy.  Knowing this in advance is one thing, but being prepared is another.  For example, I know the Thanksgiving gravy is going to have flour and possibly milk in it (and I can’t have either of them), so I am toting my own to the gathering, with, of course, plenty to share (see the yummy recipe below).  Consider bringing something along to share that you can enjoy.

2. Be prepared (again)
So don’t just bring one thing.  If you know you are also going to struggle at, say, dessert, then consider bringing a dessert you can eat and add it to the table.

3. Don’t make faces
Seriously, the holidays are a time to celebrate, so if you know something is on the table you can’t eat, just politely pass it along to the next taker and delight in the company.  No need to bring up your sensitivities at dinner, nor is it a place to judge.

4. Remember the 80/20 rule
Depending on how strict you need to be (and assuming there isn’t a dire consequence of eating something that bothers you), try to relax your standards a bit, especially on a holiday such as Thanksgiving.  It’s no fun to deny yourself when there is a veritable feast surrounding you.  So if you are physically able to partake in the feast, then do it without judgement or regret.  Life isn’t 100% anything and if you can breeze through the day mindful of keeping a balance in your life, you’ll be a lot more sane.

5. Be grateful
Yes, having food sensitivities can be all-consuming if you let it be.  Rather than focus on what you cannot have, focus on what you can have: delicious foods, delightful family and friends, many blessings.  Your life is rich in many ways that have nothing to do with what you put in your mouth.

Gluten Free Thanksgiving Gravy (paleo)

Drippings from your turkey
Arrowroot flour (3/4 cup to 1+cup depending on your drippings)
2 boxes of sliced mushrooms (I used shittake, but you can also use white)
1 large onion, sliced in half and then sliced thin half moon style

In a large skillet saute the mushrooms and onion until dark and carmel-y.  Remove from heat.
Take your drippings into a separate pan (or use the turkey pan) onto medium heat.
In a separate bowl, combine 3/4 cup of arrowroot flour with hot water and mix until there are no lumps, then add to the drippings, combining well with a whisk.
Add water to the pan and whisk together, letting it thicken.  You may want to add more arrowroot if it appears too thin.
Add the mushrooms and onions to the gravy and sprinkle in some thyme and a pinch of salt.  Let the flavors combine.
Serve and enjoy!!

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