Every three minutes, someone in the U.S. goes to the emergency room because of a food allergy, according to one study published in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology. A food allergy occurs when the immune system sees certain ingredients as threats and produces an antibody in response to protein. It’s about as pleasant as it sounds.
To help everyone enjoy their favorite foods, Enjoy Life makes everything from chocolate chips to lentil chips—all without the 14 most common food allergens that can affect both children and adults. Not only that, these delicious products are made in a specially-designed facility to guarantee potentially allergenic ingredients never contaminate the space. Let’s take a look at the most common food allergies and how to avoid them, plus the products you’ll love to add to your rotation and tasty recipes to make at home. Of course, if you suspect any kind of food allergy may be to blame for your persistent symptoms, speak with your doctor or health professional, and get in the habit of reading food labels carefully.
Wheat is one of the top eight allergens, which account for 90 percent of allergies in the U.S. A wheat allergy can be triggered by any food containing wheat, like bread or pasta, or even non-food items with wheat in the ingredients list, including cosmetics and skin care products.
Wheat allergy symptoms
Wheat allergy symptoms can range from life-threatening, like immediate throat or tongue swelling that impacts breathing, to milder symptoms like headaches, itching, congestion, or stomach issues that arise hours after exposure.
Peanuts allergies are associated with anaphylaxis—a sudden and potentially life-threatening condition—which is why many schools have adopted nut-free policies to help protect children who may be affected. It was once believed that peanut allergies were lifelong, but recent research by the National Institutes of Health noted 20 percent of children who experience peanut allergies eventually outgrow them.
Peanut allergy symptoms
Signs of a peanut allergy may include:
- Hives or itchy skin
- Runny or congested nose
- Tingling sensation around the mouth or throat
Tree Nut Allergy
The first thing to clear up is the difference between a tree nut allergy and a peanut allergy. Since peanuts are legumes, not nuts, they’re in their own category (see above). Tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, cashews, pine nuts, and lychee nuts. Unlike peanut allergies, tree nut allergies are usually here to stay—fewer than 10 percent of people with tree nut allergies outgrow them.
Tree nut allergy symptoms
Tree nuts are allergens that may cause anaphylaxis. Other symptoms include:
- Itchy mouth, throat, eyes, or skin
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble swallowing
- Abdominal pain and cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
Milk might deliver a daily dose of calcium, but it’s a common food allergy for many people, especially children. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, between 2 and 3 percent of children younger than 3 years old are allergic to milk, and are relatively unlikely to outgrow that allergy until they become teenagers.
Dairy allergy symptoms
Symptoms of a dairy allergy include vomiting, bloody stools (especially in infants), an upset stomach, and hives.
Casein is a protein found in milk and other dairy products (like yogurt, cheese, ice cream, kefir, and low-fat milk). Allergies to it are most common in infants and young children.
Casein allergy symptoms
If you have any of these symptoms, it could be a casein allergy:
- Hives or rashes
- Difficulty breathing
Soybeans are members of the legume family, and they’re a common ingredient in many baby formulas and other processed foods. Most allergic reactions to soy appear in infants and children under age 3, and most of them outgrow the allergy by age 10.
Soy allergy symptoms
Some symptoms of a soy allergy include:
- Rash or hives
- Itching around the mouth
- Nausea or vomiting
- Runny nose
- Wheezing or other symptoms of asthma
Eggs are a common childhood allergy that develop when the body’s immune system overreacts to the proteins in egg yolks or whites. Studies show that most children who experience egg allergies outgrow them as teenagers.
Egg allergy symptoms
Think you or your child may be allergic to eggs? Here are a few things to look out for:
- Respiratory problems
- Stomach pain
- Hives or skin rash
Sulfites are additives that preserve food and are also found in wine, dried fruit, pickles, and condiments, and occur naturally in certain vegetables like asparagus and onions. For some, sulfites can trigger asthma or other respiratory issues—if that’s you, it’s best to steer clear.
Sulfite allergy symptoms
Sulfite allergy symptoms may include:
- Hives and itchiness
- Flushing in the face
- Trouble swallowing
- Upset stomach or diarrhea
- Drop in blood pressure
Sesame seeds come from a flowering plant and are common in many cuisines. Since U.S. laws don’t require sesame to be included as an ingredient on food labels, it can take some sleuthing to figure out whether or not sesame is inside some of your favorite foods.
Sesame allergy symptoms
Some sesame allergies are mild, with reactions like hives. In other more rare cases, anaphylaxis can occur.
Lupin is a legume that’s related to peanuts and soybeans. It’s been consumed since ancient times, but doesn’t agree with everyone’s system. And the tricky thing is that lots of popular products, from breads and pastas to sauces and beverages, may contain lupin even if it isn’t immediately apparent.
Lupin allergy symptoms
The following symptoms are common signs of a lupin allergy:
- Tongue swelling or tightness in the throat
- Persistent cough
- Difficulty breathing
- Hoarse voice
Mustard seeds are known for nutrients like iron, magnesium, zinc, and calcium, but even with potential benefits, mustard remains a common spice allergy for some.
Mustard allergy symptoms
The most common symptoms of a mustard allergy include the following:
- Difficulty breathing, wheezing, or nasal congestion
- Feeling faint, lightheaded, or dizzy
- Itching, hives, or skin rashes
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Swelling of the throat, face, or tongue
While many food allergies affect babies and young children, fish allergies are more common in adulthood. And just because you have a fish allergy (think tuna, halibut, or salmon) doesn’t necessarily mean you’re allergic to shellfish (more on that below).
Fish allergy symptoms
Common symptoms of fish allergies may include skin rashes, nausea or stomach cramps, indigestion, headaches, or asthma.
Crab, shrimp, and lobster are common offenders when it comes to food allergies. But since a shellfish allergy isn’t the same as a fish allergy, it’s important to make the distinction with the help of your doctor or allergist.
Shellfish allergy symptoms
Crustaceans (crab, shrimp, and lobster) are the most popular cause of shellfish allergies. Some people find they’re still able to eat mollusks (scallops, oysters, clams, and mussels), but be sure to determine your specific allergy before diving in. Here are some common symptoms of shellfish allergies:
- Stomach cramps
- Repetitive cough and hoarse voice
- Pale skin, weak pulse
Crustaceans include shrimp, crab, and lobster, and are a subcategory of shellfish allergies. Unfortunately, this tends to be a lifelong allergy for those who experience it.
Crustacean allergy symptoms
If your mouth itches or you quickly develop symptoms such as a stomachache or hives after eating any crustaceans, a shellfish allergy may be to blame. Other symptoms are in line with the shellfish allergies listed above.
Top 5 Enjoy Life Pantry Staples
Thrive Market members have spoken, and they’re big fans of Enjoy Life! In addition to being free from the 14 common allergens Enjoy Life products are made with all-natural ingredients, verified non-GMO, and certified gluten-free. Here are some of their favorites.
These allergen-free morsels are made with organic cane sugar, non-alcoholic chocolate liquor, and non-dairy cocoa butter. Perfect for snacking or adding to your favorite muffin or cookie recipes!
“This is the only chocolate I can eat while nursing our daughter who is allergic to dairy, so we never run out!”
A little bit tangy and a little bit savory, these dairy-free lentil chips are made with lentils and spiced with a blend of garlic powder, dill seed, and turmeric. They’re the perfect anytime snack.
“A light airy crunch with a delicious flavor!”
Double down on your chocolate obsession with indulgent treats made using certified gluten-free ingredients like buckwheat flour, millet flour, and, of course, dairy-free chocolate chips.
“I love these cookies! They have chewy and quite unique texture and are so delicious!”
Made with easier-to-digest ancient grains, this mix is free from common allergens and delivers 5 grams of plant-based protein per serving.
“[The muffins] turned out light and fluffy, and my toddler loves them. I used melted coconut oil for the oil and then added some cinnamon and vanilla.”
You won’t find any gluten, eggs, soy, dairy, or peanuts inside these cookies. Instead, they’re baked with a flour mix of buckwheat, millet, and rice, plus chocolate chips and organic cane sugar.
“A great dairy-free treat, and also free of other common allergens—a huge plus! I could seriously eat an entire box in one sitting. I'd be lying if I said I haven't.”
7 Allergy-Friendly Recipes
Bookmark these tasty recipes to enjoy with friends and family. There are plenty of dessert options if you have a sweet tooth!
Here’s a gluten-free muffin everyone can enjoy! The ancient grain blend of buckwheat, millet, and quinoa flours gets stirred up with sunflower butter, canola oil, and water. Don’t forget to add the sweet addition of chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
Have a wholesome morning that starts with a trusty box of Enjoy Life’s pancake mix. Add savory spices, cheese, spinach, eggs, and bacon and you’ve got a portable, protein-rich breakfast to eat on the go.
Virtually everyone on social media was downright obsessed with these cookies from Alison Roman’s cookbook Dining In, so we put a celiac-safe spin on the recipe and used gluten-free flour.
Calling all chocolate lovers—this crave-worthy recipe uses Enjoy Life’s gluten-free flour blend, plus a splash of coffee to enhance the chocolate notes. Warning: it’ll be hard to eat just one!
Bring these classic New York City cookies home in your own kitchen. Here they’re baked with an allergen-free muffin mix and frosted with dairy-free icing.
What happens when you take soft-baked snickerdoodles and blend them with comforting spices like ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon? Cookie butter! Spread it on GF toast or use it as a dip for apple slices.
Whoopie pies are a classic New England dessert. For this vegan and gluten-free version, we paired Enjoy Life snickerdoodles with whipped coconut cream.