Food Allergy Recovery
Although you may identify one or more allergies yourself, chances are that what you figure out on your own is only the tip of the iceberg.
If you eat strawberries and within minutes blossom into an itchy, full-body rash, you won't need a doctor to tell you they don't agree with you and perhaps you will want to avoid them in the future. But most reactions aren't that clear or immediate.
Delayed reactions may occur a few to several hours later, and the symptoms may be diverse and subtle. Fatigue and depression are just as common as headache or a bellyache.
Other symptoms may include joint pains, disturbed sleep, hyperactivity, lethargy, "fuzzy thinking", inability to concentrate, bedwetting in older children, overwhelming fatigue, and others.
The delay further confuses us because if you start to experience a symptom at 4 PM, do you assume it was something you ate for lunch? Or was it breakfast? Might it even be from dinner last night? To further muddy the waters, are you reacting to the food itself or to a pesticide or other chemical residue in or on it? It is overwhelming!
Chances are good that you will need to work with an enlightened physician and undergo allergy testing to really sort out what's bothering you - and determine what to do about it. Sometimes finding a doctor to work with can be the toughest part of recovery. Because such doctors are not in all communities, you may have to travel a few hours to find this special kind of physician.
Avoid Major Allergens
Once identified, most doctors will probably suggest avoiding the worst allergens. For example, wheat, corn, egg, cane sugar, and milk may be such a major part of the problem that if you eliminate them you may be 50 percent better. This boost in how you are feeling may provide the energy and determination you need to persevere in your quest for better health and quality of life. Later when you're much better you may be able to tolerate these foods again, at least occasionally.
Eat Minor Allergens Less Frequently
Minor allergens tend to be most troublesome when eaten daily, or even at every meal. Just spacing your less severe allergens out to about four day intervals can reduce their ability to make you ill.
Avoid Repetitious Eating Patterns
A special diet has been devised, called The Rotary Diversified Diet, to help you space foods appropriately. Most people respond to a four-day rotation, while some do better on a five- or seven-day rotation.
Explore Unusual Foods
Once you eliminate major allergens and space out minor ones, there may not be enough food choices among familiar foods to create decent menus. This is why so many people with food allergies need to become familiar with a much greater variety of foods - unusual fruits and vegetables, perhaps wild game meat, less common types of fish, and so on.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
Don't waste time mourning the loss of familiar and favorite foods. Focus instead on the joy of discovering NEW favorite foods. Many families come to enjoy the great variety of foods they are exposed to when they broaden their diet. They view this aspect of coping with allergies as a real "perc" - a reason to try some of the less common foods they never would have tasted otherwise. Bottom line: Have a little fun with it all!
Do Your Homework
Learn as much as you can about your illness and your treatment options (very important). Read, study, discuss with others. Learn. Be sure to explore ALL treatment options before settling on your personal gameplan for recovery.
Nutty Creme Topping
Makes 1 cup
This mock whipped cream is free of both dairy and soy. Be sure to make it ahead of time so it can thicken and chill in the refrigerator. NOTE: Brazil nuts with their brown outer coating produce a topping that is speckled in appearance. Not to worry - the creamy texture is delightful!
1/2 cup Raw Brazil Nuts
1/3 cup boiling water
Pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or a pinch of unbuffered vitamin C crystals, to taste, optional
Grind the nuts to a fine powder in a blender. Add boiling water and salt, and blend for 90 seconds or until smooth. Add honey and lemon juice or vitamin C and blend again for 3-5 minutes until very smooth. Pour into a small bowl, cover, and chill 2 hours or more. Use like whipped cream to top desserts. Will keep a few days, refrigerated.
Double Apple Pie
Serves 6 to 8
Even your friends without food allergies will love this version of America's favorite dessert. Use baking apples that will hold their shape such as Yellow Delicious, Greening, Granny Smith, Jonathon, Gala, Fuji, etc, or a mixture of these. Don't use McIntosh (they disintegrate into sauce).
One 9-inch pie shell, unbaked (your own, or see recipe below)
Streusel Crumbs, recipe follows
5-6 cups sliced unsprayed apples
6-ounce can unsweetened apple juice concentrate, thawed
3 tablespoons quick cooking small granule tapioca (such as Minute Tapioca)
1 teaspoon cinnamon OR 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, or both (optional)
1 to 3 tablespoons honey (optional)
Prepare crust and set aside.
Prepare Streusel Crumbs, set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix juice concentrate, tapioca and a spice if you wish to include it. Mix and let stand for 15 minutes, while you peel and slice the apples into it. Taste the juice and add a little honey if you need it.
Pre-bake crust for 5 minutes.
Transfer the apple mixture to the crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the Streusel Crumbs over the pie, pressing lightly. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes, or until fruit is tender (but not mushy), the juice is bubbly, and the crumbs are nicely brown.
Variation: If desired add 1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries or currants to the apple mixture.
Rice-Flour Pie Crust
Makes 1 Crust
A no-role, press-in-place crust for your favorite filling. Fill it before or after baking.
1/3 cup raw Brazil nuts or cashews
3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey
Grind the nuts to a fine powder in a blender. Transfer them to a 9-inch pie plate. Add the flour, cinnamon or nutmeg. Mix well with a fork.
Combine the water, oil and honey in a small saucepan. Heat gently only until honey liquefies. Pour over the flour in the pie plate. Stir with a fork until well blended. Let stand a few minutes for rice flour to absorb liquid.
Shape the crust by pressing mixture firmly into place with your fingers, covering bottom and sides of plate evenly. Pat top edge of crust into a straight edge.
Fill and bake as directed in Double Apple Pie recipe.
Rice-Flour Streusel Crumbs
Scatter these crumbs evenly over Double Apple Pie -- or use them to top coffee cakes, fruit crisps or other pies. About 15-20 minutes before your dessert will finish baking, distribute the crumbs evenly over the top, press gently, and finish baking.
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown rice flour
1/3-1/2 cup ground nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, or cashews)
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
1-1/2 tablespoons oil
1-1/2 tablespoons honey
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, ground nuts, and cinnamon. Drizzle with the oil and honey. Toss until evenly distributed.
This quantity of crumbs will nicely top an 8- or 9-inch coffee cake or 1 pie. Double the recipe to top a 9x13 pan. If you're making a pie with a filling that needs to be cooked, like a fruit pie, prebake the empty crust for 5 minutes before filling and baking. Add the filling and bake as your recipe directs. Sprinkle on unbaked Struesel Crumbs for the last 15-20 minutes of baking.