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Passover and Food Allergies

I was raised a Reform Jew, so my family never kept Kosher. Our synagogue never even kept a Kosher kitchen. However, when I was younger my parents did try to get me to keep Pesadik for awhile. However, I stopped doing that eventually because I just mentally did not want to think about restricting my diet at all, even for one week because of one of the most important Jewish holidays. It is really difficult to just think about limiting your diet any further, whether it is for passover, not eating meat and dairy to keep kosher, or even to go on a diet to loose weight, when one needs to limit their diet due to food allergies anyway. Although, I think that if I did regularly stop mixing meat and dairy I would eliminate enough calories to loose weight, but on the other hand I do need the calcium. If I did ever have I child, I guess I would try to keep Pesadik again so that they could learn from the experience.

Kosher catering can be really awful to deal with when you have food allergies, unless the chef really understands your problem and many times they don’t. If the meal is a meat meal, then a lot of the food will have soy products in it instead of dairy products. Allergic reactions at a Kosher event can be hard to avoid unless the whole kitchen has instructions to only use olive oil, even then someone will bring a dish to a family gathering that is made with the wrong ingredients. If this happens and you eat something that you are allergic to, stop eating the food when you first begin to get itchy, drink several glasses of water, and try to remember to take a Benadryl with you to stop the allergic reaction.

So family gatherings for Passover and dealing with Ashkenazic dietary restrictions, more than Sephardic ones can be difficult during this time of year. While in Israel in 2003 I did meet up with a family on a Kibbutz in which they all had food allergies. They normally adhered to Ashkenazic customs. Since they had food allergies, they decided it was better for their diet to adhere to Sephardic dietary restrictions since it was easier for them to eat a normally healthy diet. I do recommend this as well, since I do not think that I could spend a whole week just eating meat and matzah every day. Last year, an article was published in Haaretz about how some Orthodox Jews have found that Ashkenazic dietary restrictions are too difficult to deal with and feel that Sephardic dietary restrictions should be acceptable for them, as well. This article can be found at:

http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/anglo-file/efrat-rabbi-tilts-against-passover-food-restrictions-for-ashkenazi-jews-1.356076

Another article to check out was recently published by the author of SesameFree.org at:

http://sesamefree.org/component/content/article/3-newsflash/206-passover.html

Here is another article about the differences in Ashkenazic and Sephardic dietary restrictions:

http://rabbipaul.blogspot.com/2009/04/can-we-eat-beans-rice-corn-and-peas-on.html?m=1

If you are looking for some new recipes that are food allergy friendly for Passover, check out any of my blog entries labeled recipes. You can find all of the recipes by looking at the links on the side labeled “Categories”. I have also found a Potato Kishke from Meal Mart that is Kosher for Passover in the frozen section that is made with Beef fat instead of oil, so check it out. I like it, but my parents don’t. Also, do check out Kosher for Passover candy in the grocery store, most of it is food allergy friendly. Elite labels their chocolate as lecithin free for those that are worried about eating soy lecithin or kitniyot. However, do make sure you check the list of ingredients on various packaged foods for Passover. Many of them are made with cottonseed oil, which I am supposed to be allergic to.

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Categories: Blog Posts, Health, Kosher, Passover
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