What’s the Difference Between Food Allergies, Intolerances, and Sensitivities?

Foods to know the Difference Between Food Allergies, Intolerances &Sensitivities

01 Oct 2021


What’s the Difference Between Food Allergies, Intolerances, and Sensitivities?

We’re all familiar with food allergies, but nowadays you constantly hear terms like “sensitivity” and “intolerance” to different foods. These three terms often get lumped together, but they’re unique conditions that elicit different responses from the body and have varying levels of seriousness. So, what do all these terms mean? And how should they affect your cooking?

Food allergies

Of the three, food allergies are the most serious. A food allergy is an immune response in your body, usually diagnosed by an allergist with a formal test. The cause of food allergies is still unknown, but the body perceives a harmless food as a threat and in response releases an immune hormone called histamines to “attack” that food it sees as harmful. The release of these histamines causes various symptoms such as hives, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. The onset of symptoms from an allergic reaction is usually immediate.

In cases of extreme allergic reactions, the victim can go into anaphylaxis, a rare allergic condition which can cause fainting and restricting airways. Anaphylaxis requires emergency medical attention and can be life-threatening.

People can be allergic to almost anything, but the most common severe food allergies are milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, wheat, and shellfish.

Allergic reactions from food can range from a slight itch in the ears to a fatal case of anaphylaxis, and just a trace amount of the allergen can be enough to cause a dangerous reaction. Even those who believe they have a “mild” allergy may have a severe reaction any time they consume that allergen, so it’s best to avoid it altogether. Cooking for someone with a food allergy must be done with great caution.

Food intolerances

While food intolerances are not as serious as allergies, they can cause significant illness and discomfort. An intolerance is not an immune response like an allergy, but instead is marked by the body’s inability to digest certain foods. Most food intolerances cause uncomfortable symptoms including stomach pain and diarrhea, but they are never life-threatening. Food intolerances are usually diagnosed by a doctor and symptoms often take several hours after eating to occur. Some common food intolerances are to lactose, a sugar found in cow’s milk, and wheat.

Unlike with allergies, those with food intolerances can usually have small amounts of the food they’re intolerant to. For example, those with a lactose intolerance may be able to have a little bit of grated parmesan cheese on a pizza or a touch of heavy cream cooked into a soup, but a spoonful of yogurt may make them sick. Similarly, someone with a mild intolerance to gluten may be able to have a dash of soy sauce over rice, but not a bowl of pasta.

There are, however, some more severe intolerances. Celiac disease is a rare intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, that can cause severe stomach pain, diarrhea, and violent vomiting. People with Celiac disease cannot have any traces of gluten.

Food sensitivities

Compared to food allergies and intolerances, food sensitivities have the mildest of reactions. Similar to an allergy, food sensitivity is an immune response so it can affect multiple organs with a wide range of symptoms including headaches, fatigue, rashes, and nausea.

The reaction from a food sensitivity can begin hours, or even days, after eating. Because of the delayed onset, food sensitivities can be hard to pinpoint and many of them go undiagnosed. Food sensitivity to gluten, for example, can be as simple as generally feeling tired a couple of days after eating bread. A good way to figure out if you have food sensitivity is to systematically eliminate certain foods from your diet for a week or two at a time to see if there’s a change in how you feel. You can also get tests for certain food sensitivities.

For many people with food insensitivities, a moderate amount of the ingredient will not lead to symptoms. However, as with allergies and intolerances, the level of sensitivity varies from person to person.

The bottom line

Food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities are all challenging conditions that should be taken seriously when cooking. When cooking for others with any of these conditions, be sure to talk to them beforehand and fully understand the nature and severity of their condition. If it’s just a mild sensitivity or intolerance, you may be able to use a little bit of the ingredient to make the tastiest dish possible. But, if your guest has a severe food allergy, you should steer clear of that ingredient.

At CookinGenie, all allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities are taken very seriously. CookinGenie chefs undergo a rigorous interview process, and they are adaptable to different dietary restrictions. The CookinGenie support staff will also work with you closely to ensure your meal meets your requirements so that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a delicious homecooked meal.

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29 Oct 2019

Do It Yourself meal kits have been around since the early 2000’s and rose quickly in popularity. Globally the business size is well over $2B. So why has this service become so popular?

Most of these companies win customers with a free meal or a discount on their first order. With pre measured ingredients and easy to follow instructions they offer a solution to busy people who wanted to prepare fresh meals for. Some companies even offer specific menu’s catering to special diets such as Paleo, Vegetarian or Keto. As a concept it seems like a great solution to a common problem.

But all good things come with a downside. They offer fixed menus in rotation and limited options for variety. The portions don’t generally allow for left overs and the packaging creates a bulky excess amount of trash or recycling to deal with. Not to mention the work of actually preparing the food. Although they advertise saving time, by allowing you to skip a trip to the grocery store. They usually don’t provide more than a few meals a week, so you still end up at the store to buy staples. You also still have all the work of chopping, cooking and cleaning up after the meal. A task that is less time consuming for singles then for families.

Although this industry quickly blossomed, the bloom might be fading from the rose a bit. Blue Apron is the largest and most widely used meal kit delivery service (Followed by Hello Fresh and Plated.) Although they seem to be able to easily lure in customers with free meals and trial packs, they have trouble maintaining a customer base long term. In fact Blue Apron’s stock has dropped precipitously since its IPO in 2017. Per meal costs or around $10 without leftovers is an issue.

In conclusion these services fill a need for some consumers. Or are at the very least a good short-term solution for people who need a few quick easy meals in a busy season. But in the long-term families are still looking for something better. Something that actually saves time, produces less waste, and offers variety, and healthy food prepared from fresh ingredients. All at an affordable cost.

Allowing our Genies to cook you a fresh healthy meal in your own kitchen may go towards solving the problem that some of the DIY meal kit companies could not solve.




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Halloween Dinner Ideas for Adults and Kids to Enjoy 1-1

22 Oct 2022

Halloween is a fun and festive holiday that typically involves spooky costumes, trick-or-treating, and candy. However, the holiday can also be an excellent opportunity to spend some family time enjoying delicious meals, playing games, and watching movies. If you’re looking for some Halloween celebration ideas, in this blog post, we have shared everything you need to know about making this occasion unique and memorable.  

Quick Tips for a fun Halloween

Halloween is an excellent time to get together with friends and family for a festive dinner. Here are some tips to make your Halloween celebration more fun and festive. 

  • Start by setting the mood with some Halloween music. There are plenty of great Halloween-themed songs out there that will get everyone in the spirit. This Spotify playlist might help! 
  • Get creative with your table decorations. A few simple props can transform your dining room into a spooky scene from a horror movie. 
  • Serve some traditional Halloween foods like pumpkin soup or roasted potatoes with black olives “eyes.” 
  • Make things fun by turning your dinner into a costume party. Encourage everyone to dress up in their best Halloween costume. 
  • Add some interactive elements to your dinner party with Halloween-themed games or activities (we’ve given a few ideas further on). 
  • End the night on a sweet note with some delicious Halloween-themed desserts. Pumpkin pie or ghost cupcakes would be perfect!  

Halloween Dinner Ideas

To indulge in spooky fun and treats this All-Saints’ Day, there are plenty of Halloween-themed dishes to choose from.  

Traditional Halloween dishes often include sweet treats like candy apples and cupcakes decorated with black icing, while savory dishes like pumpkin soup and chili are also a hit.  

Modern Halloween dishes include anything with a spooky or festive twist, such as spiderweb pizza or mummy hot dogs. No matter what kind of dish you’re in the mood for, there’s sure to be a Halloween-themed option that will tingle your taste buds. 

Traditional Halloween Dinner Ideas

  1. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds: Start with raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can then season them however you like, with salt, pepper, garlic powder, or other spices.  
  2. Ghost Chili Pepper Poppers: For a spooky take on chili peppers, try ghost chili pepper poppers. Cut the peppers, remove the seeds, and then stuff them with cream cheese. Dip them in batter and deep-fry until golden brown. Serve with ranch dressing or another dipping sauce. 
  3. Mummy Cupcakes: Start with store-bought cupcakes and decorate them with white icing to create these easy mummy desserts. 
  4. Graveyard Dirt Cake: You can prepare this classic Halloween dessert by layering chocolate pudding, Oreo cookies, and gummy worms in a bowl or trifle dish. Top with whipped cream and more cookie crumbs to look like it’s got dirt on it. (Yech!) 
  5. Eyeball Punch: For some spooky punch, start with lemon-lime soda and add some green food coloring. Float plastic eyeballs in the punchbowl to make it spooky. Both adults and kids will love it! If you like living dangerously, see how you can use dry ice for props to make this experience even more chilling here 
  6. Jack O’ Lantern Quinoa Salad: This hearty salad is perfect for a Halloween potluck or party meal. Cook quinoa according to package directions, then stir in diced roasted pumpkin, grilled chicken, feta cheese, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with vinaigrette dressing and serve chilled or at room temperature. 
  7. Witches’ Fingers: Almond-flavored cookies shaped like witches’ fingers make for a spooky but tasty Halloween treat! Roll sugar cookie dough into finger-shaped logs, then press an almond into the tip of the nail. Bake according to recipe instructions, then dip the fingertips into red food coloring for some “bloodied” effect. Allow the food coloring to set before serving. 
  8. Chocolate Bark: This easy chocolate bark is studded with candy “eyeballs” and makes for a festive Halloween treat! Melt chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double boiler, then spread onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with mini marshmallows, candy eyes, and any other desired toppings. Allow the chocolate to set, then break it into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. 
  9. Candy Apples: A classic fall treat, candy apples can easily be turned into a Halloween-themed snack by adding black licorice “stems” and using orange-tinted candy coating instead of the traditional red. Melt the candy coating in a pot over low heat, then dip apples into the coating, twirling them slowly for an even coat. Place on a sheet of wax paper to set, then insert licorice stems before the coating hardens. 

Modern Halloween Dinner Ideas

  1. Mummy Dogs: Wrap hot dogs in pre-made croissant dough or refrigerated biscuit dough, then bake according to the package directions. Once cooked, add ketchup or mustard “bandages” and two dots of peas for the eyes.  
  2. Spiderweb Pizza: Start with a pre-made pizza crust or make your dough. Spread on tomato sauce, then top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Use a knife to make a spiderweb pattern on the pizza, then set to bake according to the crust. 
  3. Frankenstein Kabobs: Use green peppers, mozzarella balls, and olive slices to create easy and cute kabobs.  
  4. Witch Finger Cookies: Almond slivers make for eerie (and delicious) witch fingers on sugar cookie bars.  
  5. Bloody Brain Dip: Make a gruesome-looking dip with cream cheese, sour cream, gelatin, and green food coloring. Serve it with crackers or pretzels for dipping.  
  6. Graveyard Tacos: Prepare tacos with all the fixings, including ground beef, refried beans, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, and sour cream. Top them off with crumbled tortilla chips for a crunchy topping.  
  7. Bat Wing Cookies: Shape vanilla sugar cookies into bat shapes and decorate with chocolate frosting and candy eyes. 
  8. Pumpkin Spice Oreos: Crushed Oreos mixed with pumpkin spice make for a tasty (and festive) take on the classic cookie. 
  9. Candy Corn Bark: Swirl the white chocolate with yellow and orange candy melts to create this festive bark recipe. 

Halloween Games to Play

If you wish to include some spooky fun games in your celebration, here are a few Halloween games that are sure to be a hit with both adults and kids: 

  1. Bobbing for apples is a classic Halloween game that is always fun. Fill a large tub or bowl with water and add several apples. Players take turns trying to bite an apple while holding their hands behind their backs – the first person to successfully bite into an apple wins!
  2. Another fun game is pumpkin carving – see who can create the spookiest, most creative pumpkin designs! You can even make it a contest and award prizes for the best carvings.   
  3. Try a scavenger hunt in the dark. Hide various Halloween-themed items around your home or backyard and give players a list of things to find. Make it challenging but not too complex – you don’t want anyone getting lost!   
  4. A game of truth or dare is always perfect for Halloween parties – be sure to make the dares suitably spooky! Here are some ideas & suggestions.  
  5. Lastly, no Halloween party would be complete without some ghost stories. Encourage everyone to bring their favorite scary tale to share. Just be prepared for some sleepless nights afterward! 

Halloween Movies to Watch

Many people start to get into the Halloween spirit by watching horror movies. If you’re looking for some genuinely spine-tingling films to watch this October 31st, consider checking out some of these classics. 

  1. The Exorcist: This 1973 film tells the story of a young girl who becomes possessed by a demon and the lengths her mother will go to save her. 
  2. The Shining: Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel is a must-see for any horror fan. It tells the story of a man who slowly goes insane while working as a caretaker at an isolated hotel. 
  3. A Nightmare on Elm Street: One of the most iconic horror franchises, “Nightmare on Elm Street” follows the dream-stalking killer Freddy Krueger as he preys on the teenage children of his victims. Or check out its 2010 re-make! 
  4. Halloween: John Carpenter’s classic slasher film introduces Michael Myers, a murderous sociopath who returns to his hometown to kill again. 
  5. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Tobe Hooper’s seminal horror film tells the story of a group of friends who encounter a family of cannibals in rural Texas. 

So get set to curl up with some popcorn and enjoy a good scare this Halloween! 

Halloween is a fantastic occasion to celebrate with family, friends, and your significant other. With some planning (and our ideas) you can create a spooky ambiance, serve delicious food and drink, and ensure that you have a great time. So, get out your costume, dust off your decorations, and prepare for a spooktacular Halloween party. 

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15 Jul 2020

What is CookinGenie? CookinGenie is a service where delicious and healthy home-cooked meals come with only a couple of taps on your smartphone. The twist is that the food is cooked right in your kitchen.

It’s not catering. It’s not meal kits. It’s not food delivery. It’s not frozen 500 miles away.

It’s made fresh with ingredients from your neighborhood grocery. Enjoy it fresh for lunch or dinner, or as leftovers after. CookinGenie is ideal for you, your family & small parties of less than ten people.

How does it work? Go online to CookinGenie.com and select your dish and a time for our Genies to come to your very own house and cook JUST for you, your family & perhaps a few friends. Then all you have to do is sit back & relax.

Wait, who are our Genies you ask? They are experienced cooks who make delicious foods. Some of them have worked in restaurants before. How do we know about their cooking? Simple, we taste their foods before they cook for you.

A restaurant inside your home. The world on your taste buds (yes we have cooks from diverse backgrounds). More YOU time, while dinner is taken care of.

Check us out today. Book a time with one of our Genies – then sit back & watch us conjure up your dinner. Sounds too good to be true? Yes…. it’s magical. Visit Now: cookingenie.com


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