Your blog name is kind of funny, how did you come up with it?
After much crowd (and family) sourcing, I came up with Chosen Bites because it speaks to my my choice to keep kosher and the necessity for me to avoid certain food allergens. However, I hear time and time again that people don’t believe my food is free of so many allergens, or they don’t even notice. So even if you don’t have any food restrictions, I hope you’ll choose to enjoy the many delicious recipes you’ll find here.

What does “kosher” mean?
Kosher is the adjective form of the Hebrew word kashrut, which is the set of Jewish dietary laws I choose to follow. In a practical sense, keeping kosher means that I observe restrictions in the way that I prepare food, and in the way that I eat food.

Preparing Food: I have two sets of dishes and three sets of pots in my kitchen. This is because that in my observance of kashrut, I will not prepare meat and dairy in the same pots, or eat them using the same utensils. When I make a cheesy lasagna, I use a dairy baking dish, plate, and fork. When I make meatballs, I use a meat pot, plate, and fork.

Why the third set of pots? You may have heard or seen the word “pareve,” a yiddish word that means “neutral.” Foods like fruit, vegetables, and grains are pareve and can be eaten with either meat or dairy.

Eating Food: I refrain from eating any fish that does not have removable fins and scales, land animals that do not chew their cud and have split hooves, and birds of prey. I only eat meat that has been ritually slaughtered by a trained and certified butcher.

What is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?
The main difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance is where the bodily reaction to the food occurs. With a food allergy, the immune system is responding to what it perceives as a foreign and dangerous entity in the body, and issues an immune response in defense. With a food intolerance, the digestive system is responding to an inability to digest something that is traveling through the system.

How did you choose which food allergens to highlight?
According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, 8 foods account for 90% of all food-related allergic reactions: Eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, soy, and wheat. I’ve expanded my food allergen list to include all dairy (not just milk), and anything with gluten (not just wheat) because I want to include intolerances as well as food allergies, and dairy and gluten are two very prevalent food intolerances. I have also included corn (for a total of 9 allergens) as this is becoming a more prevalent intolerance/allergy.

Are you allergic to all 8 foods listed above?
I have both food allergies and food intolerances. I am allergic to walnuts–they cause an anaphylactic reaction where my throat closes up. I am intolerant of gluten–it causes me extreme stomach pain and other unsavory effects. Until very recently, I was also dairy intolerant for 10 years.

Information on my site does not constitute the provision of medical advice. Always seek advice from a physician for information related to food allergies, food intolerances, or other dietary restrictions.