The spookiest of all seasons, Halloween is a time to indulge in tasty treats and temptations.
Whether it’s the pick and mix you swear you’re saving for the neighbours, or the creatively creepy bakes your colleagues bring to the office, there’s always a scary snack on hand.
But, if you have a food intolerance, some of these indulgences can seem more like a trick than a treat. So, what do you need to keep an eye out for around All Hallows’ Eve?
Let’s take a peek.
Common Halloween food intolerances
From pre-packaged party food to home-baked ghoulish goodies, there can be lots of sneaky sources of food intolerance around at this time of year.
It’s worth keeping in mind that food intolerances vary from person to person and it’s not always the ‘usual suspects’ that can cause you problems. However, here are three of the most common food intolerance triggers found lurking around at this time of year.
It wouldn’t be Halloween without spooky sweeties. But our coveted confectionary isn’t without problems for some food intolerance sufferers. Some food colourings can contain traces of gluten. For some, the gelatine used in jelly sweets or marshmallows can be a trigger and some candy may also contain dairy proteins from cows’ milk.
It’s well worth checking out the Free-From aisles in the supermarket for food intolerance friendly alternatives, which tend to cut out the more common sources of food sensitivity.
Selection bags of fun-sized chocolate bars are a Halloween staple, but they commonly contain a few trigger ingredients such as cows’ milk, cocoa, egg, and nuts. Some brands also contain sneaky sources of wheat and gluten.
Want to be sure to avoid some of the more common triggers? Supermarkets have upped their game hugely when it comes to their Free-From selections, which tend to cater for gluten and dairy-free diets and now offer a lot more variety.
- Cookies and cakes
Halloween provides plenty of inspiration for creepy cakes and cookie decorations, you’ll often find fright-themed versions of your favourite baked goods on sale throughout October, in shades of orange and green.
But the same sneaky sources of food sensitivity can still be found hiding in your beloved biscuits. Dairy, egg, wheat and gluten are some of the more common triggers, but you can also find soy, nuts, fruits and other potential problem foods. Again, check out the Free From aisles for risk-free alternatives or get creative and try some baking of your own!
Steering clear of the scares
With so many devilishly delicious snacks on offer, it can be difficult to turn anything down, even if you think you might regret it later. But you needn’t go without. Here are a couple of tricks to help you enjoy some treats this Halloween.
Check the Labels
Did you know that most food ingredients have more than one name?
If you’re trying to avoid milk, you look for ‘cows’ milk’. But what about the other names? Milk can also be listed as lactose, whey, casein, lactulose, lactoglobulin and hydrolysates to name a few.
Most allergens, or ingredients in general, have a range of different names, depending on how they’ve been processed and their particular use in a product. If you’re trying to avoid a particular food, it’s well worth swatting up on its pseudonyms so you don’t get a nasty surprise!
Make your own
If you want to be completely certain about what’s hiding in your Halloween treats, cooking up your own creations is a good way to go, particularly if you’re cooking for guests with food sensitivities.
We love this list from My Allery Kitchen, jam-packed full of creative Free-From treats, catering for allergies and intolerances.
What is food intolerance?
Food intolerances can occur when your body’s immune system mistakes a food protein as a threat, releasing antibodies to fight it. This reaction can result in a range of inflammatory symptoms, such as IBS and bloating, headaches, brain fog, skin complaints like eczema or acne, or joint pain. It’s estimated that around 45% of the UK population has as food intolerance.
What are the signs of a food intolerance?
Food intolerances, which can occur when your body’s immune system mistakes a food protein as a threat, releasing antibodies to fight it, can cause a host of inflammation.
Headaches, brain fog, IBS, bloating, low mood and joint pain are all reactions that can result from a food intolerance, as well as skin complaints like eczema or acne.
Take control of your diet
Getting to the bottom of a food intolerance can be frustrating. A common recommendation is the elimination diet, where you remove one food at a time for a few weeks to see how you feel. But this process can take a long time. And, although many of us commonly react to a few different ingredients, the elimination diet is often abandoned when the first trigger food is found, leaving an incomplete picture of what’s causing the problem.
Get answers faster with Smartblood
When it comes to food intolerance testing, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable laboratory testing company.
At Smartblood, we offer a comprehensive test to help you take control of your diet quickly and discover your own trigger foods.
Our home-to-laboratory service gives you fast, accurate results that pinpoint exactly which foods you are reacting to. Tests are completed in our accredited laboratory by trained experts, with clear, easy to understand results sent to you via email within three days.
Dedicated nutritional support
Our tests include a telephone consultation with our BANT registered Nutritional Therapist. This additional support is there to help you understand your results and put a plan together to make safe, sustainable changes to optimise your diet.