The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook

200 Gourmet and Homestyle Recipes for the Food Allergic Family

allergy cookbook

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Amy's Low Sodium

So far... not so good.

Amy's Low-sodium aren't cuttin' the mustard around here. I tried serving the low sodium rice bowls, and was told, "I HATE IT!". I tasted it myself and had to concur, the texture was awful. The rice is not really a granual anymore, more like a mushy gruel. The ingredients are super healthy (But as always with Amy's products, watch out for the SOY!). But super healthy is just not enough. If I'm going to go the pre-made route with my kids on nights that I can't muster the energy to cook, then it at least has to be tasty. Sadly, the enchiladas had the same texture problem. Mush. Now here's the interesting part. Amy doesn't use preservatives. And more power to her for that. But if truth be told, in frozen food, maybe it's hard to maintain the integrity over long periods with straight up home cookin' ingredients? Is it too much to ask that it be simple whole food, and also take 5 minutes to whip up in the microwave? Maybe the two just don't go together. Thus far, I'm sticking with AMY'S GF/CF products, that pizza discussed in earlier posts, and the ziti bowls. For whatever reasons of alchemy, these seem to maintain their yummyness. And for the record -- does anyone else find it annoying that Rachel Ray has changed "yummy" to "yummo"?

My life has taken an interesting turn of late. My little one, Monte had a life threatening asthma attack 2 summers ago that landing him in the hospital in an oxygen tent for 2 days. I took him off dairy and he was fine. This summer, I started him in a new preschool, they were feeding him dairy, his asthma came back. His wonderful Danish Pediatrician said, "STOP THE DAIRY!!!". I told the preschool to stop feeding him dairy and the asthma cleared up, but diarrhea and chronic stomach pains persisted. I soon realized they were still giving him butter on rice, on noodles, in bread, in CHEEZITS!!!! They didn't understand that dairy was anything other than milk. Anyway, I think Monte is also allergic to Dairy. And I wonder, what is it in the milk protein that is so hard for the immune system to accept? Does anyone have any info on raw milk? I know there is a growing movement that supports the benefits and safety of raw milk/grassfed cows movement. Just interested.....

I know I'm full of questions these days, but I continue to wonder why the rates of food allergies are rising so rapidly and also the relationship between what we eat and how it affects behavior.

All the best to all of you. Thanks for checking in now and again. And I've said it before, i'll say it again, if anyone wants to share allergen-free recipes here, I'll post them giving you full credit.


  • At 8:47 AM, Blogger HearMyVoice said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My sister was in a pretty serious car accedent a few years ago and last week her doctor suggested a Gluten free diet for pain managment. I suggested your book to her but she is much more of a prepared food type of person, have you ever heard of this kind of diet effecting pain?
    I am sorry to hear about Monte's troubles and I wish I could help you with your milk questions.
    Hang in there! Oh and YES Yummo is highly annoying!!!!!!

  • At 10:06 AM, Anonymous jane said…

    Perhaps cow's milk just isn't a good food for peoople in general. Northern Europeans adapted to eating it a while back, but most other groups can't tolerate it once they're adults. It's so much a part of the American diet now it's hard to accept doing without it, but perhaps we should try. Dr. Andrew Weil says that the milk protein casein is an irritant to the immune system for many people, and eliminating dairy is his first suggestion for people with allergies and autoimmune disorders.

  • At 4:42 PM, Blogger Nancy said…

    Hi Cybele,

    I'm an Alton Brown girl, myself...Rachael Ray drives me crazy :)

    What happened to Monte at just makes you want to shake people.

    My question, after reading the foreward in your book by Christine Fusillo, was why does one person with high antibody-E levels react to peanuts and another to milk or soy?

    The hygiene theory makes a lot of sense (a bored immune system looking for something to do).

    If a person is reacting to casein, alphalactalbumin or betalactaglobulin, wouldn't raw milk have these proteins too?

    'Still looking into the autism-learning disabilities-behavior-food connection. I know blood sugar affects mood, learning and behavior. I know that hormone balance does too. So does the formaldahyde in new carpets.

    I found an article about a woman who now lives in a "plastic bubble" because of a bad systemic reaction to having her apartment sprayed for bugs.

    More questions, no answers...sorry.


  • At 4:40 PM, Blogger elleine08 said…

    Oh man. Poor Monte. I hate that for him. I don't understand why teachers just don't get the picture. If the child is allergic to dairy, DAIRY MEANS EVERYTHING WITH A MILK PRODUCT! That means anything with cheese (i.e. cheezits. How do they not get that?). Here's hoping the teachers start figuring it out.

    About Amy's products, preservatives can be good, because in the case you spoke of, you were keeping the food for awhile and the preservatives are what would have kept it eatable (is that a word?). Anyway, I hope that you and your family are doing well and that Monte's asthma and allergy symptoms clear up.

  • At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Amy said…

    I think you bring up a really important topic of discussion in our culture today. How can schools get with the program as far as food goes. I have been thinking for a few days about your last blog about your son realizing that he was "different" I have had a lot of situations with this and my sons since I choose to send them to school with healty food. No donuts, lunchables, etc. Add that to the idea of food restrictions that teachers just do not understand ie dairy with Monte, and you have a dilema. I think we need to participate with our local schools to expect them to provide healthy learning environments - our kids are there a large portion of the day.

  • At 10:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cybele: Have you discussed any forms of acidophilus with Monte's doctor? That may help with the asthma and the dairy allergy. My husband has colitis and the slightest bit of casein sends him over the edge. Same with seeds. It's like rubbing the intestine with Brillo. Acidophilus is the miracle elixir for him and only used when necessary. Suggestion: Monte's teachers need some quality hooked on phonics trailer time.

  • At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As much as food allergy awareness has progressed over the last few years I am still shocked at many peoples' ignorance. For instance, I am a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding this coming weekend. Since I live about 250 miles from where the wedding will be held, I asked my friend, the bride, to begin talks with the caterer about my food allergies (we've been friends since the fifth grade and she knows all about my allergies). So she spoke with the chef at the reception hall and he actually told her that he wouldn't cook for me and that if I wanted to eat at the reception, I had to bring my own food! I am still blown away by that. On the other hand, I am extremely relieved that he is showing his ignorance upfront so I won't end up in the emergency room with a bridesmaid dress on! Sorry- to vent about the topic but I am really upset that a chef at a large reception hall has no special provisions (pots, pans, utensils, etc) for the food allergic person. It's irresponsible of people and companies that are cooking and/or serving food, especially now with a lot of new attention being spent on food allergies, to not know what food allergies are or even look at a list of ingredients in Monte's case at school.

    Again, sorry to vent for so long- I thought everyone here would understand my rantings.


  • At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Amy said…


    I just cant stand Rachel Ray shes taken over the food network, i hate how she has 40 dollars a day to go to all these fabulous resturants but yet she tips very little and spends 100s on shopping. Now Paula Dean theres a lady that i hold close to my heart.

    On another note though we jsut got a new entern at the cake shop my mother and i own and one of her kids is highly food alergenic. I showed her your website and gave her your book and she just loves it. Her son who is five cant eat much he has the main allergies but she finds if she keeps him on enough vitamins he can stay healthy and not get an upset tummy after meals.

  • At 4:12 PM, Anonymous Katy said…

    Hi Cybelle. A while ago, I read in your book that your dog is also food allergic. I giggled at this, only to recently find out that, although they thought my dog was terminally ill, may actually just be allergic to her food. When they say your pets take after your family, I guess they really meant it! Anyways, she has been placed on a Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance dog food. She appears to be doing better, but I was wondering if you had any further suggestions. Thank you for all your help thus far.

    Best Wishes.

  • At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm sorry that Monte and your family had to go through such a scary ordeal. I am 24, and have had severe asthma for pretty much my entire life. Sometimes it is better than others, but it is always there. I was hospitalized 3 times between the ages of 3 and 12, and it never gets any easier.

    I now wonder if maybe dairy could be a contributing factor to my asthma. I have never really tolerated dairy that well to begin with, but have never had a severe allergic reaction. Maybe I should try and go dairy free for a while to see what happens. Thank you for all of your wonderful suggestions and advice.

  • At 9:45 AM, Blogger Angela Davis said…

    Those poeple at the preschool are plain idiots! I hope monty's alright, poor little guy.

    Apparently cow milk saps the calcium out of our body. Well thats what peta2 says anyways.

    Down with yummo! O_o

  • At 6:52 PM, Blogger robin said…

    Oh my goodness! I have to totally agree with Amy on the Rachel Ray subject, it was the 40.00 dollars a day show that sent me over the edge too. she practicly stifts the servers with those measly tips, I turn the channel when ever she is on, ICK!
    Cybele, I recently watched your segment on the martha stewart show, you were really engaging and fun to watch, any chance we could see you on a show on a regular basis? food allergies is a very timely subject and we could all learn a lot from you. at the pre-school that I work at, we are so very careful of each child's food allergies and restrictions. It's so reckless not to be! shame on them!
    thanks for sharing your knowledge with us all, take care, Robin

  • At 9:08 AM, Blogger Cybele Pascal said…

    Hi All:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on all this. Nancy, I love Alton Brown too! But also Nigella, who is finally coming to the food network. Although just about everything she cooks has butter or cream in it.

    I think we are at the beginning of the educational movement in terms of food prep awareness. I believe Chicago is the hubb for this in cooking schools and restaurants. And check out this about Ming in Mass

    Anonymous, I'm pissed for you about that wedding chef. It's outrageous. He wouldn't force a vegan to eat his filet mignon, I'm sure he'd come up with some vegan sides, so what's the big deal with making an allergen-free dish for you? Honestly, people are rigid and lack imagination, and are soooo threatened by anything they are unfamiliar with, which is why it is all of our crusade to educate and normalize food allergies.

    In terms of Monte's school, I wish I could force awareness on them, but to play it safe, I've decided to provide all his food from now on. I don't want them feeding him anything, not even simple snacks, because I don't trust them to make a safe choice. So I'm micromanaging and providing two snacks, lunch, drinks in his lunch bag every day, plus back-up supplies in the fridge. So far, so good. No more stomach aches, no more runny poop. Sorry, too much information.

    I'll post a new recipe soon. Also, my Halloween column should be up on Lime asap. I'll let you know.

    All the best,


  • At 10:38 AM, Anonymous sarah said…

    With Halloween approaching, what are your thoughts on certain brands of candy going peanut free now? Here in Canada, there's been a huge ad campaign going about how chocolate bars like Mars and Aero (and maybe Smarties as well, I can't remember!) going completely peanut-free.

  • At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't know what makes them allergic to cows milk, but all three children, (grown up now), were all allergic to cows milk, but could tolerate goats milk.

  • At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Kelly said…


    I am sorry for what you are going through with your son's school. I really don't think principals and teachers really understand how serious food allergies are.

    My mom is a 1st grade teacher and she never gives her kids any type of peanuts or anything they could be allergic to (since both my mom and I both have food allergies). Last week, the princial awarded the entire school by giving out candied apples.

    My mom brought me one home and the first thing I noticed was the apple was covered in peanuts. My mom noticed too and the school did not even seem to care.

    Right now, my mom is having other issues because there is a construction company about three blocks away from the school. The company causes a lot of odor in the air and it is unhealthy. Just yesterday, my mom was leaving school and could barely breathe. She called 1800 Cut Smog and someone from that company came out and smelled it and it was still strong at 5:30 pm. He approached the principal of the school my mom works at and she told him "we never smell anything". This is a principal who wears a ton of perfume, so maybe it does not bother her. But, this odor will no doubt make people sick. The ironic part is the pricipal has worked at the school for many years, and she has even had cancer.

    That was just an example, because it seems like trying to explain allergies to people who don't have them is like talking to a brick wall.

    I am glad to know that you have decided to just send food with your son. I hope he doesn't get sick like that again. Can he drink lactaid milk? My mom has to drink that.

  • At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Ren said…

    The Weston A. Price Foundation is a major proponent of raw milk.
    I haven't read what they say about it, but they were right about trans fats (being atherogenic) and coconut oil (not being atherogenic).

    I am not sure yet about raw milk. There is a risk of listeriosis and recently there have been some cases of e coli contamination on the west coast (although one producer blamed it on the spinach).

    The hardest thing about these "alternative" foods is that people politicize it too much. I do believe that there is a political influence for our food supply, but ignorance is a bigger issue (possibly influenced by politics...?) Still, I don't believe in the conspiracy theory.

  • At 2:37 PM, Blogger Ziomal said…

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  • At 5:20 PM, Blogger Katie Stop said…

    poor Monte. Those teachers need to learn. One of the children in my child care class is highly allergic to dairy, but we are really careful with what we give him. However, after reading that, I'm going to be even more careful.

    Yummo is verrryyy annoying... along with VOO instead of virgin olive oil.

  • At 7:05 PM, Anonymous lil_sakura said…

    I thought i heard somewhere that it has to do with your bodies ability to break down proteins in the milk. An enzyme your body needs to break it down properly, isn't produced. it's called lactase, or something.. hope it helps. (tho you might want to check, i'm not sure)

  • At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My son was diagnosed with wheat, soy, dairy, & egg allergy after we spent the night in the hospital due to his wheezing. He was nine months old at the time. He's now almost 17 months and his eczema is practically gone, unless he is about to get sick. This is making me wonder about other possible food allergies. . .or is it just the immune system response?

    I'm sorry to hear about your son's school. There is a little nursery school that my son occassionally attends. Unfortunately, his stay only lasts for an hour and a half b/c I am scared to death to let them feed him. I truly don't think that most people understand how serious food allergies really are.

    I do have 2 questions. . .

    1. I'm having terrrible luck getting my son to eat anything new (or anything old, like pizza and pancakes). His diet consists of ceral, cookies, sweet potato fries and fruit. He likes finger foods the best (although he can use a spoon and fork well). I have your cookbook, but if he refuses pancakes. . . any suggestions? I am baking him your bananna bread right now. With any luck he'll eat it.

  • At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sorry, I got interrupted (diaper duty).

    Question number 2:

    Once your boys were diagnosed, did the pediatrician refer a dietician? Mine did not, but I think that my son needs to see someone?
    Thank you for any help!!!

  • At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    there are food intolerances and food allergies. you're referring to lactose intolerance.

  • At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    anonymous, cereal, sweet potato fries and fruit doesn't sound so bad. you can put almost any veggie or fruit in cookies if you puree it.

  • At 5:19 PM, Blogger The Diaper Lady said…

    Unfortunately I haven't been able to stop by your blog in a while, but I'm glad to see you posting regularly!

    We use raw milk, butter, yogurt and cheese from a local farm. We also get our meats from there and they are TO DIE FOR. (They are all pastured/grass fed, chickens roam free, etc) Many people who have problems with milk can tolerate raw milk. BUT I think it depends on whether you have a milk intolerance or a milk allergy. The best thing to do is try it and see what happens, and make sure you have something on hand should a reaction occur.

    As someone mentioned, milk can actually deplete the body of calcium and actually causes osteoporosis and bad teeth. But that is pasteurized milk, not raw milk.

    I hope you mentioning raw milk has sent people to research it more thoroughly because we have been duped by the Dairy Council into believing things that aren't true about milk!

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