As a kid, I think one of my favorite holidays was Thanksgiving. We would get in the car to drive 3.5 hours to stay with my Grandma. 3.5 hours is no time at all to spend in a car but as a kid it was an eternity. Now my kids sit in the car for 11 hours to visit their Grandparents but let me stop myself there before my thoughts spider web anymore.
My Mom’s Aunt and Uncle would host Thanksgiving with our family, their four grown children, and their families. There were a lot of people. A lot of people we only saw once a year so before each dinner we would have a review of everyone’s names.
I loved being around this extended family and spending time with them. We always got dressed up (which I hated at the time but love the thought of being kind of fancy for such a beautiful holiday). But let’s be honest there’s also memories about the food. For me it was Clearly Canadian. Guys do you remember this drink? It was so amazing! I think I only drank it at Thanksgiving at Nancy and Evie’s house. My Thanksgivings have never been totally complete since Clearly Canadian has vanished.
Since Nancy and Evie stopped hosting, my childhood Thanksgivings changed quite a bit. Here are some highlights of Thanksgivings past: soupy mashed potatoes (which I think my Mom still feels guilty about but they tasted good!), cold turkey, pumpkin pie made by my Nana who forgot to add the sugar, Moon Pies and French fries (yes, you read that correctly. One year we had Moon Pies and French fries at Thanksgiving dinner. Actually it was probably on more than one occasion).
I will stop rambling about my Thanksgiving memories now and get to the point of this post.
Thanksgiving, for most people, is all about the food and the people they share it with. What if you have food allergies or sensitivities? What are you supposed to do when you are not hosting Thanksgiving dinner? Do you sit there staring and drooling over everyone else’s plates?
I have learned a few things about eating at other people’s houses and how to handle food allergies or sensitivities. The best way is through open communication! When my daughter could not tolerate dairy or soy (see my post about that HERE), I spent so many family gatherings eating plain meat and plain salad. It was just plain SAD! If I would have just been better at communicating and following the steps below then family gatherings would have been so much more enjoyable.
If the hosts don’t already know the foods you can not eat it’s ok to let them know that you have certain food restrictions. In fact, PLEASE let them know. I would be mortified if someone came to my house and weren’t able to eat anything I had prepared.
Don’t be afraid to ask what is on the menu that way you can plan accordingly.
Offer to bring a dish or two to share that is safe for you to eat.
If you don’t feel comfortable with any of the above then don’t arrive on an empty stomach. Eat before you go.
If you have an issue digesting gluten and/or dairy you can try a digestive enzyme to avoid any possible issues with cross contamination. This does not give you permission to eat those foods. This is to avoid any unpleasant symptoms from eating foods that have accidentally been contaminated with gluten and/or dairy. I personally like Integrative Therapeutics Similase GFCF. You can purchase supplements through me by following this link (I will receive compensation if you purchase through me): Fullscript
Before taking supplements, please consult with your doctor. Please make sure that you are taking a professional brand as many retail brands are contaminated with pharmaceuticals and other ingredients.
The digestive enzyme recommended above again is to only be used with possible risk of cross contamination. You should continue to avoid gluten and/or casein when taking the supplement.