It's Your Life December/January 2015 - 2016 - Page 27

December/January 27 Ultimate Allergy-Free Snack Cookbook Ellen Sue Jacobson Holiday time can be especially difficult if you or your child has food allergies. Most snacks and desserts served at holiday meals or at parties are made with wheat, eggs, dairy, sugar, nuts and more. These can cause major problems with digestion and trigger other emotional and physical reactions. Enter Judi and Shari Zucker, twins who have been writing healthy cookbooks since their teens and are now mothers. They have a new cookbook from Square One Publishers entitled THE ULTIMATE ALLERGY-FREE COOKBOOK. As the Zucker twins note in their first chapter, “Allergies on the Rise,” more than 15 million people in the US have food allergies, and the highest incidence is among children 18 years or younger. In this chapter, they discuss this rise in food allergies, discussing theories based on research, such as the hygiene hypothesis, that is, our tendency to live in a dirt-free world in which germ-fighting is less, the burden that medications and antibiotics add to the burden of our immune systems, and too-early of an introduction to foods that are known to be allergenic (a controversial theory). Discussing the difference between food allergy and food intolerance, listing and explaining the eight foods that trigger most allergic responses (peanuts, tree nuts, cow’s milk and other dairy, eggs, wheat soy, fish, and crustacean shellfish), issues of cross-contamination because manufacturers are not required to state whether or not the food was processed in a plant with other allergenic foods (although many companies do this voluntarily), and food labeling that does require the major allergens be listed. On pages 10-17 is a terrific guide to avoiding food allergens that is worth the price of the book ($15.95). The top allergens are listed with all the places you can find them often camouflaged under another term, such as hydrolyzed plant or vegetable protein on a label may include peanut protein; all the terms for cow’s milk such as whey, rennet, or lactose; ditto for eggs, such as vitellin and globulin; wheat terms such as seitan, emer, and farina; soy terms and derivatives such as lecithin, miso, okara, and yuba; and finally a list of fish and shellfish including ingredients from these foods found in sushi, roe, and some salad dressings (ex. anchovies). The chapter ends on a high note, stating that avoiding an allergic food reaction by avoiding the foods and their derivative “doesn’t mean a limited diet of bland, unappealing meals and snacks¾and 2015