When you are allergic to something, you often find yourself scanning the labels on the back of food packets to see if they could potentially send you to hospital.
The important things to look for on labels is “contains (allergens)” or “not suitable for those with (specified) allergy”. These mean that the product either contains certain allergens or was made in the same factory as foods with these allergens.
What is a food allergy?
Food allergies are immune responses to certain types of foods. This means that our body is unable to break down these particular foods and the IgE antibody is released, which results in allergic reactions.
When you experience an allergic reaction, try to identify what you consumed and go for medical tests as soon as possible.
Allergies are most common in children and infants and can change as they grow up.
The symptoms of allergic reactions include nausea, vomiting, redness of eyes, hives, tongue inflammation, cramping, diarrhoea, shortness of breath, pale blue skin and rashes. The worst symptom of all is “Anaphylaxis”, which impairs your breathing and sends your body into shock.
How to avoid and substitute allergens
There is, however, still a way to enjoy some of your favourite foods without falling victim to an allergic reaction.
- Lactose intolerance: Infants, and often adults, can have allergic reactions to milk. These include vomiting, nausea, upset stomachs and hives. Coconut milk or almond ‘milk’ can be used as substitutes.
- Egg allergies: Some people are allergic to the proteins in eggs. Common symptoms are trouble breathing and skin reactions. When baking, Xanthan gum, baking powder, bananas and applesauce puree act as equally good binders.
- Gluten intolerance: This is an allergic reaction to gluten, which is a type of protein found in grains like wheat. The symptoms are similar to lactose intolerance. Coconut, almond or oat flours are great substitutes for wheat flour and corn starch or rice can give the carbohydrates your body needs.
- Corn: Instead of corn syrup you can use honey. You can also use potato or tapioca starch instead of corn starch.
- Soy: Soy is usually the alternative to milk products. When you are allergic to soy, though, you need to make sure that you actually have this allergy before replacing it with milk products. Soy is used in many processed foods and can trigger hives, a runny nose and breathing problems. Alternatively, you can use chickpeas or chickpea flour.
- Seafood: Seafood allergies can cause headaches, nausea and rashes. The omega 3 oils and proteins in fishy foods are essential for your body. Instead of fish products, you can use flax seeds, which are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids. You can find similar proteins in lentil seeds and poultry.
- Citrus fruits: Citrus allergies are rare and can cause rashes, soreness in your throat, swollen tongue and congestion. Try replacing these fruits with vinegar, tomato juice and apple cider vinegar.
Just because you are allergic to certain ingredients, doesn’t mean you have to give up your favourite foods. Instead you can replace them with ingredients that contain similar consistencies, minerals and vitamins.
Contact Trifocus Fitness Academy
Are you interested in learning more about nutrition and perhaps even become a nutritionist yourself? Have a look at the Specialised Nutrition Course that we offer. For more information, follow this link.