In my previous blog post, I talked about how it’s probably best to relax a little about dietary restrictions during the holidays and special feast days. If there is any time where it’s reasonable to “cheat” on your diet, it would be special days like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holidays of that sort.
But for some people, this isn’t really an option. Those folks with severe gluten intolerance, where eating bread can cause migraines  and intestinal discomfort, or celiac disease which can can cause damage from the slightest exposure to gluten – those people can’t really afford to take a diet holiday.
Having such restrictions can be difficult when the food and grocery environment is so complicated. Despite the increasing proliferation and availability of “gluten-free” products, it seems that the plight of the gluten-intolerant is still as worrying as ever. A recent blog post at Robb Wolf’s website discussed how the screening and reporting standards for gluten presence in foods is not completely accurate. 
Due to technical limitations, the industry is only really able to measure the presence of gluten down to 20 parts per million (ppm), and so the FDA is apparently only obligated to require compliance of foods labeled gluten-free to meet this standard. There is no guarantee that some amount of gluten below this amount is not present, and that a person with celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance will not be affected by it.
What can one do? Well, as always, consider gluten-free grain-based products to be suspect and only eat them if you know that some gluten exposure won’t be disastrous to your health. I see those types of products as more of a treat rather than a staple of the diet, allowing you to cook recipes that might otherwise be off limits. Food products in the U.S. are forced to mention the presence of wheat if it was part of the production process or processing facility, so use that as a warning.
As for Christmas dinner and other holidays meals, there are still plenty of wonderful things to eat – you just might be missing out on things like sugar cookies baked with wheat flour, cheap traditional gravy with wheat flour as a thickening agent, turkey stuffing, and pies made with a wheat-based crust. But there are so many other things to enjoy, like the main course of turkey or duck, sweet potatoes with cinnamon drizzled in honey, baked onions, roasted brussel sprouts, cranberry chutney, I could go on and on. Don’t focus on what you can’t eat, and think about all of the other great options there are.
Some things to keep in mind, self basting turkeys may have been injected with a hydrolyzed vegetable protein which could be wheat based. So, you’ll probably have to do it yourself, but remember that continuously opening the oven door baste your bird will cool the oven and increase cooking time.
Also, many of the cheap gravy mixes will contain some kind of flour and such as a thickening agent, so you’ll probably want to make it yourself at home from scratch. You can use something like arrowroot powder for thickening to go along with the giblets and roasting juices left over from the turkey.
Good luck, happy holidays, and get creative in the kitchen!