Friday, July 23, 2010

Food Allergies, Issues and Intolerances...Oh my!

It seems just recently that a lot of people in my life have developed food allergies or issues of some kind.  I’ve known several vegetarians for quite awhile, so I’ve gotten somewhat used to thinking about non-meat options for my cooking repertoire.  However, it’s been pretty recent that people I know and love (and cook for) have needed to go on a gluten-free or dairy-free diet.  And last year I had a friend whose baby couldn’t have milk or soy (or beef), which basically canceled out everything but plain white rice and turkey for her while she was breastfeeding!  Apparently that’s more common around the Midwest than I had any clue about.  I think the strangest food allergy I’ve heard of is from my friend Robyn, who is allergic to fresh fruits and vegetables.  She can have frozen, canned or cooked, but even carving a fresh pumpkin with her kids in the fall makes her skin break out!  And this is a fairly recent development for her, coming on just a few years ago.  I wonder why our bodies decide at a certain (middle) age to turn on us and require us to live with such burdens?

Jake’s family is now a challenge for me.  His brothers are vegetarians, his mom is gluten-free and Jake himself isn’t supposed to drink a lot of milk since the doctor thinks he might be lactose intolerant.  My good friend, Micaela, is near & dear to my heart with her love of ice cream.  Unfortunately, she just recently found out that she is severely allergic to dairy!  (This might be my nightmare.)  She was understandably quite upset, but is now learning to adjust.  I pray I can be a positive support to her in this by finding lots of fun non-dairy options for her! 

I’m not sure which is worse: no dairy or no gluten.  Gluten is in EVERYTHING.  Even canned soup like chicken broth and tomato soup.  And rice krispies cereal.  (Isn’t that just supposed to be RICE?!  What possible necessary good comes from adding malt flavoring?)  But then vegetarians are hard sometimes too.  Did you know that they can’t have marshmallows or jello?!  And that’s not even the vegan variety of vegetarians, who are much more strict on everything.

If you are afflicted with one of these food issues, I’m sorry for you.  I’m sure life is made hard by well-meaning people that just don’t understand.  I’m sure I’ve been and probably will continue to be one of those people.  But know that I’m trying not to be! 

And I’m thankful that I haven’t crossed paths with any food issues myself yet…

If you have any gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian friendly (& tofu-free), soy-free, corn-free (a friend is cutting out corn products & soy in addition to gluten), pistachio & tomato-free (this is for you, Kirk Hansen!), and cooked veggies & fruits only recipes, please share!!!!


  1. People with gluten/wheat allergies are crazy.


    I've done a fair amount of research on Jell-o and I think it is gluten free. That's the normal boxed Jell-o. I think the pre-packaged Jell-o is also safe.

  2. Cari, I am allergic to corn, soy, dairy and most fresh fruits and veggies. I also cannot tolerate beef. It is a huge challenge, but I do have some recipes that I use. Are you looking for desserts or main dishes? I have to tell you, gluten is one thing I CAN eat so that and rice make up a huge part of my diet, but I can help with the corn, dairy and soy free part :)

  3. Beth- Any recipes are welcome, no matter the genre! Thanks!!!!

  4. What a great post!!:) You are such a great friend! You are the one that got me addicted to the Cocunut Milk Ice Cream and Lactaid Milk (used those coupons right up!) I really love the blog and am so glad you started it. I would love to know how to cook some African dishes....any tips on cooking for other cultures I would love too! I actually just got an African recipe that I am going to try and make....wish me luck, or at least the people that are going to eat my food luck. Even if it doesn't, I will say it has dairy in it...then I can get out of trying it:)