Author Topic: Mustachianism and food allergies  (Read 6667 times)

Gremlin

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Mustachianism and food allergies
« on: April 23, 2013, 12:53:52 AM »
This is my first post, so please be gentle.

My wife and I have been making significant steps towards a more low cost lifestyle.  We've been living broadly like mustschians for a little while now but have only just found this community.

We've done we'll in many aspects of our spending but one key difficulty has been food.  Our eight year old boy has been diagnosed with a very, very long list of food allergies, including dairy, wheat, soy, eggs, nuts, potato, rice, fish, shellfish, tomato, capsicum, eggplant, chilli and legumes.  In addition, he can only tolerate chicken infrequently (any more than one serve about every three days and he reacts to it).

On the one hand, this has virtually eliminated eating out and the costs associated with it.  On the other hand, our grocery bill has skyrocketed.

Whilst we can live with a reduction in variety, he's a growing boy and hence needs to get a good amount of nutrition.  We're struggling to find mustachian priced alternative sources for calcium and protein in particular.  Our fall back to date has been calcium enriched oat milk for the calcium and red meat for the protein given he can have them, but they're putting a substantial dent in the grocery budget.

Filling school lunch boxes is also relatively expensive.  Bread substitutes are far more expensive than bread for a sandwich.

Is anyone able to suggest some healthy, inexpensive alternatives that fit the food profile for our son?

BlueBeard

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2013, 06:11:14 AM »
I eat gluten free. Gluten free bread is also much more than traditional bread.  I now use lettuce as the bread and create a wrap. I actually like it better than bread. 

What cuts of beef are you using?

Mrs WW

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2013, 07:11:51 AM »
Make your own oat milk by mixing 3dl of oatmeal (not instant) with 15 dl of water, a pich of salt and 3tbsp of neutral tasting oil. Mix it thoroughly an then strain it through cheese cloth. Et voila you just made your own milk. It keeps in the fridge for at least a week. I guess you could blend in some vitamines to fortify it as well. Happy mixing!

Vilx-

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2013, 07:46:40 AM »
That's a very long list! While it is certainly possible, such cases are quite rare. Are you sure that the diagnosis is correct? Allergies are a tricky thing and tend to change over time. Perhaps it's not as bad as it seems? Maybe try testing them at a different doctor? (Unless you're tired of doctors already, of course - arriving to that list must have taken a lot of time and strength)

maryofdoom

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2013, 08:03:32 AM »
Wow...that's a long list of allergies. I've never dealt with food allergies myself, just a weird aversion that I have (I can't eat plain cooked eggs, so no omelets, scrambled eggs, or frittata for me; but it's not a true allergy, so eggs in other things, like cakes, are fine).

I think a thing that might help you is to think about meal planning a little differently. Hear me out - it's a little tricky to explain. I don't think you should go to extra effort to buy non-allergic substitutes for foods that are allergens to him. You're right that non-allergic substitutes are expensive. Instead, I think you should focus on making cheap, tasty meals that don't contain the things that, in normal form, have allergens in them.

I've seen this philosophy espoused here for vegetarian eating. If you are a vegetarian hosting a cookout, you can pay a lot for a Boca Burger and get something that goes on a bun and doesn't taste like meat at all, or you can grill up some portobello mushrooms (for example) and other vegetables and enjoy those. A mushroom is not a burger and it doesn't aspire to be a burger. It's a mushroom. Embrace the mushroom.

For protein sources, you might try quinoa, if you haven't already.

Does he have to have a sandwich at lunch? Could he bring something else that keeps at room temperature and doesn't include pricey gluten-free bread?

I hope some of this helps you out.

Daley

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2013, 08:14:00 AM »
Gremlin, I sympathize and feel your pain. Short of buying in bulk with the beef (like a quarter cow at a time bulk), and trying to take advantage of either growing your own vegetation or utilizing cheaper local growers through a co-op or CSA and thereby going with more seasonal eating, there's not much more you can do on the food front than that. Unfortunately, this sort of allergy setup is best handled through a more raw and unprocessed diet which in a way means reverting back to a pre-industrial food chain.

That said, first, experiment around with kosher foods... especially on the meat end. Kosher's not just a specific form of humane slaughter, some cases the animal is checked for health issues in the lungs (glatt kosher), it's also drained of blood and lightly salt cured to try and remove any remaining blood from the meat... if you can find it and when done properly, grass raised and finished glatt kosher beef is basically the best you'll get. Personally, I find it tastes better, and there's been studies that indicate that the meat digests better and is healthier with a majority of the blood removed and nearly none of the high-stress hormone cocktail released by the animal before death when done right. You might find your son has an easier time handling this sort of meat, both beef and chicken. A place to start regarding this research would be with Dr. Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. Her website is here in all its retro 90's glory: http://www.grandin.com/

I know there's a milk allergy there, but frequently dairy allergies in humans are directly related to cow's milk specifically, and not mammalian milk in general. Do you know if goat's milk is safe? If it is, that might potentially open up an entire world of milk and cheeses to the diet if you can start keeping a milk goat around or know someone who does. If it isn't, it might be additional ammunition to my posited hypothesis below. In a similar stripe, what about lamb as a meat as well?

Beyond that, embrace what Mary said. Don't try to find substitutes, embrace what you have to work with. That'll go a way to reducing budgetary costs.

As a final aside, it also looks like the kid has a problem with the nightshade family given the tomato, eggplant, chilli/capsicum, and potato allergies. If you aren't already, it might be best to keep him away from tobacco exposure as well given it's part of the nightshade family. Given the other allergies, I'm also guessing that he has problems with bananas, avocados and sesame seeds as well? I am not a doctor, but I only intrude and inquire as it appears there seems to be a thread with some most of the allergies and possible tyrosine metabolism issues, which if proven to be more than a corollary coincidence here would impact dopamine and other neurotransmitter levels, the ability to better absorb other key amino acids, and impact thyroid function. If you can nail down the possible root cause, it makes it much easier to know what's safe... not that I'd advocate experimenting needlessly if at all, but it might be an idea worth floating with a specialist.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 08:32:00 AM by I.P. Daley »

Vilx-

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2013, 10:39:47 AM »
That's a very long list! While it is certainly possible, such cases are quite rare. Are you sure that the diagnosis is correct? Allergies are a tricky thing and tend to change over time. Perhaps it's not as bad as it seems? Maybe try testing them at a different doctor? (Unless you're tired of doctors already, of course - arriving to that list must have taken a lot of time and strength)
On re-reading I think I might have been a bit more offensive than I intended. Sorry. What I mean to say is this:

Allergies can compound each other (and I know this since I've seen this work with my own daughter). That is, it could be that your son has one very strong allergy and several small allergies. As long as the main allergen is not present, he will not react to the minor stuff either. But when the main allergen has had it's way, the body is weakened and reacts more forcefully to the minor ones.

Kaytee

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2013, 10:50:39 AM »
We have a number of food allergies too, so I feel your pain. Our list is not as long as yours, but we avoid gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, shellfish, and peppers. Legumes, that is a hard one, so many things that you think aren't legumes, actually are.

All nuts or just peanuts? I believe almond milk and other nut milks have a sick amount of calcium and are easy to make yourself. Otherwise, dark leafy greens have calcium, mushrooms are a good source of protein. I would also include beef bone broth as it is gut healing and nourishing. He would probably also benefit from fermented foods especially of veggies that he doesn't like the taste of because fermentation usually makes things taste like pickles (to me anyway). Unfortunately, I think you'll find that your grocery costs are always going to be high. GF alternatives are pricey and best avoided. We have found that having a CSA and buying grassfed beef in bulk from the farmer have helped our bill, somewhat. We also joined a co-op market that offers membership rates on food, with additional %-off added for volunteer hours.

For dairy - is it a lactose or a casein allergy? He might be able to tolerate sheep or goat milk or cheese, depending on the type of dairy allergy. For a casein allergy, the A2/A1 protein is similar enough that goat's milk is a no go. If it's a lactose allergy, then cheddar cheese would be okay as it is lactose free. Daiya cheese is a good substitute.

Is coconut okay? We buy coconut milk in a can from amazon or vitacost in bulk, same with coconut aminos.

Rural

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2013, 11:15:25 AM »
Consider that you parents (presumably) don't have the allergies. Could you feed him red meat while eating the cheaper chicken yourselves? And etc.  That would mean buying a third as much of the expensive ingredients, or maybe less considering his age.

Zaga

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2013, 11:19:26 AM »
I have 2 of those, the milk and soy allergies.

My advice, from a nutritionist*, was that calcium is in lots of foods, particularly green things.  I've also had my bone density tested, both before stopping eating milk and over a year after, my bone density actually increased slightly!  What I'm saying is humans do not need to drink milk to get sufficient calcium, there's a lot in other foods.

There's lots of info out there on vitamins and minerals present in foods, Google he things that he eats a lot of, I bet you'll find that some things are high in calcium.

Also, I found out more recently that I am only allergic to cow's milk, goat cheese is just fine for me.  I haven't tried straight goat milk, but it would probably also be okay for me.

*I'm not the nutritionist, I talked to one.

chatsc

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2013, 11:30:19 AM »
I second the goat dairy suggestion.  none of my kids could tolerate cow dairy but goat is a-ok for everyone.  they make goat cheddar, yogurt, etc.  There is also coconut milk yogurt.

and are seeds ok?  we deal with nut allergies in our house and we eat a lot of Sunbutter.  Sunflower seed butter, I actually find it tastier than peanut butter.  It is nut and gluten free.

lunch snacks could include raisins and cranberries too.  (just make sure they do not have a may contain nuts warning).  mix with some pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and some sunflower seeds and you have yourself a great trail mix.

mobilisinmobili

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2013, 11:31:09 AM »
This is my first post, so please be gentle.

My wife and I have been making significant steps towards a more low cost lifestyle.  We've been living broadly like mustschians for a little while now but have only just found this community.

We've done we'll in many aspects of our spending but one key difficulty has been food.  Our eight year old boy has been diagnosed with a very, very long list of food allergies, including dairy, wheat, soy, eggs, nuts, potato, rice, fish, shellfish, tomato, capsicum, eggplant, chilli and legumes.  In addition, he can only tolerate chicken infrequently (any more than one serve about every three days and he reacts to it).

On the one hand, this has virtually eliminated eating out and the costs associated with it.  On the other hand, our grocery bill has skyrocketed.

Whilst we can live with a reduction in variety, he's a growing boy and hence needs to get a good amount of nutrition.  We're struggling to find mustachian priced alternative sources for calcium and protein in particular.  Our fall back to date has been calcium enriched oat milk for the calcium and red meat for the protein given he can have them, but they're putting a substantial dent in the grocery budget.

Filling school lunch boxes is also relatively expensive.  Bread substitutes are far more expensive than bread for a sandwich.

Is anyone able to suggest some healthy, inexpensive alternatives that fit the food profile for our son?

I'd look into some paleo cookbooks. Most of the things you're avoiding (exceptions nightshade veggies, seafood, eggs) are things you don't eat anyways when you go paleo - dairy, legumes, wheat, soy, rice, and usually potatoes. This might give you some more ideas about things to cook and how to make that cheap. The seafood is probably my most expensive items eating paleo, so if you're budgeting that's not bad to avoid anyways.

I'd look through some recipes and think about where you might need to substitute things from the nightshade family.. sounds like your son is allergic to nightshades (tomato, potato, eggplant, peppers).. but it should be doable. Make sure you avoid paprika with your son as well.. this is also a nightshade.

Potato can be substituted with sweet potato & yams. Your son can still have delicious oven-baked french fries.
Paleo people are big on lettuce wraps for sandwiches and burgers.

Here's a good link to get started - http://robbwolf.com/what-is-the-paleo-diet/

To look at things on the positive side with the exception of eggs and seafood, most of those things aren't the best stuff to be eating anyways.

For breakfasts you could look into some kind of veggie or fruit smoothie with protein powder derived from something that your son isn't allergic to. This will help on the protein side and might be something 'fun for breakfast' that he might like.

Hopefully this helps. If you need more links on tasty paleo stuff let me know.

homeymomma

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2013, 11:59:38 AM »
Oh that sounds very frustrating. I've been eating dairy and soy free for months because I'm nursing an infant who is intolerant to them. It is VERY hard to eat out and definitely feels more expensive to buy food, because you're trying to replace what you're used to.

I would suggest:
1) stop trying to REPLICATE the diet of someone who can eat dairy and wheat.
2) make food in bulk, like, 5x the amount you need for one meal, and freeze the extra. You may even want to invest in an auxilliary freezer.
3) Shop in the bulk section of health food stores. If you are conscious of price before everything else, you can find some great buys in the bulk section.

A great alternative I found to the expensive gluten free bread is to have whatever it is (chicken, steak, corn, tuna) on or mixed with rice. While I ate gluten free for a little while, I did enjoy Trader Joe's rice bread, but only as an occasional treat. It's too expensive to have all the time.

I'm sure you've already found it, but there is a great tasting soy-free butter alternative. Look in health food stores, I think it's an earth Balance product.

Rice milk all the way!!

Good luck. I hope for your son that he grows out of at least some of those allergies.

chatsc

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2013, 12:08:56 PM »
Oh that sounds very frustrating. I've been eating dairy and soy free for months because I'm nursing an infant who is intolerant to them. It is VERY hard to eat out and definitely feels more expensive to buy food, because you're trying to replace what you're used to.

I would suggest:
1) stop trying to REPLICATE the diet of someone who can eat dairy and wheat.
2) make food in bulk, like, 5x the amount you need for one meal, and freeze the extra. You may even want to invest in an auxilliary freezer.
3) Shop in the bulk section of health food stores. If you are conscious of price before everything else, you can find some great buys in the bulk section.

A great alternative I found to the expensive gluten free bread is to have whatever it is (chicken, steak, corn, tuna) on or mixed with rice. While I ate gluten free for a little while, I did enjoy Trader Joe's rice bread, but only as an occasional treat. It's too expensive to have all the time.

I'm sure you've already found it, but there is a great tasting soy-free butter alternative. Look in health food stores, I think it's an earth Balance product.

Rice milk all the way!!

Good luck. I hope for your son that he grows out of at least some of those allergies.

I would stay away from bulk stores, because of the risk of cross contamination.  I dont set foot in them, because you never know what was in the bin before, and how well they cleaned it out.  or if the scoop was scooping up peanuts, 30 seconds before you walked in the door....

Zaga

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2013, 01:56:58 PM »
I'm sure you've already found it, but there is a great tasting soy-free butter alternative. Look in health food stores, I think it's an earth Balance product.
This reminded me, I found another soy, dairy, gluten free butter.  It's called Olivio Coconut, so if he can't have coconut then I guess it's out.  It's not quite like regular butter, but it's good enough for me!

m8547

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2013, 05:24:29 PM »
Was he tested with a skin prick test, or has he actually had reactions to all those foods? I'm allergic to a bunch of things, but I'm only actually allergic to about half the things the skin prick test shows. The main examples I can think of are eggs and pecans, both of which I can eat them in unlimited quantities with no problems. I think I am allergic to raw eggs, but the only time I have those are in raw cookie dough, so it's not a big issue.

I'm also allergic to a lot of fresh fruits, but not if they are cooked or even just heated to a certain point. It's also a fairly mild allergy, so I've been able to build up a tolerance to some things. Apparently allergy to fresh fruits is related to a pollen allergy, and it can come and go seasonally. Sometimes I'm allergic to some kinds of apples, and sometimes I'm not. I haven't figured out the pattern yet. But give processed tomato products a try if you haven't yet, since the industrial processing/pasteurization might be enough to denature whatever he is allergic to.

Also, legumes are a very broad category. I'm allergic to peanuts (my only severe allergy), and I'm mildly allergic to soy, lentils, chickpeas, peas, and lima beans. But I'm not at all allergic to baked beans, pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, refried beans, etc. and I get a lot of my protein and fiber from those.

Hopefully he will outgrow some of them. I seem to have outgrown my seasonal allergies, at least (I'm 23 now).

Finally, talk to his allergist about gradually building up tolerance to certain things. It works for pollen (allergy shots), and there is research that shows it can be done for peanuts by adding gradually increasing amounts of peanut flour to the diet. But I don't know if there are any allergists that will help you with such a procedure for peanuts or other foods, and it's certainly dangerous for severe allergies.

Gremlin

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2013, 05:16:00 AM »
Thanks for the feedback.  There's a few useful tips.  In response to a few of the questions/comments.

He's been diagnosed by prick/patch testing.  Docs think that many of the allergies (except fish/shellfish) are likely to resolve themselves when he hits puberty but that's still several years away.  I had some of the above when I was his age which disappeared at puberty.

Thankfully none of his allergies are life threatening, so we can muddle through with the odd accidental mistake.  We've cut out everything on the list and it's made a huge difference to his general well being and comfort.

Dairy and nightshades (tomatoes, capsicum, chilli, potato) are the worst of the allergies, so we're working with the Docs to try and reintroduce some of the others but it's a slow process and most days it feels like one step forward and two steps back.

He can eat avocados and bananas - loves them in fact.  He can have coconut, but he doesn't particularly like coconut milk in comparison to oat milk.  I'll try making my own oat milk and see how I go.

Normally in terms of meat, we'd buy a side of beef or half lamb and break it down for various cuts.  Meals vary from an appropriately constructed casserole to steak and vegetables - sweet potato, swede, parsnip, beetroot, pumpkin are all regular starchy veggies plus lots of carrots, broccoli, brussel sprouts, zucchini.  We usually eat very healthy just not very frugally.  Me and Mrs Gremlin and our son's little sister do sometimes eat different proteins to our son to help save on cost but there's a trade off between saving a few dollars and making my son feel ostracised when it comes to food.  He already faces it a bit already at school and other kids birthday parties.

I've gotten relatively good at cooking "substitutes", for example tomato-free bolognese or soy free soy sauce, which he has when we have the "real thing".  Mrs Gremlin is a miracle worker with making "treats" for him.  Her cakes and slices are amazing given the constraints and she even managed a dairy-free, gluten-free, everything-free chocolate cherry cheesecake.  (Yes, it's possible!)  These definitely give variety but they aren't cheap compared to the off the shelf versions.

A few good tips.  Thanks for your help.

tuyop

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2013, 06:15:59 AM »
Hey, I have a hot tip:

If your body can't process bread, don't eat bread!*

You do not need bread, or bread substitutes, or bread-like shit to survive.

Cut it out of your life, eat the things that you know agree with your body, take pleasure in discovering novel and delightful ways to prepare and consume those things, love life. Bread or any other category of food should not have the power to make you happy or miserable.

*Replace "bread" with any other ingredient that your body can't process. For instance, eggs: If your body can't process eggs, don't eat eggs!

Freda

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2013, 08:48:37 AM »
That's a very long list! While it is certainly possible, such cases are quite rare. Are you sure that the diagnosis is correct? Allergies are a tricky thing and tend to change over time. Perhaps it's not as bad as it seems? Maybe try testing them at a different doctor? (Unless you're tired of doctors already, of course - arriving to that list must have taken a lot of time and strength)

Is this based on IGG or IGE?

anastrophe

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2013, 09:16:01 AM »
I'm also allergic to a lot of fresh fruits, but not if they are cooked or even just heated to a certain point. It's also a fairly mild allergy, so I've been able to build up a tolerance to some things. Apparently allergy to fresh fruits is related to a pollen allergy, and it can come and go seasonally. Sometimes I'm allergic to some kinds of apples, and sometimes I'm not. I haven't figured out the pattern yet.

I have this too. My mouth fills with hives if I eat specific fruits, but only fresh, and only sometimes. I have wanted to keep better records to find a pattern but I'm lazy enough that I just don't eat those things.

+1 on just not eating "the real thing." There are so many interesting foods in the world. Some kids aren't so adventurous but maybe you can find out what kids eat in X country (with a cuisine that doesn't include your allergens) and try making some of those things. It's miserable to have to eat a different thing from your family, is it really impossible for all of you to have quinoa salad or whatever for lunch instead of sandwiches?

m8547

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2013, 02:41:47 PM »
Don't assume that he can't eat all forms of a food. I'm allergic to soy (mildly), but I can eat soy sauce, soybean oil, soy lecithin, small amounts of soy flour, hydrolyzed soy protein (industrial flavor enhancer similar to soy sauce). But soy protein, isolated soy protein, etc are out. I'm somewhat severely allergic to peanuts, but I can eat most heavily processed and refined peanut oil (though I had a slight reaction to some of it once).

KulshanGirl

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2013, 02:50:32 PM »
Her cakes and slices are amazing given the constraints and she even managed a dairy-free, gluten-free, everything-free chocolate cherry cheesecake.  (Yes, it's possible!)

You cannae post a thing like this without the recipe, Gremlin.  :)  *waits not very patiently*

Chemistay

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2013, 03:00:47 PM »
Her cakes and slices are amazing given the constraints and she even managed a dairy-free, gluten-free, everything-free chocolate cherry cheesecake.  (Yes, it's possible!)

You cannae post a thing like this without the recipe, Gremlin.  :)  *waits not very patiently*

I'm also on a 'can't eat very many foods' diet and my wonderful roommate recently made these for my birthday (you can leave out the wine or substitute with a little raspberry/peppermint/etc. but she made the wine version and it was most excellent) :

http://tasty-yummies.com/2013/02/14/dark-chocolate-red-wine-truffles-gluten-free-vegan/

CNM

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2013, 04:52:12 PM »
Her cakes and slices are amazing given the constraints and she even managed a dairy-free, gluten-free, everything-free chocolate cherry cheesecake.  (Yes, it's possible!)

You cannae post a thing like this without the recipe, Gremlin.  :)  *waits not very patiently*

Is Ms. Gremlin, Elana from Elana's Pantry perhaps?

This website has a TON of gluten-free recipes and all of the ones I have tried are fantastic: http://www.elanaspantry.com

Many of the recipes contain eggs, though, so YMMV.

PolarBeer

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Re: Mustachianism and food allergies
« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2013, 05:31:02 PM »
I would also recommend doing another test with another doctor, or even better one that has particular experience with allergies and intolerances. I assume you went to a real doctor and not some alternative therapist. Those guys are hellbent on "selling" you allergies and intolerances.