Free From Food Awards

If you are here, on a site about managing food allergies, you have probably already heard of the FreeFrom Food Awards 2012 “The industry’s only award for excellence for freefrom food – raising the profile of freefrom within the industry and with the consumer”.

Manufacturers of free from products were asked to submot their products for consideration in up to 17 categories, as follows:

1. The Innovation award:
The innovation category is open to any product which successfully pushes the boundaries of freefrom in terms of concept, ingredients and/or manufacture.

Categories:

2. Dairy and/or lactose-free animal milk, butter, yogurt and ice cream
Sponsored for 2012 by Swedish Glace

3. Plant (soya, rice, oat, nut, potato, hemp, millet, coconut etc) ‘milk’, spread, yogurt, ‘cheese’ and ice cream
Sponsored for 2012 by Pure

4. FreeFrom breakfast cereals
Sponsored for 2012 by Fria Gluten Free

5. FreeFrom breads and bread mixes
Sponsored for 2012 by Genius Gluten Free

6. FreeFrom pasta and pizza bases/mixes
Sponsored for 2012 by Tesco

7. FreeFrom foods manufactured for food service
Sponsored for 2012 by Livwell

8. FreeFrom ingredients, pastry/pastry mixes, sauces, flour, stock, marinades, sweeteners etc
Sponsored for 2012 by Juvela

9. • NEW • Raw foods and superfoods
Sponsored for 2012 by Asda

10. FreeFrom pizzas, savoury pies, flans, sausages and ready meals
Sponsored for 2012 by Delamere Dairy

11. FreeFrom savoury biscuits and snacks
Sponsored for 2012 by Genon Laboratories

12. FreeFrom scones, sweet tarts, Bakewells, sweet biscuits and cookies
Sponsored for 2012 by Tesco

13. FreeFrom cakes, cake mixes, muffins, brownies, cup cakes, cake bars and Eccles cakes
Sponsored for 2012 by Mrs Crimbles

14. Freefrom puddings, sweet pies, cheesecakes and desserts
Sponsored for 2012 by Hale & Hearty

15. FreeFrom chocolate, snack bars and petit fours
Sponsored for 2012 by Tesco

16. FreeFrom Christmas foods
Sponsored for 2012 by Produced in Italy

17. Gluten-free beer
Sponsored for 2012 by Asda

Although the entires are now in, there is now a very important job to be done. In early February 2012, a select group of people will be undertaking the hard task of judging each category, before selecting a winner and two runners up. I am delighted to announce that Food Allergy Kitchen was invited to be on the judging panel and will be deliberating at a secret location very soon.

Although I cannot reveal the categories I am judging, nor make you privy to highly confidential judging discussions, an update on the awards will be posted after the judging has taken place. Please note that I do not accept bribes…

The shortlist will be published on or around the 1st March 2012, before the awards are presented in April 2012. The Awards will also be showcased at the Allergy & Freefrom Show at Olympia in May.

Allergy Trifle!

photo by Darling RetroIt’s Christmas and allergy-sufferers like Christmas too. This year I decided to make small boy a trifle.

Jelly and raspberries are not  a problem, but trifle sponges are. However, I discovered we could use the bun part of an iced bun, which is kind of a sweet bread, and that worked fine. If you are avoiding gluten, try some plain gluten-free cake.

I also discovered that Blancmange (from a packet) does not contain milk, so I made up some blancmange with non-dairy milk. If you eat soy, try soy milk, but I tried both rice milk and oat milk. Oat milk works much better because it is thicker, but rice milk will give you a translucent semi-solid attempt. The blancmange I used contained wheat, but the basic ingredients of blancmange are cornflour, colour and sugar, so you could make your own wheat-free version by hand, if you get a wheat-free cornflour (this is possible, but can be difficult to find because of harvesting and milling technicques)

Small boy does not like cream, but you could add soy cream or oat cram on top. And hundreds and thousands of course!

DS Gluten-Free Breadsticks – you can’t tell the difference!

I am always looking for new products for small boy, particularly things that can be carried around for picnics, birthday parties (as he always has to bring his own food) or just for little snacks. So when Dietary Specials asked me to try some of their new breadsticks, I was delighted, as I am a closet breadstick fan*.

Now normally gluten or wheat free products can be, well, a little lacking. They may taste lovely, but sometimes don’t taste like the things they are supposed to taste like. I have a theory that those with wheat or gluten allergies just get used to things never tasting like they used to. However, I have to say that these bread sticks are completely and utterly yummy and you honestly cannot tell the difference between the two.

I wanted to set up a ‘Breadstick Challenge’ (like the famous cola one of the eighties) and give people an ordinary breadstick and a DS gluten-free breadstick, but my neighbours think I am strange enough, so I decided not to. However, any family members who have popped round this weekend have all been accosted with some breadsticks and everyone agrees. No family member was damaged in the making of this blog post.

On a slightly more serious note, Lovely Dad wanted me to add that, if you are having a party and there is a child with allergies coming, maybe you could get these instead of normal breadsticks- if no-one can tell the difference then if you remove the box, the poor allergy child won’t feel singled out with ‘special’ foods. Just a thought.

The DS gluten free breadsticks contain: Potato Starch, Rice Flour, Modified Maize Starch, Yeast, Buckwheat Flour (3.4%), Vegetable Fat, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Sugar, Salt, Thickener: (Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose), Emulsifier: (Mono- and Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids), Raising Agent: (Ammonium Hydrogen Carbonate), Natural Flavourings. They can be purchased from all good ASDA stores.

If you *are* interested in purchasing some breadsticks, or any of the other DS products, you might want to sign up to their mailing list as they pay reward you in vouchers for doing so. Just click here to go to the sign up form.

*I have not actually been banned from my local Italian restaurant for eating too many breadsticks. But only because they are desperate.

Note: Dietary Specials have not paid me for this post. Although they did send me some breadsticks. But I can’t pay the mortgage with breadsticks so I still maintain this is an unpaid post. If anyone knows that I can, actually, pay my mortage with breadsticks, please let me know immediately. Thanks.

Video Recipe- Allergy Friendly Bread and Butter Pudding. Yum.

It can be hard enough to find interesting recipes, let alone ones for people with allergies, so I was delighted to find a whole gang of them over at the Dietary Specials website.

Bread and Butter pudding in particular is something that a coeliac or someone with a  wheat or gluten allergy would naturally assume would be a no go area. But not this one. The Dietary Specials lady makes a fabulous wheat and gluten free version, and with a few adjustments, you can make it suitable for those with dairy or egg allergy or vegans too!

All you need to do is to replace the whole milk with either Goat’s Milk, Soya Milk or Rice Milk, whichever suits you and your allergies, replace the butter with goat’s butter, soya spread or non-soya spread, and replace the egg with either Orgran NoEgg (1 tsp per egg) or Xanthan Gum, which is normally available in larger supermarket stores.

So enjoy watching, and please let us know how you get on!

Next week is Food Allergy Week

And we will be posting every day to try and help increase awareness and offer support to those affected by food allergies.

We also have some fab competitions and giveaways, from MedicAlert, Tidy Trays and more

See you next week!

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Does breastfeeding increase the risk of food allergies?

Last Thursday (13 January 2011) the British Medical Journal published a report byMary Fewtrell and colleagues into whether exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, which is the current WHO and UK Department of Health recommendation, could actually be bad for babies and, of particular interest to us here at Food Allergy Kitchen, that such a practice could actually increase the risk of developing food allergies.

The full report is available on the British Medical Journal (BMJ) website but I have reproduced the section that relates specifically to allergies below. In brief, the researchers were not disputing the proven benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child, rather they were questioning whether 6 months was too late a time to start weaning.

The conclusions of this research were that leaving weaning until 6 months may actually increase incidence of food allergies, particularly those associated with wheat and gluten. The research also pointed out that allergies are rising despite advice to avoid certain allergenic foods, and in countries where peanuts (for example) are generally eaten at younger ages, the incidence of allergy is actually lower. Note that the research actually concluded that weaning before 4 months is also associated with later digestive problems, so in summary they are recommending a return to the practice of weaning between 4 and 6 months, which as anyone who had a baby before 2003 will know, was the advice mother used to be given.

From my own perspective, my small allergy-ridden boy was breastfed for 7 months, but started weaning  at about 5- 5 and a half  months, so as a test case he is decidedly inconclusive. As with everything else, as a mother you need to take everything and all the advice into account and make your own mind up. Easier said than done, I know.

We would love to hear your comments on the BMJ report and whether you agree or disagree with the results.

 

Allergy and coeliac disease

Kramer and Kakuma’s original review did not find a link between exclusive breast feeding duration and allergic disease (box 1). Important new data are now emerging with implications for practice.

Paradoxically, many developed countries have rising rates of food allergy, despite increasing advice to restrict and delay exposure to potentially allergenic foods, including cows’ milk, egg, fish, gluten, peanut, and seeds. Moreover, countries where peanuts are commonly used as weaning foods have low incidences of peanut allergy (Israel, for example 23). These observations have prompted further work on immune tolerance to foods.

The development of immune tolerance to an antigen may require repeated exposure, perhaps during a critical early window, and perhaps modulated by other dietary factors including breast feeding. A 2008 review24 found an increased risk of allergy if solids were introduced before three to four months. After four months, the evidence was weak, but suggested an increased risk with delayed introduction of certain allergens. For example, the incidence of early onset coeliac disease increased in Sweden following advice to delay introduction of gluten until age six months, and it fell to previous levels after the recommendation reverted to four months. Subsequent analyses suggest that gluten should ideally be introduced in small quantities alongside continued breast feeding.25 A more recent study in infants at risk (with a first degree relative with type 1 diabetes or carriage of certain HLA types), showed that introduction of gluten before three months and after six months was associated with increased risk of biopsy proved coeliac disease26 and islet cell autoantibodies27. This finding suggests that gluten may best be introduced during a critical window of three to six months. In the same cohort, introduction of wheat after six months predicted increased risk of wheat allergy at age four years.28 Two UK randomised trials are now investigating early introduction of allergenic foods: the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study (http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00329784) and the Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) trial (http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN14254740).

Extract courtesy of the British Medical Journal website http://www.BMJ.com Reference:  BMJ 2010;341:c5955

Cheeky Chocolatey Dandelion & Burdock Cake

other brands of soft drink are available

I love Dandelion and Burdock. And I love chocolate. So an allergy friendly cake that combines the two? Perfect.

This is a quick and easy cake to make (I make it with 3 and 5 year old helpers) and is very moist. And chocolatey. Enjoy!

Ingredients

• 225g/8oz gluten/wheat free flour
• 225g/8oz caster sugar
• 1 tsp gluten free bicarbonate of soda
• 100g/3½oz mini marshmallows
• 65g/2¼oz dairy/soya free vegetable spread/butter substitute (eg So Good)
• 3 tbsp cocoa powder
• 200ml/7fl oz dandelion and burdock drink
• 100g/3½fl oz full fat goat’s milk or goat’s yogurt
• Egg-substitute (or xanthan gum) equivalent to 2 free-range eggs

Preparation method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line a 30cm/12in baking tin.
2. Sift the flour, sugar and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl, then add the marshmallows.
3. Meanwhile, heat the butter, cocoa powder and dandelion and burdock in a saucepan until boiling.
4. Pour the yummy chocolatey/dandelion and burdocky mixture onto the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Mix in the goat’s milk/yogurt and egg substitute.
5. Pour the cake batter into the cake tin and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the sides of the cake are coming away from the sides of the cake tin and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. (Tip, try and make sure any marshmallows at the top are covered as otherwise they can burn)

Adapted from an original recipe by Simon Rimmer on Something for the Weekend http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes

Image courtesy of TheGiantVermin on flickr.com

Chocolate? Allergy Friendly?

When you are allergic to soya, it’s pretty hard to find chocolate that is soya-free, but it can be done. However, if you are allergic to dairy you have no chance…

Last year I stumbled across Billy Goat Stuff- a fantabulous site selling hand made chocolate made from Goat’s Milk.

You can either buy bars, or shapes, and it’s pretty tasty too. Billy Goat Stuff is free from  Nuts, Soya, Cow’s Dairy, Eggs, Wheat and Gluten, which makes it a winner in our book!

Welcome to Food Allergy Kitchen!

Welcome to our brand new blog! As parents of an allergic child, we thought that collecting all the info we needed to find out, recipes, useful medical details and products in one place just made sense. So here it is!

Keep checking back for news, updates, and special offers.