Thanksgiving is literally a holiday centered around food! Don’t get me wrong, I love food and love to eat… BUT having Celiac disease and being gluten free around the holidays, especially Thanksgiving is no fun!
When I first got diagnosed with Celiac and had to face my first holiday season being gluten free I dreaded it… I’m talking major anxiety! What am I going to eat? What am I going to tell people? Am I going to be starving all night? I don’t want to be different, but I don’t want to get sick! This was the internal conversation I would have with myself.
Fast forward four years and I consider myself a gluten free holiday pro! I pretty much always follow these steps, especially on Thanksgiving and I’ve enjoyed every holiday since becoming gluten free!
10 Easy Steps for a Fun and Healthy Gluten Free Thanksgiving:
1. Call the host ahead: Okay I admit, this one is hard to do your first gluten free Thanksgiving but it is very helpful! Call and ask what they’re planning on serving and how it’s being prepared. This is when you can offer to bring something.
2. Eat before: Yes! I know it sounds crazy going to Thanksgiving with a full stomach, but trust me you’ll thank me later! You never know what you will or more often won’t be eating, so don’t be starving and feeling bad for yourself while they pass around the bread stuffing and pies!
3. Bring a gluten free dish to share: At least you’ll know you have something safe to eat and my experience is everyone wants to try the “gf” dish are always pleasantly surprised when they can’t taste the difference!
4. Bring a gluten free dessert: Same goes for this one.
5. Pack you own meal: If you’re really not comfortable eating anything or don’t want to eat before, pack Tupperware with your own food. Seriously! I do this all the time. Your friends/family will respect it.
6. Serve yourself first: So I’m fully aware this sounds rude… but it’s not! You need to be careful with cross-contamination so you make sure to cut in the front of the line!
7. Host it: If you’re up for it, you should host Thanksgiving at your house! This is what I do all the time and I’ve learned that I absolutely love having dinner parties.
8. Let others know your gluten free: You need to make it known that you’re gluten free and that’s why you’re cutting in line, packing your own food, etc. It’s nice to spread the awareness and educate others!
9. Be prepared for questions: I can promise you that people will ask you a ton of questions about being gluten free. That’s okay, think of it as spreading the word!
10. Don’t make it a big deal: I think my mom and Erik have said this phrase to me like a million times when we go somewhere when I’m feeling uncomfortable. It has finally stuck in my head. I’ve learned if you don’t make it a big deal, no one else will either. And although we want to spread Celiac awareness, it’s a freaking holiday people… let’s just briefly talk about it and then move on and have fun!
I know this seems overwhelming, but I promise it will get easier and a way of life!