Tag Archives: allergy hacks

Gluten Free Options, Products And Info

Only about 1% of the population has celiac disease (a serious autoimmune condition whereby gluten protein causes the body to attack itself) and 0.4% of Americans have a true allergy to wheat. However, a whopping 18 million Americans have a non-specific sensitivity to gluten (usually related to the digestive tract).

GF Controversy

There has been some debate about the recent rise in people opting for Gluten Free (GF) lifestyles. Many people who have no medical issues with the substance have chosen to jump on the GF bandwagon, equating GF with better overall health. This may not necessarily be the case. While some wellness experts assert that limiting gluten consumption is best for everyone, many medical professionals argue that a GF diet can lack fibre and other essential dietary components and simply isn’t necessary unless you’ve been diagnosed with one of the three aforementioned conditions. Controversy aside, people are free to eat what they wish so whether you have celiac, a sensitivity, a wheat allergy or just wish to evade the hotly contended substance, luckily more and more GF products are becoming available.

Types of GF Flour

  • Rice flour has a great consistency that mimics standard flour better than some of the others on the list, but it is not as healthy as quinoa or brown rice flour.
  • Brown rice flour is healthier because it has more fibre than white rice flour and can be used for virtually anything standard flour can be used for.
  • Spelt flour is great for pizza crusts, and can also fully substitute traditional flour in a baking recipe.
  • Quinoa flour is one of the more nutritious options; it has a natural ‘nutty’ flavour and can be completely substituted in baking recipes.
  • Soy flour is especially good for thickening up gravies and other sauces.
  • Coconut flour is high in fibre, protein and low in fat. It also provides a nice taste to baked goods and is a favored GF flour.
  • Almond flour is great for coating meat for frying, also good for about 1/4th of the flour requirement for a baked goods recipe (can be combined with other flours).

* Many of these flours make up great gluten-free pastas as well, such as brown rice (one of our favourites), rice and quinoa!

GF Shopping

There are great gluten free companies out there such as Glutino who make virtually anything you can think of gluten free such as: pizza, hot dog buns, bagels (including whole grain), frozen macaroni and cheese, cinnamon buns, blueberry muffins, cookies, pretzels and the list goes on.

Major Brands With GF Products:

  • Breton’s Crackers
  • Kellogg’s
  • Club House
  • General Mills
  • Dole
  • Snyder’s
  • Maple Leaf

Restaurants That Feature GF Options

You may have to pay a little more for gluten free food items, but most popular restaurants now offer GF menu options. Just a few of the major chains that have recently added GF menus are:

  • Subway
  • Arby’s
  • Austin Grill
  • Pizza Hut
  • Duffy’s
  • Joe’s Crab Shack
  • The Keg
  • Naked Pizza
  • Popeye’s Chicken

The options are boundless and only continuing to grow with so many people going gluten free, which is certainly great for those with allergies and celiac as they have many more product choices now because of such high demand. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions about celiac or gluten allergy symptoms, feel free to sign up today and try a videoconference with one of our highly qualified physicians!



Allergy Ingredient Substitutions

Do you love baked goods like cereal or chocolate but have a nut allergy or are lactose intolerant? Well fortunately, in this world of options a multitude of dietary restrictions doesn’t mean you have to throw the kitchen towel in and give up! Some convenient substitutions by category are as follows:

Dairy Substitutes

Some people who are lactose intolerant find success with milk that has the lactose removed. Others are simply bothered by the cow’s milk itself or may have an actual dairy allergy, so here are some alternative options:

For those with nut allergies:

Soymilk. Soy has been the subject of controversy within the medical community, but it does have many benefits. Soymilk contain isoflavones, protein and beneficial vitamins and minerals. Some don’t like the taste but if you do, give it a try as a milk alternative.
Rice milk doesn’t pack quite as strong a nutritional punch as its soy contemporary, but it still does have its own merits. Rice milk doesn’t contain cholesterol like milk, and it is usually fortified with calcium, iron and vitamins b12, A and D.

For those without nut allergies:

Coconut milk contains many essential vitamins and minerals, and is a preferred choice for many people looking to avoid dairy.
Almond Milk is another favourite, it contains vitamins and minerals and is often fortified with more calcium and other nutritional components.

Egg Substitutes:             

  • Applesauce works as a great substitute when eggs are called for in baking recipes as the consistency is much the same as that of a raw egg.
  • Veggie Oil can also replace egg in a recipe. A couple tablespoons of canola or extra virgin olive oil can also replace egg in a recipe.

Nut Substitutes:

  • For snacking: Seeds – similarly to nuts, seeds contain fibre, antioxidants, omega-3 fats and many other health gems so it can’t hurt to munch on ¼ cup when you want a snack. Quinoa seeds are very nutritious and have a nutty taste which makes them a great nut substitute, but any seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds will do.
  • For baking: Wow butter is a nut-free ‘fake peanut butter’ which would work in recipes that call for nuts.

That concludes our look at ingredient substitutes for some of the major allergens. We’ve left gluten out on purpose – check out our post dedicated solely to gluten free options later today! Thanks for visiting DocChat, we hope to see you again soon.








How To Prepare For The Season Of Sneezes

Spring is undoubtedly the worst season for grass and pollen allergy sufferers. Pollen allergies (commonly known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis) can range from a few sniffles to rare cases of dangerous facial and tracheal swelling, with a million degrees of severity in between. So what can be done if you’re hypersensitive to pollen? It may seem impossible to protect yourself against gazillions of tiny particles closing in around you, but there are measures you can take to minimize your springtime discomfort.

Advice For Mild Sufferers

For those who mainly get stuffy noses and itchy eyes, allergy season can still be unpleasant. Going through boxes of tissues and rubbing your eyes raw can be quite frustrating. Here are some tips for mild sufferers:

  • You can talk to your eye doctor about allergy drops if your eyes are frequently bothering you. Be careful when choosing over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops, some contain ingredients that may make the eye even more dry and uncomfortable.
  • Try topical anti-itch cream if your skin bothers you a little from the pollen.
  • There are many OTC antihistamines you can try before going to the doctor. You may only have to take antihistamines as needed instead of daily depending on your symptoms. Allergy tablets with a decongestant can be helpful as well for your stuff nose, but only if you’re not asthmatic (dextromethorphan can be a harmful ingredient for asthmatics).

Tips for Moderate Sufferers

For allergy or allergic asthma sufferers who experience more extreme symptoms such as urticaria (hives), itchy eyes and face, wheezing or other similarly unpleasant symptoms from exposure to pollen, you may need to take more extreme measures to stay safer and comfier during the Spring:

  • OTC antihistamines can help for some. You may even be permitted to take some anti-histamines at higher doses than listed, however, only when guided by a doctor or allergist. Do not increase the dosage without first discussing it with a professional as each case is different and it could be dangerous.
  • Benadryl cream can be good for itchy skin and urticaria
  • If you are very wheezy, you should ask your doctor to evaluate your lungs to make sure you don’t have an underlying lung condition such as asthma. Even if you don’t have asthma, he or she may prescribe a puffer for you to take temporarily until the pollen (and your symptoms) have calmed down.
  • For your stuffiness and other nasal symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a nasal corticosteroid which can help by reducing inflammation of your nasal canals
  • You should pay attention to the weather and pollen count, and avoid going outside during peak pollen hours of the day

What About The Severely Allergic?

A small percentage of the population suffers from extreme allergies to certain pollen. They may experience extreme urticaria, moderate or extreme swelling of the face, body or even tongue and throat (if you experience mouth or throat swelling, call an ambulance or go directly to the ER). Spring can be torturous and frightening for these unfortunate rare sufferers, so more extreme precautions may be in order such as:

  • OTC antihistamines may not effectively take care of extreme reactions, so often doctors will prescribe a series of medications including strong corticosteroids such as prednisone to help those extreme pollen allergies get through the season.
  • Severe sufferers should take all precautions possible to avoid highly pollenated areas, they should avoid traveling to rural areas with more trees, and as often as possible try to stay indoors until the evening when the pollen count is much lower.
  • There are many particulate filter masks available now that can keep pollen out of the mouth and airways in extreme cases. Some of them are designed to look fashionable.
  • Keep windows closed all the time and avoid putting clothing out on the line to dry as it will become infused with pollen.
  • A good tip would be for family or spouses of the extreme sufferer to change clothing when they come inside to avoid getting pollen on the person.
  • Another tip for a moderate or severe allergy sufferer would be to invest in a good air filtration system to help filter most of the pollen out.

If you have any concerns about allergies, symptoms or medication, feel free to contact one of our highly qualified DocChat physicians. Keep an eye out for our tips to help allergy-proof your house!