Thanksgiving – What Can I Eat?

Ah, the holidays.  And what comes to mind when you think of the holidays?  Well food, of course.  Lots and lots of food.  But what about those of us who are on limited diets?  We are the ones who bring our own food to events because we can’t eat what everyone else is having.  We are the ones who have to politely explain what we can’t eat to Aunt Mary for the umpteenth time and she still doesn’t understand why you can’t have the gravy as it’s not bread…  Growing up, every holiday for us was filled with such wonderful food. My mom is an amazing cook and I will forever miss her candied yams or her gravy and her pies. My mom can bake a pie.  And my dad’s fudge?  I can never have it again.  Because eating those things will make me sick.  And I mourn those things because, in a way, it’s a loss.  A loss of tradition.  But I have my memories and I still enjoy watching my family enjoy those things as I still make those foods for them so that they can share in the tradition.  Last year was the worst.  I was deathly ill and was living off smoothies because I had oral and esophageal thrush so bad I couldn’t tolerate food.  So, while my entire family was devouring the mounds of potatoes and turkey with gravy, I slurped my smoothie.  And while it really kind of stunk, what I discovered was that what really mattered was all of us around that table together.  THAT’S what matters.  But… we still need to be able to eat.  And here is what I’ve discovered so we can enjoy the holidays along with everyone else.

Turkey – I love turkey.  And, thank goodness I can eat it.   But, I can’t have stuffing and I can’t eat a turkey which has been stuffed.  This year, I purchased a beautiful natural turkey because it’s free of soy.  Yes, boys and girls, soy is in EVERYTHING!  You can purchase from Tropical Traditions or order from your local Whole Foods.

The following turkey tips are pulled directly from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Blog:

Organic:  Food labeled organic must be raised on certified organic pasture and fed certified organic feed for their entire lives. They cannot contain drugs, antibiotics or growth hormones and must have year-round outdoor access.

Free-Range: Under U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations, the free-range designation means that the turkey has been allowed access to outdoors. However, there are no actual requirements for how much time is allowed outside or the quality or size of the area.

Pasture Raised: If possible, a 100% pasture raised turkey is superior as it ensures that the bird is allowed to roam freely and forage on the ground, as they were meant to. It ensures that the bird is not given a feed of soy, corn or other grains. The best place to find these turkeys is through local farmers. Turkeys can be labeled pasture raised if they are provided with pasture during the grazing season in their area and ensuring that the animals get at least 30 percent of their dry-feed intake from pasture grazing over the course of grazing season.

Natural: This label means there are not any artificial flavors or flavoring, coloring ingredient, or chemical preservative. It also means that the product and its ingredients are not more than minimally processed. It does not mean that it is organic, free of GMO, or even ethically raised.

What to eat when you are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, etc., etc.?  Do you know you can still have stuffing and gravy and cranberry sauce and green bean casserole?  And all these things taste as you remember?  You can even have fudge!  Most of these things, this year, I will be making directly from the Celebrations cookbook.  Below are a few of things my family will be enjoying this year.

Sweet potatoes – While I miss my mom’s, this recipe is pretty delicious and can be made ahead of time.

Cranberry sauce – My son-in-law loves my cranberry sauce, but I’ve had to change it a bit so I can enjoy it as well.  He doesn’t know the difference!

  1. ¼ cup water
  2. 1 ½ tsp unflavored gelatin (I use great lakes)
  3. ½ cup fresh orange juice
  4. ½ cup honey
  5. 1 tsp orange zest
  6. 1 pint sliced strawberries
  7. 1 pint raspberries
  8. 1 small can crushed pineapple
  9. 1  12-ounce package fresh cranberries

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside for gelatin to bloom.

Mix all ingredients but the strawberries, raspberries and pineapple together in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the berries break open.  (about 20 mins)

Pour in the bloomed gelatin and whisk until fully dissolved

Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature.  Then add the berries and pineapple.  Cover and refrigerate 4 hours until thickened.

Dessert – You have to have dessert.  It’s Thanksgiving after all.  I make Danielle Walker’s pumpkin pie every year.  Last year my extended family had no idea they were eating something different.  I also am all about her galette.  For the recipes, please click on the following links: and

Other sides – I will also be making green bean casserole, brussels sprouts with bacon jam and stuffing, all from the Celebrations cookbook.

If you are looking for tips on making a paleo Thanksgiving, you can check out Danielle Walker’s helpline video by visiting  She goes over the recipes in her book and also shares some general tips.   You can also view her shopping list, timeline, etc. here:  For any of her other videos, you can find her on YouTube:  Here she has tips on everything from making the perfect pie crust to how to eat at Disneyland with special food needs.

I hope you found this helpful.  Even with a restricted diet, you can still eat tasty food and enjoy the holidays with your family. I wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.




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