Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Creating Community - #Favorite8AllergenFreeProducts

If you find it challenging to obtain products free of the eight common allergens (wheat/gluten, eggs, milk/dairy, soy, tree nuts, peanut, fish, and shellfish,) you’ve come to the right place!

There is now a campaign on Twitter (@AllergyFreeYUM) asking the community of multiple-food-allergy sufferers to share their favorite products which are free of the eight common allergens. As they are posted, I will share them here, giving credit to those who participate. You can also leave the name your favorite product(s) in the comments below to join in without Twitter.

Some products may be manufactured in a facility or on the same equipment as one of the eight common allergens, so be sure to carefully read the labels. Formulations change as well. If the ingredients in anything listed below change to include an allergen, please let me know and I’ll update the page.

I hope you find some new things that you like!

Eat well and be well,


Tiger Tiger’s poppadoms are super yummy! At first I was disenchanted when I opened this because I found out I had to fry them myself. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to eat at an Indian restaurant due to the use of soybean oil in every restaurant I’ve contacted. I was impressed by the crispness and tastiness of this treat, as well as the ease and quickness of making. 
 (Added September 14, 2012)

 Nature's All Food offers freeze-dried fruits. They are raw, vegan, kosher, and fair trade certified. They are labeled GMO-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, and gluten-free. And did I mention that they're delicious? The only thing that could make these better is if they were dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with gold! (Added August 9, 2012)

Andean Dream pasta is free from the eight common allergens and corn. Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a grain that is high in amino acids. This characteristic helps it lend a pleasant, chewy texture to the pasta. It is my new personal favorite! (Added August 8, 2012)

People can’t just say enough good things about Home Free Cookies
Melissa McDonald shared, "My daughter is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, so it's hard to find baked goods that are safe...and delicious. She and her brother, who is not allergic, love to snack on Home Free cookies . They rarely last more than a day or so in our house because we all love them so much.” Ruth Lovett Smith shared that she “...was able to tour their beautiful and dedicated nut-free facility…The owners not only make a great product but genuinely care about getting allergy safe/free right."Ben Gentry of Home Free Treats happily joined the conversation stating, "We are proud to have won “Favorite Allergy Friendly Sweets” on the National Readers’ Poll 2012…"All comments shared via LinkedIn (Added August 8, 2012)

Sweet Freedom is a sweetener available made in the UK that is derived from apples, grapes, and carob. It was recommended by Jill Peer via LinkedIn who refers to it as “tasty.”  (Added August 8, 2012)

Tinkyada Organic Brown Rice pasta is the best of the product line when cooked al dente. Add a little salt, pepper, olive oil, tomatoes, and avocado and you’ll have a meal in minutes!
(Added May 10, 2012)

Sunbutter Organic Unsweetened is made only with organic sunflower seeds.

This comment was submitted by Terrye Mastin via LinkedIn: "Sunbutter. It's made from roasted sunflower seeds and tastes just like peanut butter." 
(Added May 9, 2012)

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oats are available as quick cooking and whole grain rolled oats. This product was suggested by Eleanor Creasey via LinkedIn.

It is one of the ingredients used in Apple Maple Oatmeal.

(Added May 8, 2012)

I came upon the Kids with Food Allergies Foundation Facebook page the other day and was glad to find they also have a community page on their website which lists products free of the 8 common allergens. This Qrunch Burger is their latest product listing. (Added May 8, 2012)

Orgran Falafel Mix suggested by Josef Rosenfeld via LinkedIn (Added May 6, 2012) 

This company makes many great gluten-free products that are free of many other allergens. Crispibread with Quinoa is a favorite in my family.

Theo chocolate is a foodie’s dream! They create fair trade, organic chocolate bars with 70% dark flavors such as mint as well as spicy chile to stimulate the taste buds. Single origin bars are also available.

Choosing to use ground vanilla bean instead of extract, Theo fashions treats which are also alcohol-free.

Their Fantasy Flavor line, 3400 Phinney, offers an amazing Coffee Dark Chocolate for when you need that extra boost. (Added May 6, 2012)

Finding allergen-free supplements can be a challenge. Bluebonnet Nutrition does a great job and many products in their catalog are free of the eight common food allergens as well as yeast.

These Milk-Free Chewable Acidophilus wafers are a great way to maintain digestive health and can be used by all family members when given in the proper dose. (Added May 4, 2012)

Spicy Seed Mix by Go Raw Foods has amazing flavor that will wake up your taste buds! It’s great to eat by the handful or tossed on a salad. The pumpkin and sunflower seeds are sprouted, then dehydrated to maintain maximum nutrient value. Pumpkin seeds are packed with minerals, including zinc, a key nutrient for male reproductive health and a strong immune system.

Go Raw Foods has many other delicious and nutritious foods including a sprouted buckwheat granola, sweetened with dates and raisins, as well as an intense chocolate truffle. (Added May 3, 2012)

Oskri Sesame Quino Bars are crunchy and sweet. Better yet, they are organic, kosher, and halal for those with even more dietary restrictions. Find them at May 2, 2012)

Enjoy Life is a great company who is dedicated to making products free of the eight common food allergens. These chocolate chips are great for baking but also great for snacking when you need a chocolate fix not complicated by soy lecithin! They also come in a mini size and usually fly off the shelves at my local Whole Foods Market(Added May 2, 2012)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Multi-faceted Approach to Wellness

Inflammation causes both acute and chronic diseases including allergies, obesity, dementia, periodontitisatherosclerosisrheumatoid arthritis, and even gallbladder carcinoma.1,2 The process of inflammation is a healthy part of the immune response. This is demonstrated by the swelling and redness that occurs after one’s skin has be cut. It helps to localize infection so that healing can begin. With dietary exposure to allergens, this inflammation become systemic.

Long-term exposure to undetected food allergens can leave one with a multitude of health problems. The body’s resources become depleted from an overactive immune response. Resulting nutritional deficiencies can lead to other health problems. Removing allergens from the diet is a key first step, but is not the entire solution. (Information on how to perform an Elimination Diet to detect food allergies/sensitivities.)

A multifaceted approach is essential to systemic reduce inflammation. This requires some lifestyle, as well as dietary, changes. Everyone who has a desire to attain optimal health and well-being can reach that goal by following a few simple principles.

Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into the diet. These foods include shiitake mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and olive oil. Recipes like Potato Mushroom Casserole make a meal of these ingredients.  Other great anti-inflammatory foods include wild-caught salmon, grass-fed beef, blueberries, cherries, cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cauliflower,) dark leafy greens, kelp, and papaya. In addition, herbs can be a great asset. Try adding a bit of turmeric, thyme, clove, fennel, garlic, or ginger to recipes. Teas, including lavender, chamomile, licorice root, orange peel, and green tea, can help as well. Processed and pre-packaged foods, especially those which contain sugar and flour, cause inflammation and should be avoided.

It is important, when available, to purchase organic foods. Non-organic produce and animal feeds may be sprayed with petroleum-based pesticides. These pesticides can further be a source of inflammation in the digestive system as a foreign non-nourishing substance. All produce, whether organic or not, should be washed before use.

Consume a diet rich in alkaline pH-reducing foods. Lowering tissue pH is a generally accepted mechanism for quelling inflammation.3 The Natural Way’s website provides a chart of alkalizing and acid forming foods. Make sure that 70-75% of daily calories come from foods that alkaline in nature.

Minerals are also beneficial for tissue pH balancing. They occur naturally in fresh whole foods and sea salt.  This type of salt should be used to season food instead of acid-forming table salt. Trace mineral supplements, like Concentrace, can be added to water. Both are naturally allergen-free.

Use anti-inflammatory remedies. Taking a baby aspirin (80mg dose) daily has been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by quelling inflammation4. Essential oils, such as Birch and Wintergreen, have the same component as aspirin. Oils of Thyme, Rose, Clove, Eucalyptus, Bergamot, and Fennel fight inflammation.5 Essential oils should be applied externally, using only a few drops.

Integrate light movement and breathing into an exercise plan. Gentle forms of exercise, such as walking, yoga, and tai chi, help relieve inflammation. This benefit is not found in strenuous forms of exercise. Dr. Mark Hyman, who has appeared on the Dr. Oz Show as an expert in Functional Medicine promotes yoga, meditation, and deep breathing to lower inflammation.

Clean with natural products to reduce exposures to toxins which can stimulate the immune response and spark inflammation. Seventh Generation, as well as Mrs. Meyers, make a variety of household cleaning products made with natural ingredients. You can even make your own using common household ingredients such as baking soda, white vinegar, water and peroxide. Good Housekeeping’s The Daily Green has formulas and other tips for green living.

Incorporating these principles into one's lifestyle separately is a smart way to get started . Changing behaviors with a clear goal of optimal well-being can promote lasting changes for long-lasting health.

Eat well and be well,

3 Evaluation of pH changes in inflammation of the subcutaneous air pouch lining in the rat, induced by carrageenan, dextran and Staphylococcus aureus. Journal of Oral Pathology and Medicine, January 1987; 16(1):36-44, A Punnia-Moorthy
4 Clinical Use of Aspirin in Treatment and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Thrombosis, October 2011