Caution: These Sneaky Foods Can Cause Allergic Reactions
What to Know About Food Allergies
If you or a loved one is suffering from a food allergy, it’s important to be diligent. Checking food labels is a must and it’s crucial that you have an action plan should an unexpected allergic reaction occur.
At The Difference Baker, we know how challenging it can be to navigate the world with a food allergy. That’s why most of our products are made free of the nine most common food allergens.
But we know that you’ll be getting some food elsewhere, too. Here are some things you need to know as you visit restaurants and purchase food and ingredients from grocery stores.
Signs of an Allergic Reaction
Allergic reactions come in all shapes and sizes. Some are more inherently dangerous than others. If you or your child has a food allergy, ask your doctor for the warning signs of a reaction for your particular case.
With that said, common symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:
- a runny nose or sneezing
- coughing, wheezing or breathlessness
- swollen eyes, lips, mouth or throat
- Skin reactions, including hives and itching and flushed or pale skin
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Constriction of the airways and a swollen tongue or throat, which can cause wheezing and trouble breathing
- A weak and rapid pulse
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Dizziness or fainting
What to do for an Allergic Reaction
If you or a loved one is experiencing an allergic reaction, follow these steps immediately.
- Call 911
- See if there is an EpiPen (epinephrine auto-injector) and help if needed
- Keep calm/try to keep the person who is having an allergic reaction calm
- Lie on your back/help the person lie on their back
- Raise your feet/their feet 12 inches and cover them with a blanket
- Turn on your side/turn them on their side if they are vomiting or bleeding
- Be sure all clothing is loose so that they can breathe
Top 9 Food Allergens
There are more than 170 foods that are known to cause allergic reactions. Our understanding of food allergies is constantly evolving as food allergies continue to be on the rise around the world. Here are some of the most common foods that people are allergic to.
Approximately 30 to 50 million people in the United States suffer from lactose intolerance. Meanwhile, dairy products are abundant in grocery stores and restaurants, making an allergy to milk inconvenient. Fortunately, due to increased public awareness, there are a ton of dairy-free alternatives to common items, many of them derived from soy and nuts.
Nonetheless, there are still some dairy-free milk alternatives like oakmilk and Ripple Milk. We use Ripple Milk to make the most delicious dairy-free cinnamon rolls you can ship straight to your door!
Eggs are another common food allergen, with people developing a sensitivity to the protein found in either the egg yolk or egg white. There are a ton of egg substitutes available, and most people will outgrow their egg allergy by age 16.
As an allergen, wheat is one of the sneakier usual suspects, as it’s found in foods you may have never considered: ice cream, soy sauce and hot dogs, for instance. This is why diligent label reading is so important. Gluten is the protein found in wheat.
Soy can pose a unique problem for young children with an allergy, as it is used in a ton of baby formula and food. Additionally, soy is another ingredient that makes its way into processed foods like candy, bread and meat products.
Peanut allergies can be very severe reactions, including anaphylaxis. Some even have an airborne allergy. Since peanuts are a legume, peanut allergies can also cause some to have reactions from eating peas and other legumes. You’ll find schools are largely “peanut-free.”
In addition to being used in many candies and baked goods, peanuts are often used in cooking. It’s a good idea to consult with the restaurant if you’re prone to severe reactions prior to your visits.
6. Tree Nuts
Six tree nuts most commonly discussed when dealing with allergies are walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews and pistachios. Most with an allergy to one tree nut will often have an allergy to another. There are separate tests to pinpoint the allergy.
An allergy to fish can develop later in life. Due to the biological differences between finned fish and shellfish, someone who is allergic to tuna will not necessarily be allergic to lobster, and vice versa.
Additionally, someone with a shellfish allergy may not have an equal allergic reaction to all shellfish. Lobster, shrimp and crab might need to be avoided, while oysters, clams and scallops can be eaten, for instance, and vice versa.
Because of the growing number of allergy cases, sesame was recently added to the list of top food allergens. The 2021 The Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research Act requires that all sesame be labeled on packaged foods beginning in 2023.
Sneaky Food Ingredients That Cause Allergic Reactions
Remember: check your packages and labels! You might be surprised at the types of foods that have hidden allergen ingredients.
These "hidden" allergens include mustard, celery, spices, lupine, pea, natural food colourings, and preservatives, processed foods and additives.
Common foods and beverages that you might not expect to include gluten among their ingredients include:
- Dry mix spices and seasonings
- Meat Products (deli)
- Imitation crab meat
- Boxed rices and side dishes
- Cocktail Mixers
Butter is often found in more foods than you might expect. Butter is commonly used to cook a variety of foods, especially baked goods. For those with severe dairy allergies, even trace amounts of butter can cause a serious, life threatening reaction.
For this reason, you should always buy dairy free desserts from a business like The Difference Baker. Although we have butter in our facility, we go to great lengths to ensure that all of our incredible desserts are free from cross-contamination.
As mentioned above, many baby food formulas include soy among their ingredients. Other common culprits include:
- Canned soups & soup broths
- Canned meat & fish
- Protein bars
- Processed foods
- Cookies, crackers, and baked goods
Peanut allergies are fairly common and thankfully, schools, daycares and other places where children intermingle have rules in place to limit exposure. Even so, be on the lookout for these products that may include peanuts:
- Ice cream
- Trail mix
- Fries (peanut oil)
Sesame seeds and sesame oil can be found in a number of products. Greek and Asian cuisines will often use sesame in their dishes. Other products that often contain sesame include:
- Wheat products (including breads, cereals, and crackers)
- Ice cream
- Salad dressings
Tree Nut Allergies
Tree nuts are often found in similar products that you can find peanuts hidden in. Here are some examples of foods that may contain tree nuts:
- Energy bars
- Deli meat
- Barbecue sauce
Desserts You Can Enjoy With Any Allergy
At the Difference Baker, we make most of our products free of the nine most common allergens listed above, plus other options for people who are vegan or are eating oat-free, egg-free, and more.
1. Birthday Cake
Celebrating a birthday for a kid with food allergies? They’ll love our special birthday cake! The best part is that other kids at the party won’t even notice the difference.
2. Sourdough Bread
Giving up bread can be difficult for people with food allergies. Luckily, you don’t have to! Try our delicious sourdough bread that you can take and bake at home.
3. Cinnamon Rolls
What’s better than waking up on a Sunday morning and enjoying some fresh-baked cinnamon rolls? With our rolls that are free of the nine most common allergens, everyone can enjoy them!
Allergen-Free Desserts From Ashburn, VA
For the best allergen free desserts, The Difference Baker can ship delicious and allergen-free cupcakes, cookies, breads, and so much more right to your front door. Contact us to find out how to place your order today!