Nondairy Beverages Offer Solution for Increasing Numbers of African American Children Suffering from Food Allergies and Sensitivities

Food allergy friendly, nondairy alternatives provide great taste, recipe versatility and a much needed nutritional boost


Hope, MN – (March 23, 2012) – April is National Minority Health Month, and the occasion provides a great opportunity to raise awareness about health problems that are disproportionately plaguing minority children and adults. It has been known for some time that African American children – especially those living in inner cities – are more likely than kids in the general U.S. population to suffer from asthma and allergies. But a study published last spring in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology found that 28 percent of inner city minority children at an allergy and asthma clinic tested positive for food allergies, and a full 71 percent of them were sensitized to at least one food, meaning the food triggered an immune system response that increased their risk of allergic reaction. These percentages are alarming, given that the rate of food allergies among U.S. children in general is reported to be only about 4 percent.

The most common food allergy and sensitivity culprits among the minority children tested were eggs, milk, and peanuts.

“Allergies and sensitivities to staple foods such as milk, eggs, and peanuts can pose challenges for every family,” said Christina Fitzgerald, MS, RD, LDN, of Nourished Nutrition and Wellness Services in Chicago. “But a few simple substitutions – like replacing dairy milk with sunflower, soy, or another nondairy option – can ensure that nutritional needs are met, allergic reactions decline, and the entire family can enjoy the same meals and not have the allergic child feel singled out.”

In addition, minorities are at risk from a significant lack of calcium and Vitamin D. They fall short of the 3-4 servings of dairy needed daily, with only 55% of African Americans getting one or more servings of dairy each day. Even worse, 83% of African American children in the U.S. aren’t getting enough calcium. Food allergies, sensitivities and lactose intolerance are most likely to blame. University of Maryland Medical Center research shows that a startling 75% of African Americans are lactose intolerant, compared with only 25% among white, non-Hispanics.

A new nondairy beverage made from sunflowers may provide a delicious and welcome solution for the dietary challenges above. SoL Sunflower Beverage is made from wholesome, non-GMO sunflower kernels grown on American family farms. The creamy texture and refreshing taste make SoL a perfect milk substitute served chilled in a glass, in a smoothie, or in recipes. It’s a perfect beverage choice for people with food allergies and sensitivities to dairy, gluten, wheat, soy, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts.

SoL provides an excellent source of essential nutrients such as Vitamin E, Phosphorus, Folic Acid, Calcium and Vitamin D, which are inadequate in many African Americans’ diets. Each 8 oz. serving delivers 50% of the recommended daily allowance for Vitamin E, 30% for Calcium, 25% for Vitamin D, and 20% for Folic Acid.

Available in Original, Vanilla, and Unsweetened flavors, SoL can be found at health food stores, natural food retailers, and select supermarkets nationwide.

The following recipes illustrate how easy it is to enjoy delicious, healthy, and nutritionally complete meals using SoL:

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine ¼ cup nondairy margarine, ¼ cup flour, and 1 cup Unsweetened SoL Sunflower Beverage. Cook and stir over low heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Allow the sauce to reduce until it begins to coat the sides of the saucepan.

Add 4 cloves of minced garlic and the shredded meat of 1 rotisserie chicken to the Sol sauce. Toss until well combined. Fold in 2 cups of cooked wild rice (may substitute white or brown rice). After thoroughly combining the wild rice to the mixture, transfer to a greased baking dish. In a sauté pan, combine 3 TBSP nondairy margarine with ½ cup of bread crumbs and sauté till toasted. Top the casserole with the bread crumb mixture. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Serves 4.

Easy Apple SoL Oats

Combine 1 apple (peeled, cored, and chopped) with 1 cup of old fashioned oats and ¼ tsp cinnamon in a large microwave safe bowl. Stir in 1 ½ cups Vanilla SoL Sunflower Beverage into the bowl. Cover and seal the bowl.

Heat the mixture in the microwave on high for approximately 3 minutes until apples are soft and most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in 2 TBSP maple syrup. Divide between 2 bowls and top with pecans or walnuts, if desired. Serve immediately.

Easy Curried Cauliflower Soup

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt 1 TBSP nondairy margarine over medium heat. Stir in 1 whole onion, chopped, and one 10-oz. package of frozen cauliflower, thawed. Cook while stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until tender. Add 2 cups of Unsweetened SoL Sunflower Beverage, ¼ tsp dried thyme, ½ tsp curry powder, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, and heat to boiling. Add 1 cube of low salt chicken bouillon. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.

Spoon half of mixture into blender; cover, with center part of lid removed to let steam escape, and puree until smooth. Pour into large bowl. Repeat with remaining mixture. Return puree to same saucepan; heat through over medium heat, stirring often. Remove from heat; stir in 2 tsp fresh lemon juice. Divide into 4 bowls and serve immediately.

About Sunrich Naturals®

Sunrich Naturals®, maker of SoL™ Refreshing Sunflower Beverage, has been working with American family farms to produce wholesome organic and natural foods for over 25 years. Sunrich Naturals® believes that healthy, good food starts with a healthy, good Earth. This simple belief guides everything we do – how we work with farmers, handle and process our grains, and produce our natural and organic foods. Our products can be found in many fine supermarkets, natural food retailers, and health food stores nationwide.

Sunrich Naturals® is a brand of SunOpta Inc., a leader in natural and organic ingredients, raw materials and consumer products and the largest sunflower processor in the United States.

For more information, visit http://www.sunrich.com.

Media Contact:
Laura Fontanills
Healthy Living Marketing/ Common Language
laura@common-language.com
813-215-1271

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