Alrighty, so before I jump into the cooking shenanigans I feel I need to spend a few pixels on the boring stuff. This may seem a little silly but I will feel better after I have said this. READ!!! I know you are reading this blog so you are currently thinking I’m crazy but that word is your best friend with food allergies. Please, please, please always read all ingredient labels for yourself! I will say specific product or brand names that I use as tips or suggestions. However, products vary by region, manufacturing plant and even by batch. Oroweat breads are available out West, while on the East coast they are marketed as Arnolds. Same breads, same varieties, completely different ingredients due to different bakeries. Please don’t just rely on something I say, still read the ingredients. I have had margarine brands change week to week whether they have dairy protein or not. Store brands also vary regularly, I think depending on availability of staple baking ingredients. Deli, bakery and produce products vary by season and time of the year as different ingredients come and go in and out of season.

Know your limits (no I am not talking about alcohol consumption). All food allergies are different and all people exhibit their food allergies in a different way. Know your tolerance (or complete lack there of) of allergy items. I personally can’t eat any real amount of milk protein. I will never eat a slice of cheese, or drink a glass of milk. I am not going to buy a frozen lasagna, eat a chicken breast, slurp a can of chicken noodle soup or eat a salmon burger. Those are all pretty obvious. I would also not eat miso soup (soy soup base), use cream of mushroom soup (dairy soup base) , nor eat a yellow rice pilaf out at a restaurant (chicken broth used in cooking). Those are a little less obvious. However, I will eat a teriyaki sauce that contains soy sauce or eat a baked good that has soy lecithin. Most ingredient lists now have a magical section of 2% or less. If there is a dairy protein item there it does not seem to bother me. On the flip side, I know there are folks with peanut allergies who are so sensitive that they might react to a cookie that was manufactured in a location that even uses peanuts. There are also plenty of folks who can’t drink a glass of milk but they are fine with the occasional dessert or chocolate chip because they are sensitive to lactose (dairy sugar) and they know how severe or not the stomach upset will be. Just be sure you know your limits and that you stay within those limits no matter what I say or do.

Ok, and lastly know how sensitive you are (this has nothing to do with how much you cried at Titanic). This may seem a lot like knowing your limit but I think of it differently. Sensitivity is the touchy feely side where knowing your limit is consumptiony/eaty/drinky side. Knowing your sensitivity is to know how much touch contact you can have with your allergy items. Think of a peanut allergy, can you touch peanuts or are they going to make you react just because the person sitting next to you eats a Snickers bar? I have absolutely no touch sensitivity to any of my allergies. Any of you who have endured the skin allergy testing at the allergy doctor will have some idea of what I am talking about. In the kitchen this is a huge advantage for me. I can cook and handle cheese, chicken, shrimp and various other items with no problems, I just can’t sample these items. It means that I do not have to be as careful about touch contamination as some allergy sufferers do. I am surely not sensitive enough to have to ban any of my allergy items from our kitchen. However, there are allergies that are that severe, so it’s good to know your sensitivity. Alright, so enough of boring pixels but seriously, allergic reactions suck no matter how mild or severe, and they never happen at a convenient time, so always do your due diligence and read labels as well as keep in mind your limits and sensitivities.

PS: I am also not a medical type person, so these are just my terms and the way I think of things, the medical community may have other labels or thoughts on this topic so use your good judgment.

PSS: Also just a second to mention something that I am sure everyone gets sick of hearing. Be nice, play nice! I intend Toothless Wahine to be a fun blog place where recipes and ideas can be shared between folks in a community. I would love to hear feedback, tips and other tricks that apply to any of my blogs. Please feel free to register here and add your thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter at #toothlesswahine or on Facebook at Toothless Wahine. Feel free to add your comments on social media as well as keep track of when I post new blogs. I welcome comments anywhere, and anytime. I just ask that you keep all conversations polite, civil and G-rated so that Toothless Wahine can be a fun community for those who are interested.

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