Please read, before reading

I am saddened by the comments on this blog that often take a judgmental turn. The information is intended to be just that -- information. You need to make your own decisions for your life and be accountable for your actions. I debated closing the blog, but feel there are many valuable items listed for families struggling with food allergies, especially early on.

If you need further information please contact a doctor. If you need to verify a product's ingredients, please look at current labels and contact the company yourself. Note many posts are several years old. Use your best judgment and do not make up comments to scare people.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A conversation with Silk (an e-mail, too)

Have you noticed?  Silk Soymilk now contains an allergy statement that states:  Contains Soy, May contain almond and coconut.  I freaked out when I read that. Words ran through my head-- almond, tree nut, cross contamination, tummy ache, reactions, how dare they...

I sent an e-mail to WhiteWave Food the company that distributes Silk Soymilk.  I also made a phone call.  Below is the e-mail response.

Thank you for your recent e-mail to Silk®. We appreciate your interest in our products.
We can assure you that we take allergenic food concerns seriously, and have instituted allergen control programs at each facility manufacturing the Silk Pure Almond and Soymilk products.  Our allergen control programs consist of several components, designed to comprehensively address allergenic food concerns at multiple points of production.  Examples of this program include the following:
·         Supplier control – each ingredient used in production goes through steps to ensure quality and purity.
·         Cleaning procedures – validated procedures to ensure effective clean and rinse is accomplished after each production run.
·         Allergen-free product testing – testing in-process and finished product at frequent intervals to ensure safety.
·         Storage/warehouse – allergen status labeling and isolation of ingredients to ensure no cross-contamination occurs.
·         Production scheduling - scheduling of product runs are done in a manner that ensures allergen-containing products are run only after non-allergen containing products, protecting the immediate subsequent product from contamination risk.

Food safety is our highest priority and as part of our commitment to quality, all employees involved in the manufacturing of Silk have a comprehensive awareness of food allergen concerns.
Please contact us if you have any additional concerns or questions.
Thanks again for contacting the Consumer Affairs Department.

In the phone conversation that I had with the company, the representative also said to me that her company is aware that many of their customers have other food allergies besides dairy and take that very seriously.  I was happy to hear her say that.  I made me feel like I was listened to.  So many people don't believe food allergies even exist.  For her to say we know that's why you drink our product is because you trust us, made me feel confident they are doing the best they can.

So my conclusion is that they take food allergies seriously.  They need to put that it may contain almond or coconut because there is a chance that it could be on the equipment even though they practice good cleaning procedures.  I conclude that at least I know they are doing their best to keep cross contaminations from happening and that is lot more than I can say for other companies.  It's as risky as consuming anything when you have food allergies, but at least I know.  I honestly worry more about companies that don't have statements at all on products.  

Let me also remind you this is a lesson to re-read labels even on products you use regularly.  Our daughter has been drinking Silk Soymilk for 2 years and this new allergy statement just appeared on our carton in the last week here in Wisconsin.  

Thursday, November 25, 2010

New Blog Title

Yes, you're at the same place.  I recently changed my blog from "Life with a Dairy-Free Toddler" to "Food Allergy Reflections."  My toddler is no longer a toddler and I anticipate that this blog will be around for a while.  Same content, same web address, new name.  Thanks for reading!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dairy-Free Thanksgiving recipes

Okay, I know many families worry that holiday meals just won't be the same if it isn't slathered in butter.  But you know what?  It's actually very simple to adapt a big fancy Thanksgiving meal to your allergy needs.

Here are some recipes and suggestions that work for us.

12 lb turkey
Olive oil
2 Tbsp salt (I actually use a little less)
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp paprika

1. Mix seasonings together.
2. Rub olive oil and seasonings on turkey.
3. Stuff with stuffing (recipe below) if you want.
4. Bake per directions on packaging. (18 minutes per pound at 325 degrees)

Sausage Stuffing
3 Tbsp Olive oil
2 Tbsp dairy-free margarine (I use Earth's Balance)
2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
4 stalks of celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 bag of stuffing crumbs (I like Brownberry Herbed Seasoned Stuffing)
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp sage
1/2 pound pork sausage, browned and drained
2 cups chicken stock (homemade recipe here)

1. Heat olive oil and margarine in large skillet.
2. Add onions, celery, carrots.  Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic for 30 seconds before removing from heat.
3. Combine stuffing crumbs, poultry seasoning, sage and pork sausage in large bowl.
4. Stir in chicken stock and cooked vegetables.
5. Stuff in turkey or bake in casserole dish at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.  I highly reccommend stuffing the turkey -- so good!

Mashed Potatoes
6 potatoes, diced
5 cups chicken stock (and more water if needed)
Garlic, keep whole

1. Boil potatoes and garlic in chicken stock for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
2. Drain potatoes, but save a couple cups of the stock in separate bowl.
3. Slowly add chicken stock to potatoes as you mash them.

**You can add soy or rice milk, but you don't need to to have some good flavor.**

Brown bits from turkey
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme (optional)

1. Take brown bits from turkey and heat in skillet.  Add flour and mix together.
2. Slowly add chicken stock and cook on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes until desired consitency.
3. Season with salt and pepper.

Cranberry Sauce
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 cups cranberries

1. Boil water with sugar.
2. Add cranberries and cook on medium heat until thickens.  About 10 minutes.

**Canned cranberries are dairy-free, too.**

I always save corn from the summer and freeze it for a simple dish.  I just heat it up and add a little dairy-free margarine and salt.  

**Personally, I don't see anything wrong with just heating up corn or green beans (either frozen or canned).  Why not have an easy dish?**

Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie (sorry, not egg-free)
Last year I made two pumpkin pies.  This one and the recipe from on the back of the pumpkin can.  I had never made pumpkin pie before.  While the taste was a little different, we concluded that the dairy-free version was very, very good.

I cheat and buy Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust -- no dairy or soy

Pumpkin filling
16 oz can pumpkin
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 slightly beaten eggs (not sure if egg substitute works here, sorry)
2/3 cup rice milk

1. Bake pie crust at 375 degrees in pie plate for 10 minutes before adding filling.
2. Combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.  Add eggs.
3. Beat until just combined and stir in rice milk.
4. Pour filling into pie crust.
4. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes
5. Cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cool Whip Light

About a year ago we realized that our daughter was able to eat Cool Whip, but this summer we discovered that they changed the ingredients.  The change caused a big rashy mess.  I've been searching for a dairy-free whip cream with no luck.  Soyatoo -- made in a facilty with nuts.

So, today while at the store we saw the Cool Whip Light.  I ran through the list of ingredients and it looked just like the old Cool Whip recipe.  We tried it tonight with our daughter and success.  No allergic reaction.  Cool Whip light only has sodium caesinate (from milk), but no other milk products.  Let's just say there was a very happy girl eating her Cool Whip covered blueberries tonight!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dairy-Free, Nut-Free Chex Mix

Do you ever just avoid certain foods all together because you're certain your little one won't be able to eat it?  I do this often.  The other day I came across the original Chex Mix recipe and was pleasantly surprised that I could easily eliminate and substitute for her without compromising too much.  Chex cereal is on sale everywhere right now and if you can get coupons (search on, too.

Here's what I did for Chex Mix that was dairy-free and peanut-free.

Chex Mix
3 Tbsp dairy-free margarine (I use Earth's Balance)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp seasoned salt (see copycat recipe here)
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cup corn chex
1 1/2 cup rice chex
1 1/2 cup wheat chex (omit if gluten free and add more corn and rice)
1 cup bite-size pretzels (We eat Rold Gold)

1. Melt margarine in large roaster or pan in oven at 250 degrees.
2.  Add spices and Worcestershire sauce.  Mix together.
3.  Add in cereal and pretzels.
4. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

** So basically I skipped the peanuts and bagel chips, and substituted dairy-free margarine.**

Monday, November 8, 2010

Food Labeling and Allergies

Here's some interesting information about food labeling from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website.  Most of it was review for me, but for those of you new to this allergy-free complexity it may be helpful!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Baked Cod -- Dairy-Free

Okay, so when it comes to fish I normally make the dish with (milk-based) butter for my husband and myself -- there's just something about fish and butter.   And then I make a separate dish for our daughter that is dairy-free.  Normally it's not that much work, and I do this for many meals.  However the other night I came across this recipe and tried it dairy-free for all of us. It was so good!

Dairy-Free Baked Cod
adapted from

1 lb fish (I used wild caught Alaskan cod)
1/4 cup melted dairy-free butter (I used Earth's Balance)
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lime juice (see my tip for having lemon and lime juice on hand)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1. Cut fish into single portion sizes or keep whole. Place in baking dish.
2. Mix all other ingredients together and pour over fish.
3. Bake at 400 degrees for half hour. Baste once our twice while baking.
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