GF Holiday Food Traditions

Today, I am on a self-imposed fast!

Fifteen years ago when the Christmas celebrating had ended, I would not have gained an extra pound due to my new gluten-free diet. That is not the case today. This year all of my holiday traditions were made with gluten-free ingredients, not just for me but for my extended family and friends.

One week ago at the annual cookie swap, I made cake pops with a festive red and green candy coating. For this recipe, I used a gluten-free chocolate cake mix, Betty Crocker, and store bough chocolate frosting. The Wilton Candy Melts are vanilla flavored and pretty much all sugar! Not only did they look adorable on their lollipop sticks, they were really tasty and everyone wanted to know how I made them.

Then we have my immediate family’s Christmas Eve fondue tradition. My husband makes this dinner which, for me, is the best part of tradition! Our fondue is a gooey pot of sharp cheddar, cream, dried mustard, garlic and a bit of flour. Over the years, my husband has been able to adjust the recipe using gluten-free flour. The first year it was a congealed mess that we had to dilute with milk, but he has figured out how to reduce the amount of flour in his recipe so we get a really thick but not cement-like structure to the cheese.

The baguettes go on separate trays for warming, but it’s pretty tough to tell the difference between the Schar’s gluten free baguettes and the one’s from the bakery. I used to just toast up the bread I had made in my bread machine, but today I have options such as Everybody Eats or Against the Grain or Schar’s baguettes. I have two separate fondue pots so we can all eat without worry!

We had a mix up for the extended family celebration desserts so I brought two, both gluten free! One was my traditional apple crisp with Bob’s Red Mill GF Oats and Mi-Del ginger snaps. The other dessert I brought was gluten-free chocolate cupcakes from a King Arthur mix with a candy cane butter cream frosting and a sprinkling of peppermint sugar on top! We did not have much in the way of leftovers.

I received three Christmas cards where a friend wrote me a little note saying that he or she had just been diagnosed with either a gluten intolerance or celiac disease. My new year’s wish is that everyone who finds out he or she needs to eat a gluten free diet realizes just how far GF food has come in the past fifteen years and they learn that this diagnosis does not mean that they will have to give up holiday traditional foods like I thought I had to fifteen years ago!

However, there is one unintended consequence of all these GF food choices, I am embracing a different type of new year’s resolution this year…”lose five pounds.”

Kendall Egan

  • I am Italian and have been wheat free/gluten free forever. My late-mother was as well. I guess I passed it on to my youngest daughter.

    Today, whether or not a person has been diagnosed with even the slightest intolerance to wheat or gluten or both, if an individual wants to self-impose this life style, as it takes over your life, or if one just wants to sample the wheat free gluten free fare, I am happy that society has embraced this disease, because it is a disease, and has showered the grocery shelves with endless options of foods.

    In the past, I have had to adapt all my baked goods, desserts, and pastas to using w/f g/f ingredients. Unfortunately, I had to add natural sweeteners or as we all know, the taste of un-doctored w/f g/f is disgusting. 100% agave, maple syrup, along with 100% vanilla or other flavorings, etc was the only way to go for a palaptable product. White sugar is a villain to us celiacs. Thank goodness, there is Stevia because Truvia is not a welcome newcomer to celiacs as well. The nutritional value of w/f g/f food is almost zip so far, for w/f g/f foods. Fiber is last on the list of nutrients as well. W/f g/f foods are off the Weight Watchers Point values no matter which program you are on and celiacs are not their fave clients.

    So, the good news is that manufacturers are using more nutrients and fiber in the coming year due to representatives in Agra. The sad news is that w/f g/f food is getting closer to processed food. We celiacs are back to the basics for real nutrition, that includes protein, vegetables, fruit, and beans and nuts if one can tolerate beans and nuts.

    Processed w/f g/f foods such as cookies, crackers, etc are great once in a while. Losing 5 pounds is easy if you stick to shopping
    the perimeter of the grocery store and as we were all taught in our elementary health classes, the middle aisles of the grocery are not the nutritional ones.

    The up-side of being celiac is that the aging process is not as defined on the outside because drinking soda, eating processed foods, partially hydrogenated additives, etc., was already outlawed by our bodies. There are some upsides!

    Good Luck and Happy New Year!!

    To newbies, it is harder than substituting regular bread for w/f g/f bread, but it is not impossible. Read the labels and know that the lucky part is that your body is going to reject processed foods. If you are new to the rejection process your body will experience, then you will only want to do that once and you will be wheat free gluten free without angst.

    Have fun and be safe in the New Year!!