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Allergic Vegetarian Newbie

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have been cooking since ten years old. Various adult onset food allergies necessitated me relearning how to cook and make dishes flavourful. Have you ever tried making a Chili sans the meats, kidney beans, onions, green bell peppers, mustard and Worcestershire sauce? Yummy tomato sauce! lol.gif

 

I own a website that specializes in creating recipes for those with multi-allergies. Even though I never was professionally trained, I've managed to figure out how to combine various spices to get the desired effect. I've studied Food families and various allergy diets on my own with the intent to improve my own cooking repertoire.

 

My current goals are to learn Raw Foods cooking techniques in the hopes that I'll be able to figure out how to create a 5 ingredients or less Birthday cake for those with unusual food allergies and intolerances. See EE/EGID people who can have some foods outside of formula. I've learned that Pysllium can make a Raw Foods bread "spongy".

 

Also, I hope to learn more about Gluten Free cooking with GF doughs in order to improve the GF pizza crust and breads. Dryness is still an issue.

post #2 of 9

For me, it is important to differentiate "food preferences" from "medical necessities.

 

Right now, I classify "food preferences" to include:

  • Vegetarians
  • Vegans
  • Raw food
  • Macrobiotic
  • etc.

i.e., preferences based on individual choice.

 

Medical necessities include:

  • Gluten free (celiac)
  • Chrones (sp)
  • Allergies
  • Sensitivities
  • Intolerances
  • etc.

i.e. something that is life threatening or a medical necessity.

 

Food preferences can be accommodated in almost every kitchen while medical necessities require special conditions in the kitchen to avoid cross-contamination. Why the difference? In general, a food preference does not involve life threatening situations.

 

In either case, the decision to cater to either one is a business decision and is determined by the owner of the business. No business should be forced to cater to either, both, or none.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
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post #3 of 9

Welcome AV

Our business also has a large segment of our clientele who have food issues. I'm interested in hearing more about your approaches to the various issues.

 

Nice description of how food issues affect FS operators Pete. It helps to clarify and differentiate and you nailed it.

 

Although, sometimes-I mean, sometimes-veganism does NOT fall into the category of personal preference. It's not all that common, but some people cannot metabolize animal proteins. It's some issue with the adrenal gland. My niece and Mom suffer with it.

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you've surfed around here a bit AV and read some of the other posts about food issues.laser.gif


Edited by foodnfoto - 2/10/12 at 4:33am

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post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

I agree there is a difference between "preference" and "medical necessity".  You do not know what it is like to go into place after place and see all this wonderful food that everyone else can buy and eat, but you can not. Hopefully you shall never know. I have this issue going to the grocery store (supermarkt). We haven't even got to the restaurants yet. I do understand that profits need to be made. I also understand that making something "allergy free" requires lots of extra work.

 

Obviously the surface, pans and tools used needs to be cleaned.

I've used aluminum foil and wrapped the potato, meat or fish in it then plopped it on the grill to keep it free from contamination while it cooks. This can be used for most vegetables in a pinch. You can then just toss the spices and sauce right in as well before sealing.

 

Aluminum foil has been used when I needed a lid real quick.

Parchment paper has been used as a work surface, as has Aluminum foil, depending on what we're cooking.

 

I use fresh herbs when I need pure spices as these are less likely to be contaminated with other spices.

Onion substitute? Ginger with a hint of White pepper.

Tomato sauce substitute? Approximately 7 parts Beets to 1 part Carrots.

 

Food notes FYI:

Quinoa and Soybeans are complete proteins. Beans, Dals, and Lentils are more filling for Vegans.

Cinnamon is found in both Garam Masala and Chinese Five Spice. Nutmeg does work as a substitute to a point, but only in spice mixes.

 

I would have to admit that Corn Allergies are the hardest to accommodate as corn can be in everything, including the pesticides found on non-organic vegetables. Yeast and Uticarian diets I'm still studying. I think this is enough info for now. I hope this helps. Usually, the one with the allergy isn't bothered by how long something takes to cook. We are usually just thankful we have anything we can eat - especially when our ban list is ridiculous. lol.gif

 

 

 

 

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

BTW, the only business I think should be forced to do anything, is food manufacturers that sell a product that goes to a store, being forced to put every ingredient on their labels so that when people with allergies can go to the grocery store and make informed decisions. I actually had a reaction to a can of Tuna because I thought that Veggie Broth (Soy) ONLY contained soy in that veggie broth. I did not know that Celery was in it.

 

Also, I'd ban the silly warnings that list every allergen known to man as possibly being in that product via cross-contamination. Walmart does this on their "great value" brand. The problem is we need to buy food. If everyone puts silly labels on their food claiming "possible cross-contamination" with the top 12 food allergies, then we are left with nothing to buy as this can be applied to even fresh or frozen produce. Walmart used to do this on their bags of peas and greenbeans. Instead, I'd only allow them to list the foods that really could have accidentally be found in there (due to using same product line).

Anyways, just my two cents worth.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

BTW, the only business I think should be forced to do anything, is food manufacturers that sell a product that goes to a store, being forced to put every ingredient on their labels so that when people with allergies can go to the grocery store and make informed decisions. I actually had a reaction to a can of Tuna because I thought that Veggie Broth (Soy) ONLY contained soy in that veggie broth. I did not know that Celery was in it.

 

Also, I'd ban the silly warnings that list every allergen known to man as possibly being in that product via cross-contamination. Walmart does this on their "great value" brand. The problem is we need to buy food. If everyone puts silly labels on their food claiming "possible cross-contamination" with the top 12 food allergies, then we are left with nothing to buy as this can be applied to even fresh or frozen produce. Walmart used to do this on their bags of peas and greenbeans. Instead, I'd only allow them to list the foods that really could have accidentally be found in there (due to using same product line).

Anyways, just my two cents worth.

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlergkVegtarian View Post...because I thought that Veggie Broth (Soy) ONLY contained soy in that veggie broth. I did not know that Celery was in it...

If it was "veggie broth", wouldn't you think it contained "veggies"? I thought celery WAS a "veggie"!

 

Do you expect every food manufacturer, distributor, and retailer to know about EVERY potential food sensitivity, allergy, or food preference?

 

My colleague has Crohn's disease, the doctors are not even certain, at this point, which foods cause a flare-up. How would you suggest that a food manufacturer label their product(s) so that he is confident that when he eats it, he will not experience a  flare-up?

 

Additionally, what is the minimum content, an ounce, gram, milligram, micro gram, that requires labeling?
 

 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
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post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

No, I don't expect them to know anything about special diets or allergies. They can be 100% allergy ignorant (and not care) and still put on the label ALL ingredients that they themselves have put in that food. I should not have to play Russian Roulette with my life because the status quo does not care to list their ingredients on their labels. I avoid most GF Pizza crust because they put on their labels "Vinegar", an ingredient, I unfortunately react to.

 

If we could ban anaphylactic symptoms, and other allergic symptoms, then none of us with special diets would care what was on that label because we would stop having to take epi-pen, be rushed to hospital and then go into a coma and on our death bed. Yes, people still DO die from allergies despite our best efforts to avoid these allergens. And yes, we do go into coma's from anaphylactic reactions. Yes, this is becoming rarer, but that is because we have gotten better at avoiding allergies and only buying foods from "specialty" companies, when those foods exist.

 

And yes, I know that Veggie Broth contains vegetables. Soy IS a vegetable. However, nothing on that label even said, "Soy and proprietary ingredients". Even that would have clued me in that they are hiding ingredients. Without that statement, I'm faced with "lies of omission". I realize we need to make profits and do so as quickly and efficiently as possible while hiding what makes our product so good. However, I do not think we need to do this at the expense of someone else's life. Just let the people decide what they can and and can not eat through reading of the label. We don't need to know how much of an ingredient is in that label.

Thanks!

post #9 of 9

Then complain to the manufacturer!

 

Here is a vegetable base and its ingredient list: http://www.superiortouch.com/professional/products/better-than-bouillon/premium-bases/36/vegetable-base

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
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