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Daily Tips

When it comes to food allergies, there is a big learning curve.  To help with the details, we are posting a daily tip about the top food allergens, cross contamination and how to avoid it, crazy hidden places that food allergies hide, cooking and baking tips, and more.  There will be a new one every day!  Read them with your morning beverage, forward to family & friends who need them, and discuss.




Does Some Wine (or Beer) Trigger Your Food Allergies?

Have an allergic/sensitive reaction after drinking certain wines but not others? Beer, of course is made with wheat and barley, so if you have celiac disease or an allergy to these grains, find a gluten-free beer that you like.  However, if you have multiple food allergies, or are vegan, wine and beer both have "fining agents" that can be

  • bone marrow
  • casien (milk)
  • egg albumum derived from egg whites
  • shellfish shell fiber (called "chitin")
  • fish oil
  • gelatin (dervied from animal parts)
  • gelatin (derived from fish membranes)

... Some wines have even used grains, although in my own research it seems this practice is not as prevalent anymore. I've started researching this more deeply, and glad to find this article on Lifehacker​ confirming my suspicions.  Does this answer any burning questions?

There is the great debate about how distillation and refining of alcoholic beverages breaks down the proteins so that the immune system doesn't see the allergen anymore. Being a canary in a coal mine, myself, I can tell, with one sip, if a beverage contains my allergens - distilled out or not. Even if a so-labeled potato vodka has a mix of refined grain alcohols in the bottle, my body reacts nearly instantly. If it does not, I have no problem. The fining agents, however, are not distilled out of the beverage, so even if you are not a creature of great sensitivity like myself, but still have allergies, this is something of which to be aware.

What can you do?

Look for unfined wines or unfinished wines as a start. There are no laws requiring labeling of fining agents in alcoholic beverages, so you will not find them on the label. Unfined wines might be a little more cloudy, but this will clear up with time. Besides, its better to be safe and drink cloudy wine.

Barnivore has a great list of vegan wines. So if you are allergic to dairy, fish, or animal products, this is another great place to do your own research.


Here are a couple of articles on the subject:

Why Wine Can Trigger Your Food Allergies

Not All Wine is Vegan, and Here's Why


Chef Tip: Store Onion Ends in Freezer for Use in Stocks & Broths

Do you ever feel wasteful after you peel and chop an onion, and have to throw away your onion ends?  Throw 'em in the freezer in a ziplock freezer bag and use in bone broths, meat broths and soup stocks. When you take out the bones and herbs, take out the onion ends, too. You don't even have to peel, and definately don't thaw them. Just throw 'em in as is.


Chef Tip: Use Your Celery Leaves for Flavor!

Do you throw your celery leaves away? Don't! The leaves add HUGE flavor to soups, stocks, stews, sauces, roasted birds, and more. How do you use your celery leaves?

FDA Issues Warning About Lupin in Gluten-free Foods for those with Legume Allergies

Lupin isn't just a professor in a J.K. Rolling novel, or an absolutely beautiful flower. It is a generally harmless food that can trigger allergies in some people. It is now being used more in the United States as an ingredient in gluten-free foods.

We've discussed lupin (a legume) here in 2012 and a Norwegian study conducted earlier that year (read more). While the FDA has its list of top 8 allerges, European countries have their list of top allergens as well, and Lupin is one of the them. But now, it is showing up in gluten-free foods in the United States. The FDA has issued a warning for those with legume and peanut allergies to include lupin in your label reading. It might be wise to discuss with your doctor/allergist and include it also in your allergen testing.

Here is one of the articles from Prevention Magazine:



Use Banana Peels to Nourish Plants & Keep Away Pests

Bananas are loaded with Vitamin B6, manganese, biotin, potassium, and copper, not to mention a great source of fiber. Studies have shown that bananas also help regulate blood pressure, are good for the heart, and help support a certain type of good bacteria, called bifidobacteria, in the gut.

Read more fascinating health benefits from & studies about bananas from The World's Healthiest Foods.

Did you also know that the peels help feed your plants, especially roses and tomatoes?  Chop up the peels and bury at the base of the plant once a month. You can even put them in the blender with some water and pour on the soil around the plant. The peels decompose with ease, and help give any plant in your garden some essential nutrients, including micronutrients that plant life needs. The chopped peels also repel aphids, so you get a double dose of goodness for your plants, and save some space in the landfill. Since the peels decompose so easily, those of us who are a little lazy can just throw the peels on the dirt. However, whole peels could attract rodents, where chopped or blended peels do not.