Students navigate dietary restrictions during the Thanksgiving holiday

Pumpkin pie is a traditional Thanksgiving favorite, but for people with dietary restrictions, this holiday-favorite and others can be off-limits. (Archive Photo by Taylor Alderman | Collegian Media Group)

For those that celebrate the holiday, Thanksgiving dinner is a meal unlike any other. From the stuffing to the turkey, for many it’s hard to imagine the holiday without its variety of traditional dishes.

For students that have dietary restrictions though, the holiday presents more challenges to navigate.

Morgan Boyer, sophomore in theatre, has been gluten-free since January, meaning she consumes no wheat, grains or bread products.

“This is my first Thanksgiving so I’ve been trying to figure it out,” Boyer said.

Boyer said her dermatologist recommended she cut gluten out of her diet to help with her psoriasis, and she eventually became intolerant to it.

“We’re not a dry stuffing family so I’m solid for the turkey and a decent number of sides, but the rolls, that cuts deep,” Boyer said.

Anna Cochenour, sophomore in medical laboratory sciences, is vegan and more restrictions than Boyer.

“I chose to be vegan because I believe your body inherits the energy of food after you consume it,” Cochenour said. “You literally are what you eat.”

Cochenour said she decided to stop eating meat due to concerns with environmental impacts.

“I have found my dietary switch to be both beneficial to my mind and body,” Cochenour said.

When it comes to sides, vegetables dishes, such as vegan mashed potatoes or soups, are Cochenour’s go-to. She said it can be hard to keep herself to the strict diet sometimes, but she plans to use tofu to substitute for traditional Thanksgiving meats.

“Tofu has also really helped when trying to replace the meats like the turkey or ham,” Cochenour said. “Tofu turkey is pretty easy to make or a tofu loaf, they’re pretty flavorful.”