May 30, 2011

Getting Out of the City – Shelby’s Brasserie – Many Dairy Free & Gluten Free Options

I love the city and all the options it offers but every now and then I get bored and just want to go somewhere new and feel a different atmosphere or look at some new scenery. Last Friday was one of these days… My Dad was in town so he, my sister and me jumped in the car and headed out to Bray for dinner. We ended up in the locally owned and family run Shelby’s Brasserie which is known for its accommodating menu which clearly denotes which items can be made

- Gluten free
- Dairy free
- Vegetarian

I had made a reservation for 3 earlier in the day which was lucky because despite the fact that we were dining early (7pm) by 8 o’clock every table was occupied, on both floors! There were birthdays and ‘girls night outs’ and family get-togethers and of course couples and friends all pouring in to dine at Bray’s award winning restaurant (Best Restaurant in Bray 2009 & Lucinda O’Sullivan’s Great Places to Eat 2010). The service was attentive and the menu, although hard to read as a basic menu, was clearly labeled with Early Bird options (available all night), Dairy free, Gluten free & Vegetarian possibilities.

The menu asks you to tell your waiter if you require the Dairy free, Gluten free or Vegetarian options because the items are not necessarily suitable but can be made suitable. The great thing was that there were many ‘amendable’ options for Gluten free and Dairy free diners which were evenly spread across the main menu items as well as early bird items. With 5 Dairy free and 9 Gluten free starters (4 of which could be both) and 8 Dairy free and 14 Gluten free mains (8 of which could be both) it was easy enough to find something to tempt the buds. The not so great thing was that there was only 2 Vegetarian main options (with only 1 of these being Gluten free) and 1 Vegetarian starter –the soup– (which luckily was Dairy free and Gluten free as well) so my recommendation for Shelby’s to the food allergy world would be for meat eaters only! I really wish that restaurants across the country would stop making their vegetarian meals so dependent on dairy, it could make my life so much easier ;)

We had only two small hiccups:

1. The waiter told us that the fish cakes were part of the early bird menu that day & seeing that they had a Dairy free option my sister and I both ordered them only to be told after sending our order to the kitchen that they couldn’t actually be made Dairy free. Probably just a typo on the menu. I always try to remember to never get my hopes up before the food arrives! Also, the early bird menu on the internet denotes the penne pasta to be Vegetarian and Gluten free possible but there seems to be a typo here as well (either on the web or the menu) because it is only listed as Vegetarian possible. Again, stressing the importance of telling your waiter about your food allergies because typos are a fact of life and you should never believe everything that you read!

2. The other hiccup was that we didn’t realize & were not advised that we should order side dishes. It was stated on the menu, but like I said, there was something peculiarly difficult to read about the menu. So, our meals were almost vegetable free which was a shame, but not a major deal.

Among our Dairy free and Gluten free dinners was the Lamb Burger in a Modern Irish cuisine fashion which was quite tasty. It came as literally a burger with some red onion jam on top and a bowl of massive hand-cut potato chips. There was also a Confit of Duck Leg with roasted red peppers & papaya and a peach dressing. The duck was a bit over-done and the fruit could have been a bit more ripe as it had a bite to it but papaya is hard to get in Dublin. There was also a Pan-fried Breast of Chicken with a three bean cassoulet. The cassoulet was tasty but not amazing but the chicken was perfectly cooked and extremely moist and tender. We also had the Baked Ham & Chicken Terrine with a pumpkin & pineapple Compote which came without the garlic ciabatta despite the request for this dish only being Dairy free, but luckily there was a side order made of Shelby Fries which were deep fried potato cubes with garlic, thyme & onion. This was made without butter to suit our Dairy free needs. It was also reassuring that the waiter confirmed, of her own accord, that the fries were made without butter when serving them to the table.

Two of our dinners fell into the early bird category which made the night out affordable for almost anyone’s budget. The Early Bird is valid all night and includes two courses for €19.00 and 3 courses for €21.00 selected from the starred items on the menu (note: all meals include an additional 10% service charge). The sad, but expected news is that there were no Dairy free options on the dessert menu. However, 3 of the 7 listed items could be made Gluten Free (such as the Chocolate and Mint Parfait or the Orange & Cointreau Crème Brulee). The waiter did suggest a fruit salad as a dessert option, which was thoughtful but instead we headed home because we, as a family, are used to deserting dessert…

My summary of Shelby’s is that although I have had more amazing meals in my life, the food was higher on the quality scale than many restaurants I’ve been to and it was nice to know exactly what on the menu could be catered to our food allergies. It is also always great to get to eat in restaurant without any fear of crossed-wires with the kitchen or having to ask a million and one questions... Not to mention the added benefit of getting out of the city!

Shelby’s Brasserie
73 Main St
Co. Wicklow

Tel: (01) 276 8894
Opening Times: Mon – Sat 17:00 to late; Sun 18:00 to late

May 28, 2011

Food Allergy Lifestyle – My Experiences w/ Food Allergy Tests & the Obstacle of Sticking With It

I know 100% without a doubt that I am allergic to Cow’s Milk, and it’s not just the lactose. I’m also certain that I have a strong sensitivity to peanuts and possibly Tomatoes & Cumin and to a lesser degree Aubergine (Eggplant)& Red Wine. I try to limit my intake of Gluten and Wheat and I am trying to eliminate refined sugar and reduce my consumption of meat, eggs and any form of animal protein just for overall health reasons. I find that I feel better when I do these additional things but they are not essential.

Why or how do I know this about my food allergies?

My mom discovered my milk allergy as a baby. I had chronic ear infections. She thought that I had grown out of it after a few years because my reactions weren’t really ‘visible’ or typical but it became pretty obvious that the allergy was still relevant when we came to Ireland on a summer holiday and I threw up after drinking full fat milk! It seemed that I could handle light milk but after a few years of this we discovered that I hadn’t grown out of anything... in fact, I just didn’t know what I was supposed to feel like! So I went back off of milk and all of a sudden I could concentrate, my ear infections stopped, my grades went up, and I was far less hyper and ‘annoying’ as my sister would put it ;).

My mom suspected other food allergies such as corn (I was/am also quite allergic to dust and horses). We went to a local allergy specialist in Thunder Bay (Canada), where I grew up and we got a skin test which was a bit mad. My whole arm seemed to be covered in itchy lumps. It was great for confirming my allergies to things like the dust and horses, and it also made me aware of a slight sensitivity to cats which I had sort of ignored but it wasn’t very helpful in determining my food allergies, so I stayed off milk, as before and watched my mom discover some crazy food allergies of her own.

In general, and as long as I stayed off milk, I was a seemly healthy child. I did catch colds easily but I fought them off quickly enough too. Looking back now I see that I had an unnatural amount of canker sores (mouth ulcers), and an almost permanent low lying dull headache once I hit my teens. But I didn't really think too much about it, or even mention it much.

However, in 2000, about two years after moving to Ireland, I began getting severe stomach cramps.

The cramps would come and go but by 2007 they were following a lot of my daily meals and almost every meal I had away from home. I had been getting sick more and more frequently and it was getting worse. I now seemed to be catching absolutely every bug that was going and just after Christmas ’07 I came down with one of the worst fevers/flues I had had in my life. So basically I was at a personal all-time low with my health.

All this prompted me to take a strange type of allergy test that my mom and aunt had done. This test combined a blood test with a machine test (which gave a number reading from your pulse, heart rate, temperature etc.. which represented how much nutrients you were absorbing from your food) and what seemed to be the testers own personal regime – maybe based on how foods react with each other?? Unfortunately I’m not very knowledgeable about the details and I don’t even know the name of the machine because I wasn’t as into the mechanics then as I am now!

The test cost €100 and then €5 for every visit thereafter. I was told to eliminate about 41 foods and some things like relishes and soy sauce as well as limiting my intake of specific meats and bread. I stuck to the diet. It was very hard at first but I have a happy talent for working around things like this :D so it got easier in time. In addition to sticking to the diet, I also completely eliminated sugar which was a personal choice – I had been recommended to only have it in strict moderation. Anyway, things started to get good. I felt better than ever, except for the stomach cramps which persisted, albeit to a lesser degree. I lost almost a stone (14 pounds) in weight even though I wasn’t even trying – at all! – and I was eating more than I had ever eaten, and loads of that food was nuts and hummus and the likes! I had loads of energy, didn’t get sick even once. My skin was looking great and most importantly I was feeling great!

I didn’t go back as often as I was supposed to (due to logistics) but I did return after 5 months (which was a shockingly long time! But I stuck with the diet the entire time). My ‘nutrient absorption’ as I call it, had previously been at a shockingly low ‘2’ (it’s supposed to be in the high 20s or 30s) which explained a lot of my illnesses but after the five months it was at 42!! I was so pleased. Then the tester started to reintroduce foods. I won’t go into the details but despite the fact that things were going well (except for the stomach cramps) for some reason I stopped following the diet.

That’s right, I stopped. I am still furious with myself for having done this because I HATE quitting anything.

Why oh WHY did I ever give up the first time?

• Because I was feeling good & looking good but had forgotten how I got there
• Because I still had some stomach cramps which I didn’t really discuss with my tester and I didn’t look further into them
• Because I gave into ‘peer’ pressure
• Because I didn’t fully understand my testers methods
• Because I was going on holiday & it was going to be 'too difficult'
• Because I find it hard when the re-introduction of foods come into play. I’m a bit ‘all or nothing’ by nature and ‘re-introduction with moderation’ is the hardest part for me.

So I threw the regime aside and watched myself go back to feeling a bit blah all over again. I also believe that sugar has a lot to do with all of this.

I have figured out that my stomach cramps had a lot (but not everything) to due with drinking liquids with my food and not chewing enough. But after a while of sliding back to exactly where I had been a year ago I wanted to know what my ACTUAL food allergies were... SO, I got a big fancy blood test. It cost €320 and showed me the levels of my sensitivities and if you read my And the Results Are... post about a year ago you saw my list of 32 sensitivities and a further 15 borderline sensitivities (ironically more food to avoid than before – Served me right!). I stuck to this diet really hard. I even avoided the extra 15 border line sensitivities. I did this and all to no benefit.

I gained back the rest of the weight I had originally lost (fluid fluid fluid!!!) plus a couple of pounds - luckily my body shape hides it moderately well. My skin was at an all-time low for months with spots replacing spots. My mood was yo-yoing, I suffered through more cold sores since I started the diet than I had had my whole life put together –seriously!– and the most frustrating thing was fluid retention. Previously I had only ever suffered from fluid retention if I got milk. Since I went off of all these new foods I had fluid retention issues every single day varying from bad to worse!

PLEASE note: that this was just my experience! I know people who have done the very same test and have got amazing results and their lives have been completely turned around, they feel and they look Great!

Needless to say I was COMPLETELY confused... I tried to give it time to settle down like they recommend but after months of this I finally gave up. Sometimes I wonder if I got somebody else’s results by mistake!?

The truth of the matter is that my gut is misbehaving and needs to heal itself. I began working on this and in the meantime reverted back to the allergy list that I once recklessly abandoned. Within weeks I looked notably healthier and my skin started to clear up.

And that is my turbulent food allergy journey from the 1979 to 2011...

Sometimes I think that it’s helpful to just hear somebody else’s struggles. I believe that it is SO important to be Honest and Open with everybody because without that we will never learn or discover that we’re not alone. Food allergies can be EXTREMELY difficult to get a hold on! They can cause frustration, there can be relapses and often times it can get worse before it gets better... The hard part can be knowing when it’s working for you and when it’s not.

It has been a bumpy journey for me but I discovered that I can be cured... now it’s just a matter of getting back to that place! And please, please, please, if it’s working for you DON’T STOP! It’s SO COMPLETELY not worth it... take it from me!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I want to do some interviews with people who have multiple food allergies or even just one or two allergies. I’m also interested in people who follow lifestyle diets like veganism. These interviews will focus on reactions, frustrations, choices, relapses, favourite foods, etc. because I think it’s important for people to share their experiences with honesty as well as to hear about other people’s journeys. I would like to share true representations of life with food allergies, to help inspire others and also to help them live life to the full while maintaining their diets – and that is exactly what Survival Guide is supposed to be about!

If you would be interested in taking part in this please let me know by:

A. Leaving a comment OR
B. Emailing me at OR
C. Contact me on twitter – I’m @allergyguide

I’d also just love to hear your thoughts and opinions (always!) even if you don’t want to take part in the interviews!

And if you read this far I wish you an extra wonderful weekend!

May 26, 2011

Dairy Free Butter/Margarine – Which to Choose?? (Soya Free & Corn Free options too!)

Before I even get started I want to shout out from the rooftops that almost ALL MARGARINES contain MILK!

It never ceases to scare me when I hear about all the people in the world who think that margarine is Dairy free by default. I do understand why people think this: it’s supposed to be made with vegetable oils instead of milk but the fact is that most margarines contain buttermilk or some other form of dairy product, for flavour and/or consistency I assume? Whatever the reason, it’s in there so watch out! ...and I will say it again and again: Please Please Please READ THE INGREDIENTS of everything you buy/eat! Even if you think that the food in question is safe because you will often be surprised, I know that I am! (i.e. - Rice Dream cheese slices contain casein which is milk protein. That was a big shocker for me when one day, years ago, my sister said that I was behaving like I had ‘got milk’ so she searched though everything I had eaten that day. It was also quite a shock for a vegan family I once informed). This also leads me to prompt you to thoroughly question the people who prepare your food because they just might not know what they think they know...but do it with delicacy because it is a sticky situation as I’m sure you will agree.

On a happier note, all this does not mean that you have no alternatives. There are a few margarines on the market which cater to the dairy free and vegan communities –whew! So let’s get back on topic: Dairy Free Margarines for the

- Dairy free/milk free
- Lactose intolerant
- Vegan

among us. There have been a few brands which have ebbed and flowed in popularity throughout the years but below are some of the currently popular options:

Pure Dairy Free Sunflower
Pure’s Sunflower spread is the best in my humble opinion. I am delighted that Pure Dairy Free expanded their butter substitute range to include soy free Sunflower (also available is Pure Olive and Pure Soya). Pure Sunflower is great for spreading, baking and cooking. It is the most food allergy friendly spread of its quality on the market. It is also the only Spread from the Pure range which is soya free. I get my Pure Sunflower spread in larger Tesco stores for €1.29 but I’ve seen it available in Down to Earth on Georges St as well.

- Dairy free
- Soya free
- Corn free
- Olive free
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Rich in Omega 3
- Free from GM ingredients
- Free from hydrogenated oils
- No artificial additives
- Fortified with Vitamins E, A, D2 and B12
Do check out Pure’s website too: because there is a very tasty looking recipe library which has many free from recipes catering to dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan and egg free diets which will help you get through the tub rather quickly no doubt!
Ingredients: Sunflower oil (40%), Water, Vegetable oils, salt (0.75%), Emulsifier (Mono and Diglycerides of Vegetable Fatty Acids), Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Colour (Natural Carotenes), Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12
Pure have also confirmed for me that the ‘Vegetable Oils’ listed in the ingredients are: Sunflower, Linseed and Palm Oil
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 2467kJ/600kcal
Protein nil
Carbohydrate nil
Of which sugars nil
Fat 67g
Of which saturates 15g
Monosaturates 19g
Polysaturates 30g
Omega 3 fatty acids 4g
Omega 6 fatty acids 26g
Fibre nil
Sodium 0.3g
Salt Equivalent 0.75g

Pure Soya Spread
A good spread in taste, texture and price (Tesco carries Pure Soya at the bargain price of €0.99 a tub). My family used to use this spread as our favourite staple until the Pure Sunflower came on the market. The biggest downfall with Pure Soya is the soya. Personally I like to limit the intake of soya in my diet but more importantly, soy is one of the Top 10 food allergens, so I like to support anything non-soy for this reason. But of course, if you don’t mind it’s a quality spread and very affordable.

- Dairy free
- Lactose free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
Website :
Ingredients: Soya Oil (45%), Water, Vegetable Oils, Salt (0.75%), ‘Natural Flavouring, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Colour (Natural Carotenes), Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12.
Pure have also confirmed for me that the ‘Vegetable Oils’ listed in the ingredients are: Soya and Palm Oil
Also, if you are interested, the oils used in the
Pure Olive spread are Rapeseed, Palm, Olive and Extra Virgin Olive but Pure Olive is not as readily available
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 2191kJ/533kcal
Protein Nil
Carbohydrate Nil
Of which sugars Nil
Fat 59.0g
Of which saturates 14.0g
Monosaturates 15.0g
Polysaturates 27.0g
Fibre Nil
Sodium 0.3g
Salt Equivalent 0.75g

Suma Soya Spread
Suma Soya Spread is made by a worker’s co-operative which is great. In their own words that means: '[all of the] day-to-day work is carried out by self-managing teams of employees who are all paid the same wage, and who all enjoy an equal voice and an equal stake in the success of the business'. I love this. If I wasn’t concerned about my soya intake I would definitely be supporting Suma for the co-operative reason alone. It is also really great to have a spread which is guaranteed to be free from nuts, peanuts and sesame (the website states this). You can usually find Suma in The Hopsack, Nourish,Down to Earth and and it is generally priced at around €2.60.

- Dairy free
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Peanut free
- Nut free
- Sesame free
- Free from Sulphur Dioxide
- Celery free
- Mustard free
Ingredients: Soya oil (45%), Water, Palm oil, Salt (0.75%), Emulsifier (Mono & Diglycerides of Fatty Acids - E471), Vitamin E, Natural Flavouring, Colour (beta carotene - E160a), Vitamin A, Vitamin D as D2, Vitamin B12
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 2231kJ/533kcal
Protein 0g
Carbohydrates 0g
Of which sugars 0g
Fat 59g
Of which sugars 14g
Fibre 0g
Sodium 0.3g
Salt 0.75g

Biona Organic: Olive Extra Spread
Biona products are quite popular and their margarines are in no way an exception to this rule. usually available in Down to Earth on Georges St and The Dublin Food Co-op. Prices are approx. €3.50-€3.80. The Olive Extra Spread is good for spreading only (as the name implies). It is not suitable for frying as it just returns to oil and defeats the purpose. I have also read suggestions to put your olive oil in the fridge to transform it into a spreadable texture but I think that I would rather drizzle my oil or use Biona’s version, but that’s just me. Free from many common food allergens makes Biona’s Olive Oil spread popular as well as it having the smaller tub size because if you are just spreading it might be hard to get through the larger quantity.

- Dairy free
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
- Soya free
- Corn free
- No salt
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Non-Hydrogenated
- Non-Interesterified
- Certified organic
- Organic Palm oil comes from sustainable sources
Ingredients: Palm fat*, sunflower oil deodorised*, water, extra virgin olive oil* (12%), sea salt (0.2%), lemon juice*
*certified organic ingredients
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 2960kJ/720kcal
Protein 0g
Carbohydrate 0g
Fat 80g
Of which saturates 30g
Mono unsaturates 31g
Poly unsaturates 19g
Cholesterol <2mg 0.1g="" 0g="" class="separator" div="" fibre="" sodium="" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">
Biona Organic: Sunflower Vegetable Margarine
Biona’s main selling point is that almost every health food store stocks it so it is one of the easiest to find. Definitely available in The Dublin Food Co-op (in both small and large tub sizes), The Hopsack, Down to Earth and I think Nourish too for about €3.80 or so. The consistency is fine, although a bit harder than some of the others and personally I find the flavour a bit lacking - but that's just personally! It’s good for cooking/baking but the biggest downfall of this margarine is that it contains soya and coconut which are not the most allergy friendly foods and therefore excludes some users. But I do appreciate Biona’s limited ingredient list because as you know, I love a short, snappy, readable ingredient list!

- Dairy free
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
- Corn free
- Olive free
- No salt
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Non-Hydrogenated
- Non-Interesterified
- Certified organic
- Organic Palm oil comes from sustainable sources
Ingredients: Sunflower Oil (50%), Palm Fat, Water, Coconut Oil, Carrot Juice, Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin, Lemon Juice
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 2960kj/720kcal
Protein 0g
Carbohydrate 0g
Fat 80g
Of which saturated fatty acids 30g
Mono unsaturated fatty acids 31g
Poly unsaturated fatty acids 19
Cholesterol <2mg 0.1g="" 0g="" class="separator" div="" fibre="" sodium="" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">

Biona Organic: Omega 3 Extra
Omega 3 Extra is Biona’s healthier option.Its not available everywhere but Nourish on Wicklow St usually stock it. The price is a bit steaper than some of the other dairy free options at about €3.99 for 250g but I suppose walnut oil and acaia fibre doesn’t come cheap. Sometimes I wonder how much omega 3 etc. I could be ingesting from margarine when I use so little of it but since I have been eating less animal protein every bite has become more important! The best bit about Omega 3 Extra is that it is soya free and coconut free, unlike Biona’s Sunflower Vegetable Margarine. It’s not as readily available but I have seen it in a handful of shops and seeing as Biona products are available in just about every health food store I have no doubt that it could be specially ordered for you in your local should you not be able to find it elsewhere.

- Dairy free
- Soya free
- Coconut free
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
- Corn free
- Olive free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- No salt
- No added sugar from cane or beet
- Contains Acaia Fibre
- Non-Hydrogenated
- Organic
- Organic Palm oil comes from sustainable sources
Ingredients: Rapeseed oil* (42%), water, palm oil*, acaia fibre* (soluble fibre), walnut oil*(2.5%), carrot juice*, lemon juice*, sea salt(0.1%)
*= Certified organic ingredients
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 2592kJ/628kcal
Protein 0.1g
Carbohydrate 0g
Fat 70g
Of which saturates 20g
Mono unsaturates 34g
Poly unsaturates 16g
Alpha linolenic acid 4.2g
Linolenic acid 11.8g
Cholesterol <2mg 3.5g="" 9mg="" class="separator" div="" e="" fibre="" g="" sodium="" style="clear: both; text-align: center;" vitamin="">
I haven’t seen too much of Vitalite in Dublin yet but it is available in some of the larger grocery stores (this one was found in Portlaoise). Vitalite is made by Dairy Crest which is a UK dairy producer so their dairy free margarine is very progressive! I would also think that it is liable to become more popular in time as Dairy Crest is a large manufacturer. It is free from a lot of the common food allergens (including soya, corn and coconut) which makes it a suitable alternative for people with multiple food allergies.

- Dairy free
- Soya free
- Corn free
- Olive free
- Coconut free
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
- Vegan*
- Vegetarian
- No hydrogenated vegetable oils
- Fortified with vitamins: Niacin, B6, B2, Folic Acid & B12
*Although the ingredients are suitable for Vegans, Vitalite is made by Dairy Crest which is a dairy manufacturer so I suppose that it depends on your belief system...
Ingredients: Vegetable Oils (of which sunflower oil 22%), Water, Salt (1.5%); Emulsifiers – E471, Sunflower Lecithin; Preservative – Potassium Sorbate; Lactic Acid; B Vitamins (Niacin, B6, B2, Folic Acid & B12); Flavourings; Colours – Annatto, Curcumin.
Dairy Crest have also confirmed for me that the ‘Vegetable Oils’ listed in the ingredients are free from corn, coconut and olive but unfortunately my contact was not at liberty to share the full ingredients in order to protect the recipe… c’est la vie
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 2068kJ/503kcal
Protein 0g
Carbohydrate 0g
Of which sugars 0g
Fat 56g
Of which saturates 12.2g
Mono-unsaturates 22.5g
Polyunsaturates 18.6g
Fibre 0g
Sodium 0.6g
Riboflavin 0.96mg
Vitamin B6 1.2mg
Niacin 10.8g
Folic Acid 120ug
Vitamin B12 0.60ug
Vitamin E 18mg

Marks & Spencers Low Fat Dairy Free Sunflower Spread
It’s creamy, it’s smooth, it doesn’t have some of the ‘usual suspect’ substitute flavours and it even seems to melt a tiny bit better if you pop some into your boiling pot of pasta while its cooking and best of all, it’s not expensive! At less than €2 it is a true rival to Pure.

- Dairy free
- Soya free
- Olive free
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
Ingredients: Water, Sunflower Oil (22%), Vegetable Oils (Palm & Linseed), Salt (1.4%), Stabiliser: E401, Vegetable Fibre, Emulsifier (E471), Citric Acid, Natural Colour (Mixed Carotenes), Natural Flavouring, Vitamins A & D
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 1410kJ/345kcal
Protein 0g
Carbohydrate 0.2g
Of which sugars 0.2g
Fat 38g
Of which saturates 10.5g
Mono-unsaturates 11.0g
Polyunsaturates 14.5g
Trans Fatty Acid 0.3g
Fibre 1.3g
Sodium 0.56g
Equivalent as salt 1.40g

And let us not forget good old fashioned

Vegetable Shortening!
Vegetable Shortening is generally dairy free (but always check the ingredients!) and is great for pastries and the likes. It’s also super affordable. My mom has done more deluxe allergy friendly baking than I have in the past and claims that half and half DF margarine & vegetable shortening has not been hugely beneficial to her but if you want to try it out there are a few food allergy friendly shortenings to choose from. Some Vegetarian and Vegan shortenings are Stork - €0.69, Cookeen - €0.87, or Dunnes Stores own brand Margarine - €0.58. Some non-vegetarian Dairy free options are Frytex - €0.86c or Dunnes Stores own brand Cooking Fat - €0.66.

I am of course open to contradiction so please share your thoughts and any other butter substitites that you might hold dear to your hearts! And if you have had loads of success on this or indeed any topic, please do share your experiences especially if you have yum recipes which are particularly suitable for one dairy free margarine over another!

Happy allergy-free baking, cooking & spreading in the meantime!

May 23, 2011

Dairy Free Dessert - Super Affordable, Super Tasty Strudels

One of the things about having Food Allergies that can get me down is always having to prepare and plan ahead and not being able to just pop into a shop and pick up something tasty when the mood hits. One of the other annoyances is paying a lot of money for your food allergy friendly treat. But sometimes things just come together…

My dairy free family members have been indulging recently in the best way possible – in cheap, dairy free and yum-town good strudels! Extra exciting is the naturally Egg free attributes of some of said strudels!

There are at least three strudels on the market which fit this bill. They are all naturally dairy free and quite similar to each other but Lidl’s steal of a strudel has been voted the best in my extensive survey of three ;) The bad news is that my local Lidl stores have been out of stock for a few months now and cannot guarantee their return (but I don’t know if this goes for all Lidl stores or just my local branches). The good news is that the Aldi and Tesco versions are good too and have the same bargain basement pricing! At €1.29 I don’t think that anyone can complain about value for money!

They can all be found in the frozen dessert sections of their respective stores and bake up in about 40-45 minutes from frozen. Cut a generous slice and top it off with your favourite dairy free ice cream (ours is Swedish Glace Vanilla - pictured above) and I swear that nobody will even know that they are feasting on a dairy free dessert!

Lidl: €1.29 and voted as the best in my family. Sadly out of stock for the time being so the full ingredients and nutritional information are temporarily unavailable… Sorry!

- Dairy free, at least -possibly free from more

Aldi: €1.29 and standing at a tie with Tesco for second place. The strudel & ice cream in the title photograph is Aldi's 'Heavenly Desserts Continental Strudel' (pictured above in it's packaging). Note: Aldi also make a plum and custard strudel but that one is NOT dairy free.

- Dairy free
- Egg free
- Vegetarian
- Vegan (although not labeled as such)

Ingredients: Apples (43%), Wheat Flour, Vegetable Margarine (Vegetable Fat, Vegetable Oil, Water, Emulsifiers: Mono-And Diglycerides of Fatty Acids, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids; Salt, Acidity Regulators: Citric Acid, Sodium Citrates), Water, Sugar, Sultanas (3%), Modified Potato Starch, Breadcrumbs (Wheat Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast), Salt, Acidity Regulator: Citric Acid; Glucose Syrup, Vegetable Fat, Cinnamon, Thickeners: Calcium Alginate, Sodium Alginate; Flavouring

Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 1034kJ/247kcal
Protein 3g
Carbohydrate 32.4g
of which sugars 14.3g
Fat 11.0g
of which saturates 5.7g
Fibre 3.2g
Sodium 0.11g
Salt equivalent 0.27g

Tesco: also €1.29 (in competition, dare we say?) and tied with Aldi for second place. (Pictured above in its packaging)

- Dairy free
- Egg free
- Vegetarian
- Vegan (although not labeled as such)

Ingredients: Apple (43%), Wheat Flour, Vegetable Margarine, Water, Sugar, Sultanas (3%), Modified Potato Starch, Breadcrumbs, Cinnamon, Salt, Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid), Glucose Syrup, Thickeners (Sodium Alginate, Calcium Alginate), Vegetable Fat, Flavouring.
Vegetable Margarine contains Vegetable Fat, Vegetable Oil, Water, Colour (Beta-Carotene), Emulsifier (Mono- and Di-Glycerides of Fatty Acids), Flavouring, Acidity Regulator (Cirtic Acid), Salt.
Breadcrumbs contain: Wheat Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast

Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 1020kJ/245kcal
Protein 2.9g
Carbohydrate 30.9g
of which sugars 12.3g
Fat 12.0g
of which saturates 6.4g
mono-saturates 3.2g
polysaturates 1.0g
Fibre 0.7g
Sodium 0.1g
Salt equivalent 0.2g

Have you ever tried any of these strudels before? If not give them a go and let us know what you think!

May 21, 2011

Food Allergy Lifestyle – Budget Groceries with Food Allergies (dairy free, egg free & many more!)

Today’s post is a bit different. It’s about ‘Food Allergy Lifestyle’. I've wanted to expand Survival Guide: Dublin with Food Allergies for a while now to include a 3rd weekly post dedicated to discussing ‘Life’ with food allergies. By this I mean groceries, allergy tests, living with allergies on a day-to-day basis, recipes and experiences, or anything that might fall under this category – I’m totally open to suggestions too as I always love to hear from you! So I will launch my first official ‘Food Allergy Lifestyle’ post today: ‘Budget Groceries with Food Allergies’ which is a topic that is of increasing interest to me.

Possibly due to the recession, possibly due to the sky-rocketing prices of allergy friendly foods, or perhaps just to teach myself a lesson and practice self-restraint. Whatever, the reason I am on a mission to live within a stricter budget without giving up my quality of life/food.

You might have noticed from time to time, reading my posts or by following me on Twitter, that the varying price of food from shop to shop is something that interests me, sometimes infuriates me but mostly bewilders me. I understand rent differences, and turnover and all of that fun stuff involved with running a shop but still, if it’s not ingredient lists, then its prices which engross me when I’m shopping, more out of interest than being savvy but that’s about to change! I want to eat well which, to me means eating a nutrient rich and balanced diet that tastes good – and all this I want within a budget… and of course this has to happen with consideration of my food allergies...

I was inspired by a post in titled Frugal Feeding your Family of 4 for <€56 per week that appeared in anygivenfood’s Sunday blogroll a couple of weeks ago. After reading this post I was annoyed at the amount of money I spend every week on food alone. I have long wanted to scale back a bit on my weekly bill. There was a time when I regularly spent between €80-100 on my food bill (for just me). I have scaled this back a bit but instead of continuing to reduce it, it seems to be creeping up again. I am presently spending about €70 on food each week which feeds just me and an additional couple of dinners and snacks for F when he’s about on the weekend. The time has at last come to change my ways in earnest.

I don’t believe that I should have to pay two and three times the amount of money to eat both healthy and tasty food just because I have food allergies. I don’t like supporting shops which have 40% mark ups from the RRP (or any % markups for that matter) just because something is Dairy free or Gluten free or Vegan. I especially don’t think that quality fresh fruit and vegetables should cost the world. For me, living food allergy free is not a luxury. It is a necessity and I don’t believe that the prices of this necessity should be reflecting a luxury lifestyle as is so often the case in Ireland.

So as I was saying, I was inspired...

First: I decided to start making proper shopping lists (harder to do than I had imagined) so I would only buy what I need.

Second: I also decided to do some serious shopping around to find the best deals on good quality foods in Dublin

Finally: I decided to share this change of pattern with Survival Guide because I want to inspire others to
- be savvy shoppers
- get ideas for their own food allergy friendly grocery lists
- help me with any ideas or bargains you might know of!

On a side note, just to make it more fun for myself I added a little challenge. I rang my mom and told her what was on my shopping list. She possesses a curious talent for adding up the price of what a list of groceries will cost. She is not very savvy herself but has years of experience with the weekly shopping. The challenge was to beat her prediction.

So, my shopping list was:
- Biona Balance Oil (or Hemp oil)
- Vegan Margarine
- Toothpaste (Tom’s of Maine)
- Carob Powder
- Manuka Honey
- Oat Bran
- Rice Milk x 1
- Drinking Water
- Ground Almonds
- Rice Noodles
- Bok Choy
- Sunflower Seeds
- Raspberries (or Blueberries)
- Wholegrain Bread
- Medjool Dates x10
- Fresh Beetroot x1
- Fresh Mint x1
- Sprouts
- Canned Chickpeas x1
- Canned Beans x1
- Lemon x1
- Leeks x3
- Spring Onions (Scallions)
- Courgette x1
- Carrot x3
- Spices x1 (something new!)
- Sugar Snap Peas

Mom’s prediction was €66.00 (she said that if she could see the food in front of her she could probably guess it within 30c –note: Mom lives in co. Laois.

And so the hunt began... my shops were:
- 375 g rice noodles €1.25
- 2 x 400g boiled chickpeas €1.30
- 300 g ground almonds €3.20
- pack of 6 bok choy heads €2.20
- bunch of fresh mint €1.90
- 1 lemon €0.40
- 200g sugar snap peas €1.95
- 1 x sweet potato (white flesh) €1.17

- wholegrain bread €1.79

- 85ml tom’s of maine toothpaste €3.95

- 300g frozen blueberries €2.00
- 1 x 400g fava beans €0.99
- 40g ground galangal €1.50
- 3 small carrots (@1.50kg) €0.41
- 227g bean sprouts €0.99
- 1 x courgette/zucchini (@3.49kg) €1.24

- 5 ltr still spring water €1.89
- Carton organic rice dream milk €2.00

- 10x medjool dates €3.50

- 250G sunflower seeds €1.50
- 1 bunch scallions (green onions) €0.89
- 4 x leeks (2 sml, 2med @1.99kg) €1.80
- 250g +12 manuka honey €11.65
- 250ml hemp oil €10.76
- 500g oat bran €1.50
- 250g carob powder €2.50

The outcome: €64.23 a.k.a. Failure
because I didn’t even get two things on the list (fresh beetroot & vegan margarine) & I made a couple last minute changes to keep the bill down –not exactly fair to the challenge but I didn’t want to lose sight of the forest through the trees!
I did make two obvious mistakes. I definitely could have got my hemp oil for cheaper at The Hopsack in Rathmines and I found out too late that Dunnes Stores carry Manuka honey for significantly less money so I will have to try out some of their brands when I run out.

So, one point for mom and I predict a long road ahead trying to get my bill down to at least €50
Please share any thoughts, experiences or tips you have!

Have a nice weekend.

May 19, 2011

Fabulous Dairy Free Biscuits Found in TK Max

Last Wednesday I had the happiest morning! I was about to go downstairs and make myself my regular breakfast of oat bran with berries and ground flax seeds with a side of fruit when the doorbell rang and oh to my surprise - It was the post man with a package for me!! My very good friend C. had posted me some biscuits that she had found which just so happened to be dairy free! C. and her partner P. (also dairy free) had found some ‘Keep Calm and Carry On Fabulous Oatie Flips’ in TK Max (in Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, Dublin 2), and had loved them SO much that they returned to buy two more packages AND a package for me!! Yum!
Now, I have technically just given up refined sugar but a gift is a gift,and it's not something that I want to become obsessive over as it's only a choice as opposed to an allergy - and a new choice at that! ... and Oh. My. Goodness.
‘Keep Calm & Carry On Fabulous Oatie Flips’ are Amazing! They don't actually look as good as they are because they are quite pale in colour but the flavour definitely makes up for that! I had to keep re-reading the ingredients because they tasted sooo unbelievably buttery and good that I just couldn’t believe that they were

- Dairy free!
- Egg free!
- Animal protein free!
- Wheat free! –although cross-contamination is always an issue when talking about oats
- Potato free

I had actually seen these ‘Fabulous Oaty Flips’ in TK Max in Portlaoise on a weekend trip but had been on a much stricter regime at that time and had already been far to frivolous that day to warrant buying them for anybody else... So you can imagine my extra delight on them being forced upon me!!
Needless to say, my very healthy breakfast quickly transformed into sugary fat-laden biscuits but not just any sugary fat-laden biscuits, the BEST sugary fat-laden biscuits that I’ve ever had (possibly an exaggeration, but they just taste so buttery!). They also make me wish I lived in the 1940s (minus the war) because these Oatie Flips are supposedly made according to the ‘Original Old Recipe Biscuits’ and if that’s what biscuits tasted like then send me back!

Oh, and they also come in a cool tin too :) So thank you C!

Rolled Oats (48%), Vegetable Fat (contains salt, natural colours: annatto & curcumin, emulsifier E475 & flavouring), Sugar.
Nutritional Information per 100g: unavailable – and maybe it’s better for business that way!

May 16, 2011

The Millstone – A Dedicated Gluten Free Menu with Food Allergy Work-Ability

The Millstone restaurant is a beautiful two level restaurant located in the heart of Dublin city on Dame St (Dublin 2). The restaurant is traditionally decorated like so many old-fashioned restaurants on the continent and has a warm and cozy feel which is encouraged with live music every night of the week. The music we had last night (Sunday) was classical guitar with female vocals singing songs like ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ and a soft version of ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’.
The Millstone gets a lot of tourists due to its central location and large servings which is always nice after a long day of sight-seeing and city walking so note that it does begin to fill up quickly from 6pm onwards, even in these recessional times. But of course, our real interest at Survival Guide is how they cater to food allergies...

Our dinner party consisted of myself and my food allergies, my sister who is dairy free and avoids gluten and my father who is allergy free – someone in our family had to be lucky!

Gluten free options are a lovely thing but an especially dedicated Gluten Free menu is quite an amazingly lovely thing! And yes, that is just what the Millstone offers. The other lovely thing is that the menu says right on the top of the 1st page that if you have food allergies to let the staff know - I like this.

So, we easily worked around our dairy intolerances and picked dishes that suited my other multiple issues.
The really nice thing about the gluten free menu for me is that it’s almost the same length as the regular menu and they even have a ‘Coeliac Traditional Irish Set Menu’ to choose from which has some of your favourite Irish meals like:

- Seafood Chowder
- Irish Salmon dishes
- Steamed Mussels
- Irish Stew
- Slow Roast Lamb Belly
- Vegetable & Goats Cheese Potato Pie

And also, desserts like Homemade Apple Flan on a gluten free sponge or homemade Bailey’s Crème Brulée! -obviously not dairy free on either account but still impressive.

There are also pizzas made with a homemade gluten free pizza dough. I had the Thai Curry Pizza with the Thai Vegetable option which was alright depending on how long it had been since you had a normal pizza. I of course had this without cheese due to my allergy to cow’s milk (but I really like cheese-less pizzas, even if I had the option!). The pizza base didn’t really wow me as it was fairly dense and you could definitely taste the baking powder but my sister had the Gluten Free Chicken & Prawn Piri-Piri which wowed the socks off her!

Also, as an additional note, my Dad had a steak which came with a massive juicy mushroom and thick soft onions. He gets steak almost everywhere he goes - too long in Canada I imagine ;) - but my sister and I can vouch with our hands on our hearts that The Millstone steak was the TASTIEST looking steak we have ever seen. And on top of that, it was also the thickest steak that we have even seen in Ireland! - and remember, he gets steak everywhere so we’ve seen our fair share of steaks!

So the lowdown is: if you’re Gluten free you will have an entire menu to choose from at the Millstone restaurant on Dame St and if you have some other type of food allergy the staff welcomes the knowledge and will help you work around your allergy the best they can, despite not having dedicated menus for everything. Note: the full menus for dinner, lunch & brunch (main menu & coeliac menu) are available on their website

Millstone Restaurant
39 Dame Street
Dublin 2
Tel: 01 679 9931
Opening Times: Sun – Thurs 10:30-23:00; Fri – Sat 10:30-23:30

May 13, 2011

Some Food Allergy Free Treats to Try-Out on Saturdays

I noticed a couple food allergy friendly foods last Saturday when I was cutting through Cow’s Lane in search of Vitamin C to counteract my unfortunate milk mistake... so if you’re dairy free, egg free, gluten free, raw, vegan or sugar free today’s post is about some food allergy finds in the Temple Bar Food Market.

1. Why is the Temple Bar Food Market scattered about Temple Bar and sharing space with the Cow’s Lane Fashion & Design market instead of being nestled away in its regular Meeting House square location?
- Because it seems that in efforts of making Meeting House Square more rain-friendly by building retractable canopies a Viking Settlement ( was stumbled upon! So needless to say, it will be a while until things are back to normal – if ever...

2. Where is the Temple Bar Food Market:
- Previously/Usually located in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, 12 East Essex Street, Dublin 2
- Temporarily distributed between Cow’s Lane, East Essex Street and Curved Street all, of which are in Temple Bar (As cozy as the Square was, I actually think this is an improvement to the area – it makes a great buzz and helps the Fashion and Design Market in Cow’s Lane)

3. When is it: Every Saturday from 10:00 to 16:30

4. When will I get to the food allergy friendly foods that can be found in the market:
- Now!

Piece of Cake Bakery – Belfast
I didn’t get a chance to chat and research this too much because the stall was quite busy and I was on a mission that sadly didn’t allow me to hang around but if you’re gluten free I think that they might be worth checking out. There were 3 or 4 clearly marked gluten free foods that looked delicious. One of which was titled: Polenta Lemon & Almond Cake – how tasty does that sound?! ‘Piece of Cake Belfast’ have been working away at their business for years and years and their popularity doesn’t seem to falter (judged by some online reviews and the amount of stock) so I imagine that there gluten free offerings must be in good shape. From the looks of things I would say that they use a lot of corn flour or maize for their gluten free products but that’s just a guess – Please correct me if you know different! Also note: perhaps be aware of cross-contamination when you're choosing as everything is stacked side by side on the stall...

If anybody tries them out this weekend (past, present or future weekends too!) Please share with the rest of us – I am sometimes limited to ogling due to my own multiple food allergies but I would love to know if looks were deceiving or solid gold or even just 9karat!

Darko Marjanovic
‘Piece of Cake’
53 Springband Ind Estate

Other markets/suppliers:
St. George’s Market
May Street, Belfast, BT1 1NN
Tel: +44 28 9024 6609

Natasha’s Living Foods
If you have looked around almost any city centre health food store in Dublin you will probably have come across Natasha’s Living Food range. She makes a range of Raw-Vegan foods covering cakes, sweets, snack foods, dips and salads and has a strong branding which is both visually alluring and luxurious. Although I might be considering cutting back animal protein from my diet, I’m definitely not raw, nor likely to become raw in the near future. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t have some too! When eating raw confectionaries I think that it’s important to erase any traditional mental associations you have to things like brownies and cakes before taking the first bite. This is also relevant to raw chocolate because there is a distinct difference in the taste and sometimes the texture but that’s not necessarily a bad thing… it’s just different. The biggest reasons for trying out some of this living food is because

1. it’s all the rage, dahling
& far more importantly
2. Raw foods just happen to be very food allergy friendly!

Natasha’s Living Foods guarantee to be:
- Dairy free
- Wheat free
- Egg free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Free from chemically processed and/or pasturised ingredients
- Fair-trade where possible
- Organic
- Free from flour (of any sort)

The most popularly stocked items (in shops) seem to be her chocolates, hummus and squares but the Living Foods range has: Ganache Tarts and Tortes, Chocolate Truffles, Hummus, Agave Nectar, Cocoa Spread, Crackers and Snack Mixes, Cocoa & Coconut Squares and Protein/Energy Squares. But if you’re on a limited budget you might want to think up of an occasion because these tempting raw products don’t come cheap. Although sometimes it feels like the entire ‘free-from’ world in Ireland is a luxury lifestyle – but that’s a gripe for another day…

‘Natasha's Living Food’
Unit B3, Spade Enterprise Centre
North King St
Dublin 7
Tel: 01 6174 807

Other markets/suppliers:
Also available at the Dublin Food Co-op (Newmarket Square, off Cork St, Dublin ) & Dun Laoghaire Sunday Market (The People’s Park, Dun Laoghaire, co. Dublin)
Nourish, The Hopsack (Rathmines), Restore (Camden St), Art of Eating (Dun Laoghaire), Blazing Salads (Drury St), Evergreen Green Grocers (Wexford St), Select Stores (Dalkey), Down to Earth (South Great Georges St)
Ukiyo Bar
(Exchequer St) and Yamamori Sushi (The Quays) and Yamamori Noodles (South Great Georges St)

May 9, 2011

The Vegan Bakesale Sale & a Food Allergy Lifestyle Reminder Learnt the Hard Way

On Saturday I skipped into town to explore the Vegan Bake Sale in the Dublin Exchange (Dublin’s contribution to the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale 2011). I knew that the venue was on the smaller side so the sale wouldn’t be massive but I was surprised at the 3 tables which totalled the sale. Dublin needs more Vegans!! Despite this surprise there were still plenty of very yummy things on offer at VERY affordable prices - Like a moist slice of Chocolate Banana Bread for 50c or a delicious puff pastry with fruits for €1! There were cakes, brownies, cookies, chocolate squares, coconut buns and I know not what else.
So yes, despite the seemingly small venue on Saturday this beggar certainly had the luxury of being a chooser too! There were comfy couches to sit in while you enjoyed your eat-in baked goods and sipped your tea or coffee which was cooled down with rice milk. On the whole there was a good vibe at the sale which was heightened by the regular Saturday market in Cow’s lane which spills over to the Exchange’s front door.
The Dublin Exchange is a collective arts venue so there was an exhibition in the side room and the bake sale area was shared with what seemed to be a ?weekly? arts and craft sale. One of the tables which were part of the arts & craft element was also selling baked goods. What I didn’t know (and dread to think of how many other people didn’t know) was that these baked goods had nothing to do with the vegan bake sale, were not vegan, and had no sign stating as much. In retrospect I should have been more suspicious because I had noticed that the signs which labeled the food at this table didn’t sport the Vegetarian Society logo and there were no ingredient lists like at the other three tables. But then again, it was a ‘vegan bake sale’ so I lured myself into a false sense of security. Mixed with this security and possibly hope (the mind is SO strong...and so weak) I opted for their lemon tart... which tasted truly amazing.

I read somewhere just last week that old and valuable saying: ‘if it seems too good to be true it probably isn’t as it seems’. I hate having to take that attitude and having to be so distrustful of people but truer words have seldom been spoken. I was already beginning to feel my ears clogging up and was becoming slightly curious as to what set it off. I was really savouring my tart and marveling at the consistency and taste… still not putting two and two together until a friend came up grinning about the vegan quiche he just bought which contained egg, cream and bacon! My face dropped as I looked down at my half eaten tart which was bought at the same table. He said that when the girl beside him heard this she asked for her money back.
At this late point I knew that my tart was definitely not dairy free or egg free. Hell, the quiche wasn’t even vegetarian! I went back to the table on principle alone. They were very apologetic when I told them that I had food allergies. She offered my money back but I said it didn’t matter because it was for charity (in retrospect that portion of the sale probably wasn’t even for charity - doh!). I let my dairy-digesting friend finish my tart and the girl came after us to apologize again because she also has food allergies and found that sort of thing very frustrating (?!). She was quite friendly and I felt bad for being annoyed but geez!! We suggested that they make a sign and so they did, so anybody who went along to the vegan bake sale after about 12:45pm was probably safe…

But don’t let this little story dishearten you or make you angry. The moral of it all is meant to remind you once again that you should NEVER get comfortable in the lap of luxury because it just might stand up (I’m full of proverbs today!-that one is one of my father’s favourites). NEVER assume. ALWAYS ask... EVEN at a vegan bake sale!

After all of this my ears proceeded to get worse and I was afraid of the rest of the side-effects getting a grip on me so I ran off to a healthfood store and bought some chewable vitamin C and dosed myself pretty heavily to counteract the invasion. This being Monday I think that I’m in the clear. I’m still dealing with some extra congestion and a lack of energy and some slightly sore muscles but on the whole I’m just really happy that I caught it so early and got off so lightly this time!
But I don’t want to end on such a negative note! I want to tell you that the puff pastry with fruits was truly scrumptious! I thought that it was a great idea to have the recipes on display because it would encourage people to try a vegan lifestyle if they were new to the concept and give hope to anybody starting out on a dairy free or egg free diet. Also, I should say that I was extra thankful for the baked goods on sale that were vegan because I am in the middle of Campbell’s ‘The China Study’ which is a must read for anybody who cares about their health. I am seriously considering an X on all animal protein.

There is nothing to encourage you to give up even more foods than amazingly tasty dairy free, egg free and meat free baked goods-a-plenty! I will probably never become a true vegan but I sense that my world, as I know it is changing. Once I get my ‘extra’ food allergies under check I will be looking at my diet with a very stern disposition –I just hope that F doesn’t gloat too much!
The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health