But last night I was a guest at the FreeFrom Food Awards and it set me thinking how amazing it is that, three years back, I had no clue about allergy and no part to play in its weird old world whereas now I am privileged to know a wonderful circle of people who share a common cause. Continue reading “FreeFrom Food Awards – top picks”
If any of you lovely people are on Twitter tonight from 8.30pm it’s #allergyhour – the topics for tonight are allergy safe Hallowe’en treats and the biggie: strategies for ensuring supermarkets act on our needs.
It comes after I discovered to my horror that Sainsbury’s (at the very least the stores near me) have discontinued DS-gluten free bread in favour of their own brand stuff – so NO egg free, gluten free bread at all now on their shelves. In this pic not ONE bread product is egg free. Continue reading “News Flash! Allergy Hour, the supermarkets and what to do?”
MAN, I SHOULD never blog in haste. After all my waxing lyrical about M&S, turns out their allergen labelling isn’t so perfect after all.
Off we trotted to buy some bread for a picnic tomorrow: after checking and cross referencing each of the egg free, nut free and sesame free lists on the M&S website I had settled on the ‘supersoft’ white as being our safe option.
IT IS OFFICIALLY official – wheat is back on the menu.
It’s a massive step forward. Yet right at this minute it also feels like a big step back. Why? Because we have to go right back to the drawing board to discover what is and isn’t safe for Sid to eat.
Could he have outgrown his wheat allergy?
To be fair, Sidney’s allergist has long been of the opinion that he would lose this one sooner or later – I think he cited an 80 per cent probability – and he was surprised when our last oral challenge a year and a half ago saw Sid react to a tablespoon of Weetabix.
If I’m totally honest I’m a bit discombobulated. I’m not sure I quite know what to do next. We’re so well-versed in the art of avoiding wheat that it all feels a bit, well, odd. We’re almost institutionalised into the world of wheat free – I’m an expert at knowing which brands of pasta, bread and biscuits to look for. If I can go shopping for actual proper wheat versions I think I might flounder at the choice.
Of course we’re delighted, don’t get me wrong. It’s opening up a whole new realm of shopping and cooking and eating. I keep thinking of the things that, finally, Sidney can have: cous cous, for instance. Bulgar wheat. Actual proper pizza. Home-made bread (try as I might I’ve never mastered the art of gluten free bread baking). Surely making cakes will be easier, now? Ditto pastry. I think we can probably buy filo. We can all sit down together for a plate of pasta – just what I hankered for all those months ago when we first learned of his allergies.
On the other hand, I now almost feel like a fraud, as if losing the wheat allergy disqualifies us from proper allergic status. I wholeheartedly recommend starting off with as many infant allergies as possible – it means if you shed one or two along the way it feels like you’re barely having to deal with anything at all.
Of course, this is nonsense. We still boast severe, potentially anaphylactic, allergies to egg, nuts and sesame, and chickpeas, lentils and peas remain firmly on the list. Even if wheat is now possible we can’t risk buying fresh bread from our local bakery or eating it when out, because of the risk of cross contamination with eggs, seeds or nuts. And if we should ever pluck up the courage to order pizza or pasta from a restaurant we would have to preface any visit with a battery of questions about cross contamination, cleaning procedures, ingredients and more.
The thing is, wheat was probably one of the easiest of all the allergies to deal with. Not only has Sidney thankfully never been allergic to wheat by touch, only ingestion, but gluten free is such big business these days that it’s been the least of our concerns.
Then there’s the fact that many of the companies that make gluten free foods (Dove’s Farm for flour and biscuits, Nairn’s for porridge, Orgran for pastas, Dietary Specials for breads, Venice Bakery for pizzas) are all mega clued up when it comes to egg, nut and sesame allergy so the products are safe all round. Will ‘normal’ wheat products have such stringent processes in place?
Seriously, allergies can make you quite, quite nuts.
LAST year I penned a super-peeved post about our debut trip to the Allergy & Free From Show. From the ‘welcome’ bag stuffed with sesame bars to the willy-nilly nuts, the lack of allergy friendly cafe fare and the quacks offering dodgy allergy tests occupying pole position at the entrance it was less the allergy show, more the gluten free nut-lovers’ hippy dippy hokum show. OK, I exaggerate a bit: I did find some very fine allergy safe gnocchi and was bowled over to hear the fabulous Dr Adam Fox speak).
To give them credit, after I posted my rant the organisers got in touch and talked through each of my (and my fellow allergy bloggers’) concerns – explaining the reasoning behind some peeves and promising to put other aspects right by this year’s event.
Happily, it seems they have. Continue reading “Allergy Show: the verdict (and five fab finds)”
Wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free
I CAN’T lay claim to this recipe – it was a happy discovery via a fellow allergy Mum and comes from Pippa Kendrick, author of the amazing ‘free from’ blog that is The Intolerant Gourmet.
Unlike so many gluten free baking recipes, these came out perfectly the very first time I made them – and were wolfed down fresh for lunch with tzatziki and cucumber sticks by a ravenous toddler. Then the remainder were polished off by me.