Reading labels and making smart choices to mitigate the risk of reactions to your food allergies covers more than just the food you eat. Food allergens can crop up in everything from your craft supplies to your skincare products. Finding safer substitutes can be difficult, in fact, it was a search for a safe lip balm for my children that led to the creation of the Allergy Ninja Skincare products. Here’s the good news: you’ve learned to recreate some of your favorite meals in an allergy-friendly way, and you can learn to recreate some non-food items, too. Here are a few recipes to get you started.
Wheat-Free Play Dough
Many of the commercially available play dough options contain wheat. Families managing a wheat allergy or an illness like Celiac disease don’t have to give up on this childhood staple. You can easily make your own safe version at home. Grab yourself a bowl and an assortment of food coloring options and whip up a batch of this fun, squishy dough.
You’ll need ½ a cup of white rice flour, ½ a cup of cornstarch, ½ a cup of salt, 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar, 1 cup of water, and 1 teaspoon of vegetable or other cooking oil. Mix the ingredients together in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until the mixture starts to form a ball (about 3 minutes). Let the dough cool before using or storing. If you want to color your dough, place a few drops of color in the center of your dough and knead it in until the color has saturated the dough.
Egg-Free Tempera Paints
Although finding commercial egg-free tempera paints is not especially difficult today, tempera can indeed contain egg. In fact, some artists will say “true tempera” is egg-based. Make sure you check the labels if you’re buying paints. Even if you can easily get your hands on paint someone else has made, it can be fun to make your own.
This Felt Magnet blog article includes a whole host of paint recipes you may want to experiment with! For flour-based paints, experiment with different wheat-free alternatives if your allergens require it. Which flour sub you use may influence the texture and hue of your paint so have fun test-driving a variety of options.
Nut-Free, Dairy-Free Hand Lotion
Don’t be afraid to experiment when you approach a project like hand lotion. You may find a recipe that sounds divine but it calls for a dash of sweet almond oil and that’s a no-go on your list. Maybe it’s a coconut oil base and you’re avoiding coconut. The good news is you can substitute these ingredients for something that is safe for your family, and you can find a whole bunch of other recipes that don’t require those specific ingredients in the first place. WikiHow has a few to get you started.
Before you get started, though, let’s talk about shea butter. This body product staple is indeed derived from the shea nut which is classified as a tree nut. It is worth noting that according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, there are no reports of any known allergic reaction to shea butter and it is considered generally safe for use in tree nut and peanut allergic individuals. However, as with all things allergy, you should consult your family’s allergist to confirm that shea is a safe option for you.