The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook

200 Gourmet and Homestyle Recipes for the Food Allergic Family

allergy cookbook

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Dear Readers:

I was going to post the following under my Babycakes comments, but it's so darn long, I decided to post it here instead. I know I promised a PAMELA'S PRODUCTS review, and it's coming (in fact, I'm baking bread from their bread mix right this very minute!). But first my response to an insightful and helpful comment from Anonymous. Also, below, I've included a couple of posts from a Vegan who is on an allergen-free diet and had some great tips for getting protein from sources other than meat! Hope this is useful info.

Dear Anonymous:

Re: Lennon's extensive allergy testing

Thanks so much for writing in, and for your concern. You share some really useful info! And your comment makes me realize it's time for an update on his allergies, and mine.

But first, thanks for that info on hives. This is very important readers!! In Anonymous's comment, he/she says that "According to FAAN, about 90% of IgE reactions include the person having some hives so reactions that don't begin within two hours of ingestion and reactions that do not involve any hives are not as likely to be IgE reactions." I'll go one step further and point out that according to The Parent's Guide to Food Allergies, "It's common for food allergies to make themselves known within TWENTY MINUTES or so of eating..." I concur that most IgE reactions occur within several hours, and if I said that allergic reactions can occur up to 24 hours after ingestion, I was not referring to IgE reactions, but rather DTH reactions. See
for more info. And cross reference with FAAN, please, because Wikipedia is not ALWAYS accurate.

However, IgE allergic reactions can certainly occur for 24 hours or more, which leads me to answering your question about why Lennon was tested for so many allergens. I had a severe allergic reaction to Walnuts last Thanksgiving. I broke out in total body hives about 30 minutes after eating walnuts, and continued having horrible total body hives for an entire week. My eyes swelled shut, I had shortness of breath, my lips swelled, it was terrifying. So I knew I needed to go in for allergy testing. Additionally, I get hives from many types of fish, and several types of shellfish. I also get rashes from wheat within a couple hours of eating it. I had a lot of symptoms, and just wanted to cover all my bases and get tested. Which brings me to Lennon. Lennon also gets hives, and rashes, and has horrible environmental allergies (he has such bad eye allergies it impairs his vision), so I wanted to see if I could pinpoint where the hives were coming from. As many know, he had been severely allergic to Dairy and Soy as an infant. He outgrew his soy allergy at about 2 years old, and was still moderately allergic to dairy, but nothing like he'd been as a baby (very very very sick baby). Anyway, it had been a couple of years since he'd had allergy testing. So I took him and myself to Dr. Eitches and Dr. Baum at Cedars-Sinai, whom many consider to be the best Allergists in LA, and we got tested, across the board. My testing just confirmed all my suspicions, that were already based on symptoms. But none of the foods I'm allergic to are foods I can't live without. And the ones to which I have a mild allergy, and I have no fear about, like pineapple, I still eat on occasion. I strictly avoid the fish, shellfish, walnuts and hazelnuts.

Lennon tested positive to shellfish, walnuts, soy, wheat, and egg whites. (And a zillion pollens, epidermals, and molds, but these are all backed up by symptoms). Shellfish and Walnuts were a no-brainer. His allergist told me to keep him away from these foods (which I always have anyway). And he has tested positive to these allergens a second time around (I had him re-tested 4 months after the first test), so I think it's safe to assume he really is allergic to them. However, he didn't seem to be allergic to soy, wheat or the egg whites despite the positive skin test. I hadn't been noticing immediate reactions. There were the hives, but I wasn't sure where they were coming from. And I agree to take a child off all these nutritive foods just based on a positive skin test alone, without any symptoms, makes no sense (Unless we're talking about a food allergic infant or toddler, which is a whole other ballgame, and avoidance is thought to be preventative)

But in order to make an informed decision, I took Lennon off these foods, to see if it would make a difference, and then slowly reintroduced them one at a time to see if there was a reaction. PLEASE NOTE, DO NOT DO THIS YOURSELF WITHOUT THE GUIDANCE OF YOUR ALLERGIST. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME FOLKS! Long story short, I have noticed no reaction to wheat, so he's back on it, in moderation. No reaction to eggs, so he's back on them. And no reaction to soy, so he's back on that too. So these days, all we have to avoid in our food allergic household is:

DAIRY (my husband is allergic, and Monte has been advised to avoid it due to asthmatic reactions)
FISH (I'm allergic)
SHELLFISH (Lennon is allergic and I'm allergic)
WALNUTS (Lennon is allergic and I'm allergic)
HAZELNUTS (I'm allergic)
WHEAT (I'm allergic, but I still eat it sometimes, and ignore the rash!)

So we still avoid 5 out of the big 8 food allergens. And I still make recipes that avoid all big 8, (actually now big 9, because I find so many people want sesame-free recipes too). And I also do a lot of gluten-free, even though it's not an IgE "allergy", because so many people request gluten-free as well as allergen-free. And the new book will be free of all, so that it's helpful to as many people as possible.

Now here's that Vegan Post! (Actually, she's 99.9% Vegan)

"I am not the vegan commenter but I'm 99.9 vegan. I turned veggie at age 7 and vegan in my 20s on and off until my son got diagnosed with food allergies. Now I'm totally vegan because of him *except* for a recent addition of fish oil. So, I can no longer claim vegan-status I guess. I am currently also soy-free because I find it gives me very bad GI problems, although I'm not allergic to it. I wanted to tell you how I get my protein. I do a protein shake each morning with both rice protein and either pea or hemp protein powder. Both pea and hemp protein powder are complete protein. I do eat a fair amount of quinoa. I use a *LOT* of nutritional yeast, which has about 8 grams of protein for one tbsp and is complete when combined with legumes or whole grains. I also eat a lot of legumes and hemp seeds. I have calculated how much protein I get to make sure it is enough since I am so used to relying on soy and I find that I easily get more than enough this way. The protein shake really helps as it has almost 30 grams in it alone. But I also think that many recommendations on how much protein we need are way too much. I don't know how much you are aiming to consume in a day.

Also, my son's allergies include sesame and we were not advised to avoid any other seeds. I did go very, very slowly in introducing other seeds but DS is only allergic to sesame and not other seeds. I do think it is a good idea to be careful with sesame as it is now about the 4th most common food allergen according to Dr. Wood who spoke at the recent Baltimore FAAN conference.

My DH must have meat or he gets ill. I support however you or anyone chooses to eat. I even cook the meat-type recipes from your cookbook for my DH and he loves them. You shouldn't have to explain why you eat meat now. I admit that I was curious, though, esp because your book contains some really hard-core meat recipes!

Also I want to thank you for your wonderful cookbook. It is so great! I often read it while I eat. :)

Hi Cybele,

99.9% vegan here. Glad the reply was helpful.

Please feel free to use my post on your main page.

I get my hemp protein powder from Manitoba Harvest because it is supposed to be free of cross-contamination with my son's food allergens. Some health food stores carry other brands, though. I recently saw some at Whole Foods. I also got hemp seeds (which I *love*) from them and hemp butter (to me just OK) from them. I get pea protein powder from Kirkman. They also make a great calcium powder that is easy to add to things and other products helpful for those with food allergies.

I don't know about baking with protein powders. I think it would vary product to product. If you post at that would be a good question to ask. I'm sure you would get good info in response.

I also forgot to mention that many people have luck with pumpkin seeds combined with whole grains. I love sunflower seeds and found that Dakota Style are supposed to be free from cross contamination with my son's allergens. I also use SunButter for protein.

I know you have to combine the rice in your rice protein with seeds or legumes to make a complete protein and that by itself it isn't one.

That's really too bad you can't eat nutritional yeast. I find it really yummy.

I wonder if you can do seitan? Even if you can only eat spelt you could make your own. That is really high in protein.

Oh, and I forgot--Nu-World Amaranth makes *wonderful* (IMO) Amaranth Snackers. I love the BarB-Q ones. They are really high in protein. I also like their Amaranth side dishes. They are super fast and easy to make.

Truthfully, I find it somewhat challenging to be a soy-free vegan and have thought that if I weren't so emotionally opposed to eating meats it would be a good idea for me now. It is just that having been a veggie since age 7 it would be very difficult for me to start now. I can understand why you need to include it in your diet.



  • At 1:42 PM, Blogger Lauren said…

    have you ever looked into patch testing? they just started doing it around here and i have heard it's more accurate since it tests for allergies over a period of (i think) 48 hours.

    also, i wanted ot let you know that we made coffee cake from a mix form the gluten free pantry last night and it's really good.

  • At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Where are these vegan related posts from? Sounds like an interesting message board/forum.

  • At 8:21 PM, Blogger Cybele Pascal said…

    these posts are from here! just on an older post. so I thought I'd publish them so others could see too.



  • At 11:09 AM, Blogger Robin said…

    Hi Cybele,
    as I read this post, I teared up reading how much Lennon suffers with these allergic reactions. It makes my mother's heart ache. And your reaction to walnuts sounded just awful ( i hate walnuts, ick). Thanks for sharing, I really think its helpfu. so many people suffer with food allegies. my adorable little neighbor, Colby has several food allegies so I have to be sure that I have plenty of apples and oranges to give him when he comes over, he's an "eating machine" and i don't want to ever cause him to get a reaction. His momma is currently breast feeding his baby sister and she is on a strict avoidance diet, no eggs, dairy, nuts, strawberries and some other foods so as not to cause problems with baby Ella. I think, i'll make her something today out of your book.... :)
    take care, Robin

  • At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It is so wonderful to see someone with such a positive outlook on all of these trials and tribulations. I suffer from only one food allergy and find myself frustrated even with that. Do you have any secrets for maintaining such a positive energy even after dealing with all of these problems?

  • At 8:43 AM, Blogger Hannah said…

    Hi Cybele!

    I just wanted to ask if you've ever tried Tofutti. As a vegan, it's very helpful to make up for dairy. I don't know if it has anything that you might be allergic to...

    By the way, how do you go to restaurants?

  • At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Sally Parrott Ashbrook said…

    Cybele, I'm so happy to see you have a blog. I've been using your cookbook since I was diagnosed with a variety of food allergies about a month ago, and your cookbook is definitely my favorite allergy cookbook. (I was so relieved to find it, too, as I had found all sorts of cookbooks that avoided one of my allergens just to substitute in another! I was ready to tear my hair out when I found yours and then several others.)

    I made a couple of variations to your avocado mayo-replacer recipe to make a great turkey/cherry/wild rice salad tonight--delicious.

    Thanks for the tasty, well-researched recipes! I'll be linking to you to check back in. :)

  • At 11:46 PM, Blogger Robin said…

    Hi Cybele,
    I hope all is well you and yours. I had two things to mention today: first, is anyone else freaking out about the state of our food supply? today the recall is for fresh ginger that has toxic pestiside on it, a few days ago it was bread with metal shavings, last week canned chili and hot sauce with tomain (sp). dog food recalls, spinich comtamination eek! And to top it off the FDA wants to close one of its few food testing labs, here in California. how does that make any sense?
    I read that your family had a wonderful vegetable garden growing up. Everyday there something else being recalled and it makes me want to grow my own food, but I'd end up with nothing to eat. (we don't get much sun here)
    the other thing I wanted to say is since I discovered "your favorite dressing" I did try it on other things, pasta salad, potato salad, Costco roasted chicken, (YUM!!) heirloom tomatos, and oh my gosh! french bread! I really went overboard and gained a few pounds!
    I am reining it in a bit and trying to only use it on fresh veggies for now. its great stuff. :)
    take care,& thanks,

  • At 3:13 PM, Blogger KT Stop said…

    I second that about Tofutti, we use Tofutti cream cheese with gluten free pretzels and it's very tasty.

    I feel so bad that your family suffers with so many food allergies, but what a wonderful way to make the best out of a bad situation like you do.

    Your recipes are just marvelous!

  • At 11:17 AM, Anonymous MLO said…

    FAAN is, itself, a font of misinformation due to its over emphasis on 8 foods over the reality that ANY food can cause an allergy. For good information, ask an allergist, not FAAN or any other group. Their stance is causing serious allergic reactions to be ignored in emergency rooms.



  • At 2:23 PM, Blogger Christina said…

    I went to open my fridge a couple of weeks ago and literally burst into tears. What was I going to eat? I am nursing my 9 month old son who as been diagnosed with most of the major food allergens and I was told to avoid them and the rest. After a couple of weeks of eating nothing but chicken and vegetables, I was loosing weight quickly and my milk production dropped, therefore my son started to loose weight as well. Then I found your book and it saved my life(so to speak). I must have looked lost navigating the isles at Whole Foods as some nice lady started to follow me around and tell me what to buy and what not to buy as she lived with food allergies as well.

    I can't believe how difficult this is and
    I also didn't believe I would ever find anyone who was or had experienced the same situation. I truly felt lost and alone. Thanks for all of the great recipes and info that you have provided. I look forward to your next book. If there are any good websites you can recommend for a nursing mother going through this, I would appreciate it.

  • At 3:41 AM, Anonymous Allergy Asthma Zone said…

    Insightful post...thanks for sharing...

  • At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cybele, where have you gone? We haven't had an update in over a month!

  • At 9:06 PM, Blogger Lauren said…

    i was reading the comments to the last post and someone had said that food allergies always happen within 2 hours or they aren't actually allergies.
    there are some people (like myself) who have an eosinophilic disorder and the reaction doesn't happen untill the food reaches a certin point in the digestive tract (people with ee it happens right away in the esophogus, people with eg it happens in the stomach, ege it happens in the small intestines, and ec it happens in the colon)
    the food can take days to get where the reaction would take place and it doesn't happen untill it reaches that point in the body.
    most doctors dont know much about this beacuse there is not alot of research because it is rare, but if you have a reaction to a food hours or even days later, you should ask about you or your child being tested for this... it can only be diagnossed with a biopsy to look for eosinophils.
    it can mimic the other type of food allergy but sometimes the treatment can be different, since in some cases removing the food may not be enough.
    it actually is an allergy though, not a sensitivity.

  • At 12:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cybele, are you and your sons well? We haven't heard from you in weeks.

  • At 8:59 AM, Blogger Kyt said…

    Because I have shaken baby syndrome, if I have a cracker that touched cheese that touched meat, I might not vomit until 3 hours later. My brain sends the wrong messages to my stomach sometimes. Othertimes, I'll vomit as soon as an allergin, like hydrogen pyroxide touches my tongue. My skin doesn't react to allergins, so they call it a sensitivity. However, I get infections if I have alcohol or hydrogen peroxide either internally or externally. benzoid peroxide causes a rash. However, when I was given the skin test, the hystamine never reacted. I don't think skin tests are accurate at all in my case because of this.

  • At 5:48 AM, Anonymous Claral said…

    Interesting to know.

  • At 8:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for sharing. I am newly gluten free and I am looking for the best gluten free bread brand. I love Bavarian's. Whats your favorite?


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