Managing a yeast allergy is tricky because yeast is everywhere. Here are some practical ideas for coping with this condition.
What is yeast?
Yeasts are single celled organisms that are classified as fungi. There are literally hundreds of different strains of yeast. Some are used in the production of foods such as bread and alcohol, some are pathogenic, and some are just there in the environment. Just because a food item doesn’t list yeast as an ingredient, it doesn’t mean that it is yeast free.
Some foods that contain yeast…
Where commercial yeast strains are added to a food, such as bread, it will be included on the label. Foods and drinks that contain natural yeast won’t list it as an ingredient. These include:
- alcoholic drinks
- fermented condiments, including vinegar and soy sauce
- traditionally pickled vegetables
- sourdough bread
- fruit, especially dried fruit, often have a layer of yeast on the skin
- sprouted beans, seeds, nuts and grains have sat in a damp environment for several days, and this promotes yeast growth
- condiments, such as mustard, pickles and jams, are often kept a long time and may grow yeast in the jar
The problem with yeast is that the amount that you find in, or on, a certain food will vary from day to day. Today’s blueberries might be covered in the stuff, tomorrow’s might be less yeasty. Because of this I can’t really say that a recipe is truely yeast-free: I simply file a recipe as being ‘yeast-free’ if it is unlike to contain tons of yeast.
Tips for dealing with a yeast allergy
The amount of yeast a sufferer can tolerate will differ from person to person. As with any condition, managing a yeast allergy is a personal thing. To reduce yeast intake you can:
- use dry, rather than wet, ingredients where possible. Coconut sugar may be better than date syrup. Dry mustard may be better tolerated than wet
- buy small jars of condiments so that they are eaten up more quickly
- distilled vinegar and distilled spirits (such as vodka) will contain less yeast than their non-distilled counterparts
- where possible, peel fruit
- liquid aminos can be used as a soy sauce substitute
- check ingredients labels. Yeast extract is used as a flavour enhancer in lots of stocks, gravies and pre-made burger-type things
Final thoughts on the matter
Yeast allergy is not an easy one to manage. If you are vegan AND yeast intolerant then you probably feel like there’s nothing you can eat. However, most of my recipes can be made yeast free. Hopefully you can find something tasty, here.