Hey friends, happy belated Allergy Awareness Month!
Let’s chat food allergies. As I’ve mentioned, gluten doesn’t mesh with my gut. Dairy makes me super congested. When I was little, a tingly red rash would appear around my lips whenever I had a strawberry or slice of orange. Any of that sound familiar?
With the current surge of food allergies among little ones (and an increase in naturopathic allergy testing), it’s no wonder the allergen-free market is starting to meet these demands. According to a study in 2013, there was a whopping 50% increase in childhood food allergies between 1997 and 2011. Whoa!
Nine times out of ten, a food reaction is caused by one of these culprits: milk, wheat, eggs, peanuts, fish & shellfish, tree nuts, sesame, mustard and soy. Many of these foods also happen to be refined, laced with pesticides, antibiotics or environmental toxins. But what about allergies to these foods in whole, organic, pesticide-free form?
Besides the gut flora/genetic link, the allergy influx doesn’t seem to have a clear explanation. According to the hygiene hypothesis, we’ve essentially become TOO clean in our ways. Back in the day, our ancestors’ immune systems were exposed to dirt, bacteria, animals and door handles without the shield of Purell. The theory suggests that modern immune systems haven’t had the chance to fully develop, so they mistakenly identify certain food substances as foreign invaders. This process can unleash a potentially life-threatening response known as anaphylaxis (more Canadian restaurants are now carrying EpiPen kits).
If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or suffer from a gluten intolerance, oats are likely on your forbidden food list (sigh). Even though oats in their purest form are free of gluten, most factories in the business of oats also supply wheat. Chances are there’s some cross-contamination in the mix.
Personally, I stick to certified gluten-free oat products. The next best thing to making your own safe snacks at home is Libre Naturals. If you’re looking for allergen-free granola bars and pure oatmeal made with whole natural ingredients, they’re all over it!
The founder of Libre Naturals (previously Nonuttin’ Foods), Alana Elliott, is a pioneer in the allergy-friendly food movement. After her family’s personal experiences with food allergies, she set out to create a granola bar company to improve the lives of families just like hers. Their dedicated facility is entirely free of the most common food allergies.
The Nonuttin’ granola bars are an awesome source of fuel and ‘hanger’ prevention – they contain around 19 g of complex carbs, 4 g fat, 3 g protein. I tend to shy away from copious amounts of oats and chocolate for the obvious risk of blood sugar chaos (when insulin doesn’t catch up to carbs), but these bars are an ideal portion.
Their oatmeal on-the-go comes in fun varieties like pumpkin seeds + raisins + spices and blueberries + apples + sunflower seeds. I sprinkled my own hemp hearts over top to add some extra plant-based protein. A lovely pre-hike camping breaky!
With such a healthy brand mantra, it’s no surprise they don’t use preservatives, colours, artificial flavours or GMO’s.
Happy natural, allergy-free (‘libre’) snacking! 🙂