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It’s Thanksgiving! Be Cool.

With the holiday season already in gear, your air conditioning is probably the last thing on your mind. So, let’s talk about Thanksgiving, and we’ll throw in a couple of AC tips you can do yourself to make sure your Thanksgiving celebration isn’t unexpectedly marred by an air conditioning malfunction just when the stoves and ovens are putting out maximum heat.

Cooking for Everyone at Your Thanksgiving Table

Of course, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without dinner. Though the traditional Thanksgiving menu varies little from family table to family table, these days, people are extremely aware and careful of what they put into their bodies. Some people watch their diets due to moral objections—you may have a vegetarian, pescatarian, or vegan joining your celebration. And there are those who watch what they eat for health purposes—in addition to those with severe food allergies, there are those who have sensitivity or intolerance to lactose, gluten, casein, and other ingredients that you may not even think of on a day-to-day basis but can make those who are sensitive to them very ill. If you’re hosting a gathering of people whose dietary limitations you aren’t sure about, an array of choices can easily ensure that everyone is able to enjoy at least a part of the meal.

Cooking for Everyone at Your Thanksgiving Table

Vegans and Vegetarians

First, to differentiate: Vegetarians do not eat meat, though they may consume eggs, dairy, and other animal products. Vegans, on the other hand, will eschew any products that are made with any animal parts whatsoever. Some surprisingfoods that vegans avoid include anything including gelatin, jams, marshmallows, apple juice, and even certain beers and wines. Well then, what can they eat? Treehugger.com offers a list of38 gourmet recipes for vegans and vegetarians that will with your Thanksgiving motif.

About Gluten Sensitivity

Gluten is a big problem for a lot of people, and it’s even trickier to provide gluten-free options than vegan options because gluten, like animal products, is hidden in so many foods. Why is gluten such a big deal now? Because American wheat contains much more gluten now than it ever has, thanks to hybridization. In fact, the prevalence of gluten sensitive and outright celiac disease caused by gluten has been studied and shows that celiac disease has increased by 400 percent in the last 50 years. Are you reading this and wondering if you have gluten sensitivity, too?If you have these symptoms, you might:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Frequent constipation or diarrhea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Acid reflux

And those are just the digestive symptoms of gluten sensitivity. A sensitivity or allergy to gluten may also cause migraines, joint pain, “grain brain” meaning decreased mental sharpness, depression, anxiety, overwhelming fatigue, eczema, or acne. Gluten is typically found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, couscous, bulgur, and other grains. Eating Well offers a number ofgluten-free recipes for Thanksgiving. And if you’ve read enough to think that you may be gluten sensitive, too? Short of going to the doctor for tests, you can try removing gluten from your diet for three or four weeks, and then reintroduce it to find out how your body responds. That may seem non-scientific, but you’ll know.

One more group to remember is those who avoid drinking alcohol. Epicurious offers recipes forfestive, virgin drinks for kids and those who avoid alcohol.

No Holds Barred Thanksgiving Dinner

If you know that everyone who will be seated at your table can eat whatever they like with impunity, then you can cook to your heart’s content without too much concern about stray ingredients making their way onto your table. The New York Times has provided aguide to “the year’s most important meal” with a suggested menu to make sure you don’t miss any dishes that will surely be expected to make an appearance, as well as recipes and tips to help you cook to perfection. Turkey, of course, stuffing and gravy, cranberry sauce, and other starchy staples, as well as pies are included in the feature.

And Now, About Your AC

We got so excited thinking about all the food, we almost forgot to talk about your AC! So here are a few Thanksgiving tips for your air conditioning unit: While your oven is cranking up the heat, your air conditioner is getting a little more of a workout than it may be accustomed to this time of year, so be sure to change your filters, check your outside unit to see if you need to hose off leaves or dust so the air can circulate well, keep those ceiling fans running, and close the blinds on the sunny side of the house for added heat reduction. If you typically have a house full of guests for the holidays, early November is an ideal time to schedule your annual air conditioning maintenance to ensure that amidst all the coziness, everyone stays cool.

Chris Pompilio is vice president of Protocool Cooling Solutions, Inc. in Sunrise, FL. Pompilio and his team provide HVAC/R repair, maintenance, and installation of air conditioning systems to homeowners throughout South Florida. He enjoys exploring and sharing information about the innovative side of the air conditioning industry so clients can enjoy the utmost in comfort and the minimum in expense.

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