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Food Allergy and Gluten: Substitutes to Know

Food and gluten allergies are a growing public health problem in the country, with an estimated 2.5 million Canadians affected. Sometimes a simple contact between the skin and the allergen can trigger anaphylaxis, a serious and life-threatening reaction. Living with a food or gluten allergy is not easy, especially in the beginning. Here are some substitutions to help you in cooking!


In the case of eggs, we must see how it will be used in the recipe. If it only serves to moisten or bind the ingredients, the fruit purées will do the trick:

  • ½ medium banana, mashed
  • ¼ cup of fruit compote (or a vegetable puree if it is a salty dish)

On the other hand, if the egg is intended to give volume as in recipes for cakes, banana breads or muffins, here is what I suggest:

  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) xanthan gum
  • 15 mL (1 tablespoon) baking powder + 30 mL (2 tablespoons) water


When asking for peanuts or nuts in your favorite recipes, do not hesitate to replace them with roasted pumpkin seeds. Peanut butter can easily give way to sesame butter, sunflower butter or pumpkin seed butter. To have the crisp side of peanuts in an Asian sauté for example, think of roasted soybeans or chickpeas. These latter choices can also be used in the composition of hiker’s mixes alongside dried fruits. Warning! Some people allergic to peanuts can sometimes react by eating legumes.


In case of intolerance or gluten allergy, several simple substitutions are possible to replace wheat. Turn to grains or pseudo-cereals that do not contain gluten such as millet, amaranth, legumes, quinoa, sorghum, rice and buckwheat.

Here are some ways to easily replace 1 cup of all-purpose flour:

  • 220 ml (⅞ cup) of rice flour
  • 220 ml (⅞ cup) of chickpea flour
  • 180 ml (¾ cup) of potato starch
  • 325 ml (1 ⅓ cup) oatmeal (be careful: make sure the oats are not contaminated by looking at the ingredients on the package)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) tapioca flour


People who are allergic to soy should be alert, especially when it comes to Asian dishes where soy sauce is often used. An interesting substitute to this sauce (very salty) is composed of balsamic vinegar to which you add a little salt. The same principle also applies to teriyaki sauce: balsamic vinegar, a little orange juice, honey, water, olive oil and pepper.

Finally, do not forget to pay attention to cross contamination! It is nice to pay special attention to the foods you choose, but the environment must also be adapted. For example, be careful with small appliances such as the toaster and blender, as they may have come into contact with allergens (nuts, gluten, etc.).

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