Recently a reader asked me for some resources to make quick, nutritious but ‘cool’ meals for her son who has multiple food allergies. Making interesting dishes for my son has been my objective from the day he was diagnosed with multiple food allergies. Quite a few sources have helped me in this ‘cool’ quest:
1. Magazines: Living Without (www.livingwithout.com) is an excellent source of recipes and allergy friendly products. I am a satisfied subscriber of this magazine. Allergic Living (www.allergicliving.com) is another good resource.
2. Online stores: Not all of us live within convenient distance to food stores which stock allergy friendly products. www.Amazon.com is a great place to buy items in bulk. I have also used Scott’s Gluten Free mall extensively (www.GlutenFreeMall.com) and have never been disappointed. There are quite a few other allergy friendly online stores like www.allergyfreeshop.com. The website http://www.avoidingmilkprotein.com/shopping.htm has a listing of a few more online retailers.
3. Retail stores like Whole Foods (www.wholefoodsmarket.com), Wegmans (www.wegmans.com) andany other local organic/health food store. These days more and more regular food stores like Stop n Shop and Shop Rite are carrying allergy friendly foods in their health food sections.
4. Some companies that make a wide range of allergy friendly foods that I have found to be anywhere between ‘not bad’ to ‘really good’ are:
- Living Harvest (www.LivingHarvest.com): Hemp seed based products like hemp milk, frozen desserts etc.
- Taste the Dream (www.tastethedream.com): They are the makers of rice milk “Rice Dream” amongst other products.
- Pacific Natural Foods are the makers of organic Oat Milk. This is the only dairy-free, soy-free beverage I have come across which is creamy and tasty.
- Galaxy Nutritional Foods (http://www.galaxyfoods.com/Products/RiceCheese/RiceVegan/) are the makers of vegan Rice cheese slices which are quite tasty.
- Ener-G (ww.ener-g.com): They make a wide range of allergy friendly products: breads, buns, mixes etc. Their unique packaging gives their products a very long shelf life so we can stock up from Amazon.com
- Enjoy Life Foods (www.enjoylifefoods.com): cookies, chocolate bars etc.
- Turtle Mountain (www.turtlemountain.com): Dairy-free and soy-free products which are coconut milk based (yogurt, milk, ice cream and the like). The coconut milk chocolate ice cream is to die for 🙂
- Ian’s (http://www.iansnaturalfoods.com/allergen_free.html): Frozen snacks and entrees. The frozen food taste could be better but the packaging etc id extremely kid-appealing!
- Glutino (www.glutino.com)
- The Craving’s Place (www.thecravingsplace.com): They offer a wide variety of mixes (brownies, cakes, waffles, pancakes etc.). I highly recommend it especially their ‘Ooey Gooey Chocolatey Chewy Brownie Mix’ – so good!!!
- Orgran (www.orgran.com):
- Newman’s Own Organic (www.newmansownorganics.com): Their Wheat-free, Dairy-free Newman O’s and fig bars are excellent.
- Ancient Harvest:
- Andean Dream (www.adreamshopping.com): Quinoa based cookies and pastas
- AllerEnergy (www.allerenergy.com): Energy bars
- Nature’s Path Organic (www.naturespath.com): Frozen foods, cereals etc.
- Cherrybrook Kitchen (www.cherrybrookkitchen.com): Cake mix, cookie mix etc.
- Tinkyada (www.tinkyada.com): Wide variety of rice pastas
- Bob’s Red Mill (www.bobsredmill.com): Excellent source for allergy friendly whole grains and flours like teff, corn, black bean, brown rice, gluten-free flour mixes.
Caution: Check the ingredient listing every single time even if you have used that product a million times in the past.
There are a lot more good companies and products out there and I will keep updating this list!
5. Use Alternative grains: Talk to your allergist about using alternative grains – quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, teff, millet, red millet, tapioca flour, Sorghum, flax, rice, matpe bean, mung bean just to name a few.
6. Be adventurous: Try recipes from other parts of the world…I grew up in a South Indian household. South Indian cooking is naturally allergy friendly because it is rice-based. With just a few omissions, I was able to serve scrumptious dishes for my son. These dishes maybe off the beaten path but since our choices are limited; it is definitely worth a try. Since then I have explored cuisines from other parts of the world too.
7. Keep scouring the Internet for blogs, websites and online communities dedicated to allergy friendly living: People are making an amazing effort to bring news and tasty food to allergy-sufferers around the world. www.bestallergysites.com is an excellent resource for further information on other websites and blogs. The non-profit organization Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (www.foodallergy.org) is a very enriching community to be a part of. There are also a lot of online groups like the yahoo group for users of the hypoallergenic infant formula, Neocate.
7. Let your imagination run wild – A friend of mine made a ‘Jello cake’ decorated with slices of oranges and strawberries. I have finally found the perfect recipe for donuts after multiple attempts at different flour mixtures.
Above all, it is important not to let fear rule our lives. We have to be careful always and learn to enjoy within the food limitations.