Tasty Alternatives for Chocolate Allergy Sufferers
Who doesn't love chocolate? Most of us do, but if you have a chocolate allergy, you've probably got a whole list of desserts that look and smell good but are completely out of reach. However, the good news is that these days, you may be able to find other safer, but equally tempting, treats.
Chocolate Allergy Facts
Did you know that true allergies to cocoa (the actual chocolate bean itself) are very rare? Most people with a chocolate allergy are likely allergic to some of the other ingredients included in many of the popular chocolate products on the market today. In fact, if you eat a chocolate bar and have an allergic reaction, the culprit could a variety of factors including milk, egg, soy, lecithin, nuts, dye, corn syrup and gluten.
Symptoms of a Chocolate Allergy
Regardless of what triggers the problem, your symptoms can also span a wide range. You may get hives, rashes or itching, or you may experience stomach ailments, including diarrhea and vomiting. Some people also get migraine headaches when they eat something that contains chocolate.
Just because you can't tolerate chocolate, though, doesn't mean that you can't indulge in something sweet. You just need to be careful what you choose and learn to read labels you know exactly what you're getting. Please review the following tips to help you navigate the delicious options that exist. (Just be sure to always check with your allergist first, to be sure you aren't putting yourself in any danger before you try any of these.)
- When you have an allergy to the artificial additives, not to the chocolate bean itself, you may be able to tolerate try a more expensive chocolate bar that's higher grade and has fewer added ingredients.
- If you're sensitive to dairy or soy, you can look for chocolate that's Kosher for Passover chocolate and is free of both of these common allergens.
- When you can't find anything available in the store, you can set up your own candy shop and create chocolate with allergy-approved ingredients. A number of allergy-free chocolate recipes are available online and many are very easy to make and will taste great.
- Make a habit of indulging in carob instead of chocolate. This ingredient serves as a good substitute in many recipes and you can also buy carob bars, cookies and other treats. Better yet, any people find this option just as satisfying as chocolate and in fact, they often can't even tell the difference between this and the real thing.
A Word of Warning
If you find a commercial candy bar that meets your food safety requirements, it's important to know that the snack size version may not be exactly the same. The AAAAI website lists a warning that many Halloween goodies have different ingredients than the larger sizes of the same thing. Therefore, it's important to get all the facts before you indulge.
Finally, be aware that even if you're not allergic to chocolate now, an allergy can develop at any time. Therefore, if you're prone to food allergies, it doesn't hurt to be on the lookout for symptoms when you eat chocolate treats.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI)
Chocolate Allergy Information
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