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Am Paleo Grain Free Dairy Free Ideas For Thanksgiving

Paleo, Grain Free, Dairy Free Ideas for Thanksgiving + Tips for Holiday Eating Away From Home

With Thanksgiving approaching quickly, I have been excitedly planning our holiday feast, but accommodating a variety of friends’ and family’s food allergies and preferences can be tough… especially when you’re crafting an autoimmune-friendly meal.

As I’m a sucker for traditional foods, I am one for taking my holiday favorites and tweaking them to accommodate my autoimmune needs.  I experiment and have fun, but am also always on the lookout for amazing websites with recipes that have already done the work for me.  Whether you’re the host or not, here are some resources for a stress-free (if that’s really possible!) and rave-worthy holiday meal that will have everyone going back for seconds.

Ideas for grain-free, dairy-free and soy-free holiday recipes

  • Deliciously Organic  – this is my #1 favorite resource for all recipes delicious, traditional and autoimmune friendly.  Carrie does a kick-butt job of highlighting who her recipes accommodate.  She also provides menu plans and has a lovely cookbook.  *Special note – for those dealing with Candida or who want to watch their sugar intake, reduce the natural sweeteners in these recipes.  The dishes will still taste great!
  • Alton Brown’s Brined & Roasted Turkey – The ONLY way to make a Turkey. I’ve been using Alton Brown’s brining method for years and it’s full-proof.  Full-proof, I say!
  • Primal Pal – This is a fantastic resource for an autoimmune friendly traditional Thanksgiving meal with a Paleo twist.  This article provides tons of links and resources to other Paleo friendly websites.  Enjoy!
  • Empowered Sustenance – A make-ahead Thanksgiving feast – what?!?  This is the jackpot for my family as the menu and plan is simple, grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free and low sugar.
  • Whisking & Writing – vegetarian, gluten-free and relatively soy-free holiday menu.  Whenever I’m faced with a recipe with soy, I substitute with Coconut Aminos.  Works like a charm!

My 2013 Thanksgiving Menu

You’ll see below that I’m taking delicious recipes and tweaking them for the needs of my family and friends.  You can do this too!  This menu accommodates both a vegetarian and an autoimmune-Paleo family with restrictions ranging from gluten, eggs and dairy to nuts.  Luckily, wine is still on the menu! *wink*

Turkey Leg & Gravy (Paleo – I’ll omit the flour and sub teeny amt of cornstarch)

Wild Mushroom Gravy (Vegetarian – I’ll omit the flour and sub teeny amt of cornstarch)

Cranberry Sauce with Ginger (for everyone – last year I threw in a cardamom pod to raves)

Warm Chard Salad with Raisins (for everyone – I’ll omit the bacon and add apricots this go-around)

Orange and Maple-glazed Brussell Sprouts (for everyone)

Green Bean & Mushroom Casserole (for everyone – I’ll omit the nutritional yeast)

Paleo Vegetable Stuffing or Grain-free “Cornbread Stuffing (for everyone – I’ll make half with sausage and half without)

Garlic Mashed Potatoes or Cauliflower “Potatoes” (Vegetarian – sub olive oil in any recipe to make dairy free. *Also, I will not use margarine, it’s not a healthy product.  Subs olive oil or butter from pastured cows instead (Organic Valley, KerryGold)

Apple Pie (for everyone)

Pumpkin Pie (omitting almond milk and substituting coconut milk for those with nut allergies)

Tips for holiday eating away from home

When it comes to holiday eating when we’re out-and-about, it can often feel like we’re constantly stepping over land mines.  The holidays are supposed to be festive and fun, though.  So, here’s how to enjoy your time celebrating with others whether you’re inside or outside the home.

First remember that your host is excited to welcome you to his/her home and he/she wants to provide an extraordinary experience for you.  It does the host a disservice if you don’t mention any food restrictions.  The host wants to create an experience for you, and you should give them the chance to accommodate you.  Nothing is worse for a host than lovingly preparing a meal only to learn that their guest can’t eat any of it.  They’ll often try and learn something new and exciting in an effort to make you feel welcome.  It’s a win-win!

You don’t want to be “that” person…the one with all the food restrictions

Well, honey, you are that person.  And that is perfectly OK.  So many more people are dealing with food restrictions these days and by speaking up, you may be helping someone else who was afraid to mention it.  What I always tell a host is that I’m not eating x, y and z, but I’d like to contribute a dish or two that will accommodate those needs so that he/she doesn’t have to worry about it.  I make it clear that they don’t need to alter their menu for me in any way and that I’ll be fine by bringing a few things.  This takes the pressure off of them and ensures you have food to eat at any occasion.  Nine times out of ten though, the host has gladly collaborated with me on creating a delicious spread that could accommodate everyone’s needs.

Plan for success

For not only my personal dining happiness but also my waistline, I’ll often eat a salad and an apple before attending a holiday party or large event.  This ensures I don’t show up ravenous and ready to make horrible food decisions.  Research has also shown that you’ll likely consume up to 30% less calories by eating an apple before each meal.  Not only does an apple a day keep the doctor away, it keeps you from overeating and packing on the “holiday hundred!”

The other thing to remember is to load your plate with 75% vegetables (and I’m not talkin’ mashed potatoes here).  When you’re at a party, balance your plate to be about 75% veggies and 20% protein/high quality fats….I left you 5% for those delicious sweet treats.  A girl’s gotta live a little, right?

If you are the host and an autoimmune mom, you’re likely very conscious of accommodating a house full of dietary restrictions.  However, if you need some guidance, here’s a nice little how-to article.

Happy Holidays!!!


About the Author
Jen is a Holistic Health Expert and Vitality Coach, specializing in thyroid and autoimmune disorders and providing one-of-a-kind, long-lasting health and lifestyle overhauls through her services and websites The Healthy Plate and Thyroid Loving Care. Jen brings extra helpings of joy and humor to the table and has degrees in culinary arts, psychology, transformational coaching, nutrition, and Italian. She spent a year honing her cooking skills in Italy and is passionate about physical rejuvenation, family, laughter and helping people craft the life of their dreams.

This blog post was originally published by, written by Jen, and first published on Nov 25, 2013.

This post contains the opinions of the author. Autoimmune Association is not a medical practice and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is your responsibility to seek diagnosis, treatment, and advice from qualified providers based on your condition and particular circumstances. Autoimmune Association does not endorse nor recommend any products, practices, treatment methods, tests, physicians, service providers, procedures, clinical trials, opinions or information available on this website. Your use of the website is subject to our Privacy Policy.

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