Thursday, August 21, 2014

How to Substitute When You Have Food Restrictions: NOW Foods Allergen Chart

Below is great information and a very helpful allergen chart courtesy of NOWFOODS ( Please direct questions and comments to

Allergies and food restrictions may sound like a bummer for eating your favorite foods, but with some smart substitutions, you can still find ways to enjoy your diet without feeling like you’re missing out. Whether you’re avoiding dairy and gluten, following the Paleo Diet, or are a vegan, there are food replacements and substitutions to help supplement your diet- you just need to get creative!

For baking, there are many substitutions for flours and baking grains if your dietary needs call for it. Almond flour can be substituted for white flour in low-carb or gluten-free diets. Brown rice flour can be directly substituted for white flour in baking allergen-free breads, pancakes, and muffins, and white rice flour is a great gluten-free substitute for wheat flour. Quinoa is another complete protein with a mild flavor that can be substituted for rice, and if you’re allergic to chocolate but have a sweet tooth, carob powder is a sweeter, less rich substitute for chocolate.

To incorporate natural sweeteners in your diet, agave nectar is a popular choice to help you avoid table sugar in your diet; its taste is similar to honey or maple syrup and it has a low glycemic index. Brown rice syrup and date sugar are great for usage in baked goods, and lactose (or “milk sugar”) can be a sweet addition to children’s milk for those who are not allergic to milk. Turbinado sugar is a healthier alternative to white and refined brown table sugars, but avoid it if you’re allergic to cane sugar.

When cooking with oils, macadamia nut oil, olive oil, rice bran oil, and virgin coconut oil are excellent for replacing corn or soybean oils in salad dressings or as cooking oils. If you need a thickening agent but are avoiding eggs, white flour, and/or wheat, agar powder, guar gum powder, and xantham gun powder can add smooth textures to foods while also thickening them.

Finally, to add more protein to your diet, use buttermilk powder and soy milk powder. Dry roasted soybeans are a great treat as a high-protein snack food, and textured soy protein nuggets and granules can be used as a meat substitute in foods such as veggie burgers, veggie chili, and more.

A dietary restriction doesn’t mean you have to eat only lettuce for the rest of your life. Use these ideas to start spring boarding creative recipe ideas, and enjoy your food!

See that chart below for a more detailed outline of grains and how they fit into restrictive diets:


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