Nov 22, 2011 • By

A gluten-free Thanksgiving

Kim Bouldin will never forget her 33rd birthday. That’s the day she was diagnosed with celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance.

“My doctor called to let me know,” recalls Bouldin. “At first, it was a relief to find out what was causing my problems, but that initial relief turned to ‘Oh my gosh! What am I going to eat now?’”

Bouldin quickly learned how to avoid gluten, found in many foods containing wheat, barley or rye. When her son was diagnosed with celiac disease six months later, she already knew what changes were necessary.

She has become such an expert, she helps other families navigate a gluten-free diet in a gluten-filled world with her blog, Gluten-free is Life.

“Today there are so many more gluten-free choices, especially with General Mills and other companies jumping on board with their gluten-free baking mixes,” says Bouldin. “Clear labels on products also make the gluten-free diet easier.”

Even with more choices and clear labels Bouldin says it is still a challenge to eat at someone else’s home.

“Having those mixes available at the regular grocery store helps, but not everyone understands the cross-contamination risk,” she explains. “You can’t cut the regular cake and the gluten-free cake with the same knife, for example.”

As you might expect, Thanksgiving can be difficult for someone on a gluten-free diet. It doesn’t have to be, though.

Some of the typical Thanksgiving dinner items are naturally gluten-free, and some can easily be modified so everyone can enjoy them.

Here’s a gluten-free Thanksgiving menu that Bouldin recommends:

*Turkey – It is gluten-free as long as it is not filled with regular stuffing.

*Cornbread stuffing – Bouldin has found that using gluten-free bread to make stuffing doesn’t work the best. Instead, she uses cornmeal and gluten-free flour to make cornbread stuffing. Click here for her recipe.

*Steamed veggies – Just add a little salt and pepper.

*Mashed potatoes – Bouldin likes to add sour cream and cheeses. Click here for her grandma’s recipe.

*Gravy – To make gravy without gluten, thicken with corn starch instead of flour. Kim says to avoid canned or jarred gravies. Most of them contain gluten.

*Cranberries – Homemade cranberry sauce is gluten-free. So are many jellied versions.

*Crustless pumpkin pie – Bouldin points out that if you skip the crust, you’re not only avoiding gluten but also skimming calories.

Finally, she suggests making new Thanksgiving traditions, if necessary.

“If you can’t find a way to make your favorite dish gluten-free, then get in the kitchen, be creative, and make something that can become a new favorite.”

Editor’s note: Kim Bouldin is a contributing blogger to GlutenFreely.com.

Do you have any gluten-free Thanksgiving ideas? Share them in the comments.