Help for a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving
Patch shares where to find gluten-free baked goods for food allergy sufferers.
Turkey? Check. Mashed potatoes? Check. China? Check. Gluten-free rolls, stuffing and desserts? Uh-oh! If you are like most folks, entertaining family and friends for Thanksgiving is stressful enough, but add accommodations for food allergies and dietary sensitivities and it can seem overwhelming.
Diet sensitivities can take a variety of forms. Individuals who can't tolerate gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley) are diagnosed with Celiac Disease (CD). According to the National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), one out of 133 people have CD — an autoimmune condition that affects adults and children.
When people with CD eat foods with gluten, a toxic reaction is created that can cause damage to the small intestine and does not allow the food to be absorbed properly. Some of the symptoms of CD include: abdominal pain and bloating, vomiting, chronic diarrhea and weight loss. In order to stay well, people with CD must avoid eating any food that contains gluten. This means avoiding most grains, pasta, cereal and processed foods.
How would avoiding gluten affect a "typical" Thanksgiving dinner? It would mean no self-basting turkey, stuffing, gravy, rolls or pumpkin pie. Fortunately, gluten-free products are available at area grocery stores including Giant, Safeway and Fresh Market. Both Trader Joe's (see PDF attached to this article) and Whole Foods offer a list of gluten-free products they carry.
The bakery at Whole Foods also offers several gluten-free desserts for Thanksgiving including pumpkin and pecan pies, along with an apple crumb pie that is also dairy free, and a pumpkin cheesecake. (If you'd like to make your own gluten-free pie crust, Whole Foods features a recipe on their website.)
Severna Park has a special bakery to help make a gluten-free Thanksgiving possible. Freedom Bakery, located in the Park Plaza Shopping Center, specializes in gluten-free products but can also cater to other food allergies as well.
Freedom Bakery was founded in 2009 when the owner Alicia Pulcher and her daughter, Sarah (who was diagnosed with CD in 2006), were fed up with the limited number of food choices for those individuals needing a gluten-free diet. They wanted to find a way to make gluten-free bread products taste good and not be too expensive.
They began by researching ways to make their own flour. The "flour" recipe they created includes rice, sorghum, millet, corn flour and cornstarch. Once they created the gluten-free flour, they tested and experimented with measurements to create their first loaf of bread. They found out early on that gluten-free dough acts differently than regular dough, as no kneading is necessary. Since it is fresh, it must be kept in the refrigerator.
Having access to gluten-free products is a huge relief for individuals with CD. According to Katie Barker of Severn, it is amazing to be able to stop by and pick up a sandwich for lunch. Barker stated that the gluten-free items from the grocery store don't taste as good as the foods from Freedom Bakery. This Thanksgiving, Barker is looking forward to her mother's homemade stuffing using a loaf of Freedom Bakery's bread.
Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, Freedom Bakery has dinner rolls, apple and pumpkin pies, and cornbread or bread stuffing available to order.
Pulcher also suggests if you are serving a person with dietary sensitivities or food allergies, to read the labels on all the products you will be using to prepare your Thanksgiving meal. Pulcher said her daughter summed it up best by saying, "If a third grader can't read the label on the can or box, don't use it."
Call Freedom Bakery in Severna Park at 410-975-0261 for more information about their gluten-free products.