How to Make a Meal for Someone Allergic to Sugar, Gluten, Milk, and Fat

Food allergies and food sensitivities have skyrocketed. Definitions of allergies and sensitivities are debated and have to do with differences with IgE, IgG, IgA, and other immunoglobulin reactions. Varying degrees of sensitivities lead to ranges of tolerances, while some people with a true allergy may tolerate a moderate amount of the offending substance from time to time, others will have to adhere to strict 1--% avoidance for life.

While it is relatively easy to avoid one food, multiple avoidance foods can become paralyzing. If elimination of this sort is new to you, it can be quite overwhelming. There is not only a steep learning curve, but steep penalties for the food sensitive. Eaters may experience anything from migraines to ataxia, rash to anaphylaxis. But if you are willing to cook for someone with food sensitivities, they will greatly appreciate it! Interestingly, this example of avoidance foods, namely gluten, dairy, sugar, and fat, is not an unusual combination. Gluten and dairy sensitivities go hand in hand as their protein structures are closely related; and both fat and sugar metabolism can be compromised by the internal damage done to the liver by the gluten and dairy. Further, although cane sugar can have it's own problems for a myriad of reasons, sugar is also in the grass family and can go together with gluten sensitivity as the glutens in question are also in the grass family.


  1. Image titled Make a Meal for Someone Allergic to Sugar, Gluten, Milk, and Fat Step 1
    Keep it simple. You want to be able to be clear and accurate about the exact ingredients that are gracing their plate or bowl.
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    Use fresh whole foods. Take it from gourmet chefs the world over: the best way to make a meal shine is to use fresh local ingredients and to keep it simple. Don't buy prepackaged foods, even if they say "gluten free" on the label. Prepackaged foods can have hidden dairy, cross-contamination, and are often high in sugar. Not only do you not have to read the label on a carrot, but people with food allergies often have a problem with histamines, which increase as food ages (i.e. leftovers).
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    Know your audience. Fat is a macronutrient found in nearly all foods. Even an innocent carrot contains some fat. Sometimes, people can tolerate foods that contain higher amounts of fats like nuts, but not added fats such as olive oil, or vice versa, and sometimes not at all. There are sometimes reasonable thresholds where people can tolerate a small amount (i.e. olive oil), but not over. Sugar is a generic term. Cane sugar is in the grass family and it is not uncommon for people with gluten issues to have issues with cane sugar. While it is easy to avoid adding cane sugar to whatever you are making, some people are avoiding foods with high glycemic index. So, it is important to know your audience.
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    Know your ingredients. There is a lot of misinformation surrounding gluten sensitivities, and there are varying thresholds of sensitivity depending on the condition and reason for avoidance. If you are new to gluten avoidance, to make it simple, all grains contain gluten.
    • It is a common misconception that only wheat, barley, triticale, and rye are the only gluten containing grains. These are the most frequently offending grains in Celiac Disease. However, there are hundreds of gluten sensitive conditions besides Celiac, and even Celiacs need to look carefully at their other grain consumption.
    • If you are making a meal for someone who is not only gluten sensitive but suffering multiple sensitivities, it is wise to avoid all grains. This means, don't substitute corn or rice for wheat or rye. Don't go buy something that says "gluten free" on the package (GF labeled foods often have sugar and dairy). See step #2, and stick with whole foods.
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    Create options. Options are great for multiple reasons. No matter where we are in our food sensitivities journey, sticking out for it is never fun. Options during the meal are a great way to create great meals for everyone anyhow. We all love choices and we all like our bowls a little different. After all, we each have different and shifting nutrient requirements.
    • If you design a meal such as tacos for example, where everyone puts together their own, someone with food sensitivities can feel more comfortable that they won't stick out. (However, watch out for cross-contamination. If you put out cheese for others, make sure it doesn't get accidentally sprinkled into the lettuce.)
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    Play it safe; put the sauce on the side. This is really an extension of 'Options'. There is nothing more disheartening to all parties than to have all of the thought and effort that went into making a special 'sensitive-friendly' dish go to waste by one little ingredient spoiling the lot. When in doubt, put the sauce (or spice mix) on the side, so-to-speak. Go for it with the extras; just make them optional just in case.
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    Be mindful and vigilant! As you are cooking, be mindful of your ingredients and vigilant with yourself with what you are doing. Don't absently add butter to your pan to sauté veggies (the dairy sensitive can't have butter).


  • Don't be afraid to ask for help and guidance from those you are cooking for! People like to know you are doing everything in their best interest.
  • For more information and support, find a qualified Health Coach, and Doctor of Functional Medicine.
  • Fat metabolism may be improved by addressing liver dysfunction. Some foods, herbs, and spices are known to support liver function, including turmeric, cinnamon, milk thistle, garlic, and onions, as well as the brassicaceae family which includes such veggies as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, and brussel sprouts. Moderate amounts of fat increase nutrient absorption. Note that people with thyroid conditions need to use caution with regard to the brassicaceae family.
  • Multiple sensitivities can often be improved by addressing the underlying gut dysbiosis and liver dysfunction.


  • Nothing here should be taken as medical advice.

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Categories: Food Preparation