For millions of Americans, planning meals around their allergies is a daily struggle; checking every single ingredient to ensure nothing can trigger a dangerous reaction. From opting for peanut-free Red Sox games to carrying an Epi-pen, one can never be too careful when it comes to protecting themselves from a food that can pose a serious threat. As someone who has spent her entire life being allergic to tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.), my brand new diagnosis of “gluten intolerance” and an allergy to soy was a pain and I had literally no idea where to begin. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY THINGS HAVE GLUTEN AND SOY IN THEM? SUSHI WITH NO SOY SAUCE? The horror!
Lucky for me and everyone else who wants to feel good, right Worcester events like the Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Expo have been working hard to shed some light on safe, delicious options.
“All of the samples at the event have the allergens indicated on them. So let’s say that you are somebody that can’t eat gluten, but you also maybe can’t eat dairy and soy. You can find that here,” says Jen Cafferty, Founder of the Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Expo.
Companies like Smart Flour have gone the extra mile to make sure fast, tasty options are available that are safe from several common allergies including peanuts, gluten and soy. “Let’s see. We are rice free, egg free, nut free, soy free which is huge. Then we do sell our crust separately which is dairy free and certified non-GMO,” says Tonya Phillips, Marketing Coordinator at Smart Flour. As she offered me a slice of pizza, she commented on the “crunch” it made. “Did you hear that crunch when you bit it?” she asked. “Like I tell everybody: even if you’re not gluten free, it’s a healthier way to eat pizza. So you have mixed households a lot where 2/5 people are gluten free so then the other ones end up having to eat gluten free anyway and they’re like, ‘I’m never having that pizza again!’ This one that the whole family can enjoy.”
Just in case you’re out with friends or traveling and in a pinch, the Gluten Free Media Group also offers a handy app and website that tells you where you can find local gluten free restaurants in your area: http://www.FindMeGlutenFree.com. A couple of local places I’ve found in my travels bouncing between Boston and Martha’s Vineyard are Wolf Den Pizza in Edgartown and Blaze Pizza here in Boston. They both have a gluten free, soy free, nut free crust, but always call and ask to check labels. If they use Udi’s, it’s safe from gluten, soy and nuts.