Allergies? CHECK THE LABELS!!

I know, I know, this should be common sense to you all. And it is. Sort of.

Mmm… delicious, cold, completely forbidden milk!

We have recently had to move to a more dairy-free home due to allergies. I figured “no problem! I’ll just get things made with soy milk instead and it’s all good!” I set about buying the fast and easy staples (mac/cheese, frozen pizza, etc) that make for yummy weekend lunches. Or, I confess, occasionally dinners.

“YAY!” thought I. “They have frozen mac and cheeze and frozen pizza made with soy cheese! Hooray for [large chain organic foods store]!” I bought two mac/cheeses, a pizza, and sliced soy cheese.

Guess what?

If you look closely, you can see “caseinate – a milk derived protein” as one of the ingredients… in fact, it says at the bottom that it’s got milk protein. But since it was sold as “soy cheeze”? I didn’t think to look. From now on? I WILL!

Apparently each of these products has something called Casein or Caseinate. AKA milk protein. Just because it is non-dairy? Doesn’t mean it’s dairy free. This irritated me to no end. But this week when I went grocery shopping? It took me twice as long but I made sure that there was nothing remotely milk-related in anything I purchased.

So just a tip, to those of you with allergies: your allergen may be hidden in something you wouldn’t even think to check!

Have you ever had an experience with an allergen or other restricted food turning up unexpectedly (remember the story of the fast food restaurant whose fries were sooo awesome because they were cooked in BEEF FAT. Wonder how the vegetarians felt about that one…)?

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10 thoughts on “Allergies? CHECK THE LABELS!!

  1. When grocery shopping, I found the easiest thing to do when dealing with food allergies is to find the organic section of the store. Oddly, that’s where they place the allergy-free foods. Products that are dairy-free will usually advertise that they are Casein-Free as well (if they are).

    BTW–Wheat free doesn’t necessarily mean Gluten-Free either. Since Barley and Hopps also have gluten in them. And so many things have barley coloring. So I feel your pain about trying to deal with a new food issue. 🙂

  2. You can’t trust soups! I’m allergic to corn, and restaurant soups almost always (1) are thickened with cornstarch, (2) contain corn syrup, (3) contain hydrolized corn protein, or (4) have little corn kernels or baby corn floating in them. Phooey… I do love a good bowl of soup, but there are too many potential landmines!

    As far as vegetarian soups, beware… even if it sounds like a lovely veg soup and you have no allergy issues, the base is often chicken broth. I was veg for many years, though I’ve now added some meat and poultry back in.

    • Ruth, that’s so frustrating! I’ve had issues like that as well, though not with allergies or specific restrictions.

      When I was pregnant with my eldest, I couldn’t eat mushrooms. It was sad, because mushrooms are one of my favorite things, but something about them gagged me going down. I would try but my body was having NONE of it.

      One day, I was having a bad day and I was tired and grouchy and stopped at a Big Chain Restaurant that is usually fabulous. Their soup of the day was cream of chicken-artichoke. Sounded PERFECT! I started to cry when I put a spoonful in my mouth and it had more mushrooms than anything else in it.

      Soup is scary because it hides all sorts of things! UGH. And you can ask whether it has something in it but servers usually have zero clue. *headshake*

      I’m sorry – must make things tough.

  3. Thankfully no one in my house has any allergies to certain foods. Our youngest did have major issues with anything that looked remotely like mashed potatoes and would throw up just looking at it. He also couldn’t watch others eat so we’d have to build a wall of cereal boxes around him at the table. It was insane! It was pure hell going out to eat. The kid threw up in every restaurant we went to. Lot’s of big tips were left behind. :-

    • Oh don’t get me started on sensory issues. *sigh* We have a lot of that as well. I don’t think we’ve had one as bad as yours, though! Oh my, throwing up just at the sight/thought of it? *shudder*

  4. armers who grow organic produce and meat don’t use conventional methods to fertilize, control weeds or prevent livestock disease. For example, rather than using chemical weedkillers, organic farmers may conduct more sophisticated crop rotations and spread mulch or manure to keep weeds at bay. ‘:’..

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