Sunday, November 11, 2012

New Food Allergies Substitution Guide Available on!

Though I've been away from this blog for a few months, I've appreciated the steady number of visitors and the various comments from readers -- keep them coming!  And, I haven't been completely idle in the meantime...See below :-)

Yesterday my first book was published as an e-book on Kindle.  This the food allergy substitutions book I've been working on for the past couple of years.
Although it's only available via Kindle right now, those of you without Kindle can download a free app called "Kindle for PC" from the website so that you can download and read the book that way too.
Thank you to so many for all your support and encouragement through the process of getting this book out.  When you have a moment, please click on the below link to find my book on and let me know what you think!
Bethany Niazian

Friday, April 20, 2012

Encouraging responses and sharing of information

I recently received some encouraging comments and queries with which I was thrilled to be able to help -- check out the comments exchange on the bottom half of my "Substitutions" page.

Also, a big thank you to Jenny, creator of the website "", who mentions my blog and whose website has thus referred many readers searching for help with less commonly seen food allergies.  To provide that help as much as I can is exactly my goal!  Link to Jenny's website:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Food Substitutes from Southeast Asia

Thought I’d share a tidbit from the new article I’m about to submit for publication – but first, other good news:

Visits to this blog have increased a LOT over this past month, including new visitors from Brazil, Russia, and Singapore!  Welcome J 

I’m happy to see that search engines and referral sites are sending more and more readers too – a big thank-you to which sent 10 referrals.  I’m also seeing referrals from,, and  Please keep the referrals coming, whether electronically or by good old-fashioned word of mouth!!

TIDBIT FROM MY UPCOMING ARTICLE:  For people whose meal choices are limited by food allergies, Southeast Asia offers so many enticing possibilities of ingredients which can be used as an alternative to any number of other ingredients.  Among these are unripe/brined jackfruit to replace chicken in stews (jackfruit “chips” are also sold in Oriental stores and make an interesting alternative to potato chips!) or jujube berries (also known as Chinese dates) to replace either fresh or dried cranberries.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Treasures from so many cuisines!

I find myself doing what I don’t like to see other bloggers doing – feeling that I have to apologize for being away for a while without having put anything new on my blog.  I know we’re all only human, so I forgive them and myself (at least a little bit) but I still wish I had had more time to contribute to my blog over the past few weeks.

That said, I’m very grateful that, despite my temporary disappearance, the number and diversity of visitors to this site continue to increase – both new and returning readers not only from across the United States and many European countries but also from Central America (Costa Rica), other parts of Europe (Norway, Russia), and even the Pacific Rim (Australia).  My greatest hope is that the information found on this blog is helpful.  Thank you to everyone who’s visited, and please continue share this blog with anyone you know!

Meanwhile, as mentioned in my last post, I’m writing articles for Suite101 Online Magazine, and planning that the next one will be about how Asian cuisines and food markets offer a wealth of food substitutes and alternatives for those of us dealing with multiple and less commonly seen food allergies.  It’s a big topic, so the challenge will be to trim it while still giving all the info I know readers will find useful.

I’ve also got draft articles about alternatives and undiscovered “safe” foods found in the varied cuisines and markets of Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Latin America.  Discovering these foods, and seeing how they can enrich a diet that otherwise may be extremely limited by food allergies, has lifted my spirits and given me new resolve to share what I have learned. 

In that vein, I warmly invite you, my wonderful readers, to share any such treasures which you may have found, too – foods that perhaps are not familiar to people living outside of your own location and might just provide a needed boost of nutrition, flavor, and release from menu monotony J

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Adult Onset of Food Allergies: Some current theories

Further to my post of earlier this month regarding Adult Onset of Food Allergies, I wanted to pass on some information I recently discovered -- definitely worth looking into if you're wondering, as I am, what may be causing adults to suddenly develop food allergies.

In the Spring 2011 issue of Allergic Living Magazine, on pages 15 & 16 within the section titled "The Food Allergy Experts", Dr. Scott Sicherer (Chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York) tells a reader some of the current theories about why adults are experiencing food allergies they didn't when they were children:

1) Allergy to proteins in the air which are similar to proteins in certain foods may contribute to developing food allergy -- for example, proteins in birch pollen are similar to the proteins of foods in the same family as apples and pears (Pomoideae, a sub-family of the Rose Family).

2) Environmental exposure to a food or food protein, even if not ingested, may increase risk of allergy to that food/protein (peanuts are the example given).

3) Changes in digestion, such as taking antacids, may lead to increased risk of food allergy (the theory is that lack of stomach acid reduces digestion and allows proteins to pass intact to the immune system).

4) An imbalance in the immune system caused, for example, by a severe viral illness, may lead the body to attack proteins it formerly considered benign.

This list is by no means exhaustive nor definitive, and Dr. Sicherer emphasizes the importance of talking with a board-certified allergist about your specific case.  The bottom line is that no one has yet sufficiently pinned down the cause(s) of food allergies in adults or children, but every day our knowledge is increasing -- a heartening thought for the times when our hope of relief seems to dwindle.

Indian Ingredients in the Food Allergy Treasure Chest

I am pleased to have recently published my first article as a contributing writer to the Online Magazine.

Of course it's an article on one of my favorite subjects: finding ingredient alternatives when your "safe foods" list is limited by multiple food allergies (especially those beyond the "Top 8").  This is the first of several articles I'll be writing about how ethnic markets can be a fantastic boon for eliminating monotony from meals. 

Feel free to check it out at:

Indian vegetable market
(Credit: babasteve)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Check out "" for great info on finding allergy friendly restaurants (its blog site has also kindly included my food allergy blog in its "Friends" list):

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Adult Onset of Food Allergies

I’m delighted to welcome recent readers from Hong Kong, Iran, and Israel, as well as a steadily increasing stream of readers from the USA, Canada, and various European countries.  Please continue to visit, and bring your friends!

This will be a short post today, but I wanted to share with you what I’ve been thinking about the past few days.  I’ve started receiving regular “Google Alerts” for anything that appears on the web about multiple food allergies, and one item that caught my attention was a post in the “Allergy Community” section of a website called  The post was from a woman who as an adult began experiencing food allergies to a variety of foods, though she had not had prior food allergies.  Some of her food allergies are not to the currently recognized “Top 8”, and some started out as mild allergies but got more severe if she continued to eat those foods.  Her further frustration is that the number of food allergies she has is increasing, and she’s afraid she’ll soon have nothing that is safe for her to eat.

This resonated with me because it’s all too true a scenario that my own family has experienced – first with my mother, then with myself.  Adult onset of food allergies, and the growing number and diversity of those allergies, seem to be topics much less frequently addressed than food-allergic kids and the “Top 8” food allergies.  This is not only disturbing to those of us who as adults developed food allergies but also disheartening because far too few people know (as I do from my own research and personal experience) that there are myriad alternative foods as well as extensive information that can help this large segment of the population.

Obviously this blog is one such resource, and I strive daily to add more sources of information and support to it.  My magazine articles and of course my book that I hope to have published soon are also inspired by my desire to provide such information and encouragement.  There are a few other sites out there that also address food allergies beyond the “Top 8” and aren’t aimed primarily at kids (see the links to the left and right of this post).  Nonetheless I am wondering how to reach more people like the woman who posted on the website – when I investigated further I found many more posts from as far back as 2007 from adults who, like her, were experiencing adult onset of food allergies and didn’t know where to turn for help in order to still be able to eat well.

I would love to hear your comments and anything about your own experiences with adult onset food allergies – both the difficulties and the solutions you’ve found.  And I promise I’ll share with you whatever I can find that will be of help, too.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ketchup and pasta sauce with NO tomatoes or nightshades...

First, I’m thrilled to welcome an ever-increasing number of visitors to this site – in the past month several new online readers have joined us from Canada, and new visitors continue to come to us from Germany, Slovenia, France, and across the United States. 

Reports generated by Blogger.comGoogle Analytics, and indicate that more referral sites and search engines are finding this blog and that its rank is swiftly rising among food allergy blogs worldwide.  Thank you to everyone who’s visited, and please continue share this blog with anyone you know!

My post today is on the topic of “tomato sauces” that are tomato-free AND nightshade-free.  Last month I offered some suggestions on alternatives to using red or green tomatoes in recipes, but most of those unfortunately still use members of the Nightshade Family (of which tomato is one), leaving those of us with allergies to the whole Nightshade Family (Solanaceae) in a bit of a fix.

Two days ago I came across a recipe for red pasta sauce that DOESN’T involve tomatoes OR any other nightshades, and I was so excited, I started searching for similar recipes.  The original recipe I found was in a fairly old “International Macrobiotic Cuisine” book called Whole World Cookbook, produced by a group of editors at East West Journal back in 1984, and used carrots, beets, and red miso as its main ingredients.  My immediate thought was why didn’t I think of using carrots and beets like that?!?

Already I saw a nightshade-free sauce coming together in my mind – carrots being from the Carrot/Parsley Family (Umbelliferae or Apiaceae) and beets from the Goosefoot/Beet Family (Chenopodiaceae).  Red miso is soy-derived and therefore from a sub-family called Papilionoideae or Faboideae and which belongs to the larger Legume Family (Leguminoaseae or Fabaceae).  As the amount of miso required was quite small, I would probably leave it out altogether.  Alternatively, I could easily imagine adding various other ingredients to replace its saltiness if needed, e.g. coconut aminos or a smidge of yeast extract (Marmite).  Basically, the macrobiotic recipe I found called for pressure cooking the carrots and beets with onions and then adding the miso and various Italian-style herbs and spices to get the right flavor, plus arrowroot to thicken the sauce.

Inspired by that recipe, I did a quick websearch for other tomato-free and nightshade-free sauces, and to my surprise there were a number of similar recipes using carrots and beets, and not just for pasta sauce but also for ketchup – those of you who have to avoid ketchup because of tomatoes will no doubt be as happy as I was to finally get that item back on the table!**

Here are a few of the recipes I found (note: one uses yams instead of carrots) – I haven’t tried them yet, but am gearing up to do so.  If you beat me to it, please let me know how you liked the results.  I even found a company that makes such sauces commercially.  The best part is that with carrots and beets, you’re already getting more varied nutrients than you would have been getting with tomatoes or their nightshade siblings anyway!

Tomato-free red pasta sauce: 

Tomato-free ketchup:

Commercially sold tomato-free sauces:

P.S. For a long time now I’ve used a sauce made primarily of red lentils (which dissolve and become orange) as a pasta sauce topping that is also nightshade-free.  Doesn’t taste much like tomato sauce but is very flavorful and colorful plus a great source of additional protein.  I’ll try to post that recipe in the coming weeks.

** Of course, if you are allergic to carrots, beets, or any member of their respective food families, or to any of the herbs or spices used in such sauces, you would have to adapt the recipe(s) accordingly.  Fortunately there are a number of other vegetables that can be cooked to resemble carrots in texture and color but hail from different food families (such as sweet potato/USA yam or pumpkin).  For beets, you’d most likely have to substitute other red-colored foods, perhaps rhubarb or red plums?  Wait till my soon-to-be-published book comes out – it’s FILLED with food substitution ideas!