Welcome to Allergy Free Food!
It isn't easy living with multiple food allergies. This website contains recipes that are free* of Health Canada's top ten priority food allergens: Eggs, milk, mustard, peanuts, seafood (fish, crustaceans and shellfish), sesame, soy, added sulphites, tree nuts and wheat. In this site, whenever the term allergy free* is used, it refers to these top ten priority food allergens. Peruse through my pages and view full allergy free recipes as well as posts on allergy free products, substitutes, alternatives and lifestyle changes my family and I make in order to manage life with food allergies.
I have two amazing children who unfortunately, suffer from eczema. Part of managing their skin means eliminating dietary triggers. When my son was born I learned to cook without dairy, soy and egg. When my daughter was born I was forced to continue avoiding dairy, soy and egg, but I also had to eliminate wheat, tree nuts, peanuts and sulphites. That first year of my daughter's life was trying, to say the least. There's nothing like an itchy and irritable infant to motivate you to make changes - and make them fast!
Problem turned passion: I often remember a simple phrase my mother said when I was young: "With cooking, there's no fixed rule." And with that, I took the liberty to create and recreate concoctions of all kinds. My childhood years were filled with memories of my mom and three sisters, hustling and bustling in the kitchen. Being Canadian born Chinese meant I grew up with Chinese food. However, living in Toronto also meant we grew up with foods from around the world. My family isn't afraid to bring international influence into our kitchen - curries, challah, chilli con carne. Pho, perogies and pot roast, to name a few. To me, the kitchen has always been a place to explore. My college room mate can attest to procrastinating nights spent in our apartment as I was determined to master custard and pie pastry. Somewhere in my early twenties I created something with my then-boyfriend-now husband called "ethnic Thursdays". Every Thursday, we would pick a new ethnic dish to create. Some turned out great, some so-so and some were well, down right hard to swallow.
When I realized just how bad my children's allergies were and how, by eliminating dietary triggers I could help them feel comfortable enough to play, learn and laugh in their skin, I just had to do it. After playing in the kitchen for a year and a half, I have come up with my own recipes and have been able to maintain an allergy-free lifestyle. Key word: Maintain. The recipes posted on this site are void of the top priority food allergens according to Health Canada: Eggs, milk, mustard, peanuts, seafood (fish, crustaceans and shellfish), sesame, soy, sulphites, tree nuts and wheat.* If you have a food allergy, sensitivity, intolerance or special dietary needs, I hope this website will inspire you to make the changes
that will allow you to minimize your symptoms, living freely and to your fullest potential.
Personal Training: Pie pastry and personal training? What can I say, God has a sense of humour. For several years I was a former national level gymnast and now, I run my own personal training studio, Fit for Change. If I'm not raising my children or cooking, you can find me in the gym working out or forcing someone else to work out (and I mean that in the most encouraging way). I aspire to help others live healthy, motivated and full lives through the joy of burpees, mountain climbers, box jumps, suicides, dead lifts, HIIT...so if you're not moving regularly (and by moving I mean sweating) what are you waiting for? If you want to know more about personal training, please be in touch ASAP! There's no better day to get started than today.
With my fitness background I have a huge interest in health food and healthy alternatives. You will find that some of my recipes contain foods found at health food stores. While most recipes focus on one macronutrient, I will do my best to include suggestions in order to help you with a nutrient-balanced meal.
My Family's Palate...
...is a little different. Sure, my children have their typical moments when they resist fruits and veggies or meltdown when asked to try something new. But all in all, they enjoy their allergy free food. It took my husband and I longer to adapt to the new flavours because we were used to the taste of 'regular' food for so many years. While we acknowledge that cooking allergy free is consuming, we can see how beneficial this journey is. We find ourselves cooking simple, clean meals that allow us to appreciate the natural flavours of food. While recipes are great for referencing, most nights go like this: Plenty of veggies? Check. Source of lean protein? Healthy fats?Fruit for dessert? Check, check, check. Minimal on the sugar, salt and bad fats? Ehhh...three quarters of a check.
...really isn't that special! While I have collected quite an array of appliances over the years, I get creative with whatever I have on hand. So while I have a Silpat I also line my baking sheets with aluminum foil. While I have a Kitchen Aid mixer I also have my hands. I could dig into my children's Betty Crocker cookie cutters (all 50 of them) to find that one circle shaped cutter I need but I'll use the cup instead. Piping a cupcake for a not-so-special occasion? I'll use a Ziplock bag, thanks. Though I strive to be a minimalist (and often fail miserably) cooking allergy free does require preparation. So in the least, a kitchen needs the following:
- Cutting board
- Set of sharp knives
- Good quality blender
- Large pan or wok
- Non-stick pan or wok
- Spatula, tongs & wooden spoon
- Measuring cups
- Baking sheet
- Plenty of freezer safe plastic containers of all sizes (i.e. Tupperware)
- Plenty of glass dishes and lids of all sizes (i.e. Pyrex)
to store food
...is my own. I'm not a photographer or designer but I may be what the world calls an autodidact. Once upon a pre-children time in my life, I scrapbooked. But along came an overwhelming number of memories and photos, and an honorary family member - our iMac. I went to town with iMovies and while our pictures were great, my husband lovingly suggested getting a better camera since I took decent (but blurry) photos. On a whimsical boxing day morning, we did what we vowed we would never do - take on the crazy shoppers head on. I'm glad we did because I love our camera and all four functions I use (out of the hundreds, I'm sure). I'm no photographer. I play around and it appears every now and then, it turns out alright. Hope you enjoy the pics as much as I do taking them. :)
*While recipes in this website do not directly contain the following food allergens: Eggs, milk, mustard, peanuts, seafood (fish, crustaceans and shellfish), sesame, soy, added sulphites, tree nuts and wheat, there is always a possibility that the ingredients listed in the recipe may have come in contact with one or more of the listed food allergens. It is highly recommended that you read ingredient labels carefully when purchasing products and to consult your physician if you have questions regarding whether or not a food should be consumed.