Did you know.. Most of us are reacting negatively to food additives, sugar and processed food, without noticing any obvious signs. It’s the chronic silent inflammation on our insides that’s bringing about epidemic disease and cancer. But more obvious are the reactions that children are having, particularly those that already have food sensitivities or allergies.
Reactions such as:
- eczema, rashes, little red spots on the face and other skin issues
- sneezing, hives, asthma and other allergic responses
- behavioural issues : ranging from unexplained tantrums to lack of concentration to ongoing impulsive or ADHD-type behaviour
- dark circles under the eyes/red swipes across the cheeks
- lowered immunity, catching every bug that goes around and taking a long time to shake it
I was recently interested to see what recipe books were out there, with kid-friendly recipes that were also free of some of the top allergens.
So we borrowed The Australian Women’s Weekly Cooking for Kids with Allergies recipe book from the library.
It looks so gorgeous and the recipe photos certainly enticing. However, I felt sad to find most recipes contained either ingredients that come with preservatives added or a pile of sugar.
Let me point out some of those ingredients, but also an alternative ingredient that will bring better health to your children.
- Dairy-free spread (eg. Nuttelex) – this spread has trans fats. An automatic no when avoiding inflammation. Alternative : coconut oil
- Bacon – unless otherwise stated, bacon will come with nitrates (linked with cancer, but otherwise still a preservative) to preserve the meat. Alternative : nitrate-free bacon (from particular butchers or delis)
- Lemon juice – bottled juice generally comes with preservatives added (eg. Berri with sulphites 223, 221). Alternative : fresh lemon juice or even Apple Cider Vinegar which is a very health alternative (make sure it comes ‘with mother’)
- Cottage cheese – generally comes with added preservatives. Alternative : read ingredient lists to try to find one with no nasties. The more expensive varieties will be more likely.
- Desiccated and flaked coconut – look at the ingredient list and if shopping in a supermarket, you’ll find 220, sulphur dioxide. Alternative : aim for a preservative-free version at a health food/bulk food shop instead.
- Vegetable/beef stock – check the ingredients carefully. Stock powder and cubes generally come with added yeast extract which is a form of MSG, a flavour enhancer. Alternative : make your own or seek out quality brands, perhaps at a health food store or deli.
- Soy products – cheese, milk, flour – used as dairy alternatives. The problem with soy is that it disrupts hormones and is causing early puberty and fertility issues in women. Alternative : cashew cheese, almond milk, alternative flours, or else avoid.
- Hundreds and thousands – with added colours. Alternative : check ingredients for truly natural colours.
- Dried cranberries, apricots – all come with sulphites. Alternative : health food/bulk food stores stock organic (preservative-free) versions. Otherwise sultanas or dates will be a safer option from a supermarket.
- Vegetable oil – this is a highly processed oil which promotes inflammation. Alternative : coconut oil is a healthy option, particularly for the sweet treats.
- Peppermint crisp – where to start… colour, flavour, vegetable fat. Alternative : this is where there probably isn’t a wonderful alternative that would definitely suit this recipe. Find a different recipe!
And of course on top of this, I see a lot of refined sugar. White sugar, brown sugar, icing sugar, light brown sugar, condensed milk…. Even honey in some of the recipes still contains fructose, which is something to be aware of. It’s the fructose that is the common ‘no good’ denominator between the refined sugars and honey. And even dried fruit for that matter.
So now you can see how an ‘allergy-friendly’ recipe book still needs to be dissected a bit. Just to make sure your children with allergies and food sensitivities aren’t fighting against one more thing….the dreaded preservatives and refined sugar.
I’d love to know how you go navigating the ‘allergy-friendly’ recipes. Let me know!