Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Nut or Not? Food Allergy Facts and Myths January 2, 2018

When you get a food allergy diagnosis, there is so much to learn… including what foods ARE and ARE NOT safe to eat. Let’s clear up some of the confusion surrounding different allergens and which food groups they belong in.  As always, speak with your allergist before adding any new food into your diet.


coconut-2592257_1920 StockSnap

COCONUT:  Coconuts are actually a member of the palm fruit family.  And, although they have “nut” in the name, they are not officially a nut.  That said, the FDA classifies them as a nut so you will see “TREE NUTS” listed on many U.S. product labels when coconut is an ingredient.

Verdict: While some people are allergic to coconut, most patients with a tree nut allergy can safely eat it.  Speak with your doctor before trying.


spices-2902439_1920 Mareefe

NUTMEG:  Nutmeg is a spice that comes from seeds, not nuts.  Again, although “nut” is in the name, it’s technically NOT a tree nut.

Verdict:  According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), it can safely be consumed by those with tree nut allergies.


ravioli-1949698_1920 Einladung_zum_Essen

PINE NUTS:  You may have heard the rumor that pine nuts are actually seeds.  And, that’s true.  BUT, there is some evidence of cross-reaction between pine nuts and peanut and almond allergies.  Doctors and researchers cannot isolate whether reactions to pine nuts are due to cross-reaction or to a separate pine nut allergy.  The FDA labels it as a tree nut.

Verdict:  Those allergic to tree nuts should AVOID eating pine nuts.


water chestnut3378853772_c14a8b65c8_o graibeard

WATER CHESTNUTS:  Another case of mislabeling.  Water Chestnuts are an aquatic vegetable.  They are named for their shape that resembles a chestnut.  Like any food, occasionally people find themselves allergic to water chestnuts.  But they are not tree nuts.

Verdict:  Those with tree nut allergies do NOT need to avoid water chestnuts.


cream-1464295_1920 jniittymaa0

SHEA NUT:  Shea nut butter and shea nut oil can be found in many skin and beauty products.  Both shea nut butter and shea nut oil are derived from the seed of the shea tree’s fruit.  The shea nut is a distant relative of the Brazil nut and, as such, FDA considers shea nut a tree nut and will label it as such on ingredient lists.  Per Dr. Sicherer (via Allergic Living, read more here), studies have shown that only trace amounts of protein reside in shea nut butter or oil and no reports of topical immediate reaction or ingestion have been reported.

Verdict: Although allergy to shea nut appears to be unlikely because shea nut butter and oil lacks protein, please discuss with your allergist to get individualized guidance.


argan-869756_1920 oceanverde

ARGAN OIL:  Argan oil comes from the nut of a tree commonly found in the Moroccan desert.  Because the oil is cold-pressed, it is likely to contain protein. Argan oil is becoming an increasingly common ingredient in hair products such as styling oil, shampoo, conditioner as well as other beauty products.  You should check out how they’re made; it’s surprising!

Verdict:  If you’re allergic to tree nuts, it’s probably best to avoid Argan oil until you discuss with your allergist.


butternut-74196_640 lebelsmittlefotos

BUTTERNUT SQUASH:  Again, it’s a misnomer:  there is “nut” in the name, but not in the product.  As you guessed, butternut squash is a vegetable.

Verdict:  Butternut squash is not only safe for those with tree nuts to consume, it’s also delicious!


THE BOTTOM LINE:  Most of the above products are safe for those with food allergies (woohoo!), but you should always discuss your particular allergies with your doctor before adding any food you are unsure of to your diet.


For your reference, here is the US Food and Drug Administration’s list of Tree Nuts:

  • Almond
  • Beech Nut
  • Brazil Nut
  • Butternut
  • Cashew
  • Chestnut
  • Chinquapin
  • Coconut
  • Filbert/Hazelnut
  • Ginko Nut
  • Hickory Nut
  • Lichee Nut
  • Macadamia Nut/Bush Nut
  • Pecan
  • Pine Nut/Pinon Nut
  • Pili Nut
  • Pistachio
  • Sheanut
  • Walnut/Heartnut/Butternut

Tree Nut or Not_


New Snack Alert! Enjoy Life Granola Bars September 6, 2017

Note: Enjoy Life sent me their new granola flavors to sample.  I am reviewing because I truly enjoyed them and believe they are a good product for families like mine.

Your lunch game just got easier.  Enjoy Life recently released granola bars in a few new flavors – and they are anything but ordinary.  While on vacation with our extended family, we decided to have a taste test.  We’re a picky crew, because between us we are allergic to:  peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, dairy, eggs, pineapple, shrimp, salmon and gluten (celiac).


Amazingly, these were a big hit with everyone, allergic and otherwise.  Everyone had their own favorite flavor.  Mine was the Caramel Blondie.  Sweet and buttery, the caramel tasted fantastic dotted with chocolate chips.  Why hasn’t this flavor been created sooner?!

My cousin, a chef, loved the Carrot Cake granola bars.   The cinnamon-y, pumpkin spice flavor was just right balanced against the sweet carrot taste.  Your kids will LOVE eating their vegetables this way!  If only it counted towards their daily intake!

Her daughter, 6, preferred the Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed.  What a sophisticated palate – clearly the child of a cook!  These were moist and delicious like the others.  The blueberry and poppy tastes were complimented by the citrusy lemon.  Yum!  I’d eat these for breakfast!  Is that a thing?!


Best of all, as always Enjoy Life is free from: gluten, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, soy, fish and shellfish and are Kosher and Halal and non-GMO.








Okay, I Give… What is Aquafaba? October 24, 2016

Filed under: Grocery and Supermarkets — malawer @ 10:43 am
Tags: , ,


I keep hearing about this wünder-ingredient called aquafaba.  Aquafaba is showing up everywhere these days from cooking shows to fitness magazines.  People are obsessing over it.  It’s clearly the hot new thing, the ingredient du moment … which admittedly made me want to ignore it for a little while.


But after all of this exposure, I’ve been worn down!  I give… What is aquafaba?


Aquafaba is the thick liquid that forms as a result of soaking or cooking legumes (such as beans) for a while.  You know the viscous liquid you find in canned chickpeas?  That’s aquafaba!  And to think most of us have probably just poured it right down the drain.


As it turns out, aquafaba is one of the best egg substitutes, swapping for eggs in everything from meringues and mayonnaise to waffles, cappuccinos and cocktails.



How do you use it?

If the aquafaba is already fairly thick, you can begin using it right from the can.  Otherwise, you may wish to reduce the water to thicken the liquid on the stove (by no more than 25%).

Substitute Amounts:

1 Tablespoon aquafaba = 1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp aquafaba = 1 egg white
3 Tbsp aquafaba = 1 whole egg


I finally understand why aquafaba is blowing up in vegan circles.  It will be fabulous as a substitute for those allergic to eggs.  Start playing with it and send me your best concoctions!  I can’t wait to hear how it’s being used!


Now, I’m off to make chocolate chip cookies – egg-free!  (And, I may or may not be eating the dough with a spoon…it IS worry-free, afterall!)




New and Safe for Your Lunchbox! Enjoy Life Mini Cookies October 8, 2016

 This is a sponsored post.

We have a hard time finding safe baked goods.  Between actual ingredients used in the items and processing issues (may contain, made on equipment with…), it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack trying to buy something off the shelf for a family managing multiple food allergies.

I often find myself baking late into the night so that my son has fun and delicious treats to eat after school or to share with a playmate. But, homemade products aren’t always a practical option and worse, they don’t last that long.

I know most of you can relate.  Well, problem solved!  Enjoy Life, who produce food always free from an amazing number of allergens, just released a line of Mini Cookies.


The Mini Cookies line include: Soft Baked and Crunchy Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate Brownie, Crunchy Double Chocolate, Crunchy Vanilla Honey Graham, Snickerdoodle, and Sugar Crisp.  They are Kosher, Halal, are non-GMO and use no artificial ingredients!  They’re better than homemade!





The Soft Baked Snickerdoodle cookies were perfect for toting along to my daughter’s playground play date.  They kept fresh in their pouches, despite the muggy weather and the kids DEVOURED them.  The parents were able to get in on the action and loved this flavor.  Bonus:  safe for every kid there despite varying food sensitivities!


Enjoy Life’s Mini Cookies are a lifesaver in the  morning.  I can’t tell you how happy my tired brain was when I remembered to throw in this surprise snack into my son’s lunch!  He was thrilled!

These Crunchy Sugar Crisps were an easy snack to supply for the whole flag football team. No matter the allergy or sensitivity, everyone (including siblings) could enjoy a pouch of these crispy, crunchy and satisfying cookies.

Go out and give them a shot.  I think, like me, you’ll be hooked.  The Crunchy Double Chocolate flavor is already on my grocery list for this week!


Always Allergy-Friendly Philly Swirl September 1, 2016

Filed under: Grocery and Supermarkets — malawer @ 12:00 pm

This is a sponsored post.


Summer’s not over yet!  I, for one, am riding out my free-wheeling, fun-loving summer mentality well into September.

Which is why we said “yes” to trying new PhillySwirl products that are always allergy-friendly and easy to share.


First, we shared PhillySwirl’s Lemonade Swirls with my kids and their playdates.  I’m a sucker for lemonade flavors.  My particular favorite was the Pomegranate pop, which offset the tartness of the lemonade with the gentle sweetness of pomegranate.  There are a few clever pairings, like Blueberry and Watermelon Lemonade pops.  But if you’re a classic combo person, you’ll be happy to know these come in Classic Lemonade, Strawberry and Lime.

Next, we handed out PhillySwirl’s Icee Mix It Up pops at our barbeque.  My daughter loved the Green Apple & Watermelon both for the flavor combination and the colors (she’s going through a pink thing!).  The Strawberry & Kiwi got rave reviews.  And the Red & White Cherry and Blue Raspberry & White Cherry flavors would have been perfect for our 4th of July party!

Finally, we sampled the Organic Jungle Swirls.  The interesting flavor combinations got my children’s attention.  But the organic and always allergy-free ingredients got mine!  These would be great for a post-game or a back-to-school classroom snack.  My son even wants me to bring these into school for his birthday treat – what a great, easy idea!

Gluten-free, peanut-free, dairy-free, and containing no high fructose corn syrup, it’s easy to say yes to PhillySwirl.





Dairy-free Frozen Dessert! Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free Peach Pie August 17, 2016

Filed under: Grocery and Supermarkets,Recipes & Cooking — malawer @ 12:00 pm

This is an Evite® and So Delicious® Dairy Free sponsored post.

Evite Peach Pie-30


If your family is balancing multiple food allergies, you already know how hard it is

to find recipes that are safe for everyone. I think most of us would agree that if dairy

and gluten are two of the allergens you are avoiding, dessert is the hardest.

Beyond the obvious foods, allergens sneak their way into so many items: dairy is in

chocolate, eggs are in custard, gluten can be found in frozen treats. For some, safe

dessert feels like a lost cause.



But don’t despair! Just check out this delicious looking Gluten-Free, Vegan Peach Pie

featured on Evite’s Party Ideas page. With a short list of basic ingredients, you could

feed a whole crowd – including those with gluten, dairy and egg allergies! Make it the

day before serving and you have a ready-to- go dessert for your next barbeque. Plus,

it’s peak peach season. So, now you have something you can make from all the ripe,

mouth-watering peaches you picked up from the farmers market.



And what could make this recipe better? A scoop of creamy, dairy-free frozen

dessert, of course! Enter: So Delicious® Dairy Free Frozen Desserts. To me, vanilla

is the perfect pairing for peach pie. So Delicious Dairy Free makes not one, but two

vanillas using the dairy-free base of your choice. And, their coconut flavor is making

my mouth water as I type this!


So Delicious® Dairy Free Soymilk Frozen Dessert in Creamy Vanilla

So Delicious® Dairy Free Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert in Coconut

And their new line, So Delicious® Cashewmilk Frozen Dessert in Very Vanilla



For the full recipe, check out the original post on Evite’s Party Ideas Page: Ditch the

Dairy and Make This Vegan Peach Pie for Your Next Party.



So Delicious® Dairy Free is an allergy-aware company. Please read their Allergen

Information statement to see what lengths they go to keep their customers safe.

And, as always, be sure to check the ingredient list.



Now let’s get baking!


Giveaway! August 2, 2016

Filed under: Grocery and Supermarkets — malawer @ 3:58 pm



Woohoo! It’s a GIVEAWAY!

As you know, Snyder’s of Hanover, long known for their fabulous pretzels, has converted their main factory to a PEANUT-FREE facility! Gotta love a company that is forward thinking and inclusive!


Now Snyder’s is offering a chance to win a sample package of their peanut-free pretzel line as well as a $25 Visa gift card!


To enter:

  1. Like Allergy Shmallergy’s Facebook page; and
  2. Share it with a food allergy friend/parent.
  3. Leave us a comment or photo with the hashtag “‪#‎PretzelsBaby‬” here or on one of Allergy Shmallergy’s social media pages!


Twitter: @shmallergy

Instagram: shmallergy

It’s so easy!

(Winners will be chosen by August 7th, 2016.)



And, for more information on Snyder’s of Hanover‘s transition as well as a review of their pretzel line, please see A Company Who Cares: Snyder’s of Hanover.


**An insightful reader reminded me that some old products remain on shelves.  Please be sure to read ingredient lists, as always.  Most of Snyder’s pretzels are already produced in their peanut-free facility (and the rest of the pretzel line will be produced there before the end of the year), so be sure to look for Snyder’s Peanut Free label before purchasing.**



Can’t wait to see your entries!  Good luck!