Life with an LTP allergy
Hi! My name is Rebekah, I’m 30, from Hertfordshire (UK) and I have had an LTP allergy since 2017. “LTP” stands for Lipid Transfer Protein and this is a protein found in plants. This means I can be allergic to any fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, nuts, beans, etc. that contains the LTP allergen (which is most of these) and I wanted to share a favourite recipe for people with similar allergies.
The allergy can present itself differently in everyone who has it, so there is no “one size fits all” list of things to avoid. This means avoiding anything within this category until I am tested for it individually through blood tests and skin prick testing. Once my allergy doctor gives me the green light, I can start to gradually reintroduce this ingredient to my diet.
I am anaphylactic to LTP, so I must carry two epi-pens and avoid anything that has not been tested at the hospital. The protein is not broken down by heat or cooking in any way, so I must avoid raw and cooked versions of these foods. I must also avoid any cross contamination or trace elements, as these can also pose a major threat.
As I can only eat foods tested and ok’d by my doctor, this can be very challenging and makes finding a recipe for people with my allergies very difficult. As time passes my list of safe foods increases and year by year, my diet had grown a lot. In 2017 it was too risky for me to eat anything from plants, so for a long time I was stuck eating almost entirely meat and other types of foods that do not fall into this category.
Here’s a very small example of how my allergy restrictions list looks:
Tested and NOT OK to eat (confirmed allergic)
Tested and OK to eat (confirmed not-allergic)
NOT yet tested and therefore NOT ok to consume without future testing (not confirmed if allergic or not)
- Bay leaves
As you can see, it is very broad and covers a lot of normal day to day foods. This means I can’t easily eat out, as regular cross contamination poses a huge risk for me. I’m also unable to travel abroad unless I know the language well or they speak English to allow me to explain my allergy. Unfortunately, as it is so broad, I am also unable to make use of allergy menus and allergy cards.
Since October 2021 I have started up @allergygirlcooking on Instagram to help raise awareness of LTP allergy and to share foods that I eat. Food has always been a big passion of mine and I do enjoy creating “work around” recipes that allow for my allergies. Back in my younger years I trained as a chef, so this definitely makes things easier! Here’s a quick recipe for a pasta dinner alternative I eat regularly.
This is a gorgeous recipe for people with allergies
As I’ve not been allergy tested for durum wheat yet, I usually substitute pasta for gnocchi which is made from potato instead. I am also allergic to tomatoes and parsley, so the gnocchi is tossed in a lemon mix instead of a tomato based sauce. The recipe is very light and is great for summer!
- 1 pack of fresh gnocchi (I use Tesco own brand, as this has no semolina flour)
- 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small clove garlic (finely chopped)
- Black pepper
- Grated parmesan (to taste)
How to make the dressing:
- Combine the zest of half of the lemon with the juice of the whole lemon in a bowl and add in your basil.
- Add your olive oil to a pan over a medium/low heat and add your finely chopped garlic.
- Sweat the garlic down for about one minute
- Remove and add to your bowl of lemon and basil
- Set aside
To make the gnocchi:
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add your gnocchi
- A couple of pieces of gnocchi will start to float once boiled for a few minutes, when this happens remove from the hob and drain immediately
- Add your lemon mixture and season lightly with salt and pepper, stir through and top with parmesan.
- Serve straight away on its own or with a protein / side dish of your choice. I usually have pan-fried salmon or some broccoli with it.