• Why is gluten-intolerance becoming more prevalent?
• Why are their 12 million people at risk of encephalitic shock?
• Why are peanut allergies taking over schools?
These are difficult and frightening questions that only have theories and no known answers to date. Food allows us our ability to thrive and many among us know someone who has a food allergy – or even someone with multiple food allergies.
Beth Veltman is no stranger to food allergies. For the past 10 years, she has been learning how to be adventurous in her food choices all the while ensuring several options no longer cross her palate including gluten and dairy.
“Food is the center of social gatherings. At first, I would try to hide my food allergies,” explains Veltman, who would call ahead to order meals when meeting clients or attending parties at restaurants. “In doing so, I realized I was not alone.”
Food allergies are not just a health issue – it becomes a social issue.
“I’m learning and making mistakes along the way,” explains Veltman, who developed The Tender Palate (www.tenderpalate.com) to address these issues and more. “The website is intended to shorten the learning curve and give everyone a seat at the table.”
The Tender Palate website is for individuals with food allergies, dietary restrictions or those who just want a healthier lifestyle. You will find information on local restaurants, eating organically, cooking with allergies, recipes, recommendations and so much more.
“Living with food allergies is not just about reading ingredients on a label. It’s going all the way back to the factory or the farm in which the ingredients derived,” continues Veltman. And, that’s what The Tender Palate also provides.
“You can’t call your doctor every day. You have to figure it out,” says Veltman. And she has been by finding products that fit her needs by tracing items all the way back to the factory level. This quest also means grocery shopping is not a one-stop deal. It’s traveling all over West Michigan to purchase cooking and baking essentials. By doing so, Veltman has gained quite a bit of knowledge in local stores and restaurants and plans to include a business directory to The Tender Palate. Some of her favorites:
• Saffron’s: A Gluten Free Marketplace which offers all gluten-free items and also includes special labeling for other food allergies. (www.saffronsglutenfree.com)
• Marie Catrib’s (www.mariecatribs.com/store),
• Green Well Gastro Pub (www.thegreenwell.com),
• Bistro Bella Vita (www.bistrobellavita.com) and San Chez (www.sanchezbistro.com) for their continuous education and training of the chefs and wait staff as well as their commitment to food sourcing.
“There is a way to have a great lifestyle. You can thrive,” says Veltman. Be sure to check out The Tender Palate. It’s a plethora of information on allergen-free resources for great products, recipes and restaurants – not to mention lifestyle tips. So go ahead and eat. And eat fabulously.
About the author: Elsbeth Hussey is a local writer originally from London, England who now lives in Hudsonville, Michigan.