She Will Have Her (Allergy Friendly) Cake AND Eat It, Too
Allergy-free but still delicious
From the time she was only a few months old, Evvie was itchy. Throughout the day she’d scratch at her legs and at night she’d scratch at her scalp so hard that she would bleed. She was constantly waking up in the middle of the night in discomfort and we couldn’t figure out what was making her so uncomfortable.
Before long, we were encouraged to visit an allergist. A few minutes into the skin test we knew that her itching and “eczema” patches were in actuality a side effect of food allergies. Her allergens? Peanuts (ouch), dairy (bummer) and eggs (double ouch).
These allergens are in so many foods, especially processed foods. We quickly learned to read labels much more carefully than ever before. We have been extremely vigilant about asking about ingredients in baked/prepared foods before she takes a bite. Evvie has done food challenges and, while her levels of sensitivity are decreasing with age (yay!), she still has reactions. Her latest challenge to baked egg resulted in vomiting and hives.
Our family and friends have been nothing but supportive in always ensuring there’s something Evvie friendly when we’re out and about, but you can imagine how hard it is for us to attend birthday parties when little Ev can’t eat a single bite of dessert. It breaks my heart to see her sitting with her friends at pre-school as they enjoy birthday cupcakes while she snacks on pretzels––I wish I could help her beat this.
As someone who has a seriously hard time turning away dessert, I’ve been determined to find a way for Evvie to enjoy a little slice of heaven. Fortunately, with many other families with our predicament, there has been no shortage of recipe substitutions that we’ve eagerly tested.
Safe Treats: Frozen
Can you imagine being a child who has never tried ice cream? I remember sneaking in a bowl full of ice cream in the middle of the day at my Grandma’s house when she’d watch us over the summer.
The good news? There are SAFE “ice cream” substitutions available at most local grocers. And even better, with more and more people being outspoken about allergies and lactose intolerances, the dairy/egg/peanut-free frozen treats are also more and more delicious.
So Delicious is a dairy-free company that offers everything from yogurts to milks to creamers and desserts. As stated on their site, we trust them because “from our robust allergen-testing program to the innovative work we do creating products made with high quality ingredients, So Delicious Dairy Free is committed to doing the right things for people, animals and the planet.”
Dole, while mostly known for their delicious fruit and vegetable products, has developed their “Outshine” extension to offer consumers a yummy frozen treat.
Their non-dairy, banana-based “Strawberry Banana” blend is delicious!
Safe Treats: Baked
I’m not the best at it, but I love baking. Imagine my surprise when they told me that Evvie is not just allergic to eggs, but also to baked eggs. “Aren’t they the same?” Well, yes, but no.
To make things complicated, allergens can be to certain proteins in foods. For example, someone may have an egg allergy, but only to raw/cooked eggs and not necessarily baked egg (where the protein cooks out). Unfortunately, Ev is allergic to egg overall.
So what do you do when you like to bake but your child has an egg allergy? Sure, you can sub almond/soy/cashew milk for dairy, but what about egg?
Applesauce (1/4 cup applesauce for each egg required)
Banana (1/2 medium-sized banana, mashed for each egg required)
Pumpkin (1/4 cup pureéd pumpkin for each egg required)
In my house, we use applesauce because I, personally, have allergic reactions to bananas.
In short, being allergy-conscious has made us think more wisely about what we eat. I’m so thankful we’re not alone in this journey and that many others have paved the way for Evvie to enjoy life without feeling like she’s missing out.
If you have a delicious egg/dairy recipe, please share! I love being able to introduce new yummy foods for her to eat.