Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Let’s Get Grilling: Sesame-free Hamburger Buns April 29, 2013

I was at the market today and, in preparation for a spring and summer full of barbecuing, I scanned the bread aisle for buns. Specifically hamburger buns. Frustratingly, when manufacturers aren’t putting sesame seeds ON their buns, they’re adding them in as an ingredient. I, personally, can’t taste the difference. So it only serves to drive us crazy in our quest to find safe hamburger buns for my sesame seed-allergic little guy.

When we’re out at a restaurant or a BBQ, we always ask about the hamburger buns’ ingredients. Often times, if I KNOW my son will order a burger, I’ll bring a bun from home. That is, when we can find a safe brand. To shorten your search, here are a few I found at our local Safeway. Please add to the list if you’ve come across any others!

All this thinking about burgers is making me hungry!





Baking Substitutions from the Pros April 21, 2013

I don’t know what it is, but boy do I feel like baking these days!  I can’t get chocolate chip cookies and strawberry shortcake off my mind.  And you know, I never let a regular recipe stop me from serving treats to my son.  I just work with what I know to make it allergy-free!


If you’re in a baking way as well, enjoy these allergy-free substitutions from the pros:

  • Substitute peanut butter or almond butter with Sunbutter which is made from sunflower seeds.
  • Substitute sesame seed oil with Safflower Oil.  You’ll never notice the swap.
  • Cow’s milk can be substituted part-for-part by rice milk, hemp milk or soy milk.
  • Instead of eggs, you can use 3 tablespoons of applesauce for each egg in baked goods.
  • One egg can also be substituted with 1 tsp baking soda added to dry ingredients while 1tsp of apple cider vinegar is added to wet ingredients.  This creates a chemical reaction which causes dough and the like to rise.
  • 1 tbsp flax seed meal combined with 3 tbsp of hot water  can also replace an egg.  And, as a bonus, flax seed is super-healthy for you.
Cybele Pascal, the author of two excellent allergy-free cookbooks based on the whole foods approach to eating, recommends various substitution for flour:
Gluten-Free Flour Mix:
4 cups fine brown rice flour
2/3 cup tapioca starch or flour
1 1/3 cups potato starch
Combine all ingredients in a ziplock bag and shake.  Refrigerate until ready for use (lasts approximately 6 months). Mimics all-purpose flour in recipes.
And, don’t forget about all those great dairy-free products, like: dairy-free cream cheese, yogurt and sour cream.
Happy Baking!  (PS:  Send me samples!)

Subway and Food Allergies – Especially Good News for Sesame Seed Allergy April 14, 2013

Filed under: Restaurants — malawer @ 9:20 pm
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I love it when a restaurant chain understands food allergies.  And I love it even more when they help busy parents plan ahead by making that information accessible.  In Subway’s case, they not only list their allergen ingredients, but they also separate it out into DOES CONTAIN, MAY CONTAIN, and SOYBEAN OIL (versus soy or other soy derivatives) and MAY COME IN CONTACT WITH categories to allow patrons to make informed decisions.


Not to rave on, but whereas most restaurant chains who list their allergen ingredients (among the few who do this at all) only list the top few common food allergies (typically peanut, tree nut, dairy, wheat, and/or egg).  Subway goes the extra mile to include shellfish, soy, autolyzed yeast/hydrolyzed protein, and sesame seeds and even included a column for sulfites and nitrites which helps us migraine sufferers and health conscience dieters makes healthier, happier choices.


For our family, having sesame seed identified throughout the menu is a big deal.  Far too few restaurant owners and workers understand how to or why they are looking for sesame seeds in bread or in a dish.  While Subway does still serve a few things which include sesame seeds, it looks like all of their bread products are not only tree nut and peanut, but also sesame seed-free!  For those of us dealing with that allergy, you know what a thrill it is to eat bread safely at a restaurant.


Check out the menu for yourself and get yourself to a Subway.  I will be keeping their allergen menu handy for our next stop!