Cheri – Home Cook and Food Allergy Avenger
Throughout my adult life I have suffered with auto-immune problems. It began with a diagnosis of sarcoidosis in my early twenties, and much later with lichen sclerosis. From every medical specialist, the common response was, “So sorry, there’s nothing we can do”.
Then finally one day, I visited a naturopath who suggested that I test for food allergies.
The result? I was allergic to wheat, dairy, eggs, and… wait for it… peas.
I decided I had to change my eating habits immediately.
After a life-long love of cheese, I thought my food world was coming to an end. If you are what you eat, I was a cheese ball. I would put cheese on anything – even a cookie.
I floundered for the first six months after the diagnosis. The learning curve was huge. I tried all the non-dairy milks. I tested all the non-dairy cheeses I could find. Mixed results. Too many of the non-dairy products were so diluted with water, they were useless to cook with. Then there are Eggs. They’re used everywhere; as binders, as thickeners, as flavors, as textures. I had to study how each recipe used eggs to figure out what kind of substitutes I could use.
I tried making my own bread in my bread maker with disastrous results. Who knew that you couldn’t use a regular bread maker with gluten-free dough? I mixed together different types of non-wheat flours. There were a few successes, but there were many failures.
One of my biggest challenges was I wanted to eat food that my husband would enjoy. I didn’t want to prepare two meals or force him to eat the limited menu I was faced with every night. My goal became to create delicious allergy friendly recipes the whole family could enjoy.
So, I became a “Food Allergy Avenger”, dedicated to seeking out the best ingredients to substitute into classic and favorite recipes. I found the best products that actually work. And I even came up with a few of my own. Along the way, I met Eileen, A classically trained chef and foodie, who helped me understand how to use professional techniques to make my recipes shine. After several years of work, this web site is the result. I hope you enjoy trying all our recipes.
Eileen – Chef and Food Innovator
As a farm child growing up in Junction City, Oregon, Eileen learned the value of working with her hands. Picking up hazelnuts, separating peppermint leaves, maintaining equipment, and hoeing the soil.
Learning how to can and freeze-drying foods from her mother created a desire to investigate the food processing world. As a young child she began experimenting with different formulas in which to preserve foods produced on the farm.
After discovering you could actually get paid to play with food, Eileen began her career adventure, eventually earning a Master’s degree in Food Science and a culinary degree.
Today, besides helping Cheri develop delicious allergy friendly recipes, she runs her own food business, Zella Foods, and helps at her family’s Hazelnut Farm in Oregon.