It’s not easy living with intolerance or allergic reactions to certain foods, but it’s still possible to enjoy great food affordably and healthily. It’s estimated by the Food Standards Agency that some two million people in the UK have some form of diagnosed food allergy, with 600,000 living with Coeliac disease.
Today we’re going to run through the most common kinds of food allergies and dietary preferences and what you can consider buying for yourself or people with those restrictions. Let’s get to it.
Gluten-Free and Celiac
People can have varying degrees of negative response to ingesting gluten. For some, eating food with gluten in it can have an irritating effect, leading to gastric distress and discomfort. For those with more serious reactions or conditions like Coeliac disease, consequences of consuming gluten can include diabetes, heart failure, thyroid disease and more.
For these individuals, it’s best to look for options that are explicitly free of sources of gluten such as barley, rye, oats and wheat. Fortunately, there’s a fantastic range of ‘Free From’ foods which mimic all the staples like bread, pasta and pizza — just without any gluten.
A person who is diabetic has difficulty producing insulin, which means they need to keep a constant and careful eye on their blood sugar levels. As you’d imagine, this means they need to be very careful about how they consume sugary foods.
There are still excellent options you can consider for diabetic individuals, though. Popular entries include healthy fruit and vegetables like berries, almonds, avocado and beans. Fatty fish, leafy greens and eggs are also a popular choice. With a little planning, designing meals around a diabetic person is very doable.
This one is more common than you’d think, making it an important thing to be mindful of in meal planning, catering and the food industry in general. Many children and adults are unable to consume dairy products such as cheese and milk, limiting their mainstream food options.
For individuals who are lactose intolerant, you can turn to the extensive range of alternative milk and dairy products, many of which are based on nuts and soy. Look for things like oat, hazelnut and almond milk for cooking and drinks and consider imitation cheeses that are often made with soy instead of dairy ingredients. You can also scan packaging for ‘dairy-free’ or ‘suitable for vegans’ symbols.
This is another very serious allergy to consider and be mindful of if warned by a dinner guest or customer. Allergic reactions to things like peanuts can be dangerous and, in some cases, fatal through anaphylaxis. Symptoms can vary from rashes and swollen lips to stomach pain, nausea and more. If you are warned of someone having an allergy to nuts, it’s vital you take it seriously and change your planning and meal preparation to accommodate them.
As is the case with lactose-intolerant people, you’ll want to be diligent in checking the labelling on your food products for people with nut allergies. Key to this, though, is that you should check the labels on all the food you buy, even if it seems obvious it wouldn’t have nuts in it. Many products are prepared alongside nuts, transferring residual amounts into products. This can be enough to trigger an allergic reaction. Buy ‘Free From’ and always look closely.
We hope that helps!
The team here at Welsh Hills Bakery hope you’ve found this informative and useful. Being mindful and considerate of people’s dietary restrictions is important and, with a little work and a careful eye, you’ll soon find there are plenty of options available to include and accommodate them.