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Cooking for those with severe food allergies and sensitivities


tippingvelvet
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One thing that did occur to me: if I was Seth's mom, I think I'd keep sauteed onions on hand in the fridge and pass them around at mealtime like the salt and pepper, for those who can have them to stir into the spaghetti sauce or whatever "wants" onions.

that's a really good idea. onion confit! Keeps for along time, and the flavor is so concentrated, you don't need much as a flavoring. And because it's so concentrated, it doesn't take up much room in the fridge.

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Lori, you'll find a few established threads in the general forum & media about food allergies and children.

One thing that I'd recommend is finding out exactly what this child cannot eat and why.

Docsconz and Kerry Beal, of course, demonstrate how sophisticated the palates of medical doctors can be and how skilled they are in the kitchen. Nonetheless, those inspired to publish books on nutrition or make recommendations for the diets of their patients aren't always the most imaginative souls. There are probably overlooked foods you could include such as Red kuri squash, fresh herbs, chestnut flour, almond meal, walnut oil, etc. that would introduce a wider range of flavors into the family's diet.

If you can get your hands on teff, you could make Ethiopia bread, as long as different types of grains are okay. If they're adventurous, it could be fun for the whole family to pull off pieces of injera to fill with stews and lentils, using their fingers instead of utensils.

It also would be useful to know why Parmesan (cow's cheese) and goat's milk are okay, but fresh cow milk or ricotta made from sheep are not on the list. While I used to be allergic to dairy and wheat products (maybe; I won't go into that for now, but cf. Docsconz's comments on other threads) and find those to be two of the most common childhood allergies, I had a friend who was told she could eat yogurt made from cow's milk because of the effect the bacteria had on enzymes (? not sure). Your options might be wider than you think.

This book is supposed to be an exception to the general rule, offering creative ways to bake without wheat flours and many recipes that would appeal to the non-afflicted. I think it's won awards, or at least one book in the genre has.

The fact that most nuts are permitted helps a lot, since they'll help in making pastry. I don't know about flourless cakes or torts that require only two eggs; usually stiff egg whites are necessary. There is bound to be something along those lines. Nut meals & flours also make kid-friendly foods possible, such as "breaded" chicken fingers.

Then, there's chickpea flour to use in making a tempura-like batter, etc. Asian rice noodles can also make spaghetti and meatballs possible, not just the wonderful things they were intended to produce, though different cuisines supply lots of good ideas.

Two recommended dishes:

Risotto. Make a big deal out of it, with homemade stock (minus the onion). Serve it as Italians do, as a first course all by itself, and not as a side dish, plated with meat.

Shepherd's Pie: Mashed (white or sweet) potatoes instead of a pastry crust on a filling dish for winter.

FYI: Just read in Gourmet that tamari comes from the dregs found in the bottom of vessels used in making soy sauce.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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PS. Since the initial post was mostly a question about ridding a diet of onions, etc., a quick search revealed: these guys. Milagi has already posted, but do keep in mind the practices of some strict vegetarians in India who do not eat lust-producing alliums. There's bound to be more in good cookbooks than the suggestion to use ASAFETIDA.

ETA: Since I had no idea final statement would be construed as an insult to a favorite ingredient, I LOVE asafetida and acquired a taste via vegetarian cookbooks even before I started to prepare Indian food. Dirty socks, hogwash: the fragrance is wonderful.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Poor kid! one of my friends has almost the same set of allergies, and it took her a while to build up a repertoire of good dishes.

I'm blithely assuming you have a Whole Foods or similar grocery available in your area to get things like goat yoghurt and gluten free pasta? I love meyenberg goat butter since unlike other brands it doesn't taste "goaty" so you can use it for sweets.

You should check with the mom, but I'm guessing that sheep based dairy is also an option, which allows sheeps milk feta for greek salad and pecorino romano instead of Parmiggiano if it turns out that Parm is a problem after all.

Here's the Gluten Free Flour mix that I use. Once you have a working GF pie crust then you can make a jillion sweets of course, plus some basic savories like pot-pies suddenly come back on the menu etc.

Here are a couple recipes I've served successfully for my friend:

This fruit stuffed pork loin is really good & you can either sub in goat butter or lard or use a soy free crisco.

Eggless oatmeal cookies using GF flour and raisins instead of chocolate chips.

Tembleque :wub: (a Puerto Rican coconut pudding)

Chicken salad made with goat yogurt instead of mayo/sour cream (I sub this in a lot of recipes for her & it usually, though not always, works quite well.)

Roasted portobello mushrooms with goat brie melted on top and a little pepper/spices :wub:

Chicken sauteed with madeira and fresh grapes and a dollop of goat yoghurt.

IT's hard to think around the limitations sometimes but really there are so many options out there. And the more practice she gets, the easier it will be to think "oh if I just substitute X" this recipe would be great!

And Pontormo, don't be dissin' the asafoetida, it's scary on it's own sure, but a little pinch in a big pot of food can add a fabulous depth of flavor to a dish :smile:

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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Thank you again to everyone. I have no idea what some of the dishes and ingredients you've suggested are, so I have much grist for the (gluten-free) mill here. Susan, I don't know the ingredients of fish sauce, so don't know if it is allowed.

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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My son has an equally restricted diet due to allergies - I'd suggest looking for styles of meals where an "activity" is as important as the food.

For instance, the ingredients you list can be made into various fondues, table-grilled bulgokis, firepots/shabu-shabu, etc. Then, even if there are some side dishes served that the boy can't eat, he'll be participating in the main event, and the side dishes won't be a big deal.

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Thank you again to everyone. I have no idea what some of the dishes and ingredients you've suggested are, so I have much grist for the (gluten-free) mill here. Susan, I don't know the ingredients of fish sauce, so don't know if it is allowed.

Lori, fish sauce is anchovies and salt. The reason I suggest it is that it sounds like some Asian stir-fries might work -- either over rice or with rice noodles. If Asian is a possibility, the Lee Kum Kee webside provides ingredient details on many of their sauces and ingredients.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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also check out CMC as a gluten/egg replacer. Its easier to find than Hydroxyl-Methyl cell and does wonders as an egg/gluten substitute. SOme the HMC's are better, but you have to jump through a couple hoops to get them, while CMC is easier to find from a lot of baking supply centers.

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Seth and his family had lunch with us yesterday and it was a very productive visit. I had made veal breast in the style of Osso Buco sans onion and garlic (served those on the side). Mom and I made Risotto Milanese without onion, which was a new dish for her to learn. We also had roasted carrots. Dessert was baked apples with raisins, walnuts, and honey and also almond cookies brought by Mom. We spent the rest of the afternoon discussing possibilities and I answered lots of cooking questions. I sent her home with some recipes to try. She was so sweet and thankful -- a joy for me to help someone like her. I'm going to copy responsess to this thread for her, too. Thank you again, everyone.

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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  • 2 years later...

A good friend's blood test just confirmed she is extremely allergic to dairy and eggs. She hasn't felt really well in years. Finally she knows why. Her scores were off the chart in terms of allergy.

On the blood test: under 40 is not allergic, 40-150 is moderate. Anything over 900 is severe. She got 1439 for milk and 1435 for casein. She was told by the doc "no egg, no dairy products for you!" Yeah, she's screwed.

Can you help me let her know the end of good eating is not nigh!?

She's really sad about not eating cheese.

Thoughts, pity, suggestions, allergy stories, recipes...?

Grace

Grace Piper, host of Fearless Cooking

www.fearlesscooking.tv

My eGullet Blog: What I ate for one week Nov. 2010

Subscribe to my 5 minute video podcast through iTunes, just search for Fearless Cooking

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A good friend's blood test just confirmed she is extremely allergic to dairy and eggs. She hasn't felt really well in years. Finally she knows why. Her scores were off the chart in terms of allergy.

On the blood test: under 40 is not allergic, 40-150 is moderate. Anything over 900 is severe. She got 1439 for milk and 1435 for casein. She was told by the doc "no egg, no dairy products for you!"  Yeah, she's screwed.

Can you help me let her know the end of good eating is not nigh!?

She's really sad about not eating cheese.

Thoughts, pity, suggestions, allergy stories, recipes...?

Grace

I'm with you here. Our youngest cannot eat eggs and I am trying to convince him to make ice cream with eggs. He's 1200 miles away so I can't do much from here. :sad:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Find her a really good vegan cookbook. It will help with the side-dishes. Vegetarian cookbooks might be too depressing at first because a lot of them use cheese and other dairy products.

Or a really good kosher cookbook. I'd go with kosher over vegan, because vegan is too depressing for me.

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I don't have any helpful information for your friend. For me personally, I think it would depend how not "really well in years" I felt. I think if I'd gone my entire life with it and it didn't appear it was going to kill me or cause any severe problems I would probably just work out some kind of moderation deal with myself to try to keep feeling unwell to a minimum. Of course, I'm not a doctor and I tend to be a bit of a risk-taker with myself so I wouldn't tell anyone else that's the way to go.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I don't have any helpful information for your friend. For me personally, I think it would depend how not "really well in years" I felt. I think if I'd gone my entire life with it and it didn't appear it was going to kill me or cause any severe problems I would probably just work out some kind of moderation deal with myself to try to keep feeling unwell to a minimum. Of course, I'm not a doctor and I tend to be a bit of a risk-taker with myself so I wouldn't tell anyone else that's the way to go.

My mother is allergic to dairy, too (and a bunch of other foods), but she still partakes occasionally in small amounts. It's very common, apparently, for people with non-life-threatening allergies to disregard them once in awhile. (The last time she had a very bad reaction to peanuts, the emergency room doctor said, "I don't understand why people with allergies insist on taking the risk," which led my mother to believe that she wasn't the only one.)

The opposite side of the coin may be that once your friend has gone a few months without eggs or dairy, she may feel so good, that she'll never want to eat those things again.

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My son, who will be 3 in September, cannot tolerate milk products. I spent the better part of 2008 dragging him from doctor to doctor (allergists, gastroenterologist, various pediatricians) and in the end, he is not truly allergic, but just cannot tolerate milk products. So for a full year, I gave him nothing with milk, casein, whey and various other ingredients. It was difficult at first, but it is manageable. It just requires a lot of reading of ingredients and planning.

While I cannot help with the egg-free part, there are options for the milk-free part. When I make baked goods, I use rice milk, or soy milk, depending on what I am making. I always kept frozen Eggo french toast and Aunt Jemima pancakes in the freezer (I also have a daughter who is almost 5), but all of those things have some kind of milk product in them. So now, I spend an hour or 2 every few weeks making my own pancakes, etc, using soy milk, and then freezing them. I also make my own muffins, and various other breakfast foods to keep on hand.

I buy soy yogurt at Trader Joe's. I hate yogurt, so I can't tell you if it is good, but my son likes it. I mix it with Cheerios and he eats that sometimes for breakfast. When this whole thing started, he was still drinking milk from a bottle. He drank the Rice Dream rice milk and liked it, but when I took away his bottle, he gave up actual milk altogether...I guess it was the bottle he liked, not really the milk.

Soy cheese is pretty disgusting on it's own, but I will make things like baked ziti (or other various bake pastas) and use the shredded soy cheese (Soy Sation 3 cheese blend from Trader Joe's) mixed in and on top. In that capacity, it really isn't so bad. Plus there is something called Better Than Cream Cheese which really is like cream cheese. I usually mix a bit of this in with a baked pasta dish to give it a creamier consistency. And it's good on a bagel too.

For ice cream, I keep the Tofutti Cuties in the freezer. Both my kids love them. I buy ravioli with tofu filling, and sometimes make that into a baked ravioli dish with soy cheese and vegetables mixed in (not made by Tofutti). I think that most of the Tofutti products are pretty good.

This website, Go Dairy Free has a lot of information and recipes for both milk and egg free diets.

And finally, I see that you are in NY, so if your friend is in NY too, I would suggest checking out Westerly Market on 54th & 8th. It is right my by office, so I go in there often. They have an amazing selection of products for any dietary concern and the prices are good. Much better than Whole Foods.

Hope that helps...

Edited by Cleo (log)
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No allergy stories, just a suggestion to check out asian cuisines. Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese: all are flavor packed, with minimal use of dairy and eggs. Maybe you could buy her a first-rate wok and a couple of cookbooks as a "cheer up" gift, or take her on a shopping spree at a local asian supermarket? Either would workd as a reminder that a world of delicious, dairy- and egg-free food exists for her to discover. I'm not a fan of imitation, replacement products (soy cheese is downright disgusting), but I am a fan of cooking, rather than relying on processed, packaged, "replacement" foods.

Edited by HungryC (log)
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No allergy stories, just a suggestion to check out asian cuisines.  Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese:  all are flavor packed, with minimal use of dairy and eggs. 

As well as Asian cookbooks, I'd recommend Veganomicon and The Voluptuous Vegan -- flavorful, exciting food.

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Although I'm not qualified to diagnose anybody, I want to bring up something I've seen.

I know there are real food allergies and intolerances. The people who have them, know they have them, or at least figure it out.

And I'm not saying every blood-tested food allergy is the same thing that I've seen with my friends, but for what it's worth:

Years ago all my friends were running to one doctor in particular, who was doing blood tests for food allergies. Every single one of them came up with a long list of things they couldn't eat, and the supposed allergies were the reason they were using for why they had no energy, were depressed, or couldn't lose weight. And they all stopped eating everything on their list of foods.

For awhile.

Now all of them are eating whatever they want, and the problems for which they sought help, except for the weight problems, resolved in one way or another. Some lost weight and some are still overweight. When I ask them what happened to their food allergies, they shrug and change the subject.

So I guess what I'm saying is: your friend should cease all eggs and dairy, for a long period of time, and see if it really makes a difference or whether there was a placebo effect to begin with, and then she was back to where she started. In my opinion, some of the food allergies diagnosed by blood test are nothing more than a racket. There may be some legit operations somewhere doing the testing, and maybe the information is accurate in some instances. I just haven't seen it.

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As well as vegan and Asian recipes there's also lots of Middle Eastern/North African Mediterranean dishes without dairy or eggs that taste great.

Substitutes (frozen tofu dessert instead of ice cream for example) can be acceptable to some - others just mourn the real item and find it better to have something different - a granita perhaps.

That said olive oil is a very acceptable substitute for butter in quite a number of dishes - including garlic mashed potato.

Rice, oat and soya 'milk' will all be worth trying to see which she prefers. Apparently you can bake with soya milk although I've heard that almond milk also works (I've never even come across it but maybe coconut milk?).

Fermented Tofu? It's not a substitute for cheese (there is no substitute for cheese....) but a strongly flavored and rather good thing of itself and potentially a good source of calcium which she'll have to consider.

More generally on allergy testing: IgE or RAST tests are validated. However, if she had an IgG test and was told on the basis of this alone to cut out dairy and eggs then she should change her doctor!

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Although I'm not qualified to diagnose anybody, I want to bring up something I've seen.

I know there are real food allergies and intolerances.  The people who have them, know they have them, or at least figure it out.

And I'm not saying every blood-tested food allergy is the same thing that I've seen with my friends, but for what it's worth:

Years ago all my friends were running to one doctor in particular, who was doing blood tests for food allergies.  Every single one of them came up with a long list of things they couldn't eat, and the supposed allergies were the reason they were using for why they had no energy, were depressed, or couldn't lose weight.  And they all stopped eating everything on their list of foods.

For awhile.

Now all of them are eating whatever they want, and the problems for which they sought help, except for the weight problems, resolved in one way or another.  Some lost weight and some are still overweight.  When I ask them what happened to their food allergies, they shrug and change the subject.

So I guess what I'm saying is: your friend should cease all eggs and dairy, for a long period of time, and see if it really makes a difference or whether there was a placebo effect to begin with, and then she was back to where she started.  In my opinion, some of the food allergies diagnosed by blood test are nothing more than a racket.  There may be some legit operations somewhere doing the testing, and maybe the information is accurate in some instances.  I just haven't seen it.

While I am very reluctant to enter this discussion, I feel there are important points that need to be made to the general public about food "allergies". As is pointed out in the referenced post, a food "allergy" is a very specific and life threatening situation. On the other hand a food "intolerance" runs the gamut from "not feeling right" to consistent nausea and vomiting when exposed to the specific food product. And while food intolerances are certainly nothing to make light of they do not even come close to rising to the severity of the analyphlatic response of a food allergy. The shotgun approach of immunoglobulin testing while "the best we have to offer" is far from perfect. It is obvious that your friend is not "allergic" to eggs and milk, she may however certainly be intolerant of them. I wish her well and hope she finds a happy relationship with her diet.

Edited by RWells (log)

Even Samantha Brown would have hard time summoning a "wow" for this. Anthony Bourdain

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For those who follow the kosher laws, you can't have meat and milk in the same meal. In buying prepared food, look for kosher products that are not labled dairy. They might be labled parve. I agree that kosher cookbooks are a good place to look. You might want to look at those that feature Middle Eastern dishes.

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