Do you or a family member suffer from food allergies or gluten intolerance? The good news is that, for many sufferers, food allergies occurring in children will resolve with age. But if you are one of the unlucky ones having that “special” diet, tasting one of our snack bars might just offer a sigh of relief.
At Simply Chopped® we understand the challenges parents and adults alike face when dealing with food allergies and/or intolerances. That’s why we made it our mission to continue to create healthy, wholesome, great tasting snacks without Gluten or Dairy. We also pride ourselves in being wheat, egg, soy, MSG, high fructose corn syrup and cane sugar free.
We have created personal relationships with suppliers to obtain the highest quality ingredients and produce small batches to maintain taste and freshness. We simplify things by making labels that are easy to read, and contain ingredients that you can pronounce. We care about the health of you and your children and want everyone to be able to live within their dietary restrictions without feeling deprived.
While our snack bars are not for everyone with allergies (for example some contain peanuts or others nuts), if you suffer a Gluten or Dairy intolerance then these bars will prove a great way to enjoy a healthy snack without the immune system taking offense.
Simply Chopped® recognizes the value of an educated consumer. We will continue to update content and resources around food allergy, food safety, ingredient sourcing and living in an ecologically friendly manner.
To better understand allergies, it is critical to define the difference between a genuine food allergies versus an intolerance. Food intolerance can have overlapping symptoms with food allergies, but is not driven by the immune response involving IgE antibody and mast cell degranulation and histamine release. Nor will intolerance result in the most serious reaction known as anaphylaxis. A common example of intolerance is to lactose in cow’s milk (lactose is the naturally occurring sugar found in milk). People that are lactose intolerant generally either fail to make, or don’t make enough of lactase, a protein the body needs to break down the milk sugar. Consequently, milk ingestion can result in symptoms such as intestinal upset (nausea and/or diarrhea). While these symptoms can occur with a food allergy (making it sometimes difficult to differentiate), a cow’s milk allergy is not a consequence of failure to produce sufficient lactase. Lactase production can decline with age, so lactose intolerance may actually develop in adults who did not have a prior history of it as children.
People with cow’s milk allergy make a type of antibody called IgE (an antibody is a protein made by the immune system). These IgE antibodies bind to a type of cell in the immune system called a mast cell, and trigger release of potent chemicals such as histamines which can cause many of the symptoms occurring with a true food allergy. Food allergy responses are more likely to result in reactions such as hives, itching, or swelling of the throat, as the mast cells mediating the reaction are often found in the skin, gut, lungs, and throat. In its most serious form, chemicals released by mast cells can cause anaphylaxis, which can result in a failure to breathe due in part to swelling of the airway and lung dysfunction. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening emergency that usually requires immediate administration of epinephrine and medical support.
This raises the question of Celiac Disease (also known as Celiac Sprue) verus Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (Gluten Intolerance). While both are abnormal immune system responses and symptoms can overlap, the immunological mechanism differs. Remember, true food allergy responses are more likely to result in reactions such as hives, itching, or swelling of the throat, as the mast cells mediating the reaction are often found in the skin, gut, lungs, and throat. Food intolerance can have overlapping symptoms with food allergies, but is not driven by the immune system response nor will result in the most serious reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Celiac disease, which affects the intestinal track (small intestine to be specific) is caused by an immune system response when a person ingests gluten (found in wheat, rye, brewers yeast, barley, etc). Specifically, it reacts to a protein called gliadin, a gluten protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats (Simply Chopped® uses gluten free oats). This immune system response destroys the tiny fingerlike projections called “villi” in the intestinal tract. These villi are important as they assist with increasing the surface area of the intestine, so that nutrients can be absorbed. When these villi are destroyed, appropriate needs of the body cannot be met adequately. This is turn, if left untreated or undiagnosed, can lead to other health issues like: Type 1 Diabetes, dermatitis herpetiformis, osteoporosis, anemia, epilepsy, migraines, intestinal cancers, and infertility.
For many sufferers, a diagnosis of either Celiac or Gluten Intolerance can sometimes take years, complicated by the broad range of symptoms along with challenges to an accurate diagnosis. If you think you may suffer from either of these entities, it can be very helpful to keep a food diary (this is true for food allergies as well). Identifying what you eat and any symptoms within the following 12 hours can reveal patterns helpful to a diagnosis. Consulting with an Allergist or Gastroenterologist who specializes in this area may be a useful next step if your Primary Care Provider either suggests it or if you feel you are in need of additional consultation.
The number of children being diagnosed with food allergies continues to increase, with cases more than doubling over the last 20 years. As anyone with a food allergy (or the parent of a child with one) will attest, avoiding the food allergen can often be a real challenge. For example, soy allergens can be found in “textured vegetable protein” (or hydrolyzed vegetable protein), tempeh, or glycine max. Recognizing the risk hidden soy posed, the FDA mandated that any product containing soy be clearly labeled. While we applaud the FDA for this action, it does not cover things such as cosmetics or toys, some of which contain soy or soy by-products. In addition, for the many food allergies not currently addressed by the FDA, the task of avoiding the offending allergen can be daunting.
8 Most Common Food Allergies
Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts), fish (such as bass, cod, flounder), shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp), Soy and Wheat.
At Simply Chopped® we clearly define all ingredients with names you can recognize, as well as list any relevant warnings such as processed in a facility that also handles common allergens such as soy or nut. We believe it is important to not only read the label but to be able to understand it without having an advanced degree in Chemistry. The good news is that, for many sufferers, many food allergies occurring in children will resolve with age. For example, about 70% of children with allergy to cow’s milk or egg resolve by the age of five. Unfortunately, other food allergies, especially peanut, may be life-long. Just 8 foods comprise about 90% of known food allergies, with children being disproportionately affected (due to resolution of many food allergies with age).