Frequently Asked Questions

What does allergy-friendly mean?


Allergy-friendly pertains to foods and products or cooking preparations that take into account certain allergens (usually the "top 8") that cause adverse reactions and how to avoid them.




What are the top 8 food allergens? Do you avoid them all? Do you avoid any others?


According to the Mayo Clinic (per the FDA) the top 8 food allergens are: 1. Milk 2. Eggs 3. Peanuts 4. Tree nuts 5. Fish 6. Shellfish 7. Soy 8. Wheat We endeavor to avoid them all in our recipes and suggested products, and when not possible we offer alternatives where we can. We also avoid corn and gluten whenever possible. For further information, see this post (Without the Eight, coming soon).




Why do you exclude animal products from your recipes?


This answer is two-fold: 1) we’ve noticed that vegetarian and vegan recipes and products seldom take into account food allergens and many times foods geared toward those with multiple allergies don’t take into account the non-meat-eating contingent; 2) as we endeavor to share healthy and delicious allergy-friendly recipes we’ve found abundant research supporting a plant-based diet as part of a healthy lifestyle. While it is not our goal to force plant-based eating down anyone’s throat (no pun intended), offering plant-based options can’t hurt and we imagine might help a great many people struggling with how to incorporate more plants into their diet. For further information, see this post (Why We Avoid Animal Products In Our Recipes, coming soon).




What’s the difference between gluten-free and wheat-free?


While all wheat contains gluten, not all gluten is found in wheat. Gluten is a protein that is found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye; that’s why it’s important to specify that not only do we avoid foods with wheat but also with gluten. An allergy or sensitivity to wheat doesn’t necessarily mean an allergy or sensitivity to gluten, however an allergy or sensitivity to gluten does mean an allergy or sensitivity to wheat. Make sense?




If you’re not eating animal products, how do you get your protein?


There’s a common misconception that human beings can be deficient in protein without being deficient in any other nutrient. If a person is eating on a regular basis they are getting enough protein. All of the protein derived from animal products is protein that has been digested from the plant products the animals consumed first before being eaten. In fact, all of the nutrients derived from animal products can be safely and easily consumed from plants and in larger and easier to digest quantities. For further information on protein, see this post (Where Do You Get Your Protein?) and for further information on other nutrients, see this post (8 Allergy-Friendly Plant-Based Nutritional Categories for a Whole Foods Diet).




Are you willing to convert a traditional recipe to avoid specific allergens?


We sure are! If you enjoy a particular dish or recipe, on our site or otherwise, that contains an ingredient you wish to avoid, feel free to shoot us a request to come up with a converted version or substitute items. We love trying new foods so if it’s a dish from a ‘non-traditional’ cuisine we’d be even more excited to try it out! Can’t have tomatoes but would like a red sauce comparable to our favorite spicy tomato sauce? Can’t have potatoes but would love to make a hearty curry or soup? Love Thai food but can't have fish sauce? Send us an email request and we’ll see what we can dream up!




How do I know for sure that a particular food or product is allergy-friendly?


What we try to do on our website is clearly label foods and products - such as vegan, gluten-free, nightshade-free, etc. When it comes to purchasing food and other products in a store or online it’s important to note that while there are certain laws regulating the labelling for the top 8 allergens, they can be a little vague and for those of us with severe sentivities these laws don’t necessarily help labelling in our favor. It's important to not only read labels but understand their limitations and, for severe sensitivities, it's best to contact manufacturers directly for the most accurate allergy information. For more detailed information see this post (Allergy Labels, coming soon).




Where do you get your information from (recipes, nutrition, health and wellness, etc)?


Think we’re making things up? We aren’t! We try as often as possible to mention the books, articles, websites and people that have lead us to the information we share with you. Many of our recipes are converted from other recipes found online or in cookbooks. Much of our research can be found online and when not, we try to list all our references. If you found something you think needs further illumination or clarification - especially if you weren’t able to find additional information in the references we’ve provided - please don’t hesitate to let us know and we’ll try to straighten things out.





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© 2017 by A Spoon & A Fork. All Rights Reserved.

We're Joy and Maria. We love food, photography and cooking vegan, gluten-free, allergy-friendly meals for a crowd.

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