Ramping up for the Holidays….
It is October and the Christmas decorations are already (!) popping up in the stores. Tis’ the season for the food holidays and for those that are gluten free it can be a challenge. But with a bit of planning, support from family and friends, a sense of humor (and maybe little bit of safe food packed away), it doesn’t have to be.
This is one of the easier food holidays (in my opinion). It is amazing the amount of candy that is gluten free (A safe list – updated September 2016) from Very Well is here
In my house, we have a stash of gluten free candy in the cupboard. When my daughter gets home from trick-or-treating we go through her candy. If the majority of her candy is safe then we’re done. We donate the unsafe candy and she enjoys the rest (over time – a long time if I can help it). On the other hand, if the majority of her candy is not gluten free – we supplement from our stash in the cupboard.
Of course, there are other food intolerances and allergies (milk, nuts, etc.) and that can make it a bit more difficult. To help with that, there is the FARE Teal Pumpkin Project, which promotes the inclusion of all trick-or-treaters by offering non-food items. Simply look for homes with a teal pumpkin on their doorstep.
If you need another way to make Halloween special (and not so candy focused), look into the Switch Witch. The story tells kids that the witches need the candy to heat their homes, so the kids leave their candy for the witch on Halloween night and “magically” the witch takes the candy and leaves behind a non-edible present in exchange. Every one wins!
These are holidays that can be a bit more challenging and cause a bit of stress – was the turkey stuffed with gluten stuffing? What was used to thicken the gravy? Did they add wheat flour to the potato pancakes? Was the same spoon used to stir the gluten and gluten free side dishes?
There are options to make sure you stay safe – you just have to pick the one that is right for you.
Host – you can host the holidays. Yes, it is more work, but, you control the menu, the food and the preparation and that means you don’t have to worry if the food is safe. You know it is because you made it. Ask your family or guests to bring drinks, help set the table or do the cleanup as their contribution to the meal.
Go out to eat – My family goes to a trusted restaurant every year for Thanksgiving. Their cross contamination procedures are strict and we feel very safe (we have eaten there for 4 straight years with no issues). We even get stuffing, gravy and pumpkin pie – ALL gluten free. It is amazing and stress free (although not cheapJ)
Eat at family/friends (trust their food) – Some family and friends just GET it. They understand about gluten, cross contamination, safe food and are willing to make an entirely safe meal or at least a few dishes that you can enjoy. These are the best people and my hope is that all of you have at least a few people like this in your life.
Eat at family/friends (don’t trust their food) – This one is a bit harder. You can go and not eat or go and bring your own food. Either is hard as you will be “different” and probably have to answer a few questions about why you are eating your own food or not eating at all. But it can still be enjoyable – just have a few prepared answers for the questions, have a sense of humor, and remember wine is gluten free.
Ultimately, friends and family are the reason for the season. Even if you can’t partake in all that is offered – whether candy at Halloween, the stuffed turkey at Thanksgiving or Christmas or potato latkes on Hanukkah – enjoy the love, camaraderie and the special time of year.
We wish the best for a Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.