‘Tis a Tricky Business!
H o l i d a y C o o k i n g w i t h F o o d All e r g i e s Acc o r d i n g to t h e American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (ACAAI), more than 50 million Americans have an allergy of some kind; and 4 to 6 percent of the entire population has food allergies. The most severe allergic reaction is anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening. It affects your breathing and heart rate, causing a dramatic drop in blood pressure.
Food allergies are a tricky business—they can develop at any age and can persist or disappear altogether over time. Onset of a reaction can be minutes or hours; and symptom durations can vary. Food allergies can affect the respiratory or cardiovascular systems and the gastrointestinal tract.
For food-allergy sufferers, the holidays can be especially challenging. Here are some tips to help you through all the upcoming events in which food itself is the celebration:
Look for naturally gluten-free foods, such as quinoa and rice. Dips like chutney and hummus with rice crackers and fresh fruits and veggies make a delicious appetizer. Learn to read food labels carefully, and avoid prepackaged foods. They often have trace ingredients and additives that could trigger a reaction.
For your main meat or even tofu recipes, avoid pre-marinated or pre-spiced foods. Make your own flavorings by using olive oil and fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and garlic.
Soups make a great dish with
a holiday flair. Try ingredients like squash, pumpkin, leek, or sweet potatoes. Cornstarch or arrowroot with water and chicken stock are great thickening agents.
For milk or soy allergies, try substituting coconut milk for the usual cream, soy, or nut milks.
While labels have helped to decipher ingredients, there can be a lot of ambiguity. Phrases such as “may contain,”
“made on shared equipment,” or “made in a shared facility” can be confusing; and there are no laws that require or govern the standards of those warnings.
Eating out requires even more scrutiny as cross-contamination is everywhere. It’s best to speak with your server and the chef to apprise them of the severity of your particular allergy.
For dessert, focus
on seasonal fruits, such as apples, pears, or cranberries.
For more food-allergy information, visit the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology at www.acaai.org.
| november 2015
November 2015 Lake Norman Woman