It seems as if allergies are more prevalent than ever, and with all the processed food on the market, sometimes it’s tough to know what you’re getting.
A lot of people on restricted diets write to me for recipes and shopping ideas for their allergies or what they call “food intolerances” – a mild reaction from the immune system reaction that’s not fatal, but still disruptive.
The best way to avoid foods that cause these reactions, is to read labels and cook your meals at home! Give your diet a thorough review: 90% of all food allergies are caused by only eight items. The most common allergens are milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, soy, nuts from trees, fish, and shellfish. Always check in with your doctor first, but here are some ideas for eating around your food allergies. Easy ways to still enjoy the flavors of the foods you love – itch and scratch free!
Swap peanut butter for almond butter. If you love satay sauces, nut butter cookies, or PB&J sandwiches, then go for almond butter, which works well in these recipes. Just be sure to check the label to make sure it’s processed in a “peanut-free facility”. Get your reading glasses and look for things likes “might contain traces of peanut” and be sure to glance at the nutritional stats of any packaged foods (especially the ones that you wouldn’t expect like gravy, canned chili, and even salad dressing).
Many people who have milk allergies still want to enjoy the occasional bowl of cereal: in that case, opt for soy, rice or almond milk. Those who think they are allergic to cow’s milk oftentimes just have trouble digesting it. Try to kick the tummy aches by switching to goat’s milk, which oftentimes is produced with less additives and hormones.
My friend Nicole is allergic to corn. It’s one of the worst allergies to have since corn byproducts are in thousands of frozen, canned, jarred, and packaged foods. They contain corn as an additive or filler (in the form of sweetener) and as a way to add volume to food, cheaply. Nicole’s become very good at reading labels, but one way to be sure is to cook simple fresh food, meals that she makes in her own kitchen like a grilled piece of chicken topped with fresh pineapple salsa.
A lot of people think Celiac’s Disease is an allergy, when in fact it’s an autoimmune disorder. When wheat, in particular the gluten in wheat, is ingested the body sends antibodies that attack the lining of your intestines. There are plenty of great products that are listed as wheat- or gluten-free to choose from. One of my favorites, rice pastas are a great wheat-free option for folks with wheat allergies or sensitivities. Adding in plenty of fresh vegetables and lean protein is a way to make a delicious complete meal.