The keynote speaker was Lynda Mitchell, founder and president of Kids With Food Allergies,who talked about food allergy basics and management strategies. A portion of her talk focused on label reading. While we're told that label reading is incredibly important, it is easy to become complacent and not read labels, especially if it's a product that is used regularly. Here are a few points that I thought were good reminders about label reading:
Same product, different ingredients
Some products that appear to be the same, might differ slightly depending on where they are produced. One plant might produce a perfectly "safe" product for you while the other uses an ingredient that you must avoid - all using the same brand name. You might notice this if you go to a different region, on vacation for example, and look at a product that is usually safe when purchased in your region.
Different sizes of the same product can also have slightly different ingredients or be produced near allergens that you are avoiding.
Pay attention to advisory statements
Studies have shown that 7-17% of products with advisory statements ("May contain traces of....") are, in fact, contaminated with the allergen.
Some foods are exempt from labeling laws
The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) only pertains to foods regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. Foods that the USDA regulates do not need to list allergens. Here are some other products that are exempt:
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Highly refined oils derived from one of the eight major food allergens such as soybean oil.
Over the counter and prescription drugs, cosmetics, etc.
Foods at restaurants
Bakery items that are packaged as you order them
These are all great reminders that label reading is still very important - no matter how comfortable we are managing our food allergies! To read more about labeling laws, visit the US FDA website.
Help Others With Food Allergies
Food is a central part of so many things in life. Not only does it provide nourishment for our bodies, but we celebrate, grieve and comfort with food. When you have a restricted diet due to food allergies, that becomes even more evident. It is so easy to focus on what we can't have instead of what we can. That's why I started this website, to show others that it's possible to eat well with food allergies!
I know you, too, have something to share and I want this website to be a place where we can all share how to eat well with food allergies! In the coming weeks, watch for opportunities to share your food finds, allergy free substitutes, tips for eating out, tips for getting through the holidays and much more! You can already share your favorite recipes on the Allergy Free Recipes page.
Share the discoveries that you have made and show others that they, too, can eat well!
Food Find of the Month
As a mom, I am always looking for allergy free foods that are packed with nutrients and that my kids will actually like. This month, I'm happy to tell you about another such food: Simple Soynut Butter.
If you're thinking, "soynut butter isn't new", then you would be right. But, what is new (to me, at least) is flavored soynut butter. Simple Soynut Butter comes in several different varieties including No Sugar-No Salt, Sea Salted, Slightly Sweet, Cinnamon Sugar and Chocolate. Since I grew up on peanut butter, soynut butter has always left a little to be desired for me but, I must say, added flavor like cinnamon sugar and chocolate do make it more interesting and really quite tasty. Spread it on crackers, toast, apple slices, celery - just to name a few - for a healthy snack your kids will love.
Check out the Recipes of the Month and you'll find just one way that we've indulged with Simple Soynut Butter!
To learn more about Simple Food Soynut Butter, visit the website.
The Recipes of the Month
Soynut Butter and Banana Bites
This is a very simple snack that even your picky eaters are sure to love! I know because my picky 3 year old couldn't get enough of them!
1) Spread about 1 teaspoon of soynut butter on a rice cracker. Top with a banana slice. If you wish, garnish with a dab or soynut butter or a "safe" chocolate chip or two. Enjoy!
Allergy Free Pudding Cake
This recipe was adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and is a great dessert to make when you don't have a lot of ingredients on hand. As it bakes, the cake rises to the top and leaves a chocolatey sauce below. It's delicious on it's own but even better served warm and topped with "safe" whipped cream or ice cream.
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Mix flour, xanthan gum, sugar, 1-1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder and baking powder in bowl. Add milk, oil and vanilla. Mix well. Pour batter in 8x8 glass baking dish. In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Add the boiling water and mix well. Carefully pour over the batter in the baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm.