Happy Power Monday! Have you been gearing up for T-Day? We are t-minus 3 days till! I got all my cooking done and in the freezer on Sunday except for my stuffed mushrooms which I will be making on Wednesday since I am taking the day totally off from school! (It is a half-day anyway, so why not!) Besides my cooking marathon on Sunday, Saturday was more of a chill out day. I made some pumpkin peanut french toast for breakfast! Totally first time experiment success!
I went to the grocery early in the morning, sent out college stuff, walked last weeks episode of The Walking Dead, tried to make sushi which was a total fail so I changed up the presentation and put it in a bowl! Still delicious! Man, I have so many recipes to share with you guys over the next few weeks. The recipe and cooking inspiration just keeps coming and you can’t keep me out of the kitchen! I am loving it. Check out the delicious blueberry green cookies n’ creme smoothie I made Saturday! I also had my first ever Persimmon on Sunday! It was delicious, I have been missing out. But I did get a weird grainy type texture in my mouth afterwords…hmm?
I also got tons of work done for my new Plant Fusion Ambassadorship, yay! And of course my Saturday ended with a great Vinyasa Power Yoga session and a new mastered move! The Forearm stand! I don’t have a picture, but I think holding the asana for at least a minute counts as mastering 😉 It was crazy cold and windy all weekend, we even got snow on Saturday night. The wind was howling all day Sunday and the temps stayed in the 20s…not cool! But that is why I stayed inside and had the oven on basically all weekend 😉
So for today’s Power Monday I want to focus on my gluten-free and allergy friends! With T-Day in just 3 days and all the other fun holidays coming up over the next few weeks, it is inevitable that you will be going out to parties, get-togethers, and family dinners. These may sound fun and exciting for the normal Joe, but for someone with food allergies it can be an anxiety filled time of dodging landmines and bombs. What do you do when Aunt Linda trying shoveling her famous green bean casserole on your plate. “What?” she says, “It’s only green beans!” But you know that the creamy sauce she used is full of gluten, not to mention she just used the same spoon to dish out the sweet potatoes with crumb topping. Well have no fear! because I have some tips that will help you navigate these treacherous holiday times! No one wants to feel sick or needs the added stress of dealing with allergies during these times of joy and love. And they do not have to!
1. Don’t be afraid to inform your host: Call ahead of time and let them know about your allergies. Most likely they will want to help and will even offer to cooking foods to you needs. This can be where it gets tricky as you may not have enough trust in their preparation and knowledge of your allergy. There also could be mass cross-contamination. So to be safe, just let them know not to go out of their way to much. But if you show up and refuse all their food, they will feel so bad so it is best to just let them know…which leans me to…
2. BYOF: Bring-Your-Own-Food (or dish). This way you know you will be able to eat something and you know it is safe. Make some more and you can share it with everyone. Letting others try your dishes can spark conversation and education about your allergy. Just make sure when serving cross-contamination does not occur. The dish should have its own serving utensil, etc. Better yet, get you food first and let others try it after you have already got your portion on your plate!
3. Pack safe snacks: If you are going to more of a cocktail party (say New Year’s Eve) just bring a large purse and keep essential snacks with you just in case. You can bring some food bars, nuts, veggies and fruit (maybe your own bottle of G-Free beer if you are of age ;). You can also plan to eat a light dinner before, this way you won’t have to worry about getting to hungry during the party.
4. It is okay to say no…thank you: When you do encounter a situation like Aunt Linda presented, don’t be afraid to stick up for your health and say no. If they just don’t understand you allergy, politely say you are so full and really couldn’t eat more or be a tricky fox and accept their gluten-filled cupcake with thanks. Then walk away and pass it off to you gluten-eating partner in crime. They can take that treat right off your hands. If you are sitting down at a table and the serving bowls are going around, sit next to your gluten-eating partner and have them grab the bowl going around. This way it skips right over you and no one needs to say a word.
5. Swaps: Don’t forget that being gluten-free or allergy-free does not mean you have to pass up on traditional dishes. Swaps are so easy! Take the stuffing. Just use your favorite gluten-free bread (I will have an awesome recipe you can use tomorrow if you need a new one!). To thicken sauces use cornstarch instead of wheat flour. For that nut crumble topping on the sweet potatoes, just use oats and lovely cinnamon!
6. Sneaky ingredients: Watch out when you reach for that turkey or ham. Seek out the ingredients to any marinades or seasoning used. These can be huge landmines waiting to explode you night…and your stomach!
7. Start new traditions: So maybe you can’t replicate Grandma’s famous pumpkin pie down to the exact taste, but that’s okay! Try a new recipe, something non-traditional like apple cinnamon cake bars or raw gingerbread men. Make some Chana Masala for an ethnic flair to your American holiday! Create memories through actions as well. Holidays don’t have to always be centered around food. On T-Day, have everyone write down 10 things they are thankful for and share their list at the dinner table. Or do something fun and have before dinner dance party (maybe a Zumba DVD?). Or go for it and sign up for that Turkey-Trot 5k this year and run with the ones you love! Or walk, we can all handle that 😉
8. Be the Host: I wish we could host holidays at my house, but we never have…ever. I would love to cook mass quantities of my favorite allergy free and vegan dishes and share them around the table with the ones I love. If you are able to host at your house, I say go for it! This way all the food you cook will be safe and you know it! Have family or friends bring any other non-safe dish must haves for everyone and keep them separate in the house and on the table.
9. Enjoy the love: The holidays are about love and happiness. You deserve to be healthy and happy during this time, remember that! Don’t compromise your health just to please another. Focus on the positives and enjoy the time with family. Don’t let food rule you, just keep it safe and be aware.
We will be having a small gathering at my grandparents house. If will just be my grandparents, mom, brother, and aunt and uncle. A nice calm day to enjoy each other. My grandma will be cooking all the traditional foods, so I will be bringing my own gluten-free vegan stuffing (for my mom and I), my stuffed mushrooms in a smaller more appetizer form, and my gluten-free vegan crustless pumpkin pie for my dessert! I am hoping to make Thursday enjoyable and free of anxiety. I will let you know how it goes of course 🙂
So tell me:
How do you feel about holidays and allergies?
Are you family members/friends understanding or just never seem to understand?
Anymore tip to add to this quick list?