Tag Archives: food allergies

yes, you can make you own nut milk!

12 Dec

5605235286_8306349ab8For those of us who are sensitive to regular milk or have an intolerance, we often use nut milks as substitutes.

While alternative milks like soy, almond, coconut are great options for those of us on a specific diet, additional ingredients are plugged into these otherwise simple and healthy beverages to help them stay shelf stable.

The next time you purchase a common substitute for milk, take a peak at the ingredient list. Most of these milks contain a few funny sounding ingredients such as: carrageenan, potassium citrate, vitamin A palmitate and natural flavor to name a few.

Let’s get back to the roots of simple and healthy milk alternatives, and make them at home where you are in control of your ingredients.

Check out this streamlined video, and learn how to make your own almond milk by following Body + Soul’s brilliant almond milk recipe below:

Step 1: Soak one cup of raw almonds in water overnight. Leave extra water to allow for swelling.

Step 2: Remove almonds from water. For a less gritty texture, remove skins. Toast for a richer flavour.

Step 3: Place almonds in a blender with two cups of water. Blend until creamy.

Step 4: You can add flavouring such as cinnamon, honey or saffron, then blend again.

Step 5: Strain mixture through cheesecloth or a fine strainer to separate pulp. Drink. For a creamier version, leave covered in the fridge overnight. It will keep for up to a week.

Step 6: Dry-roast remaining pulp and store in a jar to use as almond flour. Alternatively, place discarded almond skins and pulp in cheesecloth to use as a body scrub.

Photo courtesy of HealthAliciousNess.com

nutrition education in the cafeteria part II

18 May

Our cafeteria’s serve not only nutritious lunches, but also nutrition education! Along with our monthly table tops filled with recipes, healthy + seasonal eating tips and nutrition + wellness information for our children to read, we also integrate food labels into the cafeteria. Our labels depict how a certain ingredient grows in nature, along with allergen information (which is also indicated on our school-wide menus). We understand what it’s like to have children with food allergies, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for our children to chose what to eat each day. They love reading our food labels, and have found them to be a useful tool that aids them during their lunch experience.

safe chocolate cupcakes

12 Jan

85452-chocolate-cake-choco-cupcakesWith an increasing number of children managing food allergies these days, classroom cupcakes for birthday celebrations may present new challenges to parents wanting to offer a treat for all. Babycakes in Manhattan, has become a favorite for strict gluten and/or dairy free sweet lovers in the city. And their cookbook gives access to all of us. We recently tried these delectable chocolate cupcakes with great success and so share the recipe with you here.

The recipe calls for coconut oil which has caused much controversy in the past. The FDA classified coconut in 2006 as a nut in the list of tree nuts to avoid when dealing with tree nut allergies. Coconut is actually a fruit though, and usually does not present any danger to people with tree nut allergies. Some people are simply allergic to coconut though (more commonly in India apparently, and more rare in the US), so it is always best to check of course. The recipe below calls for coconut oil which can be switched out for butter with great success if needed.

Chocolate cupcakes


  • 1 3/4 cups garbanzo-fava bean flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Vermont nut free baking products offers chocolate powder in a dedicated nut-free facility)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/3 cups agave nectar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot water


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, potato starch, cocoa powder, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the oil, agave nectar, applesauce, vanilla and hot water to the dry ingredients. Stir until batter is smooth.
  3. Pour 1/3 cup batter into each prepared cup, almost filling it.
  4. Bake the cupcakes on the center rack for 22 minutes, rotating the tins 180 degrees after 15 minutes. The finished cupcakes will bounce back when pressure is applied gently to the center.
  5. Let the cupcakes stand in the tins for 20 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and cool completely. Frost to taste, or top with a round slice of strawberry and blueberry on top.
  6. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Happy baking!

Photo courtesy of stuffpoint.com

Food allergies, what’s up?

8 Feb

There are many ideas about why we are seeing more and more food allergies, especially among children today. Some say it has to do with changed farming practices and an increase in use of pesticides and herbicides, some say it is from an over-polluted environment making immune systems more vulnerable in general, some say it is because of an increase in vaccinations and medications in general, others say the opposite, and some say it is no different than it was centuries ago but that now it is better documented.

Whatever the reason, it is clear that documented food allergies are on the rise. In the United States, the most common food culprits are: egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, crustacean shellfish, fish, and soy. Many classrooms and even schools opt to label themselves “nut free” zones to ensure the safety of those vulnerable. Butter Beans’ kitchen, is also a nut-free zone.

When it comes to food sensitivities and allergies, the symptoms really run the gamut from a runny nose, and itchy eyes, to achy joints and belly bloating, to fuzzy thinking, dizziness, asthma and anaphylactic shock. There are blood tests and skin prick tests, but at the end of the day, if you are dealing with symptoms that are not life threatening, the most fool-proof method of discovering what foods might be ailing you, is by testing the food yourself. If you suspect dairy for example, then you would opt to not eat ANY dairy for a week (easier said than done!), and then have your regular dose first thing in the morning, and see what happens. Symptoms either will show up immediately, or can take a couple of hours. You can keep a food diary where you write down how you feel right after eating a food, and then check back in with yourself two hours later. You can also check your pulse before eating, and ten minutes after. Very often, your pulse will change by up to 20 beats in response to a food sensitivity.

The good news is that many people outgrow their food induced symptoms, and others find that they tolerate said food if eaten once or twice a week, but just not everyday. This may be nature’s way of forcing variety on us.

Have you discovered a food sensitivity or allergy? If you have a story that has led to a triumphant adaptation in the kitchen, consider sharing your story with us for our cookbook.

Interested in learning more? Check out this study that was just released describing that boys, and in general more affluent children in England, have more peanut allergies that girls, and less affluent populations. Some think that living in ultra-clean (anti-bacterial) contexts are part of the problem.

Also check out the updated guidelines from the National  Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Thank goodness humanity has a great track record for adapting to new and different landscapes of all kinds.