Spotlight on Egg Allergy

Egg allergy tends to be more common in children under the age of 5, and the good news is that the majority of kids will outgrow their allergy by age 7. Reactions to an egg allergy can be severe, so working out exactly what causes a reaction can help parents to manage the condition.

What’s different about egg allergy?

Egg allergy is slightly different to many other food allergies, because the severity of the reaction (or whether the person has a reaction at all) can depend on the form that the egg is in. For example, some people might be able to tolerate well-cooked eggs (e.g. in cakes and biscuits), but have to avoid them when loosely cooked (e.g. in meringue, scrambled egg, omelette, etc.) or raw (in fresh mayonnaise, some ice creams, royal icing, etc.). Other people with a more severe allergy might need to avoid egg in all its forms and guises.

Studies have shown that over half of children with egg allergy can actually eat cakes and biscuits that contain egg, but will experience a reaction to raw or loosely cooked eggs. Some children with a milder allergy may have chronic eczema without their parents realising egg is the cause; others may have more immediate and severe reactions, with anaphylactic shock a rare but not unheard-of occurrence.

Kids who have allergic reactions to even well-cooked egg tend to be the ones where the egg allergy is likely to be more severe and may be lifelong.

Egg allergy can go hand in hand with other food allergies, so it’s important to be referred to an NHS allergy clinic to make sure that any dietary changes are based on medical advice.

How can you spot egg?

Loosely cooked and raw eggs tend to be more easy to spot in foods – egg has a distinctive smell and flavour, so it’s not so tricky to avoid foods that are largely egg-based. It’s much more challenging for people who are severely allergic to egg and have to avoid eating even a trace of it.

Egg in recipes must be labelled in pre-packaged food, and this has been the case since 2005. New legislation currently being rolled out in the EU means that labelling will become even clearer, and where egg is an ingredient, this will be clearly shown in the ingredients list in bold. Egg-containing ingredients might include:

– Egg powder, dried egg, frozen egg, pasteurised egg
– Egg proteins (albumin, ovalbumin, globulin, ovoglobulin, livetin, ovomucin, vitellin, ovovitellin)
– Egg white, egg yolk
– Egg lecithin (E322)

There are a few foods which you might not expect to contain egg, so if you or your child are severely allergic, it’s really important to check labels and manufacturer’s websites to ensure your safety. Some sources even surprised us: some brands of marshmallows, marzipan, some chocolate bars, pastry (especially where an egg glaze is used) and Quorn products may all contain egg or traces of egg.
Some vaccines also contain small amounts of egg; however, levels tend to be minimal. If you have any concerns over egg allergy and medication/vaccines, your GP or health visitor is the best person to ask.

**At ilumi, we clearly label all our products (both on pack and in our webshop) so you can see exactly what is (and isn’t) included. We don’t use any egg or egg-containing ingredients in any of our ilumi dishes.**

Is going gluten-free the answer for you

Do you know someone who seems to often feel a bit ‘off’ – perhaps bloated and uncomfortable, or lacking the energy to really enjoy life?

Lots of non-coeliacs are experimenting with a gluten-free diet these days, and there is a growing suspicion amongst health professionals that some of us may be sensitive to wheat and gluten without having classic coeliac disease. But can a gluten-free diet really help non-coeliacs to feel better?

To find out, we’re sponsoring an experiment of sorts, to collect information on people who haven’t been diagnosed, but suspect that their diet may be making them feel less than 100%. We’ve called it the ilumi-NATION Challenge, and here are the basics:

We’ve devised an easy-to-follow 2-week menu plan with the help of registered nutritionist Dr. Janet Aylott. This plan is designed to provide a wide range of nutrients for a healthy balance, while temporarily avoiding wheat and gluten. We’ll send our selected participants a variety of ilumi dishes to include in their diet during the 2 weeks, and contact them before, during and afterward to collect information about how they’re feeling. We’re hopefully going to be using some of these case studies on the website and in our communications as well.

If you or someone you know might be interested in taking the Challenge, please contact us at , and include your contact details and a description of why you’d like to be included. Closing date for submissions is June 28th.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Dr. Janet Aylott answers your questions – episode 2

In this instalment of Answers with Dr. Janet, our PhD registered Nutritionist talks about how your child can safely attend kids parties if they have severe egg and milk allergies. She also discusses the implications of cutting wheat out of your diet and consuming coconuts if you have a severe nut allergy.

Don’t forget, if you have a specific question for Dr. Janet get in touch with us. Either leave a comment below or write to us at

NEW! Spicy Butternut Squash Soup makes a splash

## We cook what we want to cook! ##
These are exciting times at ilumi – we launched just three weeks ago, and already thousands of fans have contacted us, saying they’d like to be part of our movement toward delicious, convenient food that’s naturally free from allergens. But we’re not going to rest on our newly-won laurels!

One of the great advantages of having our own kitchens is that we’re free to cook what we want to cook – we don’t need to negotiate with a manufacturer or the supermarkets, and we can be very responsive to what our customers want. So we’ve given our cooks a challenge: Launch one new recipe every week, all summer long! That’s right, there will be a new ilumi dish to taste every week (and incidentally, we’d love to hear just what you’d like those dishes to be!)

## This week’s new release… ##
This week’s new recipe is a traditional favourite with a twist: Spicy Butternut Squash Soup. It’s smooth and satisfying, with a delicately sweet aromatic taste. Its creamy texture owes everything to the recipe and our blending techniques and nothing to dairy-based ingredients; as all our products are completely milk free. Plus with a touch of chilli, cumin and lemon to spice things up a bit this soup has a nice little kick to it.

Butternut squash is a great source of Vitamin A and Vitamin E, and contains fibre and other micronutrients your body needs, such as magnesium and potassium. In our soup, it’s totally delicious, and it has the added bonuses of being vegan and only 120 calories per pouch, perfect for lighter appetites. If you like soup for lunch, you’ll want to try this one!

Keen to try our newest dish? Don’t forget, until the end of June you’ll get £10 off a £20 order at the ilumiworld shop! If you’d like to suggest a recipe for us, we’d love to hear it; just email us your ideas at [][1]


Hot times at the Allergy Show

Our first [Allergy Show][1] is behind us now, and what an experience it was! The ilumi team ventured down to London for three days of fun at Olympia. It was our first chance to get our new brand out in front of members of the public, for whom the ilumi brand was really designed. We were armed with samples of our Kerala chicken curry, chicken cacciatora and vegetable and chickpea jalfrezi, and were ready to face the crowds! And what crowds they were! Even the organisers seemed surprised by the thousands who bustled through the doors, keen to get a look at all the latest and greatest allergy-friendly products… and we were right in the middle of the hoopla!

We didn’t realise it at the time, but the queues outside were… let’s say, substantial! (At the final count, nearly 22 THOUSAND people came through during the three-day show… truly amazing!)
![Queue to get into the Allergy Show!](/media/thumb/51b730cade408/450x280_50_50_0.jpg “Queue to get into the Allergy Show!”)

Stand 181 looked the business, don’t you think? Plenty of bright colours!
![Our stand at the Allergy Show](/media/thumb/51b72ced0a4c1/450x280_50_50_0.jpg “Our stand at the Allergy Show”)

One kind lady wrote on our Facebook page:

> Visited you today and I am very impressed not only with your stand but with your employees. They knew so much about your products and were very friendly. The taster samples were delicious…

The whole team was on hand to answer questions, showcase our website and pass out samples. It was amazing to meet so many new fans and hear such great feedback on our cooking – but yes, we were all knackered by the end of the day!

We had iPads aplenty to show people our online shop. And of course, lots of samples!
![All hands on deck at the Allergy Show!](/media/thumb/51b72e68a2283/450x280_50_50_0.jpg “All hands on deck at the Allergy Show!”)

The feedback we got from everyone was so exciting, and well worth the sore feet!
![Fabulous customer feedback!](/media/thumb/51b73056f39f1/450x280_50_50_0.jpg “Fabulous customer feedback!”)

Here are a few more comments from our Facebook page:

> Hi, was great to meet you at the Allergy Show and we loved tasting your delicious foods! see you there next year! From [Freefromforkids][2]

> ….The best food today at the Free From Show…. just placed my first order x

not to mention
> fantastic, I have just found out about you, where have you been all my life – at last, ready meals I can eat!!!!!!!!!

But one of the most rewarding experiences of the entire weekend has to be the response we got from [MyItchyBoy][3]. He loved our chicken cacciatora so much that he gave it two very distinct thumbs up in [this video][4]. Getting feedback like this makes it all so worthwhile. Thanks to everyone who’s commented on our Facebook page and on Twitter, and shown their support.

Vegetarians and Vegans – ilumi is for you too!

This year the Allergy Show co-located with [V delicious][5] the veggie good food show. Many people who can’t eat gluten or dairy choose a vegetarian or vegan diet. So it made a lot of sense for the veggie show to be next door. This created quite an interesting dynamic, though! As people sauntered from the veggie part of the hall into the Allergy Show area, the ilumi stand was one of the first they passed. The fragrant smells of our samples wafted towards them and drew them in. When we explained what was in the various sample cups (including Kerala chicken curry and chicken cacciatora), we were often met by a look of horror. “But this is a vegetarian show!” one person gasped! Good job that a third of ilumi’s range of products is made for vegetarians, then – and that we were on hand with some vegetable and chickpea jalfrezi samples to turn those looks of horror into smiles of delight! All of the vegetarians and vegans we spoke to were pleased to see our “tick-box” function on the shop page that allows you to select only the vegetarian or vegan products in our range. They were even more impressed to see so many of them and that we were bringing more out in the next few weeks!

**Thanks to everyone who was involved in making the allergy show a success for us. We’re looking forward to the next show up in [Liverpool][6]!**


Eat the Seasons: Strawberries

Nothing says summer in Britain like the advent of delicious home-grown strawberries! Perfect for a Pimm’s or with cream, or all on their own, these little red wonders have a sweet, complex flavour that few can resist. And our long, late cold snap has resulted in an unexpected silver lining: the berries this year are exceptional.

Why? The Telegraph (in an impressively in-depth [article][1] on the phenomenon) spoke to a fourth-generation strawberry farmer in Kent, who explained: ““Because of the harsh weather, the plants have grown very slowly. They’ve got good root systems and they’re very strong, and because of all that, the flavour has developed very well. Also the berries themselves have grown slowly, so the flavour is much more complex.”

Reason enough to head out and pick some yourself, or grab a few punnets from a local farmer’s market! And if you need more convincing, here’s the healthy bit:

– Five strawberries contain more vitamin C than an entire orange.
– They’re also an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, and
contain folic acid, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6,
copper, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids to boot.
– Strawberries contain significant amounts of phytonutrients and
antioxidants. (That’s also what makes them such a lovely shade of

**How to Choose Strawberries**

Buy unblemished berries with bright green tops. Don’t wash them until just before you plan to eat them, and handle them as little as you can to avoid bruising them.
Don’t remove the hull (the green top) until after washing, or the berries will become waterlogged.
Always let strawberries come to room temperature before eating. If you can leave them for an hour in the sunshine first, that’s even better.

Seasonal treat: Strawberry Spinach Salad with Avocado

*Never had strawberries in a salad before? You’re in for a treat! This simple salad combines them with earthy spinach, creamy avocado and a fabulous poppyseed dressing.*


– 200g bag fresh baby spinach leaves
– 1 punnet fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
– 1 ripe avocado, diced
– 20g sliced almonds, lightly toasted (substitute pumpkin seeds if
you don’t eat nuts)
– half of a small red onion, thinly sliced

For the dressing:

– 1/2 cup oil of your choice (olive works well)
– 2 tablespoons honey
– 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (citrus juice makes a good
substitute, if you’re sensitive to sulfites)
– 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
– 1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard (omit if you’re sensitive to mustard,
the dressing will still taste lovely)
– salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the dressing ingredients together to combine (the mustard will help emulsify the oil and vinegar, as well as adding flavour). Combine all the salad ingredients and toss with just enough dressing to coat the leaves. Enjoy immediately!


What about the other 10 food allergens?

Here at ilumi, we pride ourselves on offering a nut, gluten and milk-free promise – we don’t use any of these major food allergens in our production, and we make certain our suppliers and farmers don’t, either. Actually its important to state that as part of our nut-free promise this actually covers both tree nuts (such as hazelnuts) and peanuts (which aren actually legumes – [read more in our spotlight on nuts here][1]).

However, we also recognise that these food allergens are only a few of the many potential allergens that can cause a reaction, so we take the control of other potential allergens very seriously too. In addition to the major allergens – gluten, milk, peanuts and tree nuts – a number of others have been identified as potential risks, and by law, all food producers have to declare them in ingredients lists.

The 10 other common food allergens are:
– Crustaceans (e.g. shellfish, crab, lobster)
– Eggs
– Fish
– Soybeans
– Celery
– Mustard
– Sesame seeds
– Sulphur Dioxide and Sulphites
– Lupin
– Molluscs (e.g. oysters, squid, mussels, clams, etc.)

Different allergens can cause different reactions, ranging from mild discomfort to possible anaphylactic shock. (This last can be life-threatening, so if you suspect an allergy, it’s always best to speak to your GP straightaway.)

For many people, completely avoiding the allergen is the only way to remove the risk of a reaction, and the ony way to do this is to have a good understanding of where it might be found. If your allergy is an obvious food group (like oysters, crab, etc.) then avoiding it may be relatively simple, but if the allergen is often used as a food ingredient (like sesame, mustard, or celery), it can be much more challenging.

At ilumi we believe in avoiding allergens as much as we possibly can – so although we do use some of the 11 less-common allergens in some of our recipes in order to provide authentic tastes or textures, we always declare their presence clearly on both our labels and our website.

Of course, if an allergen-free ingredient can be substituted, then we will always make that choice. However, we recognise that just because someone has, for example, a nut allergy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to avoid ingredients like soya or celery. Our aim is to offer you the widest choice of tastes and ingredients that we can, whilst ensuring that our products are safe for everyone to eat.

Check out our [store][2] to see how we label allergens, and try our special search tool – it lets you filter out any recipes that contain your specific allergens (or even ingredients you just don’t like!)

[2]: /products

Now you see it… sneaky gluten in spots you wouldn’t expect

Going gluten-free can be a tricky business. Here are five unexpected places you might find it hiding:

1. Salad dressing. Often contains modified food starch as a thickener, which may include gluten.
2. Soy sauce. It’s not all soy – some brands may even have wheat as the number-one ingredient. Look for tamari instead, which is brewed in the traditional Japanese manner without any wheat.
3. Cornflour. Despite the name, it may well contain wheat!
4. Ice cream. Not only do some flavours contain bits of cookie or other crunchy ingredients, but reduced-fat ice creams may use modified food starch to help replace some of the thickness and creaminess that would otherwise come from milkfat.
5. “Wheat-free” products. Yes, they may indeed be free of wheat – but they can still contain barley or rye, and many of them do. It pays to be suspicious, unfortunately!

Other surprising gluten offenders: Soups (both condensed and powdered), rice and corn cereals (look out for malt), licorice, Smarties, Worcester sauce, bouillon/stock cubes….

Where else have you run across gluten in hiding?

Gluten-free and fabulous: Miranda Kerr’s gluten-free apple & banana muffins

We found this tasty-sounding recipe on the blog for the supermodel’s skincare company, [Kora Organics][1]. These muffins are made with goats’ milk yogurt, perhaps so lactose-intolerant actor hubby Orlando Bloom can have one, too!

2 cups certified gluten-free oatmeal
2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons chia seeds
¼ cup goats’ milk yoghurt
½ cup organic apple juice
2 lightly beaten organic eggs and one egg white
4 tablespoons coconut oil
½ teaspoon vanilla bean powder
2 large green organic apples
2 ripe bananas
½ cup chopped walnuts

In a food processor, grind the oats into a flour-like consistency and add in the walnuts. Place oat mix, baking powder and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Lightly beat eggs separately in a small bowl. Add yoghurt and apple juice.
On very low heat, mix the coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla and honey until it becomes a syrup-like consistency. Add this wet mix into the dry mixture, and slowly fold in apple and bananas.
Line a muffin pan with paper liners or lightly grease your muffin tins and fill ¾ full. Bake for 40 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the muffin comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool for 15 mins before serving, and sprinkle with cinnamon.

*Photo credit: [Joe Seer / Shutterstock][2]*


Cooking up a storm: The Intolerant Gourmet

Pippa Kendrick is already a well-known name among those with food allergies, thanks to her food blog, [The Intolerant Gourmet][1], which combines her down-to-earth advice on allergy-free living with heaps of delicious-looking recipes.

A cookbook was clearly the next logical step, and Pippa’s doesn’t disappoint: 120 fab recipes that are creative but very cookable, paired with gorgeous photos and all free from wheat, gluten, yeast, egg, dairy and soya. Her bread recipes earn a particularly favourable mention, and a number of non-allergic reviewers on [Amazon][2] (where the book gets an impressive 4.5 stars overall) have said they love the recipes as well, even when there are no allergies to cater for. So if the idea of Bakewell tart, spaghetti with roasted aubergine, or lamb korma with lemon and cashew rice gets your taste buds going, this just might be the cookbook for you.
[The Intolerant Gourmet][3], £20 RRP. Available at Amazon, [Waterstones][4], [WH Smith][5], and independent bookshops.