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I Want My Turkey And Stuffing

If you’ve been on the 2 week Gluten-Free Challenge, you probably have at least 4 or 5 more days to go. Day 15 is G-Day, the day where you reintroduce gluten into your diet and watch your response.

But we got an email from a reader who says she doesn’t want to miss the traditional turkey and stuffing during Thanksgiving. And she doesn’t want to “experiment” with gluten-free stuffing.

So, we asked nutritionist Trudy Scott whether or not it’s okay to add back in the gluten a bit early. Here’s her response (also see her video, above):

Adding back the gluten
Once you have removed the gluten from your diet and seen improvements in your anxiety and mood and other symptoms (digestive, pain, skin, etc), add it back after 2 weeks and see if it affects you adversely. Add it back on day 15 at breakfast and lunch only. Be sure you do not consume any gluten for the next 3 days after this, as you may have a delayed reaction.

This test is often more powerful for my clients than any lab test. I’ve seen symptoms including severe mood swings, terrible anxiety, stomach aches, general aches and pains, fatigue and brain fog (and all of the above in some very sensitive individuals). If after you’ve added gluten back into your diet (as described above), you experience any of the above symptoms, then it’s important that you remove gluten from your diet and work with a holistic health practitioner. Also, you should consider additional testing.

For those of you who have not been gluten-free for a full two weeks and want to have gluten at your Thanksgiving meal, you may find that being gluten-free for 8-10 days has been enough to see a reaction. It may be difficult to add back gluten into your diet on Thanksgiving. That’s because the more factors that are involved (such as eating more than usual, eating desserts and more sugar than usual), the more it may make it be difficult to be sure if gluten or other foods are causing physical symptoms.

But if you aren’t certain, you can simply redo the elimination-challenge at a later date.

I’d like to point out that because family get-togethers can be triggers for some mental health symptoms, I’d still try and stay gluten-free on Thanksgiving if possible. Not only will you be better able to discern what is causing your symptoms (it could be the stress of family get togethers, larger amounts of rich or sweet foods, changing sleep cycles, and so on), but if you are gluten sensitive, you may find yourself better able to cope with other stress0rs if you avoid the stuffing, pie, and other gluten-containing foods.

You may want to consider some special gluten-free alternatives. PsychCentral blogger Alicia Sparks, at Your Body, Your Mind, gives useful suggestions and a great list of resources.

I Want My Turkey And Stuffing

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

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APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2012). I Want My Turkey And Stuffing. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Nov 2012
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