Gluten this, gluten that. In case you haven’t noticed, just about everything has gluten in there somewhere. It’s not easy being gluten-free, and in fact, there are some who say avoiding gluten has become so trendy that it’s way overblown. There are just so many questions about it. What is gluten and who can’t tolerate it? Why is it put into food in the first place? Which foods are the best gluten-free options?

What we put in our mouths is important so let’s get right down to business and learn all about gluten, and how we can get through the holidays happy if we’ve gone gluten-free.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Gluten

What is gluten anyway?

Gluten is the name for proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale, which is a cross between wheat and rye. Why is it a thing? It’s put into foods to help them keep shape, almost acting as a glue holding food together.

Who has problems with gluten?

People who suffer from certain conditions may not be able to tolerate gluten in food. In particular, we’re talking about indivicuals with: 

  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Celiac Disease
  • Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
  • Gluten Intolerant

How common is a gluten sensitivity?

Researchers estimate that 6 to 7 per cent of the population may fall into one of these categories, which amounts to about 20 million people in the United States alone. When you think about it, that’s a pretty large number. And it means that even if you’re not gluten-free yourself, you’re likely to have someone at your holiday table who is.

What to serve gluten-free guests at holiday time

How to Get Through the Holidays Gluten-FreeKnowing that, how in the world can you enjoy eating throughout the holidays if you happen to be one of those “lucky” 20 million people? Here is a handy list of popular holiday foods  that don’t typically contain gluten. You may want to consider adding them to your menu this season.

  • Plain turkey (Here’s our fave turkey recipe!). But do yourself a favour and take a pass on the gravy and traditional stuffing. Bonus: Turkey contains a lot of yummy protein, too.
  • Plain ham. Hey, did you know that most meats are gluten-free?
  • Mashed and sweet potatoes. But wait. Skip the butter and check with the chef to be sure no flour was added to the potatoes.
  • Vegetables and fruit. These are often healthy gluten-free options. If the veggie is covered in a cream based sauce, skip it, as most cream sauces have flour.
  • Gluten-free cookie or brownie mix. For dessert, choose a gluten-free cookie or brownie mix available now at most grocery stores. 

Gluten-Free Holiday Recipes

And my personal favourite: Pineapple Fluff Pie


Makes two pies

How to Get Through the Holidays Gluten-Free

Pineapple Fluff Pie by Taste of Home

What You Need

  • 1 can crushed pineapple well drained
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 9 ounces Cool Whip
  • 2 ready-made gluten free graham cracker pie crusts

What You Do

1. Mix all ingredients together and pour into pie crusts (split mixture)

2. Refrigerate overnight or until firm (4-6 hours)

3. Top with Cool Whip before serving

Former CEO of Fisherman’s Hospital and and long-time Keys resident, Kim Bassett has more than 25 years experience in nursing and hospital administration. Kim now serves as president and CEO of Steward Norwood Hospital in Massachusetts. 

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