On holidays and allergies and food ...

Holidays seem inextricably linked with food, which makes it joyous for some, torturous for others, and probably a mix of both feelings for most of us.  Spending more time in the kitchen, cooking things that you don’t make any other time of year, and eating more often and more heavily than usual.  It’s tough to keep it simple, and for many it becomes a depressing struggle with weight.  How is it going for you so far this season?

I’ve been blessed with a high metabolism and never really struggled with my weight, but the past year has added a food restriction to my world that makes holidays a lot more tangled and treacherous for me.  It’s the gluten/wheat thing.  I’ve alluded to it in the past, but not really come out and talked about it.  Since early this spring I’ve been eating gluten free.  I tried eliminating it from my diet because I suspected that Douglas was allergic to some food-related thing, and so I went off it to keep him company while we tested it out. 

The result was that eliminating gluten made a big difference in my digestion and overall health, and a lesser but still healthy change in his.  I have more energy (when I haven’t stayed up till 4am reading silly books on my Kindle that is … will I ever learn?!) and I don’t really crave it anymore either.  Well, almost never.  The only thing I still trip over is wishing for that chewy crusty french bread that really can’t be duplicated in the land of GF baking.  It just can’t … and I so miss sopping up a good olive oil with rough chunks of that warm deliciousness!

For most baking-related items though, I’ve found good substitutes at the store or learned tried-and-true recipes from other GF blogger and bakers.  Those biscuits in the pic above?  My new super-easy-and-to-die for biscuits that are entirely grain free, fluffy, a bit sweet, and taste like dessert.  I’ll blog the recipe tomorrow :).  I took them to Thanksgiving dinner, knowing that there wouldn’t be any GF bread products for Douglas and I if I didn’t.   They were a hit among the non-GF crowd, and disappeared like a shot. The GF pumpkin pie wasn’t far behind.  The boys enjoyed their mini-ones for breakfast the next morning!


I tripped over the allergy thing though when I failed to remind my aunt that D and I weren’t able to eat wheat before she cooked the Thanksgiving dinner.  I went through the dance in my head that it was easier not to remind her, because I didn’t want to change her plans and figured that I’d just skip anything that had any wheat in it.  I knew gravy and stuffing would probably be off limits, but never thought that there would be a beer-basted turkey as the centerpiece.  Ouch!  I ended up convincing myself that there would be so little gluten in the portion of meat I ate that it was worth the chance, because I didn’t want to skip that gorgous turkey.  Four hours later I was really wishing I had though, and it made me once again realize that it’s not worth compromising my stomach and health in order to have that one dish or not (potentially) offend my hostess. 

Food allergies suck.  They can be dangerous, uncomfortable, odd and irritating, and make you feel like an overly sensitive oddball.  They are, however, real.  I’m learning the hard way that cheating just isn’t worth it.  If I were a true celiac (which I don’t think I am) I’d be seriously compromising my health if I took even tiniest amount.  I’m thankful that it’s not life-threatening, and that there are many more options out there now than there used to be for the GF crowd.  I’m starting to have pretty strong feelings about avoiding processed grains of any kind now, given all I’ve read and how my body reacts to them in general. 

I won’t jump on that podium right now though because the question that I really wanted to ask this week was do you or any of your family have and food allergies/sensitivites, and how does it affect things like holiday gatherings?  It’s already a complicated subject, so please chime in too if you hate or love the whole holiday/food thing.  Making cookies and loving every minute of it?  Do tell.  Watching the scale and hating the sight of another groaning table full of temptations?  Love to hear about it.  Having issues with food is a new thing for me, but I’m betting some of you have much more experience in this crazy arena so let’s hear it!