Food Allergy Week + Nut-free Kale Pesto

This week is Food Allergy Awareness Week. Food Allergy Awareness Week was created by Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FARE) in 1998 to help increase awareness of the prevalence and severity of food allergies and to help foster safe and respectful environments for those with food allergies. And because more than 15 million Americans have food allergies, chances are you—or someone you know—is allergic to one or more foods.

We all know people who are avoiding certain foods to have they have less bloating, better skin or improved GI issues. And as long as your diet is balanced and filled with a variety of nutritious foods, I believe you should eat the foods that make you feel nourished… and avoid those that don’t. But, I do think all this talk of “food sensitivities” has blurred the line for those with a true, life-threatening food allergy. And as both a dietitian and a parent of a child who outgrew a true food allergy, this scares me.

There’s no sugar-coating it… life-threatening food allergies are scary. Yes, as parents we make them less scary by taking precautions and helping our children learn how to shop, cook and order food safely. But knowing that a food that is safe for most people but can cause life-threatening anaphylaxis in a few others is always a serious matter.

Just recently, I was talking to a friend who is an allergist. She gently reminded me that I need to regularly feed my child cashews so that she doesn’t re-develop the allergy. As a dietitian who works with food allergy clients, I know this. I advise my clients to do this. But as a mom who toted a minimum of two epi pens everywhere for years, I have a hard time making my daughter eat a food that was once toxic to her system. (And, trying to get an independent (and stubborn!) child to eat that once-forbidden food is an even harder feat!) But, we will continue to offer her cashews at home,in a safe environment. And, we will continue to hold our breaths while she begrudgingly nibbles a few of them.

Here is my favorite recipe for pesto. It’s not only nut-free, but it’s filled with vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium and protein thanks to the kale and beans. And if you have a dairy allergy or sensitivity, feel free to sub with a dairy-free Parmesan alternative from brands like Go Veggie! or Daiya.

PLEASE SHARE: What is your favorite free-from recipe? Please share. I’d love to hear from you!