About Me

AllergyFoodie.org is a blog written by me, Anu Rao. This is what I look like on most days – a toothy smile across my face…Anu Rao

I have an undergraduate degree in Food and Nutrition. My son was diagnosed with multiple food allergies when he was just 4 months old. Now he is almost 12 years old! He was allergic to all the 8 most common food allergens – eggs, wheat, soy, dairy, nuts, tree nuts, fish and shell fish. In addition, he had to avoid many other possible allergens like sesame seeds, chickpeas, peas, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds etc. With so many restrictions, it was an everyday challenge to give him the required amount of healthy fats and protein in his diet and still ensure that food was fun. Thanks to my passion for all things culinary and an undying positive attitude – I have succeeded enormously! Most parties hosted by us (and we host a lot of them) are allergy-friendly so I can enjoy the party without worrying about my son. The general feedback after these parties is – “If your son can eat all this, there is no reason for him to feel deprived”. My son’s friends are always over! One of the attractions – the scrumptious food, of course!

However, getting information has been tough. An understanding of the field of nutrition and a ‘won’t give up’ attitude towards improving my son’s quality of life – I have spent hours researching to stay on top of issues like ingredient listings, new products, new recipes and substitute foods. This experience has helped me guide friends and family to circumvent the challenges of dealing with food allergies.

It is this experience that has given me the impetus to put it in a blog.

When I am not busy being mom, I am a Business Development & Social Media professional  that gives me the opportunity to do the other thing I love – being around people! Prior to that, a small entrepreneurial venture which among other things dabbled in marketing organic, environment-friendly jewelry made by under-privileged communities. I have also worked in marketing and technology functions in various companies. I have a graduate degree in Marketing and another graduate degree in Strategy from Rutgers University.

82 thoughts on “About Me

  1. An impressive start.I wish the venture all success.I am sure a lot of worried parents will appreciate your efforts.it is really great to let others benefit from what you have learnt the hRD WAY

  2. I will vouch for the positive attitude to everything including being a mom.

    It is hard to please kids in the nutritous food department. Allergies add a whole new dimension to getting kids to eat.

    I am sure many moms will be glad about your tips.

  3. What a cool idea ! Wish you all the success.
    This blog will surely get many hits from me to get recipes for delicious food you serve at your parties.

    1. Hi Anu Rao,
      Very nice to read your blog…I am a new mom to a 10 month old with sever food allergies. I would like to talk to you in person. Can I get your email id. Thanks….Mani

  4. Being a mom I know how hard it is to please children in the nutrition aspect of the diet.
    Very informative and love to get more recipes and also learn more about food allergies ( what we didn’t learn in our undergrad in food and nutrtion)

    Wish you all the luck and success!

    1. Sunita – the recipe is exactly as I have been making it for years. The pan needs to be hot. Sprinkle a little water on the hot pan – if it splutters then it is just the right temperature to start making the dosas. Smear oil on the pan and then pour the batter.

  5. Hey! Anu,
    This is a great attempt to bring all parents facing the challenge together!
    Keep up the good work and good luck!

  6. Hi Anu

    Nice to see you after..gosh 15 years.. i remember seeing you in BIT ranchi in 1994 ! you havent changed much ! Congratulations on your website .. your perseverance and passion has paid of !

    arun

  7. Hi Anu,

    Uncle told me about this website last night and it is so cool. I checked out some of the recipes and will surely try them since I have heard a lot about how good a cook you are. This is a great initiative that you have started. Keep up the good work and good luck!

    -deepu

  8. food allergy would be more likely to cause vomiting than a skin allergy would. When exhibiting any of these symptoms, it is important to speak with a doctor to determine what exactly is causing your allergic reaction so preventative measures can be taken.

    1. That is so true. My son is allergic to eggs. The last time he had a trace amount of egg – he threw up within half an hour!

  9. Hello Anu,

    Just stumbled upon your website. You have a new fan and Good Luck with the blog!. It has been a challenge dealing with food allergies. My daughter, 5, is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and soy. My son is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, dairy and soy. It is even more challenging dealing with people, especially family members, in regards to my children’s food needs. But with time and patience and a lot of educating it has gotten easier. I tend to find more resistance within our (Indian) community weth the exceptance of food allergies as a REAL issue. I am very happy to share with your plight.

  10. Hi Mandy,

    Thank you so much. Did your kids outgrow any allergy since birth? My son recently outgrew wheat and it was such an amazing day for us!
    I so agree with the family members part!!! There have been multiple occasions when we have been invited over for a meal where we have been the only guests. Still there has not been a single item for Arjun – not even plain white rice 🙂 The good part is – now I know the difference between genuinely thoughtful people and those who render lip service – lol!
    Would love it if you could share some allergy friendly recipes with us. It would benefit so many moms and food allergy sufferers world-wide.
    Regards,
    Anu

  11. I just found your blog, and think it’s fantastic! I started my own blog on just the same topic, because I simply couldn’t find the info out there in one place. Now I see you’ve already done a lot of my work 🙂 I’m looking forward to your future posts!

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog. As you rightly said – it is not easy cooking wholesome, allergy-friendly food.
      I looked up your blog and the teff flour pizza sounds great If you are ever looking for a guest contributor on your blog – I would be thrilled to make a post. On the same note – would love for you to share any allergy-friendly input you might have to offer on Allergy Foodie.
      Best Wishes,
      Anu

  12. I was really excited to see your blog. I can relate to you.I have a son who has multiple food allergies .He has outgrown a few but continues to be allergic to milk, eggs, tree nuts, coconut, lentils, chickpeas and peas.Good luck with your blog. I am sure it will help mums round the world.

    1. Hi Veena,

      Thank you for visiting my blog. How old is your son? Is he allergic to all the lentils?
      I use quinoa flour too but dont manage to mask its distinctive flavor. Would love to hear from you on how you use this nutritious grain.

      Regards,
      Anu

  13. Hi Anu,

    The strong flavor of quinoa flour can be masked by adding fried black lentil powder(fry urad dhal either in thepan or in the microwave for about 5 min stirring every 2 min) or by adding rice flour to it.
    My son loves this dish with rice:

    1 cup rice
    1 tablespoon quinoa grain
    3/4 tsp cumin seeds
    3/4 tsp pepper
    1/4″ ginger root- grated
    salt to taste
    any allowed margarine/oil
    2 tablespoons of black lentil powder

    Fry cumin seeds, pepper and grated ginger in oil/margarine. Add these to rice and quinoa.A dd 3 cups of water.Cook in a pressure cooker.Once done, add the fried black lentil powder and salt to taste.

    1. Veena – thank you so much. I am going to add this recipe to the main recipe page so that more people can benefit from the post.
      Best regards,
      Anu

    2. Veena – a question…a couple of questions about the rice flour added to quinoa to mask the flavor:
      1) Is it instead of the urad flour?
      2) How much rice flour should be added?

      Thanks,
      Anu

  14. Hello,

    I found your site while searching Google and have found your website information and advice to be a very good fit for our visitors. As such, we are interested in buying advertising space on your home page http://allergyfoodie.com.

    Our budget is within $10/month. If you are interested, please send me your rate per month and PayPal information.

    If we are happy with your price we will send you the link details that you can place on your website and we will make the payments to the PayPal ID provided.

    Thanks for your time.

    Regards,

    Joanne

    1. Hi Joanne,

      Thank you for visiting AllergyFoodie and the interest you have shown. Would love to hear more about the content of the advertising. Could you send me more details at allergyfoodie@gmail.com?

      Thanks.

      Regards,
      Anu

  15. I, too, have had allergic reactions to flaxseeds. First time, kids had to call 911! Thereafter, if I have accidently swallowed a little, because I fail to read the label, I take Benadryl. My question is: Do people generally have the same allergic reaction to flaxseed OIL? Or is it the actual raw seed? I am looking at some nutritional supplements that have flaxseed OIL in them.

    1. No, Flax seed oil is NOT safe for those with allergies to Flax seed, as people have reacted to it.

      Personally, I think you would be better off skipping the nutritional supplements and instead, adding more Kale to your diet. Kale is a power food that had more nutrition in it in a form the body can digest, then most nutrition supplements. Most nutritional supplements are also synthetic. I can’t eat Kale because its part of the Mustard family (which includes the cabbage family), but if you can eat it, this is one of the two most nutrient dense power foods.

      Here is the top 10 list of “super foods” using the Andi Score method.
      from Yum Kid .
      1. Collard/Mustard/Turnip Greens…1000
      2. Kale ………………………………………1000
      3. Watercress ……………………………..1000
      4. Bok Choy ……………………………….. 824
      5. Spinach …………………………………. 739
      6. Broccoli Rabe …………………………. 715
      7. Chinese/Napa Cabbage …………… 704
      8. Brussels Sprouts …………………….. 672
      9. Swiss Chard …………………………… 670
      10. Arugula ……………………………….. 559

      I found this list elsewhere as well, but not finding that link. LOL
      _____
      I now have to carry an Epi too, because of my reaction to Radish, Cinnamon, and Horseradish, but also might go into shock with anything from the Mustard family. LOL BTW, Mustard family is creeping into Suckers (cabbage in Carbiou’s sucker), and Soda Pop (radish in Izzy Peach soda).

      1. Thank you so much for the invaluable information. I know a little boy who is highly allergic to mustard. Despite being aware of food allergies, it took me by surprise and a part of me wondered if his mom had got it wrong. Have you written any article about this rare allergy? Would love to post a link on Allergy Foodie.
        Thank you,
        Anu

      1. Thanks! 😀
        I intend to add more recipes and articles to my website after I get a new computer in early October. In the mean time, I’m doing more research.

        I just recently had my first hive… I don’t know if its pink peppercorn, which is related to poison ivy, cashews, and mangoes or what.

        I will add that anyone allergic to Mustard, might be allergic to Kale as well. Here is a site I refer to a lot…
        http://www.calgaryallergy.ca/Articles/English/botanical.htm

  16. Hi Anu,
    Congratulations on getting maximum views this month. I came across your blog in my FB news feed today. I love the content, so well-researched and so well-written. Reading your blog makes me feel that here is someone with whom I can relate. My daughter is allergic to dairy and all nuts. She has outgrown some of the dairy issues, but can tolerate only a certain amout of dairy every day. If she crosses that threshold, she bursts into hives (Benadryl/Epi-pen always on hand). She will turn 5 soon, and we are planning to do a food challenge test for some of the nuts, for which I am still in reserach mode. Keep posting and keep up the good work.
    Regards,
    Lara

    PS: I add whole quinoa to brown rice and cook them together in a rice cooker. Both my girls love it !!

    1. Hi Lara Elizabeth,
      Apologize for the delayed response – blame it on the holiday season and last semester of graduate school.
      Thank you so much for visiting Allergy Foodie. It is very encouraging hearing such kind words 🙂
      I am curious about the dairy – can she have it as is or as a part of another dish like pancakes? How do you determine the quantity of dairy safe for her per day?
      Wishing your little one the very best with the challenge – I know how nerve racking they can be.
      -Anu

  17. I’ve not written an article on Power Foods and Food allergies yet, but it is on my to-do list. The articles section on my site, is lacking yet. In short, the Power Foods (if not allergic) have the most vitamins and minerals per serving. I eat a lot of Spinach, because its the only Top 10 Power food I can keep down. The link to my website is linked to in my name. This week, I’ll work on the Nutrition article, and try to get it done and posted by Friday Evening.

    However, here is a complete list of foods to avoid, for those who are allergic to the entire Mustard Family: “Cabbage and Mustard Family, [Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Canola (rapeseed), Cauliflower, Celery Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage (also called Bok Choy), Collard, Colza Shoots, Kale, Kohlrabi, Kraut, Horseradish, Mustard, Mustard Greens, Radish, Rutabaga, Turnips, Watercress.]”

    I react in various degrees to all of these. Because I react to all of them, and 2 of them have anaphylactic reactions, I was advised to avoid all of them as if any one of them could cause anaphylactic symptoms. I find avoiding Canola Oil next to impossible, so I’m waiting until it turns anaphylactic before I avoid it completely.

      1. Thanks! Just so you know, not everyone reacts to all foods in the same family. Also, if you find that you react to many foods, I’d ask the doctor to test if certain foods cause white blood cells to grow, and ask about EE/EGID. It is possible to be allergic to every tree in the state, and not have EE/EGID. http://www.apfed.org has more info on EE. I might have this, but we aren’t sure yet.

        Also, a website I recommend:
        http://www.calgaryallergy.ca/Articles/English/botanical.htm
        There family food list isn’t complete, but for the European/American diet, it is very good. To the Cashew family, I’d add Pink Peppercorns (this family includes Mangoes, and poison ivy).

  18. And yes, I’ll write an article about Rare Allergies, and will stress in that article that people really can be allergic to anything.

    I heard of one person, who thought she was reacting to some uncommon food allergy, but I forget what it is now. The doctor said it wasn’t that food that she was reacting too. He didn’t test her for it either. Instead, she was tested for the common food allergies. 😛 I wish I could remember what it was she was allergic too. It was something rare like Flax Seed.

  19. Thanks Kytriya – am adding your blog to my blogroll and looking forward to the article. Meanwhile – I am going to provide the information about mustard in one of my future postings so more people can benefit from it.
    -Anu

  20. Hi,
    It was fabulous meeting you today. Needless to say, the first thing I did after getting home was check out your blog & it was really fascinating.. You have an open invitation to be a guest contributor on Panfusine any time… It wd be an honor!
    Cheers,
    N.

  21. Anu,
    I have a friend who has a daughter with similar allergies. I am sure she will be thrilled to involve herself in this blog. You are doing a wonderful job here..wish you all the best. I will definitely post any info that may help.

    1. Hi Rekha,
      Would love to get her input for the blog. Do introduce us so, we can take it from there.
      Thank you for any input that you might be able to give.
      -Anu

  22. Hello,

    My name is Alex Hanifin. I am with Seth Ellis- Sun Cups.
    We would love to connect to your site! Have you had our product before?

    Our Sun Cups are a delicious chocolate treat, filled with organic sunflower butter with a touch of sea salt. Completely peanut-, treenut- and gluten-free, Sun Cups are available in delicious milk and dark Ecuadorian Rainforest Alliance Certified™ chocolate. Our products are certified Kosher (Dairy) by EarthKosher, and our organic certification is from CCOF.

    Best,

    Alex Hanifin

    1. Hello Alex,

      I just took a look at your website and the Sun Cups look delicious. However, I live in NJ and have not seen it in health food stores here so have not had an opportunity to taste it. Would love to connect to your site. How would you like to do it?

      Regards,
      Anu

  23. It is a big pleasure to visit your site and to enjoy your excellent posts here. I like that very much. I realize that you paid much attention for those posts, as all of them make sense and are very useful. Thanks so much for sharing. I can be very good reader & listener. Appreciate your work!

  24. hey,
    never knew things like allergy existed. for yrs now, i cud consume raw/semi cooked eggs with no prob. off late i cannot eat an egg in any form. worried, i looked it up and found that i have an allergy and was surprised it cud hapn at this age. what i found gud abt this blog is that there is always an alternative.
    thanks
    ashwin

    1. Thanks Ashwin for visiting my blog. Yes – one can develop allergies at any age. Am not sure if you can have eggs if it is present in small quantities in other foods like cakes and cookies. In case, you cannot have it in other foods – a good substitute is flaxseed/linseed meal soaked in water or egg replacers.

  25. Hi there!

    I love your blog! You’ve got some fun, creative recipes I really want to try. Very different from the kind of thing I usually make.

    So, I was wondering… I didn’t see any amine allergy resources on your blogroll.

    That’s what I’ve been diagnosed with, and in the process of learning what it is and how to eat on a low amine diet, I have worked hard to create a network of helpful sites to connect allergy sites to other allergy sites. It seems like a lot of people that have one allergy also have one or more other allergies.

    I love what you’ve put together here – there are some helpful tools here. I’ve got a few of my own on my blog, too.

    Low Amine Recipes
    http://aminerecipes.com

    I wonder if you would mind linking to my blog? I’m hoping that by connecting allergy blogs to one another, we’ll be able to help our readership even more in the long run.

    Keep up the great work (I do appreciate it. I voted for you in the contest – good luck)!

    – Michelle Ferris
    Low Amine Recipes
    http://aminerecipes.com

  26. Hi Michelle,
    Thank you for visiting Allergy Foodie and voting for it 🙂 Your blog was an eye-opener – did not know about ‘amine allergy’ so did add it to my blogroll!
    Good Luck to you too!
    Anu

  27. Thank you, Anu! It took me 10 years to get diagnosed as I continuously fell apart, and a large part of that was that there weren’t any resources out there to help me figure out what it was on my own. That’s the whole reason I started my blog. I don’t want anyone going through what I went though to have to deal with it the way it was served to me. So thank you very, very much for helping spread awareness of amine allergies! ❤

    1. Omg – that is a really long ordeal 😦 A few months back, one of Allergy Foodie’s readers shared a similar lengthy ordeal she went through before she was able to figure out that out that she is allergic to Flax. Her contribution has proved priceless to a large number of Allergy Foodie’s readers because Flax allergy is also relatively very rare. Would you be interested in writing a short article about amine allergy and how you were able to zero in on it for Allergy Foodie with a link to your blog? It can potentially help quite a few.
      Good Luck Michelle 🙂

  28. Hi Anu –

    Congrats on your top 25 Food Allergy Mom Blog nomination! I’m listed as well and it’s given me an idea. I’m starting a blog hop for anyone dealing with allergies, eczema, or asthma – adults or parents helping their children. If you’re interested in joining, please visit my page. http://itchylittleworld.wordpress.com/blog-hop/

    Hopefully we can create a circle of blogs to support each other in battling these conditions.

    Jennifer

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Congrats to you too on the nomination. I did visit your blog and the blog hop idea is awesome 🙂 Just to understand better – is it different from a blog roll?
      Best wishes,

      Anu

  29. Discovered many interesting facts as I read through your comment list. My son recently tested positive for mustard seed…however, he has always been fine with all the related foods in the mustard family that was listed. I will keep my eye on him…could he develop an allergy to any of them?
    My allergy journey, 15 years, with my eldest son has covered atopic dermatits, multiple food allergies (dairy,egg,sesame,beef,fish,shellfish,peanut/tree nuts,raspberry and mustard), food sensitivities and asthma. My youngest son has a peanut/tree nut allergy and asthma. In the last year, my eldest son has managed to stop his Singulair and daily puffers, only needing it for hockey. My second son has recently stopped his Singulair and is in the process of stopping his daily puffers. I have just discovered your blog by checking out the top 25 allergy blogs. Thanks for all the great information…I can see why you are at the top of the list! I have just started a blog myself chronicling our journey with multiple food allergies, atopic dermatitis and asthma with allergy friendly recipes that my family and friends all enjoy! I would love your input. Susan H. @ the food allergy chronicles

  30. Greetings Anu!

    I work for HomeFree, maker of natural/organic, whole grain cookies that are free of common food allergens including peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and dairy. I am reaching out to you because we noticed your site being featured along side ours recently, among a list of those that were up for recognition as a Circle of Moms Top 25 Allergy Mom Blog. Since we have a shared interest in sharing our experiences and educating others with regard to food allergies, we have added your site to our own blogroll.

    Additionally, we would like to touch base and see if you would like to tell your readers about the resources we offer. We are happy to send you more information. If you’d like we also can send you samples of our cookies – which are delicious, wholesome and inclusive of those with food allergies and most other special dietary needs, including celiac disease. Our goal is to spread the word so that everyone can enjoy the same treats together, and we would appreciate it if you would be willing to help. We’re hoping there is still time for you to post a holiday review on your blog and let your readers know your thoughts about our cookies.

    I can be reached via kmorehouse@homefreetreats.com

    Best!
    Kira

    Kira Morehouse
    Social Media Marketing Intern
    HomeFree, LLC
    P.O. Box 491
    Windham, NH 03087
    http://www.homefreetreats.com

    Connect with HomeFree on Facebook and Twitter:
    http://www.facebook.com/HomeFreeTreats
    http://twitter.com/HomeFreeTreats

  31. Improving Communication Skills in Children With Allergy-related Autism Using NAET

    Hi ,

    I’m writing to let you know about the benefits and deep potential of Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques (NAET). Using a combination of kinesiology and accupressure, NAET is a method for reducing the severity of autism symptoms in children. With more than 10,000 practioners trained by Dr. Nambudripad since her development of the techniques in 1983, NAET is slowly gaining traction among the medical community. While not yet accepted into the mainstream of conventional medical practice, recent studies conducted are providing numbers to back up the effectiveness of NAET therapies.
    (http://bit.ly/xmKgJU) The potential is there for NAET to make a difference in the lives of children and families affected by Allergen-related autistic disorders.

    For more information, please visit: http://www.endfatigue.com/Treating-autism-with-naet.html.

    We’re trying to get the word out to people who could be helped by this research and we need your help. Please let us know if you are willing to post or tweet about this information.

    Thank you for your time,

    Jessica Bloom Paulson
    Outreach Coordinator for Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum
    waxturtle@gmail.com

  32. Generally I don’t read article on blogs, nevertheless I wish to say that this write-up is amazing! Your writing taste has amazed me. Thanks, very excellent post.

  33. I am doing a study on allergies and their impacts on a sense of isolation as a high school project for the National Science Fair. I am hoping to spread the word about my survey to get as much data as possible. The survey can be taken at
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VKRQ959. Thank you so much for any assistance and feel free to pass along the link to anyone who might be able to help by taking the survey. Sam Johnson, Seattle, WA

  34. Hi there! I’m the mom of an 11 month old son who has eczema and an egg allergy. I’m just starting on this journey and figured while I’m already learning & researching that I might as well be sharing the information that I’m finding. So I’ve just created a new website/blog. Please check it out if you have any time. http://Www.NoFowlPlay.com. I’d love any feedback or advice. I appreciate you taking your time to create such a wonderful site to share this valuable information with Mom’s such as myself. I hope to be able to do the same for others!

  35. I just wanted to tell you that I will be searching your blog frequently. My 4 month old son’s allergy test results just came back yesterday. Peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, wheat, soy, and eggs. I’m breastfeeding and have been free of those ingredients for about a month, but my recipe tool belt is empty. I look forward to reading your posts.

  36. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this outstanding blog!
    I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to new updates and will share this site with my Facebook group.
    Chat soon!

  37. Hey Anu!
     
    My name is Kinsey Van Druten. I am the Nutritional Consultant for Immuno Laboratories in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We are widely recognized as one of the leading food and environmental allergy testing facilities in the world. We offer the Immuno Bloodprint which has been helping people “Eat Well, Feel Well and Live Well” for years. Our blood test can help identify food intolerances or hidden food allergies that may be the cause of chronic conditions such as arthritis, A.D.D. (and hyperactivity), autism, chronic fatigue, diabetes, I.B.S., migraine headaches, otitis media, and more.
     
    The reason I am reaching out to you is to offer you the chance to personally get a feel for our test in hopes to share with your readers! As you know, kids, teens, and adults suffer from underlying food sensitivities they don’t even know they have; or better yet, choose not to associate “x” food with “x” symptom. Our goal is to find each client’s unique food sensitivities so that they are able to find recipes specifically tailored to them for their body and not because it is “vegan,” “paleo,” or “gluten-free.” Kids in particular, are more susceptible today than ever before with developing food allergies. How much easier would it be for the busy parents who read Allergy Foodie to know exactly what they should and should not be packing in their children’s lunch?
     
    If you would be interested in finding out first hand your own food sensitivities, please send an email subjected “Allergy Foodie” with your contact information to info@immunolabs.com
     
    We look forward to serving you and your readers!

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