Managing allergies requires extra care and attention. There are currently no known cures for allergies, so you always have to be vigilant especially when eating out so you don’t trigger a potentially fatal allergic reaction. Another factor that makes allergy management a challenging affair is variety, as a lot of common foods are allergenic; the FDA lists milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish (e.g., crabs and shrimps), tree nuts (e.g., almonds and pecans), peanuts, wheat, and soy as the eight most common allergenic foods.
Knowing this, how can you build a hypoallergenic diet that doesn’t sacrifice taste and nutrition? You may feel a little constrained, but there are in fact a wide variety of delicious and nutritious hypoallergenic foods. Here are just a few.
Lambs and sheep are not exposed to allergens like wheat and dairy as they are raised and fed, so if you’re not one to give up meat, mutton is your best option. Another plus side of mutton is that it’s also a good source of healthy fats like omega 3. It’s also mostly unprocessed, reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and related health conditions. If you want to eat beef, pork, or chicken, check with your grocer to make sure that they are organically raised. Sometimes, livestock farmers feed wheat and dairy products to their cows, pigs, and chickens to make them grow faster, and for people with severe allergies to these foods, even indirect consumption can trigger a reaction.
Grains and Grain Products
Wheat, of course, is an allergen, but there are various grains and grain products that you can consume safely. These include amaranth, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa, and all varieties of rice. Rice and oats, in particular, are quite flexible since they can be made into cakes, pilafs, and even coffee or wine. If you are allergic to dairy and nuts, you can still experience the refreshing creaminess of milk through milked rice and oats.
Beans such as black beans, garbanzos, green peas, lentils, lima beans, and pinto beans are considered hypoallergenic. They also soak up flavors really well, making them ideal for almost any kind of recipe. Vegans and vegetarians can also look at legumes as a quality source of protein.
Fruits and Vegetables
Believe it or not, there are some people who can be allergic to fruits and/or vegetables. The condition is called oral allergy syndrome or pollen-food syndrome, which makes sufferers sensitive to certain proteins contained in fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Thankfully, most fruits and vegetables are considered hypoallergenic.
The safest fruits to consume are apples, apricots, bananas (ripened naturally), blueberries, melons, peaches, pears, and plums. Various dried fruits like raisins and dried berries are also hypoallergenic. For canned or bottled fruits, check the label to confirm if the sweeteners and preservatives used don’t contain ingredients that you are allergic to. Hypoallergenic sweeteners include brown rice syrup, carob, and maple syrup.
On the other hand, the safest vegetables for people with allergies are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflowers, and cucumbers. Celery, kale, lettuce, and peppers are also safe to eat. However, if you have an allergy to capsaicin, you might want to avoid chili and other spicy peppers.
For beverages, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks such as coffee and standard branded teas are usually best avoided since they are either made directly from allergenic substances or contain chemicals that get “activated” through heat or other processing methods. On the other hand, most herbal teas are safe for consumption, as well pure fruit juices.
Developing and maintaining a hypoallergenic diet may seem daunting at first. However, when you think about what you CAN eat instead of the foods that you can’t, then it becomes much more bearable — enjoyable, even. So don’t fret! With a little extra care and the power of information, there shouldn’t be any reason for you not to be able to eat delicious meals, no matter what kind of food allergies you have.