Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New products: it's a good time to be food allergic!

As I was walking through my local Whole Foods today, I thought to myself, "Wow, what a good time it is to have food allergies! It's true! Honestly, it's not something that I usually say....usually it's the exact opposite  -- especially when I'm walking by a yummy European bakery and there are big, fat, buttery pain au chocolats (chocolate croissants) in the window.  Then I usually say something to the effect of "!@#$%^ food allergies!".

However today, I felt grateful and lucky.  People all over the world are more aware of what they eat than ever thanks to the efforts of people like Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, Mark Bittman, author of Food Matters and his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook, First Lady Michelle Obama, and movies such as "Supersize Me" and "Food, Inc".  The Internet allows us to share information and idea with others almost in real-time.  Manufactures have also figured out that there is a profitable market for people like us who don't want to eat food with conventional fillers and preservatives and using non-traditional ingredients. And retailers like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and other mainstream grocery stores are carrying more specialty foods than ever before. My recent discoveries:

(1) New Earth Balance butter substitute WITHOUT SOY.  I have not had anything that tasted like butter in years since they almost all contain soy, so I may have to go find something buttery to bake right this second!
(2) Another vegetable shortening, Jungle Shortening, which uses 100% organic palm and sunflower oil.  Before this I used Spectrum shortening which is 100% palm oil.
(3) Soy Delicious brand creamer made with 100% coconut milk. Light, smooth, excellent with coffee and tea, a little thin for everyday drinking, like with cereal.
(4) Daiya cheese, made with tapioca.  Free of soy and rice.  I'll post separately on this since I'm still experimenting.  Delicious.

(5) And lastly, today I saw a commercial for the new Silk Almond milk and am SO excited to try it! Before I discovered I was allergic to soy, Silk was my favorite soy milk brand because it had the best texture and taste to match cow's milk. So I have high expectations.

Anyhow, today I feel deeply grateful that I'm living in a place and time where I have so many food allergy substitutes available to me.  And that I'm not forced to eat food that is bad for me just because there are no alternatives to be had (for example? When I was in China last year, trying to avoid soy there was like trying to avoid oxygen.  Ugh.).  One way you can help to keep up this momentum is to be a vocal consumer!  Continue to talk to manufacturers -- send emails and call to ask for products that you want to see.  When manufacturers hear from enough of their customers, they are more likely to look at creating new products. Empower yourselves and others to get the food products we want and need!

Keep the faith people!  More good stuff is coming our way.

Earth Balance products can be purchased at these stores
Jungle products can be purchased at these stores (on online soon as well!)
Soy Delicious products can be purchased at these stores
Daiya cheese products can be purchased at these stores
Silk Almond milk can be purchased at these stores


Every Star Is Different said...

I miss living in a place with great specialty foods. Thanks for posting about the new products. The coconut products are great. I haven't seen the new Earth Balance butter around here yet. I really look forward to your review of the tapioca cheese and am really hoping it will be something I can use with my boys!

Food Allergy Queen said...

Thanks for the reminder Renae, I just added the store locators for each. Hopefully the products will be available online soon for those in smaller cities!

Maggie said...

The So Delicious 100% coconut milk is really nice. Their kefir is also very nice.

Susan Weissman said...

Agreed - My son was diagnosed with multiple allergies in 2003. Seven years later I can barely believe how many more products there are for food allergic people! I am grateful to all the individuals who started these companies and lines because I have no interest in baking or cooking more than I already have to...

Anonymous said...

Do we know for certain that the new Silk Almond Milk is Gluten Free? My son is allergic to Gluten and I bought this for him. He is having terrible seasonal allergies and then I looked at the new milk and there is nothing about gluten free on the label. How would I go about finding this out? The website for the product is all advertising.

Food Allergy Queen said...

Unfortunately, "gluten-free" is currently only an optional label for food-manufacturers -- they are only required to list top 8 allergens such as wheat, dairy, soy, nuts, peanuts, etc. It doesn't mean that it's not gluten-free, it's just not labelled as such. However to be sure you should contact the manufacturer. Let us know!