Rhubarb Bakery

food allergy

Any mother who has a family member with allergies to certain foods will know how difficult it is to modify ones ‘normal’ cooking to their needs.  One is usually just told by a medical practitioner, “Your child is allergic to milk/egg/gluten etc.  Therefore keep it out of their diet”.  This is much easier said than done.  When food sensitivity has been identified, it is best to eliminate it from the diet, but this necessitates a new style of cooking for the family member with recipes which either substitute or do not contain the problem food stuff.

The most common edible allergens are milk, wheat, eggs, colorants and preservatives etc. Some unfortunate people suffer from a combination of allergies whilst other allergies are simply outgrown with time.  Since there is a chance that the child may outgrow the allergy, it is necessary to reintroduce the foodstuffs at intervals to see whether this has occurred as it would be unfair to deprive them unnecessarily.  It is essential to consultant a dietician or doctor for dietary advice regarding substitute foodstuffs that contain the necessary vitamins and minerals i.e. calcium rich foods in the case of a milk allergy.

Hints to a happier compromise:

1. Try never to let your child feel in any way “different” from his peers.  This makes them unhappy and only encourages them to cheat when you are not watching, in order to fit in with the friends. Try instead from an early age to help them understand the concept of cause and effect (this requires patience as this is not easy for little ones).  Explain that by eating certain food they will experience the unpleasant side effects (asthma attack, eczema, runny nose etc.) and should this happen; emphasize the cause and possible dangers i.e. in the case of Asthma.  Initiate a fun game by calling allowed foods “friendlies” and forbidden foods “enemies”.  Kids will join in this game with great enthusiasm. This makes them feel important and loved and goes a long way to easing the blow of not being ‘ordinary’.

With a sensible approach, it is possible for a family to live harmoniously even though some members are allergic to certain foodstuffs.  Creating meals that will suit the whole family and by not using the offending ingredient is preferable than pointing out the forbidden foods in the meal thus upsetting one member of the family.   Teach children to understand the consequence and refuse forbidden foods by explaining that they are allergic to them thus not offending anyone.  Since pre-school children cannot read, it is important for them to be taught by recognition of labels, colours or logos on the product wrappings.  This can be made a game of by pointing it out while shopping at the supermarket or watching television commercials for food products.  Older children who can read must be taught to check the ingredient label on foodstuffs.

2. Do not send an allergic child to a party or a sleep-over without an adequate supply of their own ‘special’ replacement foods. Always remember to send the medication for allergic reactions as this is a possible place for them to flare up.  Don’t expect the hostess or other parent to cater for their needs as they often do not have the time or simply don’t understand the complexity of the problem. Politely explain the situation and ask to see the party box where you can remove the allergy foods and replace with your own ‘special foods’.

3. Always read the ingredients list on product labels.  Unfortunately convenience foods often contain allergens and it is best to make things yourself from scratch as this way you know exactly what is in it.  Colorants have to be declared on the product labels by law.  Initially your grocery shopping time is doubled due to all the additional label reading that is necessary but soon you will become aware of what it best and know what to choose.  Also finding a good health shop is essential.

Listed below are some recipes to help with your ‘special foods’ supply.

1. Biscuits (Gluten. Milk and egg free)               supplied by The Food Allergies and Intolerance Society

¼ cup Cardin margarine

½ cup Brown Sugar

½ cup White Sugar

¾ cup Rice flour

½ cup potato flour

¼ cup corn flour

2 tsp. Baking powder

6-8 T water or fruit juice

Cream margarine and sugar together.  Sift dry ingredients and add enough liquid to form sticky dough.  Roll into a sausage shape.  Chill and cut into slices.  Bake on a greased baking sheet at 180C for 10-15 minutes.   To vary ones biscuits, mixed dried fruit, cherries or nuts may be added.

2. Milk free Crumpets                                          supplied by The Food Allergies and Intolerance Society

1 egg

2 T sugar

1 T Cardin margarine

1 cup soya milk

1 cup flour

2 tsp. baking powder

Pinch of salt

Beat egg and sugar well.  Add ¼ cup soya milk.  Mix in dry ingredients, add melted margarine.  Add balance of soya milk to make the right consistency.  Allow to stand for about 15 minutes.  Place a small amount of oil into a pan and heat on a stovetop.  Drop spoonfuls into the hot pan, turning until both sides are golden brown.  Once cooled, these can be drizzled with syrup.