Updated: May 4, 2018
I love a good challenge. A high-protein plant diet? Let's do it. Vegan cookies better than Betty Crocker's? On the way. Vegan Jell-o? Skeptical.. but sure!
But it wasn't until recently that I realized how difficult it would be to be critically allergen prone. Can you imagine being allergic to wheat, eggs, dairy, sugar, bananas and nuts? If you've seen the 2001 film "Bubble Boy", I imagine it to be exactly that. The overarching issue is that these items are in LITERALLY EVERYTHING. From baked goods like bread and pancakes, to condiments like mayonnaise and ketchup. Even granola! It's impossible to find a gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free granola with no white sugar.
Hence... Erik's Allergen Friendly Granola. Why Erik's, you ask? Because my bubble boy boyfriend, Erik, is allergic to nuts, wheat, eggs, sugar, dairy, bananas, you name it. He also has the biggest sweet tooth ever, and loves açaí bowls, which he now can only have if they are homemade to assure the lack of banana & gluten. To ease the transition, I developed the recipe below.
Erik's Allergen Friendly Granola - [free of nuts, gluten, dairy, eggs and cane sugar]
· 2 cups of gluten free oats
· 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered honey or agave
· 2 tbsp of unrefined coconut oil
· 1 scoop of plant-based vanilla protein
· ½ cup of dried goji berries
· 2 tbsp of dried mulberries
· 1 tbsp cacao nibs
· if you can tolerate seeds, add flax/chia/pumpkin seeds to the mix as needed :)
1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F
2. Combine all ingredients together with your hands in a bowl (it will get sticky... be prepared). The coconut oil will likely be solid depending on your climate, but it will get soft as you mix everything together in the bowl
3. Lay flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes or until the top looks golden. You'll likely see it in the dried fruit first.
4. Let cool before serving or storing
Now I'm not going to lie to you and say this is the most crunchy, clumpy, chunky granola because it's not. It's pretty crumbly. But I will also add that it is SO DARN GOOD. Very little sugar, no gluten, nuts or dairy. Another strong case that things that taste good don't necessarily have to be bad for you. This brings me to my next point:
If you're feeling fatigued, depressed, struggle with skin disorders, brain fog, indigestion or joint discomfort, you could be suffering from a food allergy or sensitivity. I highly recommend everyone gets an allergy test at least once in their life. Ask your physician or naturopath to test you. The best type of allergy test will measure the levels of Immunogloubin A, G, and E. Each immunoglobulin, or antibody, fights different antigens (bacteria, viruses, allergens) in the body. This is what you need to know about the antibodies:
IgA: This antibody is found in saliva, tears, and the mucous membranes in your nasal passage and gastrointestinal tract. Testing IgA can help you better understand the strength of your GI tract. High levels might signify leaky gut syndrome due to overconsumption of allergens.
IgG: This antibody is more commonly associated with food sensitivity, and is found in all body fluids. Some people have IgG reactions and go their entire lives with out knowing, but can also be the underlying cause for their depression, anxiety, fatigue, bloating or mood swings. Can you imagine going your entire life with that type of discomfort when all you had to do was just tweak your diet?
IgE: This antibody is found in the lungs, skin and mucus membrane. Your body releases IgE when a foreign substance from food or the air enters the body and disagrees with your immune system. An IgE allergic reaction is what most people think of when they hear of an "allergic reaction" - swelling, difficulty breathing, hives, etc. This is more rare.
Often times people get tested for allergies only to find out they are allergic or intolerant to something completely unexpected. If you're allergic to something and your reaction is, "but nothing happens when I eat it" it should still be a red flag. Continuous consumption can wreak havoc on the body and potentially lead to autoimmune disease, infection, and chronic stress.
So there you have it. The basics of allergens!