Quick Start Guides

Quick Start Guides

Quick Start Guides are designed to give you some new ideas and suggestions as you start on your personal allergy adventure, coping with multiple food allergies. Of course everyone is unique, and you should always consult with your medical professionals regarding how any suggestions might affect you before applying any of these ideas to your situation.

Dining Out


Dairy Free

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Dumpling Madness

The phone rang Saturday evening, much later than I usually receive calls. “It’s Joe. Is it too late to be calling?”

I met Joe in Toastmasters. Over the years I’ve watched his kids grow and mature – his daughter now driving – who would believe it? Joe discovered he was allergic to gluten a few years ago. A

handful of pretzels and he is down for a couple of days. Like me, he found the new way of eating a difficult slope to climb. We met for coffee when the need to be gluten-free became evident. “Why is this so hard?” Joe asked. “Is there a quick-start guide?”

My own journey had also been a slow one, it took some time before I became comfortable and confident in my choices. We discussed how to set up his home for allergy-free success, such as how to avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen. This conversation did give me the impetuous to create food

allergy quick-start guides. It also supports my philosophy that food needs to be shared. There is a real need to create allergy-free meals that the entire family can enjoy. I knew that Joe and his wife suffered with Covid-19, but everyone made it to the other side and seemed to be healthy now. Even so, the tone of Joe’s voice had me concerned. Why would he be calling me on a Saturday night? I hoped that he knew he could count on us if there was a serious problem.

Was there a serious problem? Yes. Joe was having serious trouble creating dumpling dough.

There was a crisis. It started earlier that day when Joe, his son, and a visiting friend were trying to decide what to do with their day. The women were elsewhere, so what to do? “Let’s cook” suggested Joe’s friend. “But what?” “Dumplings!” was eager exclamation from Joe’s son. Prior to Joe’s gluten-free

diagnosis, there was a local dumpling cart that was on their ‘must eat’ list. Now that was no longer an option. But then they thought “So what could be so hard about making dumplings?” Off to the grocery store they went. Back at the house, Joe’s friend began making the dumpling filling. The smell of the meat and vegetables was intoxicating. Now they just needed to make the dough. They started with a gluten-free flour and mixed it up. But it just didn’t seem right. The dumpling dough needed to be sticky. Several attempts resulted in failures. What to do?

Then Joe thought of me. I’ve been successfully converting recipes for several years, carefully replacing the gluten, dairy, eggs, and peas. We only spoke for a few minutes on the phone. The result? A thinly rolled dough that was ready for stuffing, steaming, and frying. Seventy plus delicious

dumplings. At 11:30 that night they were sharing tea and dumplings. Looking back at the experience, Joe remarked how much fun it was to share the cooking experience. Despite the initial failures, the

kitchen mess, and the time spent producing the dumplings, it was an evening well spent. His son is eager to do it again, and now they share a great memory. As a plus, they got to eat their efforts. The dumplings were eagerly consumed in less than two days.

Cooking has always been a wonderful way to socialize. It is as important, if not more, than the meal itself. It is a way of connecting, of sharing stories, of laughing, of giving the best of yourself. Involve your children, your spouse, your friends and soon you too will be leading your own

food adventure.

Copyright 2020-2024 RCP Foods, LLC All rights Reserved


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If you are what you eat, then I used to be a cheeseball.

I loved cheese so much I would put it on anything. Not just the usual sandwich or salad, but on sweet things as well – such as pie and cookies. Yes, even cookies. All my life I was afflicted with auto-immune disease.

It began when I was 22. I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis. It didn’t affect my daily life, except for the fact that I had a difficult time warding off viruses. I always got the flu. Generally speaking, if I was around someone that was sick, I would always take it home with me.

Much, much later in life, I was diagnosed with lichen sclerosis. This disease is especially nasty. There was no doctor that would help me. Both a dermatologist and a gynecologist verified the findings. And both gave me the very same response: “Sorry, I can’t help you”.

I suffered for a couple of years without any improvement. The gynecologist gave me some topical ointment, but it only gave a small amount of relief.

It was while staying at a relative’s home that I reached the final straw. Unable to sleep because I couldn’t find a comfortable position where I could rest, I moved into the living room where I sat and cried. There had to be a better way.

I made an appointment with a naturopath who had been helpful in the past. I’m not sure why I didn’t see him sooner. While he admitted there was nothing he could find regarding lichen, he did have a suggestion. His wife had struggled with a skin issue. Her condition improved when she was tested for food allergies and took up a new eating regimen. I was all in. He took some blood and sent it off to be tested.

At 62 years old I received my food allergy results. At first glance they were great. All the categories showed no allergy at all. Except for four. They were off the chart. I am allergic to wheat (gluten), dairy, eggs, and peas.I cut these foods out of my life immediately. There was no easing into the program. The problem was, that I had no idea what that meant. I ate only fresh foods. I know that probably sounds like a good thing, but I missed the foods that I used to eat. I began reading about food substitutions. My first attempt was bread. I really missed bread. I wanted a sandwich. I wanted a slice of toast in the morning. So I would simply make my own. After all, I owned a bread maker.

I knew that I couldn’t substitute just one type of flour. I needed a blend of many different types. I went to the natural food store and bought bags and bags of various kinds of gluten free flours. Using my regular recipe – substituting my flour mixture – I threw everything into the bread machine.

It smelled good. That made the result even more devastating. Instead of a loaf of bread, I had a lump of dough and lots of crumbles. It wasn’t until I did further research that I found out that you can’t use a standard bread maker if you are baking gluten-free bread. It is the gluten in bread that you are working when you do the punch down. There are bread machines that have a gluten-free setting, but mine was not one of them.

In the years following there were more and more options for people with food allergies. There are several good brands of gluten-free breads to choose from. Not so many that are also egg-free.

In the beginning, if I had been given the gift of one food that I could put back in my diet, I would have picked cheese. But now, after many years of learning about food substitutions, I would choose egg. Eggs are in everything. You must know how the egg is used chemically in the recipe in order to make a proper replacement.

I may not be a cheeseball any longer, but I am still a Cheese Head. Go Green Bay.