Sourcing Foods when you are Sensitive

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For those of you who are sensitive to certain food products, have allergies or intolerances it can be very daunting trying to find a good assortment of products that will not only be good for the body but also satisfy the pallet. Many of you are looking for gluten free, lactose or dairy free, no eggs, no sugar, no nuts, no starch, etc. This may seem excessive but I have many people in my clinic that follow such a regime. Some of you may just be looking for markets, farms and/or shops where one can buy good quality organic products, grown locally. Or perhaps even a restaurant where you can choose a gluten free or lactose free option.
One may have an allergy or an intolerance to gluten, while others simply prefer to eat gluten free products. The latter is in fact becoming quite a trend and shops and supermarkets are joining the band wagon offering a fair variety of gluten free products. For those of you who are not familiar, in Unteraegeri there is a well-established online bakery called Riesal. Here one can buy all types of gluten free pastry, bread, biscuits, pizza and grissini. They also have a choice between gluten free with and without milk as well as a good line of products for diabetics. One should note though that while the products in the diabetics range don’t use sugar, they instead use an artificial sugar. Artificial sugars should be used sparingly as many have allergies to them and they can cause adverse side effects. Your local reform house also has a variety of gluten free, as well as lactose free products.
Let’s talk a little about sugar. The negative effects of consuming vast quantities of sugar especially refined sugar have been well documented. Sugar is quickly converted to fat in the blood, which can increase the risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. A good alternative to sugar is Stevia. It is a herb that is 300 times sweeter than sugar so one only needs a small amount of it and it doesn’t have any calories or carbs. Unfortunately it is not easy to find products that are made with Stevia. In the Migros there is one syrup (cordial) that is made with stevia. One can buy stevia in powder form in Coop which can then be used in baking, otherwise the tablet form is found in most supermarkets and organic stores. In the organic stores you can find a few possibilities of jams made with fruit sugar as well as muesli which is sweetened with rice syrup as opposed to raw sugar. Rice syrup has a high glycemic index but is essentially glucose, hence not containing the more harmful fructose.
Now let’s look at dairy products. Many people today are lactose intolerant and therefore to meet the markets demands supermarkets do now supply a good range of lactose free products. But for those of you who cannot tolerate the actual protein in milk, then one has to turn to the organic stores. Soya, Rice, Oat, Spelt and Almond Milk can be found in Mueller, Alnatura in Zug or köstliches von haas in Baar and Unterärgeri You will also find a good range of soya yogurts as well as soya butter, fresh soya cheeses and even soya sour cream. They also offer a variety of different brands in the milk section. I recommend you try them all to find the one that better satisfies your taste buds. They are all very different in taste and one of them is sure to please.

Buying local is best! There are a number of local farms in the area that are certified Bio. Some have shops attached to the farm where you can buy the ‘in season’ products. Bio Hof Zug is one of the bigger ones with an excellent website where you can also see what they currently have in store. For a list of where your local Bio farm is, go to the website. Do try the produce from these farms. The vegetables and fruits have a natural sweetness and flavor we just don’t get from the imported products. As I said, buying local is the best! Organic farming has a long-running history in central Switzerland and as a special treat, running now for the past 6 years, on the 30-31 August ‘O Sole Bio’ will take place. This is a huge farmer’s organic market, which will be represented by certified organic farmers throughout central Switzerland. Here you can enjoy local culinary delights and quality organic fruits and vegetables along with entertainment for young and old.
Restaurant options are few and far between for those of us who are allergic or intolerant to many products. However fortunately some restaurants have recognized the need to fill this niche. For a night out, visit the Park Hotel in Zug and cu Restaurant at City Garden. They offer both gluten and lactose free, plus vegan options. This is just the beginning though, and restaurants are sure to realize they must cater to a growing number of people with these needs.
Sourcing products for those with allergies is in fact easy when you know where to go. Use the internet to check out the sites I have suggested, so as to find your nearest local bio store or farm. Ensure you check labels before you buy products to be sure you know the content and any hidden ingredients. And finally venture out to the O Sole Bio, farmers market at the end of August in Zug or to the Park hotel to enjoy a nice meal out. Isn’t it good to know you have options? Enjoy exploring!

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