My Three Favorite Food Allergy Resources - %%sitetitle%%

My Three Favorite Food Allergy Resources

In the last couple of weeks I’ve gotten so many emails from lovely readers who are just starting out on their food allergy journey.  I read their overwhelmed emails with tears in my eyes.  I know exactly how it feels to get that diagnoses for your child and wonder how in the world you’ll ever be able to feed them again.   How you’ll ever be able to feed them without holding your breath each time wondering if this one bite is going to send them straight to the hospital.  You see I have been living with food allergies with my son for 12 years and to this day my eyes still well up whenever my cell phone rings during school hours as I instantly image the worst.  I can’t help it.   My 12 year old son has severe food allergies and in addition to dairy, eggs, fish and nuts, he is also allergic to gluten. He can and has gone into an anaphylactic reaction just from the smell of regular pasta cooking. It’s scary.

To say I panicked in the beginning is an understatement and we literally fumbled our way through the first couple of years.  I made a lot of mistakes.  I felt very alone.  It’s not an easy thing for those not dealing with food allergies to understand.  It can be hard on friendships and it can be hard on a marriage.

Thankfully though I did get the help and support I desperately needed from some amazing resources. I’m still as hyper vigilant as always but I can definitely say my anxiety has lessened over the years.  My son is old enough now to take on some of the responsibility himself for his food allergies and that helps.  He often cooks his own meals and has even started doing more of his own treat baking as well.  In fact this past weekend I was going to leave him overnight with friends for the very first time when my hubby and I went to Banff to see Live with Kelly (up to this point it’s only been my mom that I have felt comfortable leaving him with but she lives all the way in Ontario).  However in the end we decided to take all the kids with us and it wasn’t necessary but it was still a huge step for me just to even consider it.

If you would like to read more about our story please read here.

So today I’d like to share with you my top three favorite food allergy resources in hopes that it will provide some relief to someone else.  Hang in there, it does get easier I promise.

Favorite Food Allergy Cookbook:

I highly recommend the purchase of the book, Special Foods for Special kids: Practical Solutions and Great Recipes for children by Todd Adelman and Jodi Behrend.

Of all the allergy cookbooks I have purchased and read over the years this one alone made all the difference in my ability to provide kid friendly, easy to make, safe alternatives for my son. You can find a few of the recipes from this book on my blog under Recipes – Allergy Free.  It is an older book but still very relevant and helpful.  This cookbook includes over 100 kid-tested great tasting recipes for practical, meal-time solutions for allergies to dairy, gluten and egg.

Favorite Online Food Allergy Support Group:

This amazing resource called Kids with Food Allergies was an absolute lifesaver for me back when we were first starting out.  I learned so much from the fantastic community of parents over there.  It is still run by the same lady today as it was way back when.  The members are so supportive, the recipes shared are abundant and the resources supplied are out of this world. If you’ve never had the opportunity to check it out for food allergy help, I highly recommend you do.  If you have a question about anything no matter how big or small, there is always someone around to answer it for you.

Favorite Gluten-Free Flour Blend:

Now I know this might sound strange to include this in my list of resources but honestly finding this blend made cooking and baking for my son so much easier.  This flour blend made such a difference for us that I couldn’t not include it here and it is by far the best substitute that I have found for regular flour (and I’ve tried many!).  I’m able to sub it into recipes cup for cup. I routinely make up a big batch and keep it in the fridge ready to pull out whenever we need it.

Gluten Free Flour Blend:

1 cup brown rice flour
1 1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2/3 cup tapioca starch
3/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 tsp xanthan gum

Easy to do and you almost can’t taste the difference!!

Food Allergy Blogs:

I actually don’t have a favorite blog that focuses primarily on food allergies.  My son’s list of allergies are so extensive that it’s hard to find one that can accommodate all of them.  Most cater to gluten-free which is super helpful to many but doesn’t really help us out much considering all his other allergies.  Since I’ve been doing this for so long though it’s really not a problem for me to simply adapt whatever recipe I’m using for the whole family to make it safe for my son to eat.  However that being said you can find a list of gluten free/allergy free sites listed on my Menu Planning Resources page.

Now it’s your turn.  If you have a favorite food allergy resource or simply some encouragement you could offer for those just starting out would you be so kind to leave it in the comments of this post.  Thanks everyone!!

Comments

40 Responses to “My Three Favorite Food Allergy Resources”
  1. 1

    OH, I have gluten intolerance, and I follow the GAPS diet, which is gluten free, but also targeted to heal bad bacteria i the gut. So I have a small understanding of what your son is going through. Thanks for sharing the gluten free flour mix!!! Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  2. 2
    Anneh says:

    May I recommend investigating vegan gluten-free recipes? I find it much easier to add meat to a vegan dish for my omnivore gluten-intolerant husband than to try to figure out how to substitute for sour cream or 6 eggs in a regular recipe. There are a couple of new recipe books out now that look good, and blogs are another source. Many vegan but not gluten-free bloggers also have recipes that happen to be gluten-free. The Post-Punk Kitchen has 54 GF recipes, and many more could probably be easily adapted: http://www.theppk.com/category/recipe/gluten-free/

  3. 3
    Melissa says:

    Thanks for posting this! We are the lucky family who has only had to deal with peanut and egg allergies. Fortunately, my daughter outgrew the egg allergy by seven.
    We’ve also dealt with severe eczema most of her life. Up until age 10, the eczema was horrible and the last three Augusts were so bad that her legs would ooze through her clothing and she could barely walk. There was nothing the dermatologist could do to help. Allergy testing was not possible due to the fact that she was so broken out. Even in the winter, it would not have been possible. I ended up giving her benedryl every day to help clear it up.
    Her allergist managed to test her blood (drawing it from the wrist because they couldn’t find a vein under the rash on her elbow) and discovered that she was allergic to dust mites. Fortunately at the time, we were moving. We ended up building our house with no carpet and about four different furnace filters. Special mite free bedding pieces, a new environment (hoping she was allergic to something in our old town) and I started making my own laundry detergent.
    Miracle of miracles, this past summer she did not break out. I want to cry everytime I think of what her skin used to look like. Praying for another miracle this summer.

  4. 4
    Julie says:

    http://stephanieodea.com/

    Stephanie O’Dea has a blog for using your crockpot – She used her crockpot every day for a year. I think it’s her daughter who is gluten free? She has a lot of gluten free resources and recipes.

    Her crockpot blog is http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ and she has 2 books out on it.

  5. 5
    Robyn says:

    Why do you store the flour mixture in the refrigerator? Does it have to be stored in the refrigerator?

  6. 6
    Shelby says:

    WOW. thank you for sharing. you are a STRONG mama. and an inspiration.

  7. 7
    Shelby says:

    Could I substitute something else for the potato starch? Nightshade vegetables are out. AND if I could do something instead of the cornstarch (or anything derived from corn, like guar gum instead of xanthum gum?) then it would be safe for my other child and our WHOLE family could have the same flour! :)

    • 7.1
      Laura says:

      You can sub tapioca flour for potato starch. And yes you can sub guar gum for the xanthum gum. Hope that helps!!

    • 7.2
      Dee Johnson says:

      Shelby, you can sub Tapioca flour for the Cornstarch too. And to my knowledge, healthier than the starches to boot! :) I have to travel about an hour just to get Tapioca flour. Wish it were sold closer to my home (I personally can’t order online). I’ve had to sub Potato starch for Tapioca flour in my regular mix because I haven’t been able to go out of town to get any. My personal mix is equal amounts of Brown rice flour, Sorghum flour and Tapioca flour (can sub Potato starch or Cornstarch). I use it cup for cup for GLUTEN FREE recipes. It works good and has a good amount of fiber. Good luck!

  8. 8
    margo says:

    This looks so helpful, pinning it!

  9. 9
    Shannon says:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing your story. We have been dealing with a Tree Nut allergy with my daughter for about 4 years now. It’s scary and difficult but I can’t imagine compounding that with all the other allergens you deal with too. You are right, a LOT of people don’t understand which makes you feel even more alone and people treat you like you are an overprotective parent because they just don’t get it. Thanks for sharing your resources! I stumbled on another one recently…I haven’t used it much so I can’t comment entirely BUT I thought I’d share it anyway in case it helps someone out. It is http://www.allergyeats.com. It deals with an online guide to allergy friendly restaurants.

  10. 10
    Cathie says:

    Good timing; this article. We recently discovered that my son has the following allergies: peanuts, walnuts, soy, rice, and corn. MIL tends to think that just because he hasn’t had a severe reaction (yet) to any of these, that it’s ok to “let him have a little.” She’s slowly getting on board. In my search for corn-free and soy-free foods (those two are in EVERYTHING) I’ve begun to switch our family diet to organic, soy-free foods. Boy, is it a challenge. I was able to fnd ONE chocolate bar in Whole Foods that didn’t contain soy – this will be his Easter candy. I purchased some soy-free chocolate chips from Amazon, that are absolutely delicious, but not cheap. Most of the soy and corn-free foods contain rice, so I have a feeling that I will be doing a lot more cooking/baking than I have been. I will have to bake bread in order to not spend $4 per organic/soy-free loaf. In case anyone needs to know, you can get that at Trader Joes, and Wegman’s.
    My baking was challenging enough just dealing with my husbands nut allergy. Things are about to get a whole lot more interesting up in here!

    • 10.1
      Laura says:

      My son also used to be allergic to both corn and soy so I totally feel your pain. Out of all the foods we had to avoid soy was by far the worst as it is in everything! Enjoy Life Foods is an amazing company. All their products are safe for my son (no gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, peanuts) and also SOY free as well. It doesn’t say specifically corn free though however when I checked the ingredients on the box of the Cocoa Loco bars my son has I didn’t see any corn listed. Might be something to check out.

  11. 11
    Alisha says:

    Thank you so much for posting the GF flour blend. I have been looking for a good one! So you say you can sub cup-for-cup… what have you made with it? Even baked goods??

  12. 12

    Thank you for sharing! I’m always looking for ideas :)

  13. 13
    Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for your post. My son is 15 mo old and we are finally figuring out what has made him have extreme vomit issues his entire life. Kept being told it was reflux – but the meds did nothing and now just tested positive for dairy, soy, eggs, and peanuts. Thankfully his allergies don’t send him to the hospital, but we avoiding them keeps his belly happy and my carpets clean! Finding this all to be very overwhelming though. I’m a long-time reader and was almost in tears when I saw this post in my in-box last week! Thank you so much for continuing to be such an inspirational mama! :)

  14. 14
    Angela says:

    Thank you! Do you know if the flour mix works without the corn starch?

  15. 15
    Cristi says:

    I’m a huge fan of Kids with Food Allergies. I’ve been hanging out there since way back before we had our own website. They’ve helped me when my then toddler was allergic to milk, eggs, and peanuts. They’ve walked with me through elemental formula decisions, g-tube feeds, and now a diet avoiding the top-8 allergens. Thanks for spreading the word about such an awesome organization.

  16. 16
    AI says:

    This is still a good book though written to get you through the first year. “Celiac Disease and Living Gluten Free” by Jules E. Shepard. The flour mixture is the best I’ve made.. I can sympathize as I’m close to 50 and a BIG food/wine freak. Actually used to be a wine director for a great spot. Believe me its tough at times because of my love for all things food! I carry a list to the store, make more of my own breads, sweets and avoid dining spots like Chilis where they have less knowledge about allergies and cross contamination. One word of advice for those just starting: PLAN. Good luck and wishes!

    1 part fine white rice flour
    1 part potato starch..not potato flour
    1 part cornstarch
    1/2 part fine corn flour
    1/2 tapioca starch
    1 teaspoon xanthan gum per one cup of cup of flour mix

  17. 17
    Marci says:

    This is great! Thank you for posting your “favorites”. I will share this with my allergy support group.
    A page that I follow on Facebook b/c the discussions are always VERY helpful is allergymoms (www.allergymoms.com). Gina Clowes keeps her community up to date and always post good, sound advice for parents both experienced and new to life with food allergies.

  18. 18
    Becky says:

    Thanks for sharing your flour blend – I alway use Bobs but I’m going to try yours. Question – since the xanthan gum is in the mix, is it still needed when called for in a recipe?

  19. 19
    Sabrina says:

    I am SO happy I found your site on Pinterest!!!! Not only are you amazing at organizing and my heart was happy with that alone, but I was reading on your kitchen pantry organization and found the part where you said that the allergy free shelf and was like really?!?! Not that I’m excited that your son has food allergies, but I needed to know more! I have 3 kids and my 2 boys have allergies to tons of things: Wheat, peanuts, milk, soy, rice, potato, eggs, pork, and rye. My boys are almost 3 and just turned 1 and it has been a crazy ride! I wasn’t much of a cook before I had my kids and add in all the food allergies and its like a disaster waiting to happen! I gave up trying to bake because everything always came out gross. We basically eat meat, fruit, and veggies and while its healthier than most eat, I would like to find/ make them more allergen AND kid friendly foods. Thanks for being a resource not only for recipes, but for the emotional aspect as well. It is a lonely road and my 2 year old is just now starting to get sad about not being able to eat like everyone else. It breaks my heart!!! Anyway, thanks again!!

    • 19.1
      Laura says:

      Hi Sabrina, so happy you are here and my site is helping you in some small way. It is a tough journey that is for sure but I can definitely tell you it does get easier. Hang in there my friend!!

  20. 20
    Sheila says:

    Have you used your gluten-free flour blend to make homemade bread?

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