“Gluten-free” is all the rage today and for good reason. Gluten is a protein that is found in foods processed from wheat, barley and rye and is found in cereals, bread, pasta and almost all processed foods. The incidence of gluten allergies and gluten sensitivity is on the rise, which can cause gut irritation, inflammation and in some cases, neurological effects.
Following a gluten-free lifestyle is much easier these days as many companies are coming out with gluten free products and recipes are now using gluten-free alternatives. With many choices, it is possible to stay gluten-free through the holidays with the following tips.
Turkey Day: traditional dishes consumed on Thanksgiving include: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, green bean casserole, baked yams, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Stuffing, gravy, casserole and pie all have gluten in them. For the stuffing, either use gluten-free bread in place of regular bread or omit the bread portion altogether and you can still make a delicious filling. You can make the gravy with a recipe that uses arrowroot powder or coconut flour as an alternative to traditional wheat flour. If you want a savory green bean casserole, cook your own onions and bread with coconut flour instead of using the pre-made canned, fried onions. And finally, serve a gluten-free pumpkin pie by going “crust-free” or by using a gluten-free flour mix for the crust.
Baking: The holiday period is definitely a time to indulge in sweet treats like cookies, pumpkin bread, banana bread, pies and more. Again, in most of these recipes you can replace traditional wheat flour with arrowroot powder, almond meal or coconut flour and they still taste delicious! Try out some recipes at home and make your own adjustments to get the flavor just the way you like it.
Holiday Parties: Remaining gluten-free is definitely the most difficult at holiday parties or when going out to eat when you do not have control of the ingredients. It is best to stick to meat, vegetables and fruits when eating out. There are many gluten-free side dish options like mashed potatoes, yams, grilled vegetables, salad and soup. Don’t be afraid to ask your server if they have gluten-free options available. Also, make sure you enquire about “hidden gluten” in salad dressings, marinades and soy sauce. There is almost always an option and if not, bring your own condiments!
Benefits of staying gluten-free through the holidays include: stabilizing your blood sugar so that you don’t experience the afternoon “crash” during all of the festivities, reducing inflammation in the body, avoiding that “stuffed” feeling you normally get after a big meal and keeping that pesky weight off! Approach the New Year feeling vibrant, healthy and happy by exploring gluten-free holiday alternatives.
Guest post by:
Shanna Mota, Holistic Nutritionist
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