How To Live Wheat, Egg, & Dairy Free – But Not Happiness Free

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Food allergies are a growing health concern in today’s society. According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, as many as 15 million people suffer from food allergies in the US alone – and today we get the chance to hear from one of them. Jen, our wholesale merchandiser right here at the Free People home office, recently found out that has not one, but three allergies: wheat, eggs, and dairy. Today she’s sharing with us a bit of her story – and letting us know that although it can be tough, a life with food allergies can be a happy life, indeed.

What prompted you to be tested for allergies?

I was having trouble swallowing and my throat and chest would begin to get itchy after meals.

 

What was your first thought upon finding out that you were allergic to wheat, eggs, and dairy?

“OH SH*T!” No, really, I was in shock. I never thought that I would be allergic to anything, nevermind 3 different things! I was actually really upset.

 

What does a typical meal consist of for you now?

Lots of greens. Salads for lunch, vegetables, rice, and meat! I actually still have a lot of variety, though. I have found wheat-free waffles for breakfast and wheat-free pasta for dinner, so I still eat typical meals — just with substitutes. :)

 

How do you feel now, compared to before you changed your diet? Have your symptoms subsided?

I feel amazing. I haven’t had any issues swallowing. I have a lot more energy, which was a huge bonus I didn’t see coming out of this. I used to get really tired mid-day, but that doesn’t happen anymore. I have a better state of mind overall because I’m not tired and uncomfortable. I’m much happier!

 

Which food do you miss the most?

It’s a tie between sweets and bread! Swirl ice cream cones from Mr. Softy, chocolate cake, peanut butter smidgens from Gertrude Hawks (my favorite candy ever). I could literally cry right now realizing I cannot have a Carvel Ice cream cake for my birthday this year — I have had one every single year since I was 10. Maybe I will just have a bite this year… And I miss having a sandwich on a big soft roll! My fake bread is not as soft and tasty. :)

 

Is there any food that you’ve been introduced to on this new diet and LOVE?

My husband is the cook in our household and it has actually encouraged him to be more adventurous with different types of seasoning and sauces on our meat, rice, and vegetables. It’s not really new food — it’s more new things & substitutes we have put on our food, which has been fun for our whole family. Even our son likes a lot of the stuff I eat. Things like subbing in coconut milk in mashed potatoes is something so small but healthier and still tastes good!

 

What advice or words of encouragement would you offer to those with recently diagnosed allergies?

It does get easier! My first three weeks I really, really struggled. I was in tears some nights after eating the same things for days straight. Rice Krispies in coconut milk for breakfast, fruit as a snack, salad for lunch, and meat/vegetable/rice for dinner — I ate that for pretty much 3 weeks straight because I was terrified to eat something with eggs, dairy, or wheat in it. I have never had a big interest in cooking, probably because I am terrible at it!! It was really hard for me to introduce new things because I didn’t want to take the time out of my busy schedule to figure out what I could actually eat.

Finally I started doing some research and getting suggestions from others. There are a ton of other people out there who have allergies or are on special diets, which has been really helpful. Both my sisters-in-law have allergies so they were my go-to people. Wegmans has been a godsend — they have a lot of pre-packaged things that I can eat, which is perfect for me!

 

***

 

After doing a bit of research, Jen has discovered some sweet alternatives that actually taste like real sweets – and she wanted to share them with us! Here are Jen’s suggestions, and a little blurb from her about each one:

 

So Delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream

1

This has been my after dinner treat. Made with coconut milk instead of cow milk, it actually tastes like real ice cream! (unlike much of the other non-dairy “ice cream” I tried).

 

Immaculate Fudge Brownie Cookie Dough

2

I cannot believe these cookies are wheat, dairy, and egg free. They taste amazing and I have had people ask me where I got the recipe. Well, they are actually just from a pack and only take 13 minutes in the oven, but I like to pretend I “made” them.

 

Dark Chocolate

3

Some dark chocolate also has milk chocolate in it, but if you go to a true chocolate store where they make it, they usually have pure dark chocolate, which is milk free. I like to get it with almonds since I am just getting used to the taste of dark chocolate.

 

Wegmans Gluten Free Pancake Mix

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I love breakfast any time of day, especially some really good pancakes. My husband mixes coconut milk to make them and they taste just as good as regular pancakes (maybe a little less fluffy).

*If you don’t have a Wegmans near you, look for the gluten-free aisle of your health food store.

Do you have any delicious recipes for wheat-free, egg-free, dairy-free foods? Please share them below!

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Comments

juliet -April 26, 2013, 10:32AM

thank you i can’t eat wheat, eggs, or diary. i just found out so this is great information for me.
thank you

Chelsea Ward -April 26, 2013, 10:34AM

Check out this recipe I stumbled onto this week, I don’t have any allergies that I know of but this pie looks so good (and nearly guilt free!)
http://yumandyummer.com/2013/04/paleo-chocolate-cream-pie-glutensugardairy-free/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=paleo-chocolate-cream-pie-glutensugardairy-free

Meg -April 26, 2013, 11:19AM

Wow, the number of people with food allergies is crazy!
Also, the fact that people are finding this out later in life…

http://happinessiscreating.com/

Lucille -April 26, 2013, 1:37PM

Oh my goodness, you ladies os totally have to check this out:

http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

I have made probably 15 of her recipes so far, gluten-free (no wheat!), egg free, & no dairy- she has a page on how to substitute ingredients, & how to work with gluten free flours.

Here is her substitutions page:

http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2008/12/baking-cooking-substitutions-for-gluten.html

Seriously miraculous. We’re talking homemade chocolate chip cookies, cakes, muffins, scones, you name it. :)

Lucille -April 26, 2013, 1:46PM

& as a side note, I completely understand- in addition to wheat, soy, and a variety of beans and nuts I have a nightshade intolerance. For years and years I was covered in spots that would come & go, when I was a little girl they told me it was “my nerves” and then as a teenager “my hormones” and as an adult it was “adult acne”. FInally, on an elimination diet (one of many) my mom & I discovered it was nightshades! So no tomatoes, potatoes or potato starch, chilies or peppers, cayenne, paprika, tobacco (the hardest part, asking others not to smoke around me…) etc. At first I was pretty horrified, but after a few years of adjustment it is amazing what you can do without these ingredients- my wonderful boyfriend has even figured out how to make a delicious barbecue sauce using molasses and vineger. :)

Laura -April 26, 2013, 1:46PM

I am allergic to most of the cabbage family including broccoli and kale as well as onions and garlic. You’d be surprised how much of an issue it is at restaurants.

If your dairy allergies are limited to just the cow variety, there are a lot of great cheeses you can get made out of goat cheese. My sister in law has a cow dairy allergy and whole foods even helped us find a blue cheese made from goat milk, which I guess is very rare.

Jenny Ekberg -April 27, 2013, 6:15PM

Thank you so much for all your recipes Free People, I have got lots of inspiration for what to cook for my best friend who is gluten intolerant!

sophia -April 28, 2013, 4:38PM

I give this recipe out to anyone who is looking for something good to make. It just so happens to be vegan and gluten-free, too!

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-braised-coconut-spinach-chickpeas-with-lemon-164551

Jourdan -May 29, 2013, 12:05PM

Hey I don’t know if it’s too late for the writer’s birthday but, I’m lactose intolerant and LOVE ice cream cake! This year my amazing boyfriend, knowing that I love ice cream cake but can’t have it, made me an ice cream cake out of So Delicious coconut milk ice cream. SO AMAZING! He even added crushed up dairy free chocolate cookies between the layers instead the crunchy things in Carvel cakes. See if you can find a recipe so you can still have your cake :)

Anon -August 15, 2013, 10:06PM

I follow your blog and love some of the recipes I find here! I don’t have any allergies however I just found out that I have high cholesterol and need to avoid fats. Any chance you guys can post some delicious, healthy fat free recipes? Thanks!

EmHag -September 12, 2013, 9:30AM

thanks! just learned need to completely eliminate wheat, dairy & eggs, not just ease off them a bit as told previously. is upsetting, difficult & expensive, even though am told gets easier with time & getting used to examinating every label! reading this, though, has made me feel bit less lonely, awkward & annoyed about the situation. plus, not being able to sink my teeth into a big cheese sandwich with mayonaise is helping me to lose weight -bonus & cheers to that!

carrie -September 29, 2013, 12:07PM

hi! my son just got diagnosed with the same three allergies … he is only 8 and bummed but surprisingly working hard to stay on track … where are you from might I ask bc when I saw Gertrude Hawks I was like omg, yes the best chocolate ever, because I grew up where they make it. I am trying to get him used to the coconut choc ice cream substitute, just got it last night! he will eat sorbet over it though. I am having hard time baking bc recipes still call for eggs. I would rather use whole foods over any imitation stuff but I like the coconut alternatives. thanks for sharing.

acia -December 23, 2013, 11:21AM

have since 2005 that I know that I have severe allergies. It has been very complicated for me and a lot of treatments. Different kind of medication allergies that do not work for me I’ve tried everything my doctor day says that I do not have a cure. But allergies can just get treated not cured I had tried natural herbs stuff to help me with my allergies one of them did work it was a skunk Oreos.I had tried that for a whole year but I got tired of the f****** the Orioles in my drink I wasn’t taking any medication and it was working for me. Now I have asthma and my allergies have gotten worse and I cannot eat anything that has in the milk any egg any wheat if I do and I don’t know that that food contains those products. I start having problems breathing and then I inject myself with the event 10 which helps me but I have to call I have to call the ambulance soon as possible 9 and up in the hospital. Its hard for me complicated I would love to eat the food I haven’t eaten a piece of cake and I even drink lactose free milk um so I’m out and even that really um I’m allergic to it too and it’s complicated.

Jennell -January 12, 2014, 7:00PM

OMG!! I just found out that I have the same allergies!!! Thanks for sharing :)

Claire -August 9, 2014, 4:06AM

Help! My little 2 year old is bit allowed wheat dairy or eggs. We discovered after she had grommets under GA two months ago. They did a while heap if allegy tests and that and sesame seeds are a huge ‘no no’. She suffered from terrible sinus and ear infection from 1yr old until the surgery. Anyway, taken her off the three foods and she is a much happier, more energetic little girl. I am struggling to keep up. However, we struggle with breakfast. She really misses toast and cheese sticks snacks. Any ideas for breakfast? Please…

Trisha -August 31, 2014, 9:18PM

I have found it very difficult to use any manufactured spices or oil/vinaigrette type dressings due to the natural flavor and modified food starches sometimes being derived from milk or wheat compounds. According to my research food manufacturers aren’t required to list what natural flavored ingredients are specifically because many manufactures hide their “secret ingredient” to their products under the “natural flavored” category for protection of their recipes. This is bad for an allergy sufferer because if any ingredient containing a specific allergy compound is derived from or used as a preservative in the product it’s not usually on the package labeling. I basically eat all natural self made meals, spices, etc. If I try to eat anything with milk, wheat, egg, natural favors and/or modified food starch I go into an anaphylactic reaction within 2-10 minutes deepening on the amount consumed. It’s been horrible, average reaction has been 2-3 times per week unless I just stick to eating only homemade foods. However, as bad as this all sounds I’m thankful to be eating much healthier now.

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