Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What CAN I eat?

Today, Lynn and I are sharing our experiences about figuring out what one CAN eat when diagnosed with a nut allergy!  Do stop by her blog and see how her and her daughter's experience has been as they've adjusted to life with a nut allergy.  

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I knew when I was five that I was allergic to nuts -- I ate a Brazil nut and my throat started to swell shut.  Thus, it was expected that I would no longer eat nuts.  

Easy enough, right?  

Well, for a while it was.  

In the 1980s and 1990s, nuts were not the cool kids on the block.  

They were not in everything.  
They were not a health craze.
They were not in ordinary meals to make them fancy.

But, things are different now.  

The health benefits of nuts are well known, and, as a result, nuts are in everything.


When I was diagnosed with my allergy, I was handed a 9x13 sheet of paper full of categories of foods (like these) I could no longer consumer or needed to exercise extreme caution when doing so, because an allergic reaction is serious stuff.  
The biggest offenders -- desserts {ice cream, cakes, granola bars, cookies, ....}.  

But, that's not all.
  • Did you know, people thicken chili with nuts or peanuts?  
  • Did you know, BBQ sauce and other condiments may have nuts in them?
  • Did you know, vegetarian burgers or other meat-free products may use nuts in place of meat?
  • Did you know, smoothies may use almond flour as an alternative to banana for thickening?
  • Did you know, many gluten-free dishes use nut flours as alternatives?
  • Did you know, olive oil/canola oil/coconut oils may be made partly from nut oils?    
  • Did you know, many dried fruits are processed in the same plant as nuts?
  • Did you know, pastas contain nuts?  Especially Italian places that use pesto!

The more I began to look at foods, the more I realized my ability to consume store-bought foods was limited. Not to mention the fact that the big bulk bins of nuts were right next to the fresh fruits and veggies at the grocery store.  

The result - a girl who was frightened to eat anything.  


I went through a period of time where I would not eat anything I did not make for myself.

Everywhere I looked I saw the dreaded words....

"this produce may contain tree nuts"
"this product is produced in a facility with tree nuts"
"this product contains tree nuts"

It was frustrating.  

So frustrating that I began making almost everything from scratch.  I called around to companies to find out what chocolate, flours, oils, sugars and spices I could use and started from there.  

I started with the most troublesome foods to buy: 

From there, I've branched out as I discovered how much I like making wholesome meals for my family.  But, these recipes are quick and easy and helped me be able to eat foods that were now off-limits to me.  

I realized there are good foods I can eat - and that was a HUGE blessing.

If you are struggling to figure out what you can eat after being diagnosed with a food allergy, I encourage you to call around to companies.  This helped ease my mind to know whether or not a product was safe for me to consume.  

What about you?  What foods have you found that you can eat with your nut allergy?

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, nor do I pretend to be one on this blog.  I am just a girl, living with a nut allergy who wants to share her journey with you.  While all the recipes on this blog are nut-free, be sure to read the labels of your ingredients to ensure they too are safe for a nut-allergic person.


  1. My 15 year old twin cousins are both allergic to all nuts and while one outgrew his allergy to milk and eggs, the other hasn't. Can you imagine cooking for someone who is allergic to nuts, milk and eggs??? I babysat them from 1st to junior high and had to learn how to cook for them. Now that I'm the cook at their high school they can both safely eat because I adjust their portions. The school also uses sunbutter instead of a nut based butter. It is 100% nut free and is actually good :) You use it in place of peanut butter with the same results. If you haven't already tried it you should buy a jar :)

  2. I haven't tried sun butter, but I've heard good things! I'll have to look it up.

    When I cook for my MIL, we are Gluten, Dairy and Nut free (she's also sensitive to eggs, but can handle 1 in baked goods). It's a tough one. How cool that you cook for your cousins -- and I had no idea you cooked at the high school too. Cool.

  3. Would not have guessed about the bbq sauce or olive oil.

  4. Hi. I only recently came across your blog. My son is also severely allergic to peanuts. I have had to learn to make a lot of things myself to help him feel like he's not left out. I currently live in Paris, France and my poor son can not eat anything in the bakeries here. I have learned how to make croissants and pain au chocolat, I need to work on eclairs, and my new project is nut free macarons. I know you've come across "The recipe Shoebox" blog that I share with my friend. When you go to that blog, anything posted by Jen will be nut free! Just thought I'd let you know. We've got to stick together and help each other out! And I second the sun nut butter. especially the crunchy kind. so good!


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you; especially how you're finding JOY in your kitchen.

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