29 November 2012

Alternative Ingredients for Food Allergic/Intolerant

With late onset food allergies, I was fortunate enough to have eaten almost anything and everything, so I know what real food taste like.  
Chances are, if you prepare food for 1 food allergic, more people are going to taste it, than just the food allergic/intolerant. 
Because most of us foodies are all about sharing meals, we have to order so the whole table can eat, so to the chefs out there who ask, "how can the whole table be allergic," that's why. 
I have to ask everyone to order without my food allergies, if we want to share. So even non-"foodAls" are bound to taste food that is "without --------" 

The fact is many times the "alternative product" carried in grocery stores (where available)  will contain some of the same exact allergens that the real ingredient contains. For example when I saw " Mozzarella Soy Cheese" at Trader Joe's, I was instantly pleased, because I didn't have a soy allergy (at that time), I had a dairy and nut allergy (just to name two). But then...I turned the package over, it says "Contains Whey (a milk product).  

Vegan cheeses are often made with cashews, almond, or other nut products-also a top 10 food allergen. 
Once you finally find an alternative that works for you, the next challenge is finding one that also taste good.  There are a lot of products on the shelf that are safe but have awful taste. 

The last challenge is knowing how to cook with the new ingredients, as it isn't always as simple as a quick one for one replacement on the recipe. Additionally, it's knowing which type of ingredients to replace where. Just because you have rice flour, doesn't mean you should make pasta with it. 

Look at a potato flour instead- they all have different consistencies  You may even have to go father out of the box and start thinking about using spaghetti squash or pealing certain squashes, like noodles. 

Here is a list of alternative products that are Food Allergy Gal approved: 

1. Udi's: Gluten Free bread- I am not celiac or gluten intolerant  but I am shocked at how many packaged breads are on the market that have milk, nuts, sesame in them (all top 10 allergens). Udi's Gluten Free White Bread is delicious, dairy free, gluten free, nut free! 

2. Earth Balance: Soy Free Butter- Great! No aftertaste- much better than the normal stuff and most of what is on the market

3. Enjoy Life-Great products for baking that are top 10 Food Allergy Free   

4. Home Free Cookie: These cookies come in tidy little packages are almost totally free of the top 10 allergens- well except some of them have Soy in them. This company is special to me because the owner found out I had a vanilla allergy as well and manufactured an entire batch of delicious cookies I could enjoy. My daughter who has no food allergies, loves them (11 years old). Great for serving in restaurants or schools- because you avoid cross contact risk and customers or students can enjoy a dessert.

5. Venice Bakery: Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Egg Free Pizza Crust
The seasoned crust is one of my favorites. 

Please feel free to comment or email questions to Food Allergy Gal at info@ilaraholland.com. 

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