Cooking with Food Allergies

Well, it’s happened. My fear has come true. In high school I had some serious struggle with food allergies. Two pages worth to be exact. Well, they weren’t food “allergies” (I didn’t blow up like a puffer fish) as much as they were “sensitivities”. I was sensitive to dairy, eggs, peanuts, soy, and most fruits and veggies. My actual “allergies” listed on the report were gluten, tomatoes (which I never had a problem with, oddly enough), and onions. Life was extremely difficult for me as I’d always been a eat-what-you-want kind of kid and I’ve always loved all foods (including veggies). Luckily enough, I could eat all the meat and seafood I wanted, which not everyone with food allergies can. My mom is a wonderful cook and thank the good Lord I have her because she made everything from scratch. It was extremely hard because barley is not the yummiest ingredient and the most disgusting and dry not my favorite substitute for gluten.

You may or may not know, your allergies change every seven years. Luckily because these were food sensitivities, I only had to avoid them in my diet for about three months and then I could gradually work them back into my diet. You normally develop allergies by eating a lot of the same foods, so I have learned to eat a large variety of different foods. I have been eating most of the foods I wasn’t allowed to, for about three years since all of that happened, without a single problem. But…the dream is over. I have been struggling with breathing problems, tummy troubles, and hives for a couple months now and I have finally come to the realization that they have returned. The good news is, the list is significantly small this time! I haven’t been able to touch onions since high school (they end me into the hospital) and dairy has really only been a lactose issue.

Currently, due to hives, tummy troubles and breathing issues, I cannot eat ANY dairy, potatoes, onions, bananas, carrots, and almonds (which make my throat swell, scary!). I know, it’s a rather odd list and I’ve got to be honest, I can work with it. Thank goodness, my momma taught me how to cook and how to cook with substitutes.

I am mainly writing this for the following reasons: A. Sometimes, it’s nice to know you’re not alone. B. Food allergies are on the rise and recipes seem to be getting harder and harder to make because of this. C. To help those of you who have just discovered their or their children’s allergies, understand that it IS possible to eat. (In high school, I often felt like eating was more of a chore than anything else, but it doesn’t have to be that way.) D. To share my substituted and created recipes that work for me so you can enjoy them too!

I post a lot of dairy free recipes and my favorite dairy substitute is coconut milk! If you have any questions please feel free to comment and I will try to answer to the best of my knowledge! Food allergies require a lot of patience, research, and testing foods (which is not always a positive experience). It can be very discouraging but it is never impossible! Also, if you know of your allergies from an allergen specialist, make sure he or she provides you with a list of substitutes! My doctor gave me a huge packet on substituting and cooking with unfamiliar foods!

Good luck to all of you struggling with food allergies!