Personal testimonials about celebrating Thanksgiving?

Hi everyone! When I’m not hanging around, I work at a community health clinic that serves uninsured folks in Berkeley and Oakland, CA. A great number of them are fellow diabetics, though overwhelmingly they are type 2’s. My organization, LifeLong Medical Care, is organizing a pre-Thanksgiving event focusing on food and family and I’ve volunteered to gather recipes, share some advice on how to celebrate with non-diabetic family members/the food police, and write up a personal testimony about living with diabetes, especially around the holidays. I feel pretty comfortable writing my personal story, but I’m a young white middle-class female from NY with type 1 diabetes, which gives me a particular perspective on food, holidays and on life with diabetes. I’m reaching out to my extended TuDiabetes family and asking if any of you would like to share your personal perspective on living life and celebrating food and family as a diabetic. Any type 2’s or LADA’s out there, southerners, people from the midwest, the southwest, the west coast, men, older (and wiser!) folks, parents of diabetic children, African Americans, Pacific Islanders, Asians, Latinos, Native Americans out there who want to share your story and help fellow diabetics better deal with the holidays, which can be rough for all of us, but can also be an opportunity to talk about our health with our loved ones. Any of your favorite diabetic-friendly recipes would be wonderful, as well : ) You can reply to this post if you’d like or send me a message.

Thank you so much everyone!

Sounds like a great topic, although I don’t have any wisdom to share. But decided to post to ask people to post their responses here rather than sending a personal message, because I for one would be happy to read people’s thoughts as well! Thanks.

I think that the holidays are the hardest. Most non diabetic people (even though its family) forget that they can eat things and drink things that a diabetic can not. There is often no sugar free desserts, foods that aren’t as good for a diabetic. With my husband being diabetic (type2) for so long, we have found that even though they are family, they don’t care. They usually do not have diet soda, any sugar free desserts. I guess its mostly a vent. now my daughter is type 1 and its going to be hard on her not to be able to have most of the stuff. (Is there a way to find out the carbs of pumpkin pie, pecan pie…all of those kinds of desserts?)
C. Luis

I imagine having a type 1 and a type 2 in the same house is difficult. We type 1’ers can indulge in sweets much more easily than type 2’s, as long as we give ourselves the right amount of insulin at the right time. You should snoop around on the internet to see if you can find recipes for pies that you like. Here’s a lower carb pie crust and a pumpkin pie (it’s just Libby’s with splenda) recipe that you might try. They both have serving sizes and nutrition information.

The Healthy Pie Crust

Prep Time: 6 min
Yield: 8 servings


3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup natural corn oil
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup ice water

Stir the flours together in a small bowl and freeze for one hour. Freeze the oil in a separate container for an hour also. Remove both from freezer and mix the oil into the flour until it makes a crumbly dough.
Stir the salt into the ice water and mix the water into the dough. Mix only enough to bind the dough. If it’s too dry, add more water, a little at at time.
I found it easiest to simply place the ball of dough into the pan, and squish it around with my hand – Bake as directed for whatever recipe your using.

Nutrition Information

Calories 141
Calories from Fat 64 (45%)
Total Fat 7.1g 10%
Saturated Fat 0.9g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 20mg 0%
Potassium 58mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 17.1g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1.7g 6%
Sugars 0.1g
Protein 2.8g 5%

Libby’s Pumpkin Pie w/Splenda

Preparation - 15 min | Cooking - 55 min | Cooling Time - 2 hrs cooling | Yields - 8 servings


3/4 cup Splenda for baking
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) Evaporated Low-Fat Milk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
Cool Whip Free (optional-2 Tbsp per piece)

MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.


Nutrition Information

Calories 223. g
Total Fat 8 g
Saturated Fat 1.7g
Cholesterol 73.4 mg
Sodium 443.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 30.1 g
Dietary Fiber 2.5 g
Sugars 10.6 g
Protein 8.6 g

That’s great! Thanks for the recipes. Yes it is difficult. We are still pretty much Very low sugar in our household due to my husband being type 2. I usually try to take recipes and make them low sugar or no sugar (splenda), I make a pretty awesome cheesecake that is sugar free, well almost sugar free, lets say low sugar (the crust is still graham crackers).

Bottom line no one else is responsable for my diabetes .It’s okay if they don’t remember ;I remember.
I always bring the diet soda , sugar free dessert. Part I hate is when some one keep saying come on ,try some a little won’t hurt you. I been known to pull out an insulin syringe an say ;“Come on try a little of this and see how it is on my end!”

Hi Courtney,
Here is a nice post about Thanksgiving and diabetes:

You are so right. And we usually do try to bring the diet soda (if thats what we want to drink, we usually drink water), and as for a sugar free dessert, I am working on that. I love how you handle it. I have a family memeber that is constantly trying to push the sugar desserts onto my hubby, but he is kind and just says that he can’t eat it. He is getting better!

This will be my first diabetic Thanksgiving. Fortunately, I have supportive friends who asked what I can & can’t eat. I offered to bring salad, a low carb broccoli or spinach pie & a really low carb pumpkin pie (no flour crust, pecans instead), so I’m not tempted. Will be hard to pass on stuffing because that’s my favorite part!


Sorry to hear this:(

You make the best D-friendly pumpkin pie ever & have a wonderful, healthy Thanksgiving!

While you are correct it is ‘Our own thing’ (Quotes mine) to deal with, but dang it, I would just like for family members (My fella’s for example) to CARE!! What the heck is so hard about buying a single bottle of diet soda for me when they’re at the dang store anyway?

Everyday I hold my own hand and take care of my own 'betes. I sure as heck hope someone else could care, just a little teeny bit. Y’know?

And in turn, if you bring your pie, SHE doesn’t have to have any and can just have the regular one. God, people are so incredibly thoughtless these days. I guess we’re back to the ‘Me’ generation again.

Have as happy holiday as you can, and stay well.

This is a great timely topic! Thanks Courtney for sharing your recipe. Our son, Jim was diagnosed in Sept so we have gotten through Halloween so I really hope that Thanksgiving goes well. The dish we have been asked to bring is a naturally lower carb choice so that helps. We are really lucky because Jim really likes turkey so my plan is to let him have a large serving of turkey and go with smaller servings of things like mashed potatoes. Plus we are carb. counting so we could make adjustments as needed.

Unfortunatley, i dont think that they always think about it, unless its for themselves. i dont think they are doing it maliciously, but just dont think about it. but i do agree with you. it would be nice if they thought about it every now and then. I mean its not like its a secret or anything. ory for the sorry typing i have a sleeping baby in my lap and i am typing with 1 hand :slight_smile:

I’m so glad you and your family will benefit from it! here’s a mashed potato alternative that i just found on the internet today. I haven’t tried it yet myself, so I can’t vouch for its tastiness, but I figure it’s worth a try!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”


1 head cauliflower
1 clove garlic (optional)
1/8 cup skim milk, plain yogurt, or good butter
Salt & pepper

Steam cauliflower (optionally with a clove of garlic) until tender. Cut the cauliflower into pieces and place in a blender with the milk, yogurt or butter. Season with salt and pepper and then whip until smooth. Pour cauliflower into small baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika and bake in hot oven until bubbly.

Carbohydrates: 6g per cup


I too am going to one of those unfriendly to diabetic feasts which I find a bit Ironic considering 3 out of 22 people attending are diabetic. I went last year and did not eat much either although this is my first thanksgiving since my diagnosis (hehehe). Its funny, I do not care for most of the thanksgiving meal but, I really do enjoy the appetizers. It also feels a lot less like thanksgiving to me because this year I have to work the day after as opposed to doing some power holiday shopping.

I remember eating something like this 30 years or so ago when I was on one of the multitude of diets I have tried. It’s good, but it does taste like cauliflower, not potatoes. :slight_smile:

Try this nut-based crust from Nechama Cohen’s Enlitened Kosher Cooking:

1 c ground nuts (about 7 oz purchased nut meal)
1 T whole-grain flour
2 T soft, unsalted margarine or butter
2 T low-fat cream cheese (I use non-fat cream cheese)
sugar substitute equal to 2 T sugar (I use 1 T Splenda Brown Sugar blend)
1 t vanilla extract (4 g)
1/2 t cinnamon (optional) (I use more like 4 g cinnamon, which is 1-1/3 teaspoons)
nonstick cooking spray (I use cooking parchment instead)

Mrs. Cohen has you use a food processor with chilled utensils to mix everything together at once. I use a fork and start by creaming the butter/margarine into the cream cheese, then creaming in the vanilla and the splenda, then creaming in the flour, cinnamon, and ground nuts.

At any rate, if you’re going to try to roll it out, you may want to chill the mixture for an hour or two first, and preheat the oven to 325 just before taking the mixture out of the fridge. (If you’re not chilling the crust, preheat straight-away). Line your springboard pan with parchment, grab a length of wax paper, and use your hands to spread the crust evenly over the bottom of your springboard pan. For a non-baked filling, bake for about 15-20 minutes. For a baked filling, bake for 10 minutes, fill, and then bake the cheesecake normally.