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Gluten-free Grattitude


Thanksgiving brings unusual challenges to some of us gluten-free geeks. Every year we bring back a few trays of leftovers and even more dishes of disappointment. It seems that no amount of sugar, cream, and bacon bits can make our gluten-free desserts more appealing to the non-gluten-free (NGF) crowd. Can we make a dent in the fixed mindsets and mouthsets? While the flourless turkey was thawing for the past few days, I came up with some ideas:

1. Don’t say it’s gluten-free. This is an obvious one, but it doesn’t work when our faces trigger GF phobia from previous party exposure. It’s also not fair if we expect others to be honest with us.

2. Location, location. Place the GF dessert next to the heaping dish of raw lacinato kale salad. It’s all relative.

3. Play popularity. Before the politics start food fights, we can mention that Bill and Chelsea Clinton are gluten-free. Celebrities like Zooey Deschanel, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jessica Alba have sensitivities too. Athletes like Novak Djokovic and Mark Teixeira have enjoyed huge improvements without wheat. But be prepared for skeptics and lively debate. Know that gluten-free dieting has not provided any short-term benefits in non-celiac athletes, but mountains of research point to gluten as a trigger for symptoms ranging from schizophrenic hallucinations to neuropathy to irritable bowel. Keep in mind, these factoids may not mix with heavy drinking and exposure to in-laws.

4. Ask for input. At $3/bite, we need to know if our dessert is worth the elbow grease or $35 of packaged goodness at Whole Foods. Find out (from the NGF experts) how the dessert is similar or different to the wheaty competition. Avoid any concept of “better.”

5. Cut and catch. Slice the GF treats into tiny pieces and spear them with toothpick skewers. If there are big kids at the party, attach video games to the skewers.

6. Bundle deal. For really tough customers, try attaching the GF dessert servings to small shots of espresso or triple dark chocolate crusted with imported salt chunks. In Colorado, surround the servings with cannabis leaves or green chili for best results.

7. Be thankful for leftovers. I suppose we can’t really complain about heaping mounds of delicious pre-diabetic chow to consume by Sunday. If guilt starts slowing the metabolism, pick up some extra veggies and apple cider vinegar (ACV) at the market. Daily ACV – with the mother goop floating inside – has been known to reduce sugar cravings, improve cholesterol, and control blood sugar.

Next year, maybe we can meet in the middle with a hybrid dessert just for NGFers – half wheat and half “weird flour”!

Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

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