Grab a Plate: Food Allergies Aren't Going to Spoil Thanksgiving...

Two of my boys have gone through "allergy testing". They both have some allergies to foods we eat on a regular basis. For example, one of my children is allergic to salmon... and we live in Alaska!

Since I am just entering the world of "food allergies" and having to consider it more than I ever did, I have been curious what is like for people to go to large eating events, and how they deal with "food" while attending.

Since Thanksgiving is literally next week (really... where has the time gone?), I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to discuss food allergies and big meals.

Image courtesy of tiverylucky at

I asked two people dealing with food allergies on a daily basis how allergies affect their Thanksgiving celebrations. 

First is Cathy, who was diagnosed with food allergies in 2007. After several years of feeling like she had the flu (headaches, slight nausea, stomach aches)... all the time... a naturopath sent her in for allergy testing. 

"My allergies include eggs, wheat and dairy. I do not have any anaphylactic allergies. 

I usually attend a large family dinner for Thanksgiving. So far, having allergies has not affected the types of gatherings I attend, but I always let the host know about my allergies ahead of time. 

I have found I have to ask about what are in the mashed potatoes, as many people make them with butter and milk. We have learned to use olive oil instead, and it works great! 

Image courtesy of phasinphoto at

The main issue I have is with desserts; so, if I want some, I bring it myself."

Next, I spoke with Melissa. She found out about her food sensitivities in 2013. Since then, she has been making major changes to her daily diet and is having amazing positive changes in her overall health. Her sensitivities include corn, wheat, rye, soy, dairy, eggs, dyes and has an anaphylactic allergy to raspberries. 

"My experience with food sensitives for holidays at first was despair at all the things I could not eat to realizing I hated feeling sick more. 

I then re-framed my thinking to recreating the same sides, treats and entrees in my allergy friendly versions. I still eat mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing it's just alternate versions with great flavor. 

I literally had to reinvent my meals but once I got my alternatives down it was a piece of cake after that! 

One website that has really helped me is Our Nutrition Kitchen

I am going to be honest... when I set out to do this post, I figured I was going to hear doom and gloom stories about how hard it is living with food allergies.  

What I realized after talking with these ladies is that they have been able to take control of their health by avoiding foods that make them sick, while still finding ways to enjoy foods they liked "pre-allergies".

I also like that they both have maintained an amazing attitude about all the changes they have had to make in their lives!

I'm not an expert at cooking/baking with allergies by any means, but I know a couple tricks:

For an egg allergy... 

When baking... replace 1 egg with 3 Tablespoons of applesauce

For a milk allergy... 

- You can substitute many of the other types of "milk" out there for baking, but my kids like rice milk best.  Even my husband says rice milk in mac and cheese is... ok... (he is NOT A FAN of the rice milk)...

Although it takes time to figure out a new approach to food once food sensitivities/allergies are discovered, it is possible to enjoy the "big meals" just as you did before! 

Please share some more cooking and baking with allergies tips you know in the comments! 

Labels: ,