The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook: Over 150 Easy-to-Make Recipes That Contain No Milk, Eggs, Wheat, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Soy, Fish, or Shellfish

The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook: Over 150 Easy-to-Make Recipes That Contain No Milk, Eggs, Wheat, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Soy, Fish, or Shellfish

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by Judi Zucker, Shari Zucker

For too many people, the term “allergy free cooking” conjures images of bland and boring meals—dishes that seem to be “missing something.” But the fact is that meals can be made flavorful, appealing, satisfying, and healthful, and still eliminate common allergenic foods. Now, best-selling authors Judi and Shari Zucker have created a

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For too many people, the term “allergy free cooking” conjures images of bland and boring meals—dishes that seem to be “missing something.” But the fact is that meals can be made flavorful, appealing, satisfying, and healthful, and still eliminate common allergenic foods. Now, best-selling authors Judi and Shari Zucker have created a cookbook that will guide you in doing just that. The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook is an exciting collection of over 150 delectable dishes that contain absolutely no eggs, cow’s milk, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, or shellfish, the eight foods most likely to cause allergic reactions.

The book first looks at the overall problem of allergies—what they are, how they can be identified, and what problems they can cause. It offers valuable information on the dangers of cross-contamination of allergens in packaged foods, and helps you understand food labels. You’ll even learn how to stock a safe allergen-free kitchen. What follows are six chapters of taste-tempting recipes, including starters and appetizers, soups, salads and dressings, main dishes, desserts and snacks, and drinkable delights. Each recipe is designed to be clear and easy to use, and many include options that help you change up dishes to fit your family’s preferences. Special emphasis has been placed on using wholesome and fresh products that are rich in nutrients and fiber, and low in calories. Throughout, clever time-saving tips help you fit healthy cooking into your life, no matter how hectic it may be.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Zuckers, twin sisters and coauthors of Double Your Energy with Half the Effort, return with a collection of recipes for allergy sufferers and their families. Adopting a vegan/vegetarian menu with no nuts, the Zuckers offer 150 recipes that are, for the most part, relatively easy to source and prepare. Dishes lean heavily in favor of the familiar: smoothies, salsa, butternut squash soup, black bean burgers, gluten-free pizza crust, and carob brownies, dominate the offerings. What sets the book apart from it vegan competitors is its opening chapters concerning allergies and their triggers, which could prove to be a useful resource for the recently diagnosed and/or parents of children with allergies. The Zuckers supply a guide to synonyms for common ingredients on food labels in addition to potentially life-saving tips about them, such as the fact that soy is often used as an emulsifier and binding agent for “natural flavors.” They even list common allergy triggers for animals. Longtime sufferers probably won’t find much new here in terms of allergy information, but the book will serve as a quick resource for allergy-friendly recipes. Parents, caregivers, and the recently-diagnosed will likely get the most out of this well-meaning resource. (Aug.)
Kitchen Ade

"An uncommon cookbook which addresses a common problem -- preparing meals for any occasion for folks living with food allergies . . . provide[s] straightforward recipes for preparing delicious meals that you and your family will actually enjoy eating . . . There are many reasons to love this cookbook, but let's not overlook the best reason of all -- the recipes -- bursts of color, flavor and texture all." --Sue Ade, syndicated food columnist of "Kitchen Ade"
Library Journal
Cookbooks that address one or two allergens are common these days, but ones that address simultaneously all eight major allergens—milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, and shellfish—are rare. Such books face a challenge: how to make food taste good without so many staples? And what if everything is meat free as well? The Zucker sisters (The Ultimate Allergy-Free Snack Cookbook) assert that, "having food allergies does not mean deprivation," and they prove it in their latest collection. Recipes are simple and combine fresh, common ingredients to create tasty dishes such as sweet 'n' spicy carrot bisque, quinoa confetti, pinto bean and sweet potato chili, and luscious lemon bars. Rounding out the recipes for drinks, snacks, soups, salads, sides, main dishes, and desserts is valuable allergen information and a concluding resource section listing organizations, online support groups, and ingredient sources. The allergen and additional reading materials, along with about 30 recipes, are updated versions that appear in the duo's snack cookbook. VERDICT With its easy, flavorful, and healthy dishes, this allergy- and vegan-friendly collection will delight many. Those with the same allergen concerns but who don't want to go meatless should take a peek at cookbooks by Cybele Pascal.—Jude Baldwin, Coll. of the Siskiyous, Weed, CA

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Square One Publishers
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The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook

Over 150 Easy-To-Make Recipes That Contain No Milk, Eggs, Wheat; Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Soy Fish, or Shellfish


SquareOne Publishers

Copyright © 2015 Judi Zucker and Shari Zucker
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7570-0397-4


Allergies on the Rise

Over 15 million people in the United States suffer from food allergies, with the highest incidence among children under eighteen years old. And the number continues to climb. According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control, food allergies have nearly doubled over the past ten years—and there is no definitive reason why.

Heredity is believed to be the primary cause of food allergies. Chances are one in three that a child will develop an allergy if one parent has an allergy of any type. These odds increase to seven in ten if both parents have allergies. But why the sudden increase?

A growing number of researchers suggest that this noticeable rise may be due to what is called the hygiene hypothesis—our tendency toward "clean living." We strive for an antiseptic, dirt-free world; one in which our immune systems no longer have to fight germs the way they used to. Medications and antibiotics have taken further burden off our immune systems, which have shifted their focus from fighting infections to developing more allergic tendencies, such as viewing harmless proteins in foods as harmful invaders, overreacting to them, and then causing an allergenic response. Since more people are developing allergies and more allergic couples are having children, the increase in the number of affected children is naturally on the rise.

Introducing known allergenic foods into a child's diet too early may be another cause of the rising allergy rates—a theory that has proven controversial. And recently, an interesting study conducted at Italy's University of Florence indicated that poor dietary choices, such as those associated with the western diet, may also be a contributing factor to a child's susceptibility to allergies, as well as obesity and a number of other conditions and illnesses. Researchers compared the effects of the fiber-rich diet of fourteen children from a rural African village in Burkina Faso to the more-westernized diets of fifteen children from Florence. The African children ate mostly grains, beans, nuts, and vegetables that had been raised near their homes, while the diet of the Italian children included more meat, fat, and sugar. Study results showed that the digestive systems of the African children were flourishing with "good" bacteria and an abundance of beneficial fatty acids, which are associated with a reduced risk of obesity, inflammation, asthma, eczema, and other allergic reactions. By comparison, the systems of the Italian children had nowhere near the same beneficial environment—a condition that could lead to allergies and other inflammatory diseases.

There's no question that the number of people developing food allergies is growing. While strict avoidance of the offending food may be the only way to prevent a reaction, eating a healthy, nutritious diet may be another important factor in reducing the risk that can lead to allergies.


What exactly is a food allergy? Is it the same as food intolerance? Although both involve food sensitivities, these two conditions are different.

A food allergy occurs when the body's immune system overreacts to a food, believing it is harmful. To protect itself, the immune system mistakenly produces antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies cause the body to generate chemicals called histamines, which can cause an allergic response. This response can range from minor skin irritations like an itchy rash or stuffy nose to more serious respiratory problems, including life-threatening anaphylaxis. Signs of anaphylaxis, which usually occur within minutes after exposure to the allergen, typically include difficulty breathing and swallowing, and swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat. Early administration of epinephrine (available in an injectable "pen") is critical for successful treatment.

A food intolerance is similar to an allergy in that it causes an adverse reaction to a food; but unlike an allergy, it does not involve the immune system. Symptoms of food intolerance—often headaches and digestive issues—also tend to be less severe and non-life threatening. Although many foods can cause an intolerance, the most common offenders include lactose, a sugar found in milk and most dairy products; salicylates, a natural chemical contained in a variety of fruits and vegetables; amines, a chemical produced during the fermentation of wine and the ripening of certain foods; and glutamate, an amino acid in foods containing protein. The popular flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of glutamate and a common cause of sensitivity.

Celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance or celiac sprue, is a digestive condition that, although not considered an allergy, involves an immune system response. For a person with celiac, antibodies attack the lining of the small intestine when gluten is present. The lining becomes inflamed and is unable to absorb nutrients and minerals from food. A gluten-free diet—avoidance of all products containing wheat, rye, spelt, kamut, triticale, and barley—is the only treatment for this condition.

As stated earlier, food allergies are more common in children than adults. The good news is that the majority of affected children will outgrow them.


Unlike many non-food allergies, which can be treated with medication, there is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance of the offending food is the only way to prevent a reaction. The eight foods that trigger most allergic responses are peanuts, tree nuts, cow's milk and other dairy products, eggs, wheat, soy, fish, and crustacean shellfish. Children are more likely to suffer from allergies due to milk, eggs, and peanuts, while adults tend to be more allergic to fish and shellfish. Let's take a closer look at these highly allergenic foods.


Actually legumes (not nuts), peanuts are a growing cause of allergic reactions in children. According to a recent survey that appeared in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the number of children with peanut allergies more than tripled between 1997 and 2008. Nearly half of these children are also allergic to tree nuts. For many, a peanut allergy is a lifelong concern—only about 20 percent of children outgrow it.

An allergic reaction to peanuts can be mild or severe depending on the sensitivity of the individual. Even an extremely small amount can cause serious life-threatening anaphylaxis in some people.

It is obvious that peanut butter and any food or product that includes the word "peanut" indicates that it contains peanut protein, making the product easy to avoid. Sometimes, however, peanuts are sold as "beer nuts" or "monkey nuts," which are not as obvious. It is very important to read food labels to determine if the product contains peanut protein, which can be found in a number of unlikely sources. (See "Guide to Avoiding Food Allergens" on page 10.)

Tree Nuts

Approximately 1 percent of children in North America are allergic to tree nuts. Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, chestnuts, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamias, pistachios, and pine nuts are common tree nut varieties, but they are not the only ones.

Allergic reactions to tree nuts, as with peanuts, are generally lifelong and can be severe and even life-threatening. For the most part, people who are allergic to one tree nut are not usually allergic to all varieties. They may, however, be allergic to one or even a few others. They are also at greater risk for developing peanut allergies.

For this reason—as well as the possibility of cross-contamination during the manufacturing process—most doctors advise that if you are allergic to one tree nut, it is best to simply avoid all nuts, and peanuts, too.

What about coconuts? Although the FDA considers coconut to be a tree nut (for food labeling purposes), technically it is not a nut; it is a seed. Coconut allergies are actually very rare, and most people with tree nut allergies are able to eat coconut without having an adverse reaction. So before eliminating coconut from your diet, first discuss this possibility with your doctor.

Also bear in mind that although chestnuts fall into the tree nut category, water chestnuts do not. Water chestnuts are the edible portion of a plant root, and safe for anyone with tree nut allergies. Nutmeg is also safe. Although it includes the word "nut" in its name, nutmeg is actually the fragrant seed of a topical tree.

Like peanuts, many foods that contain tree nuts are obvious, but there are many unexpected sources as well. A growing number of commercial products like salad dressings, cereals, meatless burgers, and pie crusts contain tree nuts. And many ethnic cuisines, such as Greek and Chinese, are famous for dishes and pastries that contain nuts. Reading food labels and maintaining an awareness of the possible presence of food allergens in unexpected sources is critical. For details, see the listing on page 11.


An allergy to cow's milk is the most common childhood food allergy, affecting approximately 2.5 percent of children under age three. Most affected children develop the allergy during their first year. Casein, the protein in cow's milk, is the most common culprit, although most children who are allergic to cow's milk are also allergic to goat's milk and sheep's milk. Some are also allergic to soymilk.

Typical symptoms of a milk allergy, which usually occur shortly after consumption, include vomiting, hives, and gastrointestinal distress. These reactions can be mild or severe, although generally they are not life threatening. On a positive note, many children outgrow milk allergies by the time they are three or four years old. By age eighteen, most are no longer affected.

Along with cheese, butter, yogurt, and ice cream, milk is found in a tremendous number of processed foods and baked goods. When checking ingredient labels, keep an eye out for the words "whey" and "casein," which indicate "milk." There are many other foods that may contain milk or other dairy products and must be avoided (see the list on page 12).

When eating in Mexican or Italian restaurants, where cheese is a popular ingredient and could possibly cross-contaminate the food, be especially careful. And be careful at delis, where cold cuts may be cut on the same slicer used for cheese. Also be aware that lactose-free milks and other lactose-free products still contain milk solids and are not meant for anyone with a milk allergy. They are intended for those with lactose intolerance.


An egg allergy follows milk as the second most-common childhood food allergy. It usually begins when a child is very young, and is often gone by age seven or eight. The allergic reaction (more often to the egg white than the yolk) generally starts within minutes or hours after eating eggs and doesn't last more than a day. Typical reactions include hives or skin rash, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, breathing difficulties, vomiting, and diarrhea. Most children will experience more than one of these reactions, which could be mild or severe. In very rare cases, life-threatening anaphylaxis can occur.

Eggs aren't just found in omelets. They are contained in many prepared foods, baked goods, and processed products. And don't be fooled into thinking that commercial egg substitutes found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store are egg-free. Most contain egg whites. There are, however, vegan egg-free substitutes that come in powdered form and are safe to use.

It's important to be aware of the many hidden egg sources—like pretzels, dinner rolls, and loaves of bread, which are sometimes coated with egg wash for a glossy shine, or that cappuccino, whose foamy topping may contain egg. Check the listings on page 13 for other foods and ingredients to avoid.


Another common food allergy, especially among children, is caused by the protein found in wheat. This allergy usually develops when a child is between six months and two years of age. Most children outgrow it by age five. Like many allergic reactions, symptoms of wheat allergy usually occur a few minutes to a few hours after eating the problem food. Typical symptoms, which can be mild or severe, include hives, itchy eyes, difficulty breathing, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. In some severe cases, anaphylaxis can occur.

Anyone with a wheat allergy must avoid all products made from wheat. It is important to also stay away from products made from spelt and kamut—two grains that are closely related to wheat. (For a detailed list of products to avoid, see page 14.) People with wheat allergies can, however, eat other grains, including amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, rye, and teff.

A wheat allergy is sometimes confused with celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance. As mentioned earlier, those with celiac disease cannot eat any product that contains gluten, which is found not only in wheat but also in rye, kamut, spelt, and barley. Unlike a wheat allergy, which is often outgrown, celiac disease is a lifelong condition and, unfortunately, the number of people who have it is on the rise.

Although it is not considered an allergy, celiac disease does involve an immune system response that targets and damages the lining of the small intestine. For this reason, the recipes in this book—in addition to being free of the eight top food allergens—are also gluten-free, making them safe for those with celiac disease.


Like peanuts, soybeans are classified as legumes. Childhood allergies to soybeans and soy products are about half as common as peanut allergies. In infants, rashes and digestive problems are often signs of a soy allergy, while toddlers and older children tend to experience runny nose, watery eyes, wheezing, and other cold-like symptoms. These allergic reactions are generally mild in nature; however, anaphylaxis can occur in rare cases. Although most children eventually outgrow a soy allergy by age ten, for some, it continues into adulthood.

Because soybeans are so inexpensive, a growing number of food manufacturers have begun replacing more costly ingredients with soy products. For instance, the peanut oil once used in many brands of peanut butter has been replaced with cheaper vegetable oil blends that often contain soy oil. Some herbal teas contain soy as a filler. And even fresh produce is sometimes sprayed with soy oil to give it an eye-appealing shine. (Buying certified organic produce is one way to avoid this particular problem.)

Seafood—Fish and Shellfish

Seafood allergies affect approximately 7 million Americans. Although this type of allergy is more common in adults than children, it can occur at any age; and for most, it is a lifelong condition. Allergic reactions usually begin a few minutes to a few hours after consuming the food, and may include tingling or swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat; dizziness; hives; difficulty breathing; nausea; and diarrhea. A severe reaction can cause anaphylaxis.

Salmon, tuna, and halibut are among the fish (with fins and backbones) that are considered the most allergenic. As for shellfish, which fall into two categories—crustaceans and mollusks—only crustaceans are considered major food allergens. Shrimp, lobster, and crab are among the top offenders. Because mollusks, such as clams, oysters, and scallops, are not considered major food allergens, they do not have to be listed on ingredient labels. (See "Food Labeling" below for more information.) If you have an allergic reaction to crustacean shellfish, the doctor may advise you to avoid mollusks as well. (An extensive list of fish and shellfish to avoid appears on pages 16 and 17.)

In addition to reading ingredient labels and knowing which foods to avoid, it is also a good idea to steer clear of seafood restaurants, where cross-contamination can easily involve a non-fish dish. And watch out for fried foods-many restaurants use the same oil to fry both seafood and non-seafood dishes. It is also important to be aware that Asian restaurants often flavor their dishes with fish-based sauces, so be very careful when ordering.

The only sure way to prevent an allergic food reaction is to avoid the problem food. For this reason, it is very important to be aware of these foods and ingredients, which are sometimes "hidden" under unfamiliar names or sources on food labels. For a detailed list, see "Guide to Avoiding Food Allergens" beginning on page 10.


On January 1, 2006, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) took effect. This act requires that foods containing one or more of the major food allergens (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and crustacean shellfish) must state the allergen clearly and in plain language on the label.


Excerpted from The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook by JUDI ZUCKER, SHARI ZUCKER. Copyright © 2015 Judi Zucker and Shari Zucker. Excerpted by permission of SquareOne Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Judi and Shari Zucker both graduated from the University of California in Santa Barbara, each majoring in Ergonomics—the study of human physiology, physical education, and nutrition. Fondly dubbed the “Double Energy Twins,” they have made it their mission to teach children and adults the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In addition to being interviewed on numerous radio and TV shows, Judi and Shari have lectured on the topic of health and nutrition throughout the United States. They are the authors of four titles, including their bestseller, Double Energy Diet. Currently, both authors live in the Santa Barbara area with their families.

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The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook: Over 150 Easy-To-Make Recipes That Contain No Milk, Eggs, Wheat, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Soy, Fish, or Shellfish 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a Pediatrician, and in the past 5 years I have seen a tremendous increase in food allergies amongst children. In our office waiting room I have a select amount of books and magazines. The most read and appreciated book is The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook. The book has easy to make recipes that are free of the top 8 food allergens-Dairy, Eggs, Wheat, Soy, Shellfish, Fish, Tree Nuts and Peanuts. The Black Bean Quinoa Burgers, Italian Noodle Casserole and Gluten-free Pizza are delicious! The salads, soups, smoothies and desserts are terrific! The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook has fantastic charts with foods that have hidden allergens in them. A patient of mine’s child has a peanut and soy allergy and they were not aware that some grocery stores use soy oil to give an eye-appealing shine to their produce. It’s nice to know that all the recipes are sugar-free and plant based, too. I enjoy the recipes immensely and I highly recommend this cookbook!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simple, Tasty Allergen-Free & Vegan Recipes- I have been a Vegetarian all my life, and I recently omitted dairy from my diet. I was looking for a cookbook that would have delicious main dishes. I made the Italian Noodle Casserole and it was delicious. The gluten-free noodles baked perfectly and I didn’t notice that the noodles were gluten-free. I tried the dish with rice noodles, but I liked using the quinoa noodles better in this dish. Most of the recipes in The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook have “change it up” or substitution suggestions after a recipe and I find this to be helpful. I made the The Black Bean Quinoa Burgers were fantastic. I loved the texture and flavor. I made the recipe with pinto beans, and it was great, too. I also enjoyed placing toasted sunflower seeds in the mixture, also. Although the recipes are creative, the ingredients are easy to find. This book is filled with Simple, Tasty recipes that everyone will enjoy!