Thanksgiving is my favorite American holiday. It’s a day to count our blessings and be thankful for all of the goodness we have in our lives… especially given the challenges we’ve faced over the past few years.
Thanksgiving has always been a day to be with family and loved ones, to prepare and enjoy beautiful food together. But like the last two years, some of us may be celebrating Thanksgiving 2022 alone or with smaller groups than we’re used to.
I encourage you to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the gifts that 2022 brought us, and be thankful for loved ones — even if you’re connecting virtually.
Here are six gifts that I like to reflect upon and be thankful for.
1. An Opportunity To Stay Healthy
My husband and I started making our own version of Thanksgiving dinner right after we got married.
Over the last few years, as I have changed my diet from the Standard American Diet to a gluten-free/dairy-free diet, then a Paleo diet, then my own diet, our Thanksgiving dinner has evolved quite a bit!
I am grateful for my supportive friends and family who have gone out of their way to make special meals and take me to special restaurants, but I know not all individuals with Hashimoto’s have these types of supportive people in their lives.
Making Thanksgiving dinner on our own terms takes away the pressure of “eating what everyone else is eating.”
I feel so blessed to be where I am today, compared to where I was at the beginning of my Hashimoto’s journey.
Back then, I slept under two blankets in my Los Angeles apartment, had constant brain fog, needed 11 hours of sleep to feel rested, was anxious all the time, was losing my hair, had carpal tunnel in both hands, and was addicted to caffeine and sugar.
I felt that I couldn’t do anything, but…
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, it became a butterfly.”
This quote inspired me throughout my Hashimoto’s journey.
When I first received this diagnosis, I thought my life was over.
I now realize that Hashimoto’s has made me a better person, the person I am today.
Mark Hyman, MD once said: “I didn’t choose this type of lifestyle, my body chose for me” — and this really resonates with me.
I now realize that it was my lifestyle that had everything to do with me getting an autoimmune condition.
I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to share my health journey with all of you, and hope that my experience helps you on your journey.
Many of us have fallen ill, and some have even lost loved ones… Life can be cruel and unfair, and at the same time, beautiful. I choose to recognize that finding joy in my own health and in the lives of people who are still here, does not conflict with my ability to grieve for the ones I have lost.
I don’t know how the last few years have been for you, but I for one have often found myself overwhelmed with being a parent during the pandemic. I am fortunate that my health has been stable, and I can usually solve any of my health issues with a few simple tweaks, but I only wish I could do the same for the health of the world, lol. It’s easy to get stuck in a negative pattern, feel sorry for ourselves, and start to believe that the world is hopeless.
If thought patterns like this go on for too long, they can consume us.
I have found that one of the fastest ways to shift our mindset is with a gratitude practice: instead of constantly focusing on all of the things that are wrong, we focus on what we are thankful for each day. I encourage you to start a gratitude practice this month!
Last year, I started to teach our son about gratitude, using the Thankful Turkey from Busy Toddler. The first three things he was thankful for were Batman, Superman, and Wonderwoman, but I am pleased to say that by day two, he was thankful for mommy, and by day three, he was thankful for daddy… so I think he’s getting the idea. 🙂
This year, we haven’t had a chance to dive into Thanksgiving traditions just yet, as we are still working on Halloween projects (Dimitry’s favorite) and have had a very active last few months discovering the world!
3. An Opportunity to Connect
Over the years, my hubby and I have hosted Thanksgiving at our house with family from around the continent (Chicago, Louisiana, Canada, Texas, and Colorado), and attended Thanksgiving celebrations at the homes of like-minded friends and family, like fellow gluten-free and Paleo cookbook authors Leanne Ely from Saving Dinner, Magdalena Wszelaki from Hormones Balance, and Amanda Nowosadzki from Clean Southern Cuisine.
Up until the past couple of years, we always spent Thanksgiving with people who were in town, or traveled out of town to see our families. But with the pandemic and having a preschooler, our travel has been somewhat limited lately! We hope to have a family Thanksgiving again this year, visiting with Dimitry’s grandparents, auntie, uncle, and cousin. 😉
4. An Opportunity to Try Something New
As much as I love the holidays, sometimes they feel like extra pressure. Why not spice things up a little by cooking something new?
This year, I’m going to be trying some of the savory, family-style recipes from my sister-in-law’s new cookbook, as well as revisit my favorite de-stressing activity… baking. 🙂
A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law Amanda developed an amazing gluten-free biscuit recipe that has been a HIT every Thanksgiving we’ve had together!
Caramelized Onion and Rosemary Biscuits (GF/DF)
You and your loved ones will absolutely not believe that these decadent biscuits are gluten- and dairy-free! They’re a perfect accompaniment to any meal.
Whether you are celebrating a holiday or not, you can count on one thing: these biscuits will be the talk of the table. The sweet and savory caramelized onions and piney rosemary pair perfectly with the light, fluffy biscuit texture!
Yields: 10 large biscuits
- 2 cups Clean Southern Cuisine gluten-free flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 2/3 cup palm shortening*
- 1/2 cup caramelized onions, chopped small
- 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon rice milk (plain, unsweetened)
- 2 large eggs*
- Place palm shortening in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden.
- Whisk the first four ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Using a pastry blender or fork, cut the palm shortening into the flour mixture until the shortening pieces are pea-sized.
- Whisk in the rosemary and caramelized onions, ensuring the onions don’t stick together too much.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and rice milk, then pour this mixture into the dry ingredients.
- Stir until a dough just forms. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, to allow the flour to fully absorb the moisture.
- Using a muffin scoop or large ice cream scoop, transfer the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 375°F for 12-14 minutes, or until the bottoms of the biscuits begin to brown.
*For a buttery flavor, you can substitute ghee or butter (if tolerated) for half of the palm shortening.
*If you cannot tolerate eggs, you can substitute 2 flax eggs for real eggs. To make flax eggs, combine 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed meal with 6 tablespoons of water and allow this mixture to sit for 10 minutes, prior to using. This substitution will also make the recipe vegan.
Amanda published her very first cookbook, Clean Southern Cuisine: Where Southern Food Comes Clean!, two years ago, and I’ve been loving her Southern-inspired recipes. 🙂
She has also developed a gluten-free flour blend that substitutes one-for-one for wheat flour in baking — I’m excited to try this for some of my old favorite recipes!
Whether we are hosting or bringing a few dishes to share, it’s really important (and fun) to make something tasty and nutritious that everyone can enjoy!
Why not try out a new recipe this year?
5. An Opportunity to Continue Traditions
In previous years, I would start my Thanksgiving menu planning early to accommodate various dietary preferences (Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, Standard American Diet, etc.) at my table.
I’ve always had a proven process of starting my meal planning, shopping, and cooking a few days early, so that I could relax on Thanksgiving, while hubby made the turkey. 🙂
I’m excited to share our menu, recipes, and shopping list with all of you!
All of the recipes are gluten-, dairy-, soy- and grain-free, as well as nutrient-dense.
Wishing you all a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!
6. An Opportunity for Introspection and Refocusing
When we get busy, we tend to become disconnected — from our family, our life’s purpose, or our own needs. I feel like the slowing down and change of pace of the holidays always presents an opportunity for reflection as to what matters most to us, and to tune into the small changes we can make to bring ourselves a little more joy, healing, and peace.
I hope that Thanksgiving gives you this opportunity to get a little quiet and introspective, and refocus on the things that matter most to you.
For me, I am refocusing a bit more on myself again. 🙂 My son is now four years old and such a lovely little person who sleeps and eats and even goes to preschool! I have a little more time for self-care, doing romantic things with my hubby, catching up on exciting projects, as well as reconnecting with friends and family with whom I have not had the bandwidth to keep up with in the last few years!
I will be sharing more about my exciting projects soon. For now, I wanted to share my Ultimate Guide to Using Digestive Enzymes, because I know that food is a big part of American Thanksgiving. 🙂
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