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Allergies can be life threatening!

If you have specific food allergies you need to plan ahead:
    1. When purchasing ingredients for recipes always check the ingredients list on food packages before you make your purchase. Most food manufacturers include a 1-800 number on their packages that you can call if you are still in doubt.
    2. The most common food allergens are wheat, milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, sesame seeds, soy and sulphites (a food additive). All of these food ingredients are avoidable with careful planning.
    3. When cooking for your family, 5 common ingredients that recipes will call for are wheat (flour), milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc.). Most recipes are adaptable. If a recipe calls for an ingredient that you need to avoid, like peanuts for example, let creativity take over and simply substitute an alternative ingredient like raisins or chopped dried apricots. For those recipes that require specific ingredients, like eggs for an angel food cake, there is no known substitution. However there are lots of cakes you can make that do not require eggs, check out http://www.eggless.com/ and see for yourself.
    4. If you want more information on food allergies, check out the Allergy/Asthma Information Association at http://www.aaia.ca/

Top 5 Food Allergies

Wheat
Wheat allergy occurs when proteins in wheat react with antibodies in our body.  Wheat is made up of proteins such as albumin, globulin, gliadin and gluten.   Allergic reactions can happen when a person eats wheat-containing foods or inhales flour that has wheat.  A wheat allergy is different from Celiac’s disease.  The latter is a reaction specifically to the gliadin protein found in wheat, rye and to a lesser degree in oats, and the hordein protein found in barley. 

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Milk
Milk allergy occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to proteins found in milk of animal origin, the most common being cow’s milk. Two main allergenic proteins are casein and whey. Some common foods that have milk ingredients are: cream, cheese, butter, ice cream, and yogurt. Because there are some hidden sources of milk ingredients in processed foods, it is important to know the names of milk ingredients and to read food ingredients labels.   
 
Milk provides many nutrients required for a healthy body. Two main micro-nutrients of concern for a person who does not consume milk are calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is needed to build healthy bones and teeth and for muscle contractions. Other good sources of calcium include green vegetables, seafood and fish with soft, edible bones such as salmon. Vitamin D helps the body absorb and use calcium. Foods that have vitamin D include eggs and organ meats. Sunlight exposure can also provide vitamin D; however, because Alberta is in the northern hemisphere, dependence on sunlight for adequate vitamin D is unreliable between the months of October and April. The substitutes listed below should have added-sources of calcium and vitamin D, equal to that of fluid milk.  Check out the food Nutrition Facts label to see how much Calcium and Vitamin D are available.  

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Eggs
An egg is made up of many different proteins, all of which are potential allergens.  The proteins found in the egg white are different from the proteins that make up the egg yolk. For the majority of people who are allergic to eggs, they are most likely allergic to the proteins in the egg white. Caution is still advised and an egg allergy means avoiding all parts of the egg.

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Peanuts & Tree Nuts
Peanut and tree nut allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts to the proteins in peanuts or nuts. It is important to note that tree nuts (pecans, walnuts and almonds, etc.) are from a different food family than peanuts.  Peanuts are legumes that grow in the ground like peas and beans, they are not a nut that comes from a tree. 

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