What to Watch Out For

If you have food allergies, you know that reading labels can save your life. In the beginning, it seems tedious and time-consuming, but further down the road it only takes seconds. Most of you probably know what you can't just look for the "Contains" section. Many mistakes are made and some aren't listed (often in oils). For example, some oils can cause reactions while some don't. I'm very cautious when it comes to reading labels. If it says soybean oil but doesn't list Contains: soy, I don't get it. For those of you who don't know what to look for, this blog post will help you out. I'm going to post the allergy and then list what you should watch out for. I'm not an expert on food allergies, so I'm posting just basics and there are probably more.

What everyone should be cautious of:

   • Fried foods: other allergen-containing foods can be fried in the same oil (Ex: Say you are allergic to eggs. You can eat french fries, but they might share the same oil as fried chicken, most having eggs, so those french fries might not be okay after all)
   • Kitchen counters: allergen-containing foods may have shared the same counter
   • Dishes not properly cleaned
   • Dining out at restaurants: you don't know what their cross-contamination procedures are, they probably share used equipment
   • Manufactured on equipment that processes other foods: even just touching a shared environment will cause a reaction. It's not just leftover food touching it but the molecules/protein still remaining on the surface. Watch out for labels that say they have been manufactured on shared equipment or "may contain"

   • Products with whey, casein, lactalbumin, lacto-- : milk is made up of mostly the protein casein but about 20% is the whey protein. Try almond, coconut, rice, or soy milk.
   • Butter, margarine: some margarines are okay but double check the label
   • Chocolate, caramel: some dark chocolates are okay
   • Creamed soup: usually has a milk base
   • Some salad dressings: especially creamy ones
   • Some desserts
   Some baked goods
   Lactose-Intolerant milk such as Lactaid: these are made without lactose (a sugar) for people that have limited amounts of lactase (an enzyme that helps digest lactose) so they will still contain the protein you are allergic to
   • Products containing "cream": sour cream, whipped cream, heavy whipping cream, creamer, etc.
   Yogurt, ice cream: try soy, coconut, rice, or almond. Try sorbet and italian ice.
   Cheese: try vegan cheese (might contain soy, some taste terrible)
   Goat products: goat milk often resembles cow milk so clear it with your allergist first

   Products with albumin/albumen, globulin, ovo--, vitellin, lysozyme, livetin, etc.: these are proteins and parts from eggs
   Caesar dressing, mayonnaise: surprisingly, these dressings contain eggs. Try vegan mayo (contains soy) 
   • Noodles: a lot of noodles are made with eggs, especially in restaurants
   • Baked goods
   • Most breakfast foods: Examples are scrambled eggs, pancakes, waffles, crepes, etc.
   • Ice cream, frostings: You'd be surprised but a lot of ice cream is made with eggs or egg whites. Try sorbet but read the label.
   • Flu vaccine: Most flu vaccines contain traces of eggs to ask your doctor first. I actually had a reaction to a flu vaccine. The injection site was very red, puffy, and swollen. My whole upper arm was very painful.
   • Marshmallows
   • Some meats: such as meatballs and meatloaf
   • Meringue: meringue that is often used in pies is actually made from egg whites and sugar
   • Egg Beaters: products like this often contain eggs already beaten or just egg whites, which may or may not cause a reaction in a person with an egg allergy (the majority of protein in eggs is in the yolk)
   • Lecithin: used as an extender, most likely soy or egg

   • TSP (Texturized soy protein) in meats: this is used as a filler and extender, it also makes the meat juicier. It is seen most often in hamburger and ground beef
   • Soy Sauce, Miso, and other Asian cuisines: many Asian meals use soy sauce or soy beans, also used for seasoning
   • Bread, cereals, baked goods, noodles: Most breads have soy in them (Try Rudi's or 365/Whole Foods). A lot of cereals have soy as well
   • Lecithin: used as an extender. May be from soy or eggs
   • Gums (acacia, guar, locust bean, etc.)
   • Tofu/Tempeh: made from soybeans, often used as a meat replacer for vegetarians, sometimes used for egg replacer as well
   • Oils and shortenings: some oils remove the protein from them but some don't
   Chewing gum, chapstick: Most chewing gum has soy in it in the form of lecithin (Try B Fresh). Some chapsticks do as well (Such as Burt's Bees; Try the Chapstick brand)

Peanuts/Tree Nuts
   • Asian cuisines: many of these are made with peanuts (including peanut oil) and other nuts such as cashews
   • Candy, cookies, baked goods: many goods have cross contamination on manufacturing equipment
   • Cereals, granola
   • Sauces
   • Soups
   • Vegetable oils
   Peanut butter: Try almond butter, soy butter, sunflower butter

   Breads/Baked goods: Obviously these are going to have wheat in them. Most baked goods use all purpose flour which has wheat.
   • Flour: Avoid all purpose and and other wheat flours. Try amaranth, corn, millet, oat, potato, rice, soy, potato, tapioca, etc.
   • Beverages, specifically alcoholic ones: Examples include beer, vodka, gin, whiskey, etc.
   • Cereals
   • Some condiments: such as some sauces and salad dressings, some soy sauce
   • Malt: used as a sweetener and comes from barley
   • Pasta noodles
   • Baking powder: find one gluten free or mix cream of tarter and baking soda

I hope I helped! If I misstated anything or if you have any other suggestions, let me know and I'd be happy to change or add it. Thanks everyone!

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