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Festive Gluten-Free Holiday Dinner


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Festive Gluten-Free Holiday Dinner

Gluten is a word that has been creeping up more and more in daily conversations. For a growing number of people, a gluten-free diet has become an absolute necessity in their everyday lives. Reactions to gluten can be quite severe and debilitating, and sensitivity to it can be high. So what can you do if you’re hosting a holiday meal this year and have to come up with a gluten-free menu?

What is gluten?
Gluten is a substance that remains when some types of grain flours are washed to remove the starch.

Who does it affect?
Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disease whereby the body's immune system responds abnormally to gluten, resulting in damage to the lining of the small intestine, and thus reduced absorption of key vitamins and nutrients. It is now recognized as one of the most common chronic diseases in the world, affecting nearly 1 in every 100 people. As many as 300,000 Canadians could have this disease; however, many remain undiagnosed. Severity of symptoms can vary greatly. According to Health Canada, the only current treatment for celiac disease is maintaining a strict gluten-free diet for life.

Which foods are okay to eat?
As mentioned, there are many processed foods that can cause issues for those with Celiac disease. Any wheat-based products are strictly off-limits. This includes breads, pastas, and many other foods commonly found in the North American diet. Unprocessed fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, and oils are all naturally gluten-free, as are beans, legumes, rice, and sweeteners like honey and sugar. So while a gluten-free diet can be a challenge, there are delicious options for building well-balanced food choices. Fortunately in Canada many products are marked as strictly gluten free, and many stores now feature breads, baked goods, and packaged products specifically catering to this growing market.
While a lot of traditional holiday favourites such as stuffing and rolls are clearly not in the cards without several substitutions and much legwork, there are some great recipes that are more inherently gluten-free. Putting together a gluten-free holiday meal is far from impossible, it just takes some research and preparation to ensure you recipes and components steer clear of certain ingredients. Keep in mind, if you are preparing a meal for someone with Celiac disease this holiday season, it’s critical that you pay attention to labels and warnings on processed foods, packaged products, and seasonings. Be sure to consult them if any ingredients are not familiar to you.

APPETIZERS

Warm Broccoli Salad 

Mushroom and Spinach Quiche in a Potato Crust 

Baba's Cabbage Rolls

MAINS

Gluten-Free Chicken Pot Pie 

Brined Roast Turkey and Gravy 

The Ultimate Roast  

 

SIDES

Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread 

Gluten-Free Stuffing 

Wild Rice Pilaf 

 

DESSERTS

Gluten-Free Marble Pound Cake 

White Chocolate Pavlova 

Orange Grapefruit Sorbet

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