Dealing with Food Allergies and Intolerances

I recently had some people over for dinner.  I was craving nachos, so that is what I served.  As I was about to cuchocolate cake for dessert, one of them tells me that he has celiac and can’t eat gluten.  I had no idea before dinner.  Sadly, I didn’t have any dessert alternatives for him.  But I’m grateful I made nachos instead of my other idea of spaghetti and meatballs!

This is one of many encounters I have had recently with food allergies and intolerances.  I will admit, I am extremely thankful that I don’t have to deal with any of these problems in my little family.  Reading labels, buying specialty products, cooking from scratch, and teaching children, friends, and family can be a full time job in many cases.  Following these diets isn’t optional; for many, it is life or death.

Here are a few tips on following a food allergy diet:

-Try to focus on what you can eat.  If you try to change all of your regular recipes to be free of a particular allergen, you can go crazy.  For example, if you can’t cook with dairy, don’t start with a lasagna recipe, which has multiple dairy ingredients.  Instead, think of something similar without dairy, such as spaghetti.

-Similar to above, build recipes with ingredients you know you can eat.  Make lists of ingredients you have in your pantry or you know you can buy.  Then start picking ingredients from the list that go together.

-Find good resources.  There are many cookbooks and websites out there.  A good place to start online is nutritionblognetwork.com.  All of the blogs in this database are written by registered dietitians.  You can trust that they are providing accurate information.

-Try to be as liberal as possible with the diet.  I’m not saying eat foods you shouldn’t.  For any of us, it is easy to get in a rut with what we eat.  If you are limited by a food allergy, you can easily eat a very limited diet of a few foods over and over.  Try to keep things as lively and interesting as you can.  The less deprived you feel, the better off you will be.

If you or someone close to you has a food allergy or intolerance, I’d love to hear about how you cope in the comments.  Good luck to all of those dealing with food allergies out there!  Happy eating!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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2 Comments

Filed under Nutrition

2 responses to “Dealing with Food Allergies and Intolerances

  1. I find that I can make whatever I want and just substitute what I’m allergic to. For instance I’m allergic to bananas so instead of chocolate chip banana bread I swap banana for zucchini and I get a similar (I would assume so anyways) product that I think is tasty and suits me just fine. I swap berries for kiwi, citrus for peaches and mangos, and lastly tofu, chicken, lentils or nuts for shellfish.

    Great article!

    • Thanks for the substitution ideas. I think as you adjust to cooking with allergies you learn more of those substitutions. When you are first starting off, it is often easier to just focus on what you can eat.

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