Years ago, I found out I had food allergies and sensitivities, and it turned my world up side down. I could no longer eat fast food or prepared packaged foods. It was a huge learning curve for me and made a real difference in how I ate and prepared my meals.
When I went grocery shopping, I began to read ingredient labels and soon realized that most pre-packaged foods contained either gluten, eggs, dairy or sugar, four foods I needed to avoid if I was going to improve my health. I decided that making fresh home made food was the only way I could control the ingredients in my meals and avoid the negative reactions, usually resulting in feeling quite ill. There were, however, days that I really just wanted to pick up something fast and easy from the store.
Now that I am a nutritionist and my health has improved, it allows me to help people who have food allergies and dietary restrictions to plan delicious and safe menus. My job is to educate and let them know about all the foods they can safely eat. When dealing with food allergies and sensitivities, it needs to be about what you can eat, not what you can no longer eat.
My advice to all my clients is the same: Begin by reading labels while grocery shopping. If you can’t pronounce it or there are many ingredients listed on the package my suggestion is to opt for items that contain real, whole food ingredients. That way you are fully aware of what you are putting into your body.
What I hear from my clients is that they are able to carve out some time during the week to make homemade soups, snacks and dinners, but often times life just gets too busy. They want to know which products they can opt to buy at the grocery store that are healthy, fast and free of the top food allergens. This way they feel confident when preparing lunches and meals and have options that make life easier.
The latest statistics tell us that:
1 in 3 people have some form of food intolerance or allergy
One in 100 have a form of gluten sensitivity
Many pre-packaged foods often contain chemicals, additives, gluten and other major food allergens
Due to the nature of my own food sensitivities and of course the fact that I guide others in their health journey, I am continuously checking out new brands at the grocery store. I love finding new products that offer healthy, allergy-free alternatives. Last year I came across a brand that caught my eye and purchased some of their deli meats and sausages. Needless to say, I was really impressed with the taste and the fact that they were free of the top food allergens. They do exist!
Piller’s comes from a proud European heritage. In 1957, Wilhelm Huber opened a small butcher shop in Waterloo, Ontario where he used family recipes and the traditional method of processing meats which in turn delivered authentic, great tasting deli meats.
In 1959 his brothers Edward and Heinrich joined the company and it became Piller’s Sausages and Delicatessens Ltd.
Acquired by Premium Brands Holdings Corps in 2011, they are now known as Piller’s Fine Foods and are one of North America’s largest producers of European sausages and deli meats. They continue to use the same natural aging, curing and smoking processes that keep customers coming back for more and also offer a selection of meats that are allergen free.
Piller’s Simply Free line was a real find for me. The allergen-free Simply Free line of meat products are free of the top 10 food allergens; milk, peanuts, tree nuts, mustard, sesame, egg, fish, soy, sulphites and gluten, which allows me to purchase packaged meats that I can enjoy, share with family, and recommend to clients.
The debate about nitrates in foods continues to rage on. Some research shows that nitrates play an important role in cardiovascular health while other studies show that consuming nitrates may be associated with gastrointestinal cancer. Since Piller’s also offers meats that are nitrate free, it’s another reason I choose to purchase their products.
We all appreciate healthy ready made snacks for when life gets busy, yet we want to be assured that our snack of choice contains the right amount of protein, fat, and of course tastes good.
What I love about Piller’s Fine Foods is that they offer many options in their Simply Free Line. Mini sausages and Kolbassa are great with cut up fruit and vegetables for school or work lunches. Ham or back bacon make breakfast easy and their deli meats make great sandwich options.
Often on busy nights when I am too tired to cook a big meal, I choose to prepare simple appetizers or a toasted sandwich with avocado for myself and my husband. Piller’s sliced deli meats or Kolbassa with a side salad make a quick and easy meal.
Whenever I entertain I used to make “allergy- free appetizers” and “regular appetizers” for my guests, now with Piller’s I have less work as I know their Simply Free products are safe for all my ‘sensitive party goers’.
Since the Super Bowl is just around the corner I have created some tasty recipes for you to enjoy.
Pork Kolbassa slices with tomatoes and melted Daiya mozzarella cheese
- Slice kolbassa and put on a cookie sheet
- Top kolbassa slices with a slice of tomato and then Daiya mozzarella cheese on top
- Put under broiler and broil for a few minutes, watching carefully so not to burn
- Serve with cocktail tomatoes and other cut up vegetables
Apple Bratwurst Quinoa Salad
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 3 cooked Piller’s Bratwurst sausages, sliced
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 cup chopped organic apple
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 white balsamic vinegar
- sea salt to taste
- In a large bowl mix quinoa, cut up sausage, apples and parsley
- In a smaller bowl mix dressing ingredients: oil, vinegar, mustard and salt
- Pour dressing over salad and mix well
- Store in fridge until ready to serve
All recipes are original recipes by Shirley Plant
And of course we will have Simple Free Deli Meats on hand at our Super Bowl party for those who want to make up their own tasty sandwiches: shaved roast beef, roasted turkey and pastrami.
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