As this year’s Thanksgiving day approaches, our family will once again be planning multiple safe meals for the day, cooking all of them at the same time so we can eat together!
We’ve spent Thanksgiving Days in the past trying to get extended family to bring or prepare safe foods, and sometimes that worked and other times it didn’t. It ended up being a very stressful day for me ensuring that our son didn’t touch anything or eat anything that he is allergic to.
Many times, we found what worked best was to host the meal at our house, where at least we knew that there would be no smoking and no pets, both of which he also reacted to. Yet, I felt like a police officer at the door asking what was in the food that everyone had prepared. Not exactly a way to endear oneself to the extended family!
My son, Morgan, has five life threatening food allergies to manage: peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish and shellfish. And while those aren’t generally on a Thanksgiving Day menu, we still had to read through ingredient labels, be concerned about spatulas and cross contact in the kitchen and try to manage the menu to stay away from pecan pie!
Now, Morgan’s limited diet is nothing compared to the rest of the family! The perspective has changed with new diagnoses for myself and for my daughter. His boyfriend, Quinn, luckily doesn’t have any food allergies, and is very aware of not eating anything that Morgan is allergic to. The two of them are going to be bringing a dessert that both of them can eat, since no one else in the family eats dessert currently!
With an EoE (Eosinophilic Esophagitis) and an MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome) diagnosis, my food options are currently limited to four foods. Turkey breast is one of those, however it has been suggested to me by Dr. Li, my Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor, to cook all of my meat in an Instant Pot. So, I will be purchasing an organic turkey breast to cook just for myself! In addition, I will be having my usual organic russet potato and organic broccoli. It’s difficult when it’s the holidays to stay with eating the foods that I know are safe for me. I’d love to be able to eat just a bite of something new and different, however I have paid the price for doing so many times, creating mast cell activation and a stomach ache that continues for days. This year, I will be enjoying my meal with the people I love, and that makes up for a lack of variety!
My daughter, Michaela, also has an MCAS diagnosis. She currently eats only organic fruits and vegetables. She and the men of the family will be having organic sweet potato and mashed organic cauliflower. Along with me she will also be eating organic broccoli. Then, she may also be adding colorful organic carrots.
My husband has begun eating only organic foods, and he rarely eats anything other than meats, fruits or vegetables. He will roast the whole organic turkey in the oven without any stuffing since no one will be eating it!
We’ve gotten really good at utilizing all 4 burners on the stove to make all of this food, serving it up all at once. That’s no easy feat for a regular meal. For a Thanksgiving meal, it’s the one time of year that we make sure to all eat together even if we are eating many different things!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends! And remember that it’s not just about the food.