Printed in Information Press December 2013
Nothing seems more daunting than attending, or hosting, a dinner party when you have special dietary needs to consider. Few people elect to be this “picky,” as those with special dietary needs are often labeled. In fact, when health is their motivation, eating out of the home can cause anxiety and feelings of isolation. Having compassion for their choices, whether due to allergies, religion or personal preference, will not only assure they attend your party but having a dish in their honor will win their hearts over as well.
Special Dietary Needs
- Avoid wheat, rye, barley, triticale, kamut, spelt, semolina and oats (unless oats are labeled gluten-free).
- This includes bread, crackers, pasta and pastries, but also consider flour-based thickeners in salad dressings, sauces and gravy too.
- When in doubt, buy foods labeled gluten-free because a single exposure can lead to an immune reaction lasting six to eight weeks in those allergic to gluten.
- Avoid ice cream, butter, milk, cheese, creamer and all other milk products.
- Eggs are not considered dairy even though they are often lumped together.
- Dairy-free means no casein or lactose, so when you have a guest who has requested dairy-free, you cannot get away with lactose-free milk products because they still contain milk protein.
- Avoid foods sourced from anything with eyes, including: eggs, fish, cheese, ice cream, butter, poultry, beef, other meat and honey.
- Veganism isn’t only about harming an animal, such as when eating meat. Most vegans are opposed to all forms of human dependency upon animals, such as with honey or eggs. Some vegans eat honey, so when in doubt, ask.
- Vegetarians avoid all flesh-sourced animal foods such as beef, poultry, seafood, pork and other meats; however, there are many variances to a vegetarian diet.
- A lacto-vegetarian will consume dairy products.
- A lacto-ovo vegetarian consumes eggs and dairy.
- A pescetarian is a vegetarian who consumes fish.
- When in doubt, assume your vegetarian will not eat flesh but they do consume eggs and dairy unless they add-in, dairy-free.
5 Tips to Appeal to Everyone at the Table
- Quinoa cooks much like rice, which will take on the flavor of whatever you cook it in or season it with.
- Make it with vegetable broth instead of water and add chopped vegetables and savory spices for a lunch or dinner meal; or add your favorite sweetener, sautéed apples, almond milk and cinnamon for a breakfast or dessert.
- Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, grain-free, dairy-free and it’s a complete protein.
- Dessert is such a nurturing experience for so many people, and especially at Thanksgiving when considering the vast assortment of pies.
- Gluten-free crust is delicious for those who want traditional but accommodating for those with dietary needs.
- The beauty about being dairy-free is that many milk alternatives come in a box with a lengthier shelf life than dairy.
- Since some people have allergies to nuts and soy, buy rice or oat milk unless you know you’re in the clear for allergies; in which case, you can buy the following vegan milks and their products, such as cheese or ice cream: almond, soy, coconut milk, oat, hemp or rice.
- You can swap out eggs in any recipe using flax, chia or arrowroot powder.
- To make the equivalent of one egg using flax seeds – or chia – add three tablespoons warm water to one tablespoon flax seed meal – measure after grinding flax seeds – and whip with a fork, similar to when whipping eggs. Let stand for one minute to thicken.
- To make one egg equivalent using arrowroot powder, mix one to two tablespoons water with two tablespoons arrowroot powder.
A vegetarian likes vegetables. For most health conscious vegetarians, there is no need to add textured vegetable protein or faux-meat products. Bring vegetable variety to the table and your vegetarian guest will be happy and full.
Stephanie Austin is a certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Nutrition Coach and owner of Wellness by Mother Nature. She has released over 60 pounds and conquered years of junk food addiction through holistic healing and nutrition techniques that she now passes onto others. She coaches people online and locally on the healing value of nutrition and the innate self-healing abilities of a body in balance.