My Life on (and off) the Guest List

Foods You Love, Allergen-Free!

It’s sad to admit but we’ve become a nation allergic to our food; with some of the ingredients, this of course is no surprise. It’s gotten to the point where ingredient listings on some packaged food have become nothing but a random combination of letters and you practically need to be a rocket scientist just to pronounce most of them, so again it is no surprise we’re allergic – we really don’t know what we’re eating. But alas, there is hope. Most of us now have access to a food intolerance test uk, or at least one closer to where you live. The test tells us what foods we have an intolerance towards, meaning, when you do try and read food packaging, you will be able to see if there are any ingredients you do have an intolerance towards. Knowing exactly what upsets our body makes it so much easier finding alternartives and creating a delicious and healthy balanced diet. I recently attended Food Fete‘s Allergen-Free Foods Showcase, where I was introduced to several food companies that create foods such as cereals, breads, pasta, yogurt, cookies, etc for people with allergies. I myself am allergic to all fuzzy fruit (peaches, kiwis) and fruits in their families, so nectarines are not kind to me either.

Did you know that there are several food allergens but the top eight are wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, fish and shellfish. These eight foods account for 90% of food allergies.The first product I recommend is the book Allergic Girl by Sloane Miller.

This book is the definitive how-to guide for living safely, effectively and joyfully with food allergies. So if you have any food allergy, even if its just one item, you need a copy of this book as well as an epinephrine self-injection pen within arms reach as Sloane so stressed to me at Food Fete. But she’s so right and I must say it is essential to get tips from someone who knows, which is why you must follow her on twitter – @allergicgirl

The most amazing delicious yogurt in the world, Chobani Greek Yogurt, is even more amazing. How? Well,  unlike other yogurt brands who rely on artificial additives to enhance the taste of their products, Chobani’s secret is not an ingredient but a passion…and a man who goes by the name of Mustafa, Chobani’s Master Yogurt Maker. Chobani is gluten-free, kosher-certified and safe for people who are allergic to corn, nuts and soy. And this delight is jumping off shelves, while I’m grocery shopping, I always notice at least two or three people who (like me), have at least five Chobani Yogurts in their basket. So act fast before you miss out on the best tasting yogurt.

From one enjoyment to the next – one thing I remember well as a child was my mom’s fresh baked cookies and mom loved trying new ingredients and I still have a great love for her ginger cookies, so when I sampled the nut and gluten-free  Gingerbread Spice Cookies from Enjoy Life Foods, it brought me back.

These yummy soft-baked cookies are gently spiced (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg), soft-baked gingerbread goodies sweetened with fruit juice and brown sugar. Cookies are not the only products Enjoy Life Foods makes, you can enjoy gluten-free cereals, crunchy cookies, granolas, snack bars, bagels, trail mixes, etc. All their products are also without casein, potato, sesame and sulfites.

Staying on the topic of baked goods, Everybody Eats has the most amazing tasting baguette, its hard to believe its gluten-free. I tasted no difference between Everybody Eats‘s baguette and any other french baguette, it was perfectly crusty on the outside and fluffy on the inside and when toasted……oh my goodness yummy

You don’t have to go far to enjoy their gluten-free breads, pizza, pasta and desserts (yes, they even do gluten-free cakes – don’t be frightened, they taste really good), Everybody eats is handmade right in Brooklyn. If you don’t want to trek to Brooklyn, then just place your order via their online store.

My favorite product at Food Fete was from Pasta Prima, makers of all natural Ravioli dishes. I fell in love with their newest ravioli, Pumpkin Sage.

This slightly sweet delicacy surprised me because its dairy free. Not only does it taste phenomenal, it’s only 150 calories plus it has Vitamin A and C, a good source of Iron and Calcium (yes dairy-free but still has calcium). So where can you get this mouthwatering exquisiteness? At the moment, only the Costco stores in the northern California Bay Area are lucky enough to indulge but if retailers response is anything like mine, then distribution will be increased very soon to grocery and other club stores. Prices will vary at retail from $3.99 to $4.99 for 8oz. containers. Costco members will double their pleasure at $9.99 for a twin pack of two 8oz. containers.

A familiar site at Food Fete was Pacific Natural Foods, I was already a fan of their products, specifically their Chipolte Sweet Potato Soup but was introduced to their new Hemp Non-dairy Beverages is dairy-free and gluten-free.

The Original, Vanilla and Chocolate hemp beverages are lightly sweetened with brown rice syrup, as opposed to evaporated cane juice like other brands. They all deliver a smooth, creamy texture, delicious flavor and a natural source of Omega 3s and 6s, calcium, protein, essential vitamins and amino acids. They’re great for drinking, pouring over cereal. It’s also a great milk replacement in baking and makes really fluffy pancakes. its especially great in smoothies. Check out a few recipes below:

Nectarine Orange Smoothie

1/2 pound fresh nectarines or peaches, peeled and cut up
1 cup Pacific Natural Foods Soy, Rice, Almond, Hemp or Hazelnut Beverage, chilled
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon sugar
Ice cubes
Sliced nectarines or peaches and mint sprigs, for garnish

Puree nectarines, soy milk, juice, and sugar in blender. Blend until mixture is thick and smooth. Serve over ice. Garnish with sliced nectarines and mint sprigs, if desired. Makes 2-1/2 cups.
Creamy White Hot Chocolate

1/4 cup water
1 cup Pacific Natural Foods Hemp Milk Original
1 1/2 Tbsp shaved cacao butter
1 1/2 tsp sweetener (you can also use agave nectar)
3-4 drops mint extract
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, heat all the ingredients over low for about 5 minutes (cacao butter should be entirely melted at the surface). Transport to a blender and blend for 30 seconds to emulsify cacao butter into the beverage. Or, keep liquid in pan and use a hand-held blender to whisk directly in the saucepan. Serves one.

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