Individuals learning to live with food allergies are often overwhelmed by the challenges of changing their diet. They wonder what they will eat when they go to a restaurant or if they will have to give up their favorite foods or simply, “What can I eat?”
The internet can be a great resource to answer these and other questions, and to find recipes, but it doesn’t hurt to have one food allergy cookbook at your fingertips. I found the practical food allergy help I needed in “The Complete Food Allergy Cookbook” by Marilyn Gioannini when I had to learn how to eat all over again.
When I first got Gioannini’s book, I was a newbie at dealing with gluten, egg and dairy intolerances. A friend with multiple food intolerances called Gioannini’s book her “bible” on food allergies and told me to get a copy. I didn’t regret my purchase.
How to substitute “safe” ingredients for unsafe ones in recipes was one of the issues that was most perplexing to me when I first started cooking without gluten, eggs or dairy. Gioannini’s book contains an entire chapter on making substitutions with detailed charts on the advantages and disadvantages of using different alternative grains, dairy beverages or egg replacers.
After reading this chapter, I realized I could actually still bake without eggs. Powdered commercial egg replacers were widely available or I could use flax seed, tofu or tapioca powder as binders in recipes. I gleaned other important cooking tips, such as soy sauce contains wheat unless you purchase wheat-free soy sauce.
Cooking alternative grains was something completely foreign to me. I had been eating nothing but rice until I read the chapter on alternative grains. It opened up a whole new world to me. Soon, I was tackling quinoa and amaranth like a pro, thanks to Gioannini’s detailed instructions on how to cook these grains. I discovered I could still eat oatmeal, as long as I purchased gluten-free oatmeal.
The recipes in the cookbook are pretty basic but they were just what I needed when I was first learning to eat and cook a whole new way. Gioannin’s book helped me master the basics like how to prepare a hot cereal made of whole amaranth grains. I was even inspired to purchase a bread machine in order to make some of the yeast bread recipes.
These days I consider myself a pro at cooking with safe ingredients but I owe some of my shortened learning curve to the “Complete Food Allergy Cookbook.”