Have a happy, gluten-free Thanksgiving

By Betty Murray

Gluten-free diets are becoming increasingly common, and for good reason. Gluten can cause gut problems like bloating, diarrhea, cramping, constipation, energy loss and skin problems for people with gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease.

Now that doesn’t sound like a pleasant way to spend the holidays, does it?

Gluten-free diets aren’t only beneficial to those with gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease. Gluten has many harmful effects, including an increase in insulin levels and inflammation at the cellular level. It can also lead to leaky gut syndrome.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a special protein that is found in rye, wheat and barley. It is the substance that gives bread dough it’s elasticity, and is responsible for the chewy texture of baked bread. Gluten is found in many types of breads and cereals, however not all grains contain gluten. Wild rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, teffoats, soybeans, and sunflower seeds are examples of grains that do not include gluten.

How to plan a gluten-free Thanksgiving

Are you ready to prepare gluten-free dishes for your Thanksgiving dinner? As you prepare for Thanksgiving, here are some tips for preparing a gluten-free meal.

  • Read the labels. When doing your holiday grocery shopping, be sure to read the labels of each item. Gluten is often in marinades, broths and can even be in soy sauce.
  • Substitute rice or potato flour. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a boat full of gravy, but thickening gravy can be a challenge without the use of flour. Use rice or potato flour instead.
  • Substitute coconut milk for milk and creams. Whether we’re talking pumpkin pie or mashed potatoes, coconut milk is always a great non-dairy substitute. A gluten-free broth is another option for mashed potatoes.
  • Stuff your bird with gluten-free cornbread. Stuffing is another Thanksgiving must-have, but because it is often made with bread, it certainly does not fall under the gluten-free category. Use gluten-free cornbread or bread topping instead.
  • Do your research. There are a number of excellent online gluten-free recipe catalogs. For a gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner that’s a hit with the whole family, check out these recipes that are both gluten-free and vegetarian. Be sure to try Silvana Nardone’s recipe for gluten-free pumpkin dumplings with radicchio.

Eating gluten-free can be more of a challenge during the holidays, with so many American favorites packed full of flour, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Here’s one of my favorite simple, gluten-free turkey recipes with a twist: Turkey Soup!

Gluten-Free Turkey-Mushroom Soup

  • 2 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 slices 1/2″ thick turkey, torn in pieces
  • 3/4 cup fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1 pinch chopped garlic
  • 1 pinch black pepper


Heat ingredients in saucepan until heated through.

Do you have a favorite gluten-free recipe? Share it with us on our Facebook page!

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.



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