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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Thanksgiving with Food Allergies

Thanksgiving is fast approaching for us Canadians. With food allergies on the rise, getting together with the family to make a healthy, allergy-free meal can be challenging. My family might be the up there with being the most difficult to prep meals for - My dad has Celiac Disease, and cannot eat gluten found in wheat, rye, oats or barley, my mom doesn't eat dairy, my sister Nikki is a vegan so she doesn't eat meat, dairy or eggs, my other sister Chelsea is a vegan with a gluten allergy and I eat gluten-free, raw vegan. Try explaining that to your dinner host! But we make it work and if we can do it  - anyone can. Here are some substitution tips to make this year a little healthier and easier for you and your loved ones if you are hosting people with allergies or food restrictions. Plus I share my sister's amazing quinoa stuffing recipe, a recipe for mushroom gravy, homemade cranberries and a raw vegan pumpkin pie! Enjoy

1. Veggies and Dip – When you make your veggie tray use Coconut Milk Yogurt instead of sour cream to make your dip. Just mix it with your dip package or make one from scratch. Coconut milk yogurt is dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free! You could also make hummus/guacamole dips and serve them with fresh veggies. 
2. Mashed Potatoes – Instead of blending your mashed potatoes (or sweet potatoes) with milk and butter, simply substitute with almond milk and Earth Balance dairy-free & Soy Free Butter. Or try mashing them with avocado! Avocado is a healthy whole fat and is by far better than any processed packaged food.
3. Salad - I know it's tempting with all the yummy dishes, but don't skip the salad! Salads are healthy, colorful and can actually be really tasty. Plus there's an added benefit - Eating a salad before you dig into your meal can prevent you from overindulging. 
*Waldorf salads are popular on Thanksgiving! 

4. Stuffing – Quinoa Stuffing is a great alternative for those with gluten allergies. Even gluten-free bread can still have dairy and eggs in it, making it not suitable for vegans. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that's hearty, delicious and the perfect solution! My sister has the best recipe ever and I shared it below. 
*if you have someone with a gluten allergy in your home that’s eating turkey, please don’t stuff the turkey with gluten or they wont be able to eat it. Vegans neither!

5. Check your Broth – When using broth in your recipes make sure it’s gluten free! Some turkeys are pre-coated in broth as well so watch for that when buying one for those with gluten-allergies. Or better yet, skip the turkey and try having your first meatless thanksgiving to give thanks to all the animals that give their lives every year. 

6. Gravy –  Check your gravy packet for wheat/gluten too - and if you are making it from scratch use cornstarch instead of wheat flour for gluten allergies. I also shared my sister's vegan mushroom gravy recipe below!

7. Homemade cranberry sauce – Regular cranberry sauce isn't a big issue for people with allergies but it comes from a can which means preservatives and it's full of processed white sugar. Keep reading to find a simple, healthy cranberry sauce recipe make from  fresh cranberries and coconut sugar. 

8. Dessert – Coconut to the rescue! Coconut make a great alternative for those rich and creamy desserts.
You can make a Homemade pumpkin pie with a coconut crust - recipe below!

Enjoy Coconut Bliss vanilla ice cream instead of dairy or soy-based ice creams. *You can also make your own ice cream using only bananas! It's just like soft serve vanilla ice cream and the hint of banana flavor pairs well with the pumpkin! Learn how to make banana ice cream here:
9. Shots - There's a new tradition in our family - we have replaced alcohol shots with green juice shots! This may not be allergy-related but it's healthy and fun. The tradition started last thanksgiving. My aunt and uncle had just got their first juicer and they knew I'd be excited to do some green shots once I got there. They shared their go-to green juice recipe and it was soo good! My cousins would argue otherwise...they think green juice tastes awful, but I tell them, "If you can take a whisky shot, you can take a green juice shot!" 

*If you are hosting someone with food allergies this thanksgiving, I suggest giving them a call to communicate what they can and cannot eat. Never be afraid to ask them to bring their own dish. Being someone with a food allergy, I'd rather prepare a dish myself in my gluten-free kitchen, so I don't have to worry about cross contamination issues.

Here are some Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes for you to try, free from the top allergens:

This is my sister Nikki's amazing recipe for Quinoa Stuffing. She makes it every year for Thanksgiving and the whole family looks forward to it. My mom used to make us rice stuffing for the holidays, but there's something about the quinoa that makes it more hearty and filling. This recipe is a must try. It's gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and vegan! Check out Nikki's blog for more delicious vegan recipes: 

Gluten free Vegan Stuffing
1 cup of quinoa
2 cups of water
1 cup of wild rice
4 cups of water
1 white onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
5 stalks of celery, diced
1 small pkg mushrooms, diced
2 tbsp of coconut oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup gluten free vegetable broth
3 tsp of sage
2 tsp of cumin
Salt and pepper

First you will need to clean your wild rice and quinoa. A simple way to do that is to put it in a strainer and run cold water over it.

To make the wild rice: combine rice, the 4 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for approximately 45 minutes, until the rice has opened and fluffed out. Strain out any excess water. Or if you have a rice cooker use that instead, it’s a lot easier!

To make the quinoa combine quinoa and the 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for approximately 20 minutes, until the water has all evaporated.

Next dice up the mushrooms, carrots, onion, and celery into bite size pieces, and place the mushrooms aside for later. Heat up a medium/large sized frying pan on Medium/High heat, add your oil and sauté the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery for about 15 minutes, or until they are soft. Add the mushrooms and broth, spices and quinoa/rice mixture to the pan,  and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
Serving bowl and enjoy!  

Gluten Free Vegan Mushroom Gravy

This is also Nikki's recipe! 

1 medium Onion, diced
1 cup of Mushrooms, diced
1 tsp of Coconut Oil
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1/4 cup of gluten free Flour, I used Quinoa Flour
1 cup of Vegan Broth
2 tsp of Soy Sauce, Vegan Gluten Free
1 tsp of Worcheshire Sauce, Vegan Gluten Free

In a small sauce pan saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms in oil until soft. Gradually alternate adding flour and broth to the onions and mushrooms until there are no clumps. Add the soy sauce and the worcheshire and continue to cook for another 5 mins. If the gravy is too thick then add more broth/water until you get your desired consistency. I like my gravy to have a smooth texture so I blended mine in my Magic Bullet until smooth. However, if you like the chunky texture then exnay the blender.

Cranberry Sauce

Made from fresh fruit and free from white, processed sugar!

    2 cups fresh cranberries
    1 pear (or apple) diced
    1/2 cup orange juice
    1/2 cup  Coconut Sugar

    Combine the coconut sugar and orange juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the cranberries (fresh or frozen) and diced pear. Return to a boil until the cranberries 'pop', then reduce heat and simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into a glass bowl, cover and let cool for 2 hours. It will thicken as it cools. 

No-Bake, Raw Vegan PUMPKIN PIE
This recipe is simple to make and requires no-baking for the filling or the crust! 

The Crust
  1 cup raw shredded unsweetened coconut flakes 
  1 cup packed, pitted soft dates
 ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds (optional—toasted pumpkin seeds for extra yummy flavor!)

1.     Process ¼ cup of the pumpkin seeds into a powder in a food processor. 
2.  Sprinkle it on the bottom of your pie pan, so the crust is easier lift in the end.
3.     Put the remaining raw (or toasted) pumpkin seeds and coconut in the food processor and pulse a couple times, add the dates next and process until it becomes a large ball. 
4.  Press this mixture into the pie pan starting in the center and work your way out to the edges of the pan until it's even and flat. 

The Filling
2 cups carrots, chopped
1 cup raw pumpkin chunks from a fresh pumpkin
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoons ginger powder
½ teaspoon nutmeg 
2 tbsp raw hemp seeds
10 medjool dates (pitted and soaked)

1.    Blend everything together in a high-speed blender until it’s a smooth creamy texture. Pour into the pan onto your crust. 
2.  Decorate the top with dried mulberries, your favorite nuts and seeds. 
3.  Chill in the fridge or freezer for easy slicing! 
4. Serve with coconut ice cream or banana ice cream! 

This year I will be making my raw pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving but I will be using 8 ripe persimmons instead of the pumpkin and carrots for the filling. It makes an awesome pie filling that's sweet and easy to digest. 

Thanks so much for stopping by! Enjoy spending time with your loved ones this Thanksgiving! 

Lots of Love and Fresh Squeezed Hugs

Ashley Clark
Holistic Health Coach
Naturally Ashley Nutrition

Ashley Clark is a Holistic Health Coach, Artist, Photographer and the owner/operator of Naturally Ashley Nutrition. This prairie girl from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan loves to nourish her body with positive thoughts and ripe seasonal fruits. She is happiest being creative and loves to share healthy recipes, taking lots of photos of her colorful, fruity creations. Ashley wants to share everything she knows about holistic living to inspire and support others on their journey to create happy, healthy lifestyles, naturally.

Ashley received holistic health coach training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She began her health journey after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2007, trying many different diets to find out what works best for her. Ashley has been following a low-fat, raw vegan diet since May 2012, inspired by Dr. Doug Graham’s book The 80-10-10 Diet. She has overcome several health issues including Candida, gall bladder inflammation, chronic UTI’s, chronic hives, allergies and sinus problems, and now has more energy, a clearer mind and feels more vibrant than ever!

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