Egg Substitutes

Whenever I tell someone I’m allergic to eggs, one of the first responses I tend to get is asking how I survive without this or that baked good. Well, the truth is I don’t because it’s extremely easy to bake without eggs. There are numerous options out there, but I’m going to share the three that I have used personally. So whether you’re allergic to eggs, vegan, or simply ran out, the following substitutions work just as well as any conventional chicken egg.

1. Ener-G Egg Replacer

Enger-G Egg Replacer is the substitute I grew up on. It’s a white powder that when mixed with water functions as an egg. It works in just about any baked good (although we did have trouble with brownies). The disadvantage is the cost. There are plenty of less expensive options that you may already have in you’re cupboard (I’ll explain those next). However, if you’d like to give Ener-G Egg Replacer a try, click the image below to buy it on Amazon!

2. Flax Seed and Water

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Ground flax seed and hot water make a much less expensive option and it’s even heart healthy! To make one egg, mix 1 Tbs. ground flax seed with 3 Tbs. hot water. Give it a whisk and let stand for about five minutes. In some recipes, you may be able to see it, but it won’t affect the flavor at all. I use flax seed in anything from pizza crust to zucchini bread!

3. Aquafaba

Aquafaba is my most recent egg replacer discovery and I absolutely love it! All it is is the liquid in a can of garbanzo beans, so chances are, you already have it in your pantry. It’s extremely easy to use as well–2 Tbs. equals one egg white and 3 Tbs. equals a whole egg. There is roughly 3/4 cup (12 Tbs.) aquafaba in one can of garbanzo beans. That will give you six egg whites or four whole eggs. I use it in any baked good, but also in royal icing. True royal icing contains raw egg whites which isn’t safe for anyone to eat. Most egg-free versions either contain meringue powder (which still has eggs in it) or corn syrup which is just simply unclean. However, aquafaba is totally safe and doesn’t add more sugar to royal icing.

I hope these substitutions are helpful and please comment below if you know of any others that I can add to the post!

 

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Allergy Pet Peeves

To be completely honest, living with food allergies really isn’t all that bad. As I mentioned in a previous post, Food Allergies: A Blessing in Disguise, allergies have made me much more conscious of what I eat and have really helped me make the transition to clean eating. That being said, I’m looking forward to the day when a cure for allergies is widely available and I don’t have to be paranoid every time I go to a restaurant or try a new food. Not only that, but there are some little things that people do that really get my goat. I thought I would take a moment to share some of them with my non-allergic readers so that you get a better understanding of how we feel. As far as any readers who do have experience with food allergies, I’d love it if you would comment below with your thoughts, ideas, insights, or personal pet peeves.

1. Food-Pushers

Plural noun. A word used to classify people who try to get others to eat more even when they refuse for any given reason.

Food-pushers are most often the mothering/grandma type of people. You know who I’m talking about. The people at any sort of social gathering who say, “Here try this!” or “Did you get enough to eat?”or “Make sure to go back for seconds!” These people may not even be family members, but rather a friend or a co-worker. Of course food-pushers always have good intentions. It’s just that if you have food allergies, those good intentions could have major repercussions. Moral of the story is, if you know someone has food allergies, NEVER encourage/force that person to eat something he/she is uncomfortable with. And if you don’t know whether or not someone has allergies, just don’t push them to eat if they don’t want to. Chances are, if someone has allergies, he/she might feel awkward saying so and would rather politely turn down food and move on.

2. Using Allergies as an Excuse

Few things bother me more than when someone uses “allergies” as an excuse to getting out of eating something they don’t like. For instance, someone might say, “I can’t eat that. I’m allergic to Brussels sprouts,” when we all know they just don’t like Brussels sprouts. Of course this person is just joking around, but allergies are actually very serious and if they knew what it was like to actually have to live with this serious, sometimes life-threatening, condition, they would realize that this is no place for fooling around and can be very offensive to people who do have allergies.

3. Allergy vs. Intolerance

These days, there is so much confusion surrounding terms like allergies, intolerance, sensitivity, etc. I plan to write a specific post on this topic to help clear up some confusion because it really bothers me when people throw around these terms without knowing what they mean. Without going into too much depth, a food allergy is an autoimmune disorder and can range in severity from something as minor as hives to something as life-threatening as anaphylaxis. There can also be gastrointestinal reactions in certain types of allergies which can get confused with an intolerance. The main thing is that allergies have to do with the immune system and everyone reacts differently.

Food intolerance is quite a different matter and can also range from a mild sensitivity where the food makes someone feel a little sick to something extremely serious like celiac disease (a severe gluten intolerance). Even though symptoms may be similar to allergies in the GI cases, the main difference is that sensitivities have to do with the digestive system–not the immune system. Hopefully that clears up a little confusion, but like I said, I will go deeper into this topic in another post.

4. “So what do you eat?”

A common question whenever someone hears just how many allergies I have. It’s less of a pet-peeve and more funny actually. As it turns out, there are way more things that I can eat than things I can’t. It’s just a matter of being extra careful when eating anything I didn’t make.

I also get asked how I survive without baked goods. Then I just have to laugh because as you all know, I find plenty of ways around the egg barrier. Honestly, if one day I can eat eggs, I don’t think I’ll start to bake with them. It’s easy enough to do without and if I used eggs, the batter wouldn’t be safe to eat… 🙂

5. When Someone Insists Something is Safe

Going along with the “food-pusher” idea is when someone insists that food is safe even when you know it might not be and have to awkwardly explain that it’s not while trying not to sound rude or accusing.

For instance, you go to a gathering and your friend says she made something specially without said allergen and thus you can eat it. Well that’s wonderful and a very nice gesture. However, how was that prepared? Was there cross-contamination? Are you sure you didn’t forget about my nut allergy and use almond milk instead of dairy? Or add some almond extract for flavor? That looks like a creamy sauce…are you sure there aren’t eggs? These are just a few of the questions running through my paranoid mind as I try to get out of this terribly uncomfortable situation. Even if after asking all sorts of questions, it may still seem supposedly “safe”, but I still wouldn’t feel comfortable eating it and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings when they made something just for me.

Moral of the story, never insist something is safe for someone. You never know and even if it is, it’s never okay to make someone uncomfortable. It’s fine to offer things to food-allergic people when you have something “safe”, but don’t be offended if they turn it down. I can’t speak for everyone with allergies, but personally, I trust no one. It’s not something to take offense to, it’s just me in survival mode and trying to avoid a trip to the hospital. That being said, I still appreciate good-intentions and people trying to help and be nice–sometimes it just ends up being a really awkward situation of me trying to be safe while also not hurting anyone’s feelings.

 

Okay, so living with allergies isn’t as horrible as it may seem. By taking the proper precautions, most issues can be avoided altogether. I just want to raise awareness and help others understand what to do and what not to do to keep the food allergic population safe and comfortable. Food is a very social aspect to cultures across the world, and not being able to take part makes life a little awkward (this is the main reason why I like to avoid some gatherings). There are always explanations needed when I’d rather not answer questions and I don’t like the extra attention I get from all of it. It’s best to not press people with questions and not force anyone into anything–allergies or not.

I hope that helps clear up any confusion and as always feel free to comment with questions, thoughts or personal insights on the topic!

 

Food Allergies: A Blessing in Disguise

Having food allergies has been so crucial to the success of my clean eating. I know it sounds crazy! How could food allergies ever be a good thing? I used to wonder the same thing, but over the years it has become clearer as to how they are sort of a blessing in disguise. Don’t get me wrong–I’d love to outgrow these allergies anytime now. That being said, I’m not at all resentful that I have this severe condition.

The number one benefit to having allergies my whole life is how reading labels is second nature. I was honestly shocked when I found out that a lot of people don’t do this. What sparked clean eating in me was that I was reading ingredients and realized that I didn’t know what most of the ingredients were and the lists were miles long. If label reading wasn’t in my nature, clean eating probably never would have crossed my mind.

Going off of that, another benefit is that I grew up avoiding a lot of junk. Egg and tree nut allergies basically eliminates all bakeries. When I was younger, it was brutal seeing all those yummy pastries I couldn’t eat, but now I don’t feel like I’m missing a thing! People will sympathize and say how bad they feel when I can’t eat this, that, and the other thing, but I genuinely don’t care. What actually bothers me is people doing this–not actually “missing out”.

Okay, so allergies aren’t all bad, but how on Earth does one go about managing such a life threatening condition? Even with some benefits, allergies are dangerous and are not to be taken lightly. Again, the answer comes down to reading those labels. If something doesn’t have a label, it needs to be avoided at all costs! Even if someone says, “Don’t worry, it doesn’t have [insert allergen here] in it!” it is not safe! What non-allergic people often fail to understand is cross contamination and how dangerous is actually is.

In future posts, I’ll delve a little deeper into each of these topics, but I first wanted to give a little overview on my background with food allergies. These days everything is so confusing with both allergies and sensitivities on the rise and lack of understanding from the non-allergic population is both irritating and life threatening. My hope is to clear up any confusion and raise awareness for those who aren’t familiar with allergies while giving some insight on what it is like to live with food allergies and tips on managing them for those who are.

 

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