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Book Review: Food Allergy Survival Guide

Food Allergy Recipes to help With Common Food Allergies

Food Allergy Survival Guide

Guest writer Megan Robinson is a vegan who lives with a variety of common food allergies - she adds her own understanding and experience to this review.

The Food Allergy Survival Guide, by Vesanto Melina MS, RD, Jo Stepaniak, MSed, and Dina Aronson, MS, RD, is a comprehensive guide to living with common food allergies such as dairy, eggs, fish, gluten, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, wheat and yeast.

The authors demystify food allergies and sensitivities in a readable, user-friendly format.

Chapters dedicated to common food allergies are filled with helpful charts and tables, making it easy for the reader to know what to avoid and how to find alternative forms of nutrition.

The only advice with which I didn't agree: In their chapter on Childhood Allergies, the authors recommend that breast-fed infants be given a Vitamin D supplement.

My understanding and experience is: supplementation of any sort could interfere with breastfeeding, and should only be undertaken on the advice of a doctor. A few minutes of sunlight exposure a day provides an infant with adequate Vitamin D and does not increase the risk of skin cancer.

The food allergy recipes section includes a variety of ethnic influenced main dishes, side dishes, dips, sauces, baked goods and desserts. The food allergy recipes rely heavily on garbanzo beans, so would be inappropriate for anyone with a sensitivity to legumes, as well as the severely casein intolerant.

People with severe casein intolerance have a reaction not only to dairy casein but also to the casein protein found in large beans such as garbanzos, a fact that was surprisingly lacking in the allergy information earlier in the book*.

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*Savvy Veg Note on Casein: We googled to check the above statement, and couldn't find any info on casein in garbanzo beans. but we found many entries citing garbanzo beans as a casein free food suitable for those with casein allergy. That doesn't disprove what Megan said, we just can't verify it.

We found one warning about galactose in garbanzo beans for people with galactosemia, an inherited disorder characterized by an inability of the body to utilize galactose.

My family thoroughly enjoyed the Gluten-Free Pizza, with a truly excellent homemade sauce recipe, the Ricebread Squares, and the Warm Noodles with a Seed Sauce and Snow Peas.

The flatbread recipes all came out well and there are soy-free options for a number of Asian recipes, including Phad Thai. I had terrible luck with most of the cake and muffin recipes - they generally ended up raw in the middle even with careful attention to the liquid content.

The Food Allergy Survival Guide's Strengths: Wonderful array of allergy information, exhaustive appendix filled with sources for allergy free products, and the tasty entrees, dips, and sauces. Highly recommend!

Megan D. Robinson

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