Sonya’s Raw Chocolate Brownie Slice

Ok chocoholics – hold on to your hats for this one. If you thought Sonya’s Chocolate Mousse was amazing, wait until you try this!!

The best thing about this recipe is that it is one of the healthiest chocolate brownie slices you’ll ever come across:-) Thanks for sharing and inspiring it Sonya!:-)


  • 1 cup of raw cacao powder (I use Loving Earth)
  • 1/4 cup organic raw agave syrup (or honey)
  • 1/2 cup organic raw coconut oil (I am using the Melrose brand at the moment)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups walnuts and 1/2 cup pecan or hazelnut
  • 10 pitted medjool dates


  1. Chop walnuts and other nuts in a food processor with medjool dates and 1/2 a cup of cacao powder. You want the mix to be crumbly but moist – and preferably not a paste or a dough.
  2. Optional – line a pyrex dish with either baking paper or clingwrap. I no longer line the dish unless I am making it to take to a party and I want to be able to get it out easily. Currently, I use a medium sized rectangular pyrex dish for this recipe which is 8x6x2 inches.
  3. Press the walnut, date, cacao powder into the pyrex dish base. Use a fork to firmly press the mix (it’ll resemble the base of a hedgehog slice – eg. pretty dense).
  4. Prepare the topping by ensuring the coconut oil is warmed (so it is a liquid), then by using a stick blender, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of cacao powder, the 1/2 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup of agave syrup and blend until it resembles liquid chocolate.
  5. Pour the chocolate topping over the walnut base and ensure it is evenly spread (I spread it out with a spatula).
  6. Place the slice into the fridge to set. For best results you want to leave it in the fridge for about 4 hours.

This recipe contains no added: dairy, soy, yeast, gluten, wheat, egg and if you use agave, it is suitable for vegans. This recipe contains tree nuts. If you would like more information about allergens and food labels, please check out the articles and corresponding links.

Where to buy ingredients:

  • You can buy the medjool dates in your local supermarket – they are usually in the fresh food section, or alternatively from organic produce stores.
  • Coconut oil, agave and cacao powder can be purchased from organic produce stores or health food stores. Some supermarkets may stock coconut oil and agave.

How to change this recipe

  • If you don’t have agave, you can use honey (although check the sweetness before pouring as sometimes I find I need more honey to match the sweetness of the agave).
  • If you don’t like walnuts you could replace them with different nuts, however, the bitterness of the walnut helps to balance the sweetness of the chocolate topping.

This is one of my favourite recipes. It is so easy to prepare and absolutely delicious – and a little goes a long way.


Warm & Creamy Dairy-Free Pumpkin Soup

Warm and creamy dairy-free pumpkin soup

So I have a confession to make, until very recently – I was not a soup fan. So I find it funny that I have been converted, especially since the raw food classes this year and there are now many soups I like of rather unexpected combinations (celery and parsley?? It is seriously yummy!) Anyway, as it has been another rainy and cold day here in Adelaide, I thought I’d share with you one of my quickest and yummiest (and easiest!) pumpkin soup recipes. I figure we have enough time left in winter for you to give it a go and to let me know what you think here or facebook🙂


  • 1 medium Butternut pumpkin – steamed
  • 2 small or 1 large organic carrot (you may peel if you like)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (I currently use the Massel brand salt-reduced vegetable stock cubes and make up as directed; 2 cubes to 4 cups of water, but homemade would be perfect if you make your own)
  • 2 dessert spoons of unhulled Tahini (organic – I currently use Melrose brand)
  • 1 dessert spoon of organic dark agave nectar (or honey although you may need a little more if you are using honey)(I currently use Loving Earth).
  • Optional – 1 teaspoon dollop of COYO natural yoghurt or sesame seeds (natural or lightly toasted) to sprinkle.


  1. Roughly chop the butternut pumpkin into ~3cm cubed pieces and chop the carrot and steam until tender (try not to over steam until it is mushy).
  2. To a separate container add the pumpkin, carrot, 4 cups of stock, tahini and agave.*
  3. With a stick blender, blend until all is combined and smooth.
  4. Dish up and either drizzle with ~1/2-1 teaspoon of agave, 1 generous teaspoon of COYO and or sprinkle with sesame seeds (or all 3:-)

*You may wish to adjust the stock volume to suit your preferred consistency (I don’t like “splashy” soups, however, if that’s your thing – by all means, add more stock and adjust the tahini and agave/honey to taste).

Food intolerance information: This recipe  contains sesame seeds (tahini and if you choose to sprinkle the sesame seeds on top) and tree nuts (coconut if you choose to add the COYO). This recipe contains no added dairy, soy, wheat, gluten or egg. Although the recipe contains no added peanuts, many people with peanut or tree nut allergies have cross reactivity with sesame so please consult your doctor or allergy specialist if you are at all concerned whether or not this recipe is suitable for you. For more information about the seriousness of food allergies please see this post.

This recipe is suitable for vegans (if you make it with agave) as the Massel stock cubes contain no animal products.

Ways to alter this recipe:

If you don’t like pumpkin or carrot you could easily replace either or both with sweet potato.

If you don’t like tahini (as it has a slight bitter taste) and or can’t tolerate sesame seed but you can tolerate tree nuts and you’d prefer a creamier taste you could add 1 cup of raw unsalted cashews which have been soaked in filtered water for ~4 hours (in this case, soaking softens and makes them easier to blend).

If you don’t have agave you can use honey (I personally find I use less sweetener with the agave).

Where to buy the ingredients

You could buy tahini and agave from some local supermarkets (in the healthy section) or your local health food store.

COYO can be purchased from either your local health food store or organic store (in the fridge). If you are in Adelaide, you could check out some local stores here. Or alternatively, check out the COYO website for a list of distributors.





Ninja Bread: for a spicy biscuit flavour that sneaks up on you!

As it is the winter solstice tonight, I thought it was the perfect time to bring out and re-vamp the old Ginger/Ninja Bread recipe, I used to make with an old housemate (who was a fantastic cook). DF ninja bread


A few years ago though, I developed them into “Ninja Bread” for my friend Anne who is unable to tolerate ginger which is unfortunate because naturopathically ginger is a fantastic herb. Health-wise we use it as a circulatory stimulant, for its warming properties, as an anti-inflammatory and as many pregnant women (including myself) found out – as a valuable anti-nausea. So my chat with my friend got me thinking and wondering what spices you would have if you couldn’t eat ginger (because I love love love ginger bread). Anne told me some alternatives (such as Allspice and Chinese 5 spice). At the same time, a friend gave me these adorable cookie cutters and so liking the thought of using “Asian spices” (ok, I realise that ginger is an Asian herb used in both Japanese and Chinese cooking, and both countries also influenced ninja development so technically using ginger still makes them Ninja Breads) but  I thought it was a good opportunity to convert my old ginger bread recipe to dairy, soy and gluten free.

Since then, I have learned some new cooking techniques and some new ingredients which have helped make this the best incarnation of the recipe yet as it no longer relies on a margarine for the fat base and also I have been able to reduce the sugar content. So with out further ado, begin baking -if you dare!


  • 2 cups Orgran gluten-free all purpose flour (with an extra cup for dusting the bench top and combining the dough).
  • 125g Melrose organic coconut butter
  • ½ cup sugar (raw, low GI or alternative suitable to your dietary requirements)
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 organic egg
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 4 tsp Chinese 5 spices (or ginger) – this will really give the biscuits a “kick”;-)
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • *Ninja Bread Men TM cookie cutters


  1. Cream (combine) the coconut butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then add the egg and combine.
  2. Sift dry ingredients (flour, bicarb soda, spices) into the creamed coconut butter and sugar and egg.
  3. Stir in golden syrup.
  4. Mix with a fork until the mixture is combined.
  5. Empty onto a flat floured surface to knead the dough (use the additional Organ gluten free flour bit by bit until you get a consistency you can roll out to ~5mm thickness).
  6. Roll out dough to ~5mm thickness and cut out ninjas and transfer to the baking tray.
  7. Bake at 180 degrees C for 15 minutes (use less or more time depending on how you like your gingerbread).

This recipe has no added: gluten, dairy, soy or ginger (unless you use ginger in place of Chinese 5 spice). This recipe contains coconut oil.

Serving suggestions

At Christmas time I make these in star shapes and sprinkle them with gluten-free icing sugar and give them out as gifts, or I take them as a plate to share when going to a friends house.

Carrochino anyone?

It is a bit of a “grey” day outside, not yet raining, but it looks like it is trying to and my daughter has come down with a runny nose.

My kids actually enjoy their veggies, however, as anyone with kids (or anyone who has babysat and tried to feed a child) may appreciate, they don’t always like to chew, or swallow their veggies. Some times just because they gobbled it yesterday, doesn’t mean they will love it today (or even sniff it) and  sometimes when they feel “off” they just aren’t in the mood for food. All these factors make getting good quality nutritious food into kids a bit of a challenge (and …ok some adults too!!;-). So here is something that works with my kids on grey days, sniffly days, when they are sick or some times just because we can…we make a carrochino…



  • 3 organic carrots (wash thoroughly or peel)
  • 1-2 organic apples (washed thoroughly and cored)
  • either 1 Lebanese cucumber (washed and peeled if it isn’t organic or a regular cucumber) or 6 snow peas thoroughly washed with the strings removed)
  • 1 small piece of fresh ginger root (peeled) I use a piece which equates to 1cm cubed or smaller, a little goes a long way and the kids don’t tend to like it too strong)
  • 6 juicy strawberries


Chop all the fruit and veg into pieces that will fit into your juicer, and juice!

Makes approximately 1-2 cups of juice (depends on the size of the carrots and apple and if you use cucumber).

I split the juice into 2 serves (one for each of my kids with a small taste for mum).

This recipe is: dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, vegan.

How to alter this recipe:

  • If you don’t like or cant tolerate ginger, then remove it. Additionally you could add a squeeze of lemon juice or lime to the finished juice or even some fresh pineapple (depending on your taste buds and what you or your kids can tolerate).
  • If you can’t tolerate strawberries, as with the ginger, just omit it and use one of the other options. I find the main sweetness comes from the nice combo of carrot and apple, I like to add the strawberry for a bit of “red”. You could substitute with a different fruit, or just omit all together. It’ll still taste nice.
  • I like to add a green veggie to the carrochino and I find that the cucumber or sweet pea has a nice flavour that doesn’t overpower the juice, and also the cucumber, being a juicy vegetable adds some water too (another way of sneaking some fluid into the kids).

Anyway, it is a bit corny, but the kids love the carroty-froth and they love the juice, and I love it because – they drink it without drama and it takes about 15 minutes to prepare and make (and if you wash the juicer right after, it’s a lot less of a nightmare to clean!!).


Dairy-free whipped cream

STP82747A little while ago I had a dream I made a dairy free, gluten free etc. apple pie and on the top was whipped cream. It occurred to me the next day that maybe I could use coconut cream as whipped cream… It turns out, I was right!! So below are 2 different methods:


The most important thing is to use coconut cream (even if it is canned) that has no additives especially any stabilisers or emulsifiers because if you don’t you could be whipping for a very long time…like over 30 minutes without any change (yes, yes, I did this… hard to believe I used to be a scientist!!).

  • Coconut cream (The brand I am currently using is Ayam as they are the only brand my local supermarket stocks that has only coconut and water added).
  • 1/4 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tspn sweetener (I’ve used agave)

Whipped coconut cream Method 1 – using that day

If you are going to use your whipped cream on the day and it is a bit of a last minute decision then the following method applies:


  1. Try not to shake your cans too much from when you take them off the supermarket shelf to your home cooking bench (otherwise, put them in the fridge for as long as you can before you need it. This particular brand however, is pretty hardy).
  2. Open the can by piercing the base (the old can openers or beer bottle openers are good for this, otherwise, use something clean and sharp and be careful! If you don’t have anything sharp enough to pierce the can, then go to step 4.
  3. Once you open the can, drain off the fluid.
  4. Open the can at the top and transfer the solid cream (which will be the hard white layer) using a clean spoon to a separate bowl. Avoid transferring any of the coconut water (the greyish fluid) at the bottom of the can into the bowl (because any coconut water present will make it hard to whip). If you were unable to pierce the can and you find you have some coconut water mixed in with the cream, then strain it using a colander and transfer it back to a dry bowl).
  5. Using your electric mixer or whisk, mix the cream and then add in the vanilla and the sweetener (no honey for kids under 1). Adding the vanilla and sweetener take the “edge” of the coconut flavour  – I like coconut flavour but it can get a bit overpowering at times, so the choice is yours). You don’t want to whip too long so ideally no more than 3 minutes. Whip long enough for it to aerate and look white and fluffy.

I’ve found when I’ve made the cream this way that it tends to go rock solid the next day, so if you’re making the cream in advance, I’d recommend going with method 2, although it does seem to look whiter and fluffier this way so it looks “nicer” (what ever you do – just try it first before you serve it for a special occasion!!:-)

Whipped coconut cream Method 2 – using it over the next day or so.

So you’ve made your apple cherry crumble (the recipe is in the free ebook when you sign up to join the newsletter – below) and you don’t want to eat it all in one night, (or your whipped cream for that matter;-), this is when I suggest this method.

  • Place the tin of coconut cream in the fridge over night (I’ve left it longer because I forgot about it and it still turned out ok) the goal is to chill the cream and to help it separate better (also you’ll get a little more out of your can this way).
  • The next day, pierce the base of the can and allow the water to drain off.
  • Next, open the can from the top and scoop off the cream into a bowl (as above), and add sweetener and vanilla (to taste).
  • Whip the cream until it is smooth and fluffy. Be careful not to whip the cream too long or it’ll break down too much (too long is >3 mins)
  • This cream will keep in the fridge for a few days and still be “whipped” (rather than a solid rock;-)

Let me know what you think!:-)

My Basic Coconut cream ice-cream

Here is the simplest (and in my opinion one of the yummiest) ice cream recipes you are likely to come across! I find it funny that until I came up with this recipe, I didn’t really like ice cream. So why come up with an ice cream recipe I hear you ask? Well, initially it was for a client who was on a particularly strict diet due to irritable bowel. I figured that unlike me, most “normal” people seem to like ice cream, and generally, I find people find challenging diets easier to follow if they find they can still have some of the old comfort foods every now and then (but of course, in a diet-friendly manner). Once I tried out this recipe, I then realised, how many food sensitivities it respected and that it could be a dessert for many different people. So it has become one of my favourites. The other thing I like about this recipe is that you can make it with or without an ice cream maker. Are you going to win Master Chef with it? Possibly not, but then, I haven’t seen any thing on that show that satisfies one food sensitivity, let alone 6! (I actually really love the show by the way, I just keep hoping that one day they will issue the contestants a dairy free, gluten free and vegan challenge:-)

Serves: anywhere from 12- 20 if served as a side (see ideas below) or if served alone, then it’ll serve between at least 10 reasonable serves. It is quite rich so you don’t need a huge serving.

Preparation time: For the basic ice-cream mix 10 minutes, plus ~16 hours to set without an ice-cream maker.

Who this recipe is suitable for:

This recipe contains no added: gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, peanuts, yeast, caffeine, chocolate or egg. If made with agave, this recipe is suitable for vegans. Technically coconut is a tree nut, so this recipe contains tree nuts, although incidence of allergy to coconut is rare, if you are cooking for someone with a food allergy please see our articles on food allergies and labels first and check with the person you are cooking for to ensure you are meeting their needs especially if they are allergic to tree nuts. Also please see the note below regarding fructose malabsorption and alternative sweeteners.


  • 2 cans  organic coconut cream
  • 4 tbsp organic honey or sweetener of your choice eg. agave, maple, sugar, natural low calorie sweetener (eg. stevia although the amount will change depending on if you are using liquid or powdered stevia).
  • 4 tbsp shredded coconut (organic)
  • ½ tspn vanilla extract

Preparing the ice-cream mix

  1. Toast the shredded coconut until golden brown then set aside (I toast this on the stove-top in a small pan because I forget if I put it in the oven) it takes about 5 minutes and I stir it constantly so it doesn’t burn.
  2. Heat the coconut cream and sweetener until the flavour is evenly distributed (the goal is to mix the sweetener through the cream, not to heat up the cream, so the quicker it mixes, the better. I do this with a small whisk).
  3. Once the sweetener has been mixed through the cream, take it off the heat, and add the vanilla and the shredded coconut and place the mix in the fridge for 1-4 hours to cool.

Without an ice-cream machine

  1. Place the mix in a glass bowl (I use a pyrex) in the freezer and stir regularly (eg. every hour) using a small whisk or fork. (I usually begin it in the morning for this reason).
  2. The stirring reduces ice-crystal formation but also helps prevent the shredded coconut and anything else you may add sinking to the bottom, floating to the top or forming layers (eg. see White’s Christmas ice-cream and Rice milk gelati  recipes to come).
  3. Preparing the ice-cream this way takes about 16 hours (although it depends on how much you make and how cool it is to begin with, eg. down-scaling the recipe to 250mls may set in about 6 hours).

With an ice-cream machine

  1. Cool the ice-cream maker bowl in the freezer for 24 hours before you plan to make your ice-cream.
  2. After step 3 in preparing the ice-cream mix, put the entire mix into the fridge to cool (it can take up to 4 hours depending on how much you heated it up).
  3. Once the ice-cream maker is assembled pour the cooled ice-cream mix in, and stir in the cooler for 30-40 minutes. (In our ice-cream maker it takes the full 40 minutes, and still requires an additional 3 hours to fully set after that) but it comes out lighter, creamier and smoother in the ice cream maker. The coconut cream ice cream in the picture was made with an ice cream maker by my niece (Thanks for the great photo Kathryn!).

How to serve:

  • This goes nicely with Almost everything free self-saucing chocolate pudding and Anne’s (anti) depression cake with Lisa’s super rich chocolate sauce or by itself or by itself with fruit (eg. mango).

Alternatives/ Cooking for food intolerances

  • Sugar or natural sweetener. When making food for kids, I tend to avoid sugar substitutes like xylitol and I use honey, maple, agave or molasses preferentially over refined sugar. However if you have a fructose malabsorption, or you are cooking for someone on a FODMAPs diet, then you will need to use refined sugar and not xylitol or honey as both can exacerbate symptoms (also check if the coconut cream is ok if not, I will have a Rice milk gelati recipe coming up soon which may be more suitable).

So who says you can’t have ice cream when you are dairy free???

Lisa’s Muesli Slice

A couple of months ago, I started hunting around for a muesli bar / slice recipe after tasting one at Sonya’s and discovering my daughter liked it. However that recipe contained dairy, so below is my version of a “whole foods” muesli slice that doesn’t contain dairy or wheat (actually, I cut out the flour completely).
2 cups organic rolled oats
½ cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup honey (or maple syrup)
2 eggs (preferably organic) lightly beaten
1/3 cup olive oil (you could also use coconut oil if you like)
½ cup sultanas (or other fruit eg dried super berries)
1.      Heat the olive oil and honey and stir until combined (it will begin to froth.
2.      In a bowl, add the dry ingredients: oats, coconut, sesame seeds, sultanas.
3.      Add the olive oil and honey to the dry ingredients until all ingredients are mixed.
4.      Add the lightly beaten egg and stir through the muesli mix.
5.      Prepare an oven dish (I use a 10” square cake tin lined with grease-proof paper). Squash the mix out so that it reaches the edges and is about  1-1.5 cm thick.
6.      Bake at 180 degrees C for 30-40 minutes.
7.      Once cooked, leave it to cool (either just removing it from the cake tin and transferring to a chopping board to stand or transferring to an airing rack if you have one) for 10 minutes before slicing (as it may crumble).
Serves: ~9 small slices or 6 large slices.
Preparation time: 15 minutes for the mix and up to 50 minutes for cooking and cooling.
This recipe has no added: wheat, dairy, soy or peanuts however technically coconut is a tree nut, so please check all ingredients are suitable for your dietary requirements if preparing this for someone with a food allergy.This recipe contains eggs and sesame seeds and gluten and tree nuts (coconut).
How to alter this recipe
  • If you are making muesli for someone with a gluten allergy, then  replace the oats with either gluten free puffed rice or cornflakes (check the labels on the box, don’t assume that the conventional brands are suitable as they are often produced on equipment that processes other allergens, and also the additives (preservatives etc) can be derived from allergenic sources. Another alternative is using polenta (recipe to come).
  • If you are making this recipe for someone with a peanut or tree nut allergy (eg. almonds, walnuts, pistachio etc.) then check if they are ok with coconut and sesame seeds (and all the other ingredients)(and check that the ingredients you source aren’t processed on equipment that also processes nuts) first. You can omit the sesame seeds and coconut and if you are looking for some crunch, add some suitable cornflakes.
  • If you can tolerate nuts and seeds, and you would like some variety in texture then you could replace the sesame seeds using a mix of other nutritious nuts and seeds: eg. chia, pepita, sunflower seeds or almond, brazil, walnut for different nuts.
  • If you are unable to tolerate eggs you could try replacing the egg in the recipe with 1 mashed banana. In vegan cooking 1/2 a banana  is sometimes used in place of 1 egg, so that is the ratio I would begin with, but if you feel the mix needs more, add more)
  • I originally added the eggs to the recipe to bind the ingredients together and to replace the huge amount of butter (~175g) which was in it. Another alternative could be to use a butter alternative like cacao butter (~60 g)(melt first as cacao butter is very hard) with olive oil (1/3 cup) (I’m currently cooking with a raw organic cacao butter which is available from health food stores or organic produce stores).
  • If you don’t like sultanas or are looking for an alternative, some other ideas are dried cranberries, or super antioxidant berry mix which can be an interesting addition and can increase the antioxidant content of the muesli (though again, you need to check the allergen information to ensure the product is suitable for you) or alternatively chopped prunes could be added, which may not just be beneficial for bowel regularity, but your bones as well according to a recent seminar I attended!

If you haven’t read them yet, please check out our articles on the differences between allergies and intolerances and food labels.

Food Allergies, Food Intolerance and Food Sensitivity, which is which?

Do you have a food allergy or a food intolerance?

If you have recently been put on an allergen-free diet you are most likely discussing the intricacies of your needs with your doctor or dietician, or naturopath and they will tell you the degree of avoidance that is required for your particular needs.

The differences in the dietary needs of a person with an allergy can be significantly different from a person with an intolerance. Hence if you are uncertain which you have or you are at all confused about the parameters of your diet, you definitely need to see your doctor for clarification.

The words generally used to describe adverse reactions to foods:

Food allergy is when your immune system is involved in your reaction to food. Food allergies can be life threatening.

 Food intolerance is a reaction to a food that doesn’t involve your immune system.

 Food sensitivity is the general term for an adverse reaction to a food (that is it refers to both food allergies and food intolerances).

  Food Allergy

 Virtually any food can produce an allergic reaction (Porth, 2007).

 Allergic reactions to foods can be:

  • Acute (immediate)
    • Anaphylactic – life threatening
    • Hives
  • Chronic (occur over a longer time frame)
    • Asthma
    • Atopic dermatitis
    • Gastrointestinal disorders

(Porth, 2007)

 For information on food allergies check out this link:

For more information on anaphylaxis please go to:

 Non-anaphylactic allergies can still cause wide-spread damage to the intestines and result in nutrient loss (through reducing the absorptive surface of the intestines) and causing other health problems.

 Food intolerance

Food intolerances are not allergies or a dislike of certain foods. There are various reasons for food intolerances, some may be caused by:

  • Metabolic disorders
  • Pharmacological or drug like reactions
  • Idiosyncratic reactions (eg. an unusual or unexpected reaction).

(Wahlqvist, 1997)

Foods which commonly cause sensitivities

  • Milk and milk products
    • Usually to the alphas1 casein
    • beta-lactoglobulin and
    • Maillard browning reaction products
    • Contaminants found in milk (eg. fodder consumed by the cow, penicillin residues in milk following mastitis treatment)
    • Amines found in matured cheeses
  • Egg
    • The albumin in egg white
  • Legumes
    • Peanuts
    • Soy beans
    • Castor beans
  • Nuts  and seeds
    • Walnuts
    • Pistachio
    • Sesame seed
    • Brazil nuts
    • Almonds
  • Shellfish
    • Crustaceans
    • Molluscs
  • Fruits and vegetables
    • Tomatoes
    • Grapes
    • Bananas
    • Strawberries
  • In addition food sensitivities may also be caused by;
    • Carbohydrates (eg. sugars)
    • Lipids (fats)
    • Proteins (described above)
    • Food additives:
      • Colours
      • Flavours
      • Preservatives
    • Salicylates
    • Amines

(Porth, 2007; Wahlqvist, 1997)

Typical symptoms of food sensitivity include:

  • Diarrhoea or Bloody diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Impaired growth
  • Hay fever or sinus
  • Asthma
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Hives
  • Rashes
  • Eczema
  • Swelling
  • Behavioural changes
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Muscle and joint pain

(Wahlqvist, 1997)

I’ve read many articles that say that people are more willing to believe they have a food sensitivity than actually occurs, however, with the list of symptoms generated by food sensitivities being so vast, and the mechanisms that cause food sensitivity also being variable and by no means fully defined or understood, it seems presumptive to assume that people aren’t really as sensitive to food as they believe they are. Especially as new research emerges for example this article.

What to do if you think you have a food sensitivity (allergy or intolerance)

If you believe you have food sensitivity, you should see your doctor so he or she can determine if you have an allergy or intolerance or if your symptoms are due to another underlying condition as a number of other conditions can be responsible for the symptoms above, your doctor is the best person to determine that. Also, some food allergies (eg. Coeliac) may not be detected if you have been eating a gluten-free diet before getting checked out, so it is important you see your doctor first.

If you have identified a food sensitivity generally the treatment is avoidance of that food, which can be quite hard for some people who are very very sensitive as they can react to:

  • Trace amounts in the foods
  • Trace amounts occurring from foods being in contact with the allergen during processing even though the final food might not actually contain the allergen.
  • Trace amounts from the foods due to preparation, eg. making a nut free dip in a bowl that previously held peanuts can be very dangerous for someone with an anaphylactic response to peanuts.
  • Kissing someone who has eaten that food
  • The smell of the food

It is important to understand your food labels ( and also looking here) and the level of sensitivity of the person you are preparing food for when it comes to food sensitivities so you are avoiding their allergens to the right degree.  


Allergy facts about anaphylaxis, allergies and intolerance, labels and all other important information at

Porth (2007) Essentials of Pathophysiology: concepts of altered health states (2nd Edition). Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Chapter 15.

Wahlqvist (Editor)(1997) Food & Nutrition, Australasia, Asia & The Pacific. Allen & Unwin, Australia, Chapter 43.

Food Labels

The recipes contained in this site are for people with food intolerances, however, you may be able to adapt them for people with food allergies by ensuring your food preparation area and the foods you buy comply with the persons requirements. As food allergies can be life threatening, this is absolutely essential.

If you are preparing food for someone with a food sensitivity (especially if it is an allergy):


In Australia you will see information on labels such as:

  • The ingredient list
  • Warnings

The ingredient list

The ingredient list is where most of the ingredients in that food are listed (in some countries some ingredients don’t need to be listed).

Foods may not appear on the ingredient list with their common name eg. Milk and milk products may be on ingredient lists as:

  • Milk, milk solids, etc.
  • ….casein, caseinate
  • ….lactoglobulin
  • …Whey
  • …lactose
  • dairy
  • In addition additives eg. colour caramel 150a may be derived from dairy and this isn’t written, only the additive name or number is written, so you need a good additive decoder. I use The Chemical Maze by Bill Stratham.


Some warnings you may see are:

  • Warning this food contains:….which ever allergen/s it contains
  • Warning this food was processed on equipment which also processes…..whichever allergen/s
  • May contain traces of…..whicever allergen/s it may contain traces of
  • Contains……..whichever allergen/s it contains

If you (or someone you are cooking for) has an anaphylactic reaction to certain foods, then you need to avoid all traces of that allergen, and foods being prepared on the same equipment. Check out this link at for more information.

If you are at all uncertain about what level of avoidance you need, then you need to discuss this with your doctor or allergy specialist.

Generally, if you have food intolerance, then you are likely to be able to tolerate traces of the food which you are intolerant to, eg. something that was processed on equipment that also processed dairy, but itself, doesn’t actually contain dairy.

Please check that all the ingredients comply with your level of requirement.

Dairy-free chocolate mousse


We attended a birthday party on the weekend, and my friend Sonya, who is an AMAZING cook made a dairy-free chocolate mousse for my kids and I. Mousse is one of those things I fell in love with long before I knew I was dairy intolerant, and basically, eating it makes me think of high-school and going to my friend’s birthday parties at Sizzler:-). Mousse wasn’t one of those desserts I’d tried to convert until I tasted Sonya’s and I have to say, I am in LOVE!! I was so eager to try it again, I got the basic recipe off her and have played with the relative amounts of the ingredients myself (so when I get her actual recipe, I’ll upload that too) though I think my version came out pretty close.

Please look at the allergen information and links below for more details.

Serves: 2 Preparation time: 10 minutes + 1 hour for chilling (you can eat it as soon as it is made, but it tastes nice chilled).


  • 1/2 big avocado or 1 small avocado
  • 1tbsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder – see note below)
  • 1.5 tbsp agave (or you could use honey- see note below)
  • 1/2 medium sized banana
  • 4 juicy red strawberries
  • 1 mint leaf to garnish (I didn’t eat mine, but I liked the contrast of the green with the strawberries;-)


  1. Place avocado, cacao, banana and agave in a container (eg the one that comes with your stick blender) and blend with stick-blender until combined and smooth.
  2. Transfer to serving glass/ bowl and add chopped strawberries and garnish (if you wish) and chill in fridge for at least an hour.
  3. Eat!!!

This recipe is everything I love about whole-food cooking. It tastes fantastic, it’s quick, it is suitable for so many different people with diet restrictions, it’s packed full of nutrients with no colours, flavours or additives, whats not to love??

How to adapt this recipe

  • Allergen info: This recipe is suitable for people with food intolerances to dairy, gluten, soy, egg and nuts or seeds but as some of the ingredients may contain traces of allergens you need to ensure that all the ingredients you choose suit your specific needs in order to be adapted for people with food allergies as some food allergies can be life threatening.
  • Vegan/ non-vegan: if you are not vegan, and you don’t have agave in the house, you could just use honey in your mousse (honey is non-vegan as it is produced by bees). Taste wise, agave and honey are very similar. Agave is extracted from a type of cactus. If you would like to try some agave, you can either buy it in the health-food section of your local supermarket (I shop at Coles, and they have their own brand of it which is also certified organic) or your local health food shop or organic supermarket.
  • For more information see the articles on: Food Allergies, Food Intolerances and Food Sensitivities which is which? and Food Labels

Happy Eating!!