On Gluten-Free Holidays

The holidays can be particularly challenging for people with special dietary needs. It can seem as if 'tis the season of social gatherings focused on food you can't eat!

How to find graceful ways with the many well-intentioned people who want to share the delicious spread? How to go to a party without feeling left-out, neurotic, or just plain hungry?

But it's made with organic whole wheat--you can eat that right? It's organic!

Gluten? Oh you're, like, vegan? This pie/brownie/crepe/cookie/cake is vegan!

There's only a little wheat in the crust.

That's a wheat allergy right--this is wheat free!

The best defense is a good offense. In the coming weeks I'll try to post some ideas for easy elegant yummies you can bring to festive gatherings so that there's always something you can eat.

My own plan for the next two social events in my life: I'll bring a quinoa, pecan, baby spinach, and pomegranate salad to the annual holiday party with my work team next Friday.

For Thanksgiving with my housemates, I'll make some kind of kale side dish and a baked apple dessert (stuff the baked apples with minced dates, nuts and I'm not sure what else) with coconut or vanilla ice cream. They're making GF mashed potatoes. I bought lots of mushrooms at the farmer's market so I think I'll make some kind of croquettes with mushroom sauce.

If you're not already hungry, it's always easier to say no to foods with questionable ingredients. Eat something before you arrive. When faced with a delectable dish of unknown provenance or cheese that's likely already contaminated by crumbs, I ask myself, would I rather eat this or ride my bike tomorrow? Would I prefer to be able to work tomorrow or to taste this food? The knowledge that I have a good bar of dark chocolate in my bag and a glorious cheese at home, helps me step away from unsafe temptations.

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