Not Sugar Cookies for the Nut-Free School Dilemma

In this age of frequent tree nut allergies, we frequently get asked how we deal with nut-free school situations. We’ve certainly dealt with this exact issue at any school we’ve had our kids attend. I’m all for protecting kids in the best way possible, but sometimes paranoia fear gets the best of us. The idea of banning all forms of nuts is often the reaction to a severe problem for what is actually a problem for only a very small segment of the population. In Finian’s school, for example, his classroom is only used by one class: his. There are no peanut or tree nut allergies in his class at all, yet they are still banned.

This policy (understandably) comes from the old adage of better safe than sorry and is great on many levels; but for those of us who feel as averse to wheat and use nut flour as a replacement, the going can get tough at “treat” time. So, in light of this situation, what is a grain-free family to do on those occasions when a birthday is celebrated at your school? What’s the grain-free family to do when cookies are called for? Well, first things first: understand exactly what is avoided in these bans. Sometimes you have to help educate your school:

  • Peanuts are easy to identify and one of the most volatile and reactive allergens around. Even though they’re legumes (beans grown underground and almost never consumed raw), they are often banned from schools because of this severe allergen potential.
  • Cashews are a seed, but classified as a tree nut because of their reactive allergen abilities.
  • Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts, Hazelnut, Chestnut, Brazil Nuts, Pine nuts, Macadamias and Pistachios are all true “tree nuts” because they are the seed, pod, or kernel from a tree.  After their thick or rubbery shell is removed, they can be consumed raw, roasted or boiled.

So what’s left? What’s not a “botanical nut”? Your friend and mine, the coconut. If your school attempts to ban coconuts, load up on your research and prepare to get it changed, especially if you’re bringing your own child’s snack and he’s not sharing – air exposure to coconut causing an allergic reaction is unheard of from our research.  I have it on my to-do to try to make a treat out of just cocoa and tapioca flour, but until then this is what we know to work.

Now that you’re educated on the topic… here’s where the cookies comes in. The other day, Finian’s class was all set to decorate sugar cookies with icing for their Fall Festival. Leaving aside the question of the educational value of wheat flour and refined cane sugar, what was this grain-free family supposed to do in order to let him feel included in the activity?

Simple: we made coconut flour “sugar” cookies.  Not so simple: coming up with a recipe that would hold together well but keep him from bouncing off the walls at school (we’ve discussed how Finian’s behavior changed with a Paleo diet, most of which we attribute to being low in sugar). A sugar free, nut free, sugar cookie? Sure… no problem!

Not Sugar Cookies
Tree Nut Free, Peanut Free, Grain Free (contains eggs)


1 C fresh, pitted dates
1/3 C coconut oil
1/3 C palm shortening or butter
4 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 C coconut flour


  1. In food processor or blender, puree the dates into a paste
  2. Add eggs, vanilla, oil and shortening to date paste and pulse until combined
  3. Add flour and pulse until a thick dough forms
  4. Spread extra coconut flour on rolling surface to reduce sticking
  5. Gently roll out dough until 1/4″ thick, don’t press too hard or dough will not easily release when transferred
  6. Using cookie cutters, cut shapes into dough and transfer to baking sheet
    we were able to do this with our hands, but if you’re having problems with it sticking and not releasing from the counter-top after you’ve “floured” your surface, roll it out on parchment paper, leaving space between the cookies, then transfer the paper to a baking sheet
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes (until edges start to turn golden brown).

Please note, these cookies are intended to be a little bland and dry. They are intended to be used as decorative cookies, although our boys gobbled them up just as they were.  We suggest getting creative with melted dark chocolate (like Modern Paleo Warfare did here) or to use a looser icing like our Caramel Icing for the top.

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  • Samantha

    ” Leaving aside the question of the educational value of wheat flour and refined cane sugar” – exactly! My 4th grader regularly brought home candy last year for getting perfect scores on his spelling test. Why???

    We’ll be making these as soon as I’m through with my Whole30.

    • I feel bad for teachers, really. It’s hard to find an appropriate motivator for a whole class of children. Candy ends up being a universal reward that the whole class can get into.

      Good luck! Hope you enjoy it.

    • Jennifer Marrewa

      My son’s school just set up a new health and wellness policy that bans the use of candy or sugary desserts as rewards from the teachers or school. They also banned these things for birthday celebrations too and many classes are just having one birthday celebration at the end of each month for all of the kids with birthdays that month. The guidelines also suggest fresh fruits and veggies for birthday treat ideas and of course whole grain crackers and low fat cheeses and dips but hey you win some and you loose some right?

      I hope more schools set up similar policies! We are in San Diego CA and my kids go to two different schools and only my son’s has this stricter health policy. My son’s school would not even allow me to bring these coconut cookies but I am definitely ok with that!

      • We were told the same thing for our school and yet somehow the candy ends up in backpacks any way. Oh well. For birthdays, we try to make sure all the rest of the parents are aware of our diet enough to tell us when they’ll bring in treats. That way, our kids can bring in their own “safe” treats instead.

  • Mia

    We are a Paleo family, with a son who has life threatening allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and eggs. I wish you had left your judgement about school’s nut free policies out of this post, and simply addressed the issue. It would have been so easy to be kinder and more sensitve by not using the words “paranoia” and “exagerated reaction.” You are so very lucky to not have to fear for your son’s life, and you should not be so quick to judge. I, too, agreed with you until my 1 year old almost died in my arms. I will do everything, no matter now small the chances are, to make sure that others don’t have to experience what I did. 

    • Mia, I cannot possibly imagine how scary and overwhelming that would be.  Even when my kids have an injury I know they’ll survive, I have the utmost panic and fear with my most prized possessions being in danger.  Matt and I often talk about how scary that would be to have a child with such a danger in constant situations that you as a parent cannot control all the time. 

      It wasn’t our intent to say that classrooms shouldn’t accommodate families with the allergy, but rather that even if your class or school doesn’t have a peanut or tree nut allergy, that fear (a better word than paranoia, agreed) that can be created because of all parties wanting children with such allergies, will often affect all classes regardless.  And that the likeliness that even your son would have any issues because our son brought a coconut cookie is highly unlikely, if at all a probability.

      For most families, their first experience with this is in preschool and shared snack is their first exposure.  Our goal was to provide an education to those parents who have asked us about this policy.  So that know what will hurt children in their class with the allergy, like your son, as well as what will not. Our point was that those children who do have a life threatening allergy from air exposure it is rare, but that better safe than sorry is the best policy so that no child ever need worry.

      With the utmost of sincerity, we absolutely understand how important this is when there is an allergy. I hope regardless readers are able to gain an understanding of what is and is not a concern for children such as your son, so
      that they can both feed their own child and ensure compliance with the
      rules of their school – which are there for the safety of all children.- Stacy

      • Mia

        Thank you. (And you were correct to teach readers that coconut is absolutely not a nut, it was the judgement before that point that I was reacting to…)

      • Although I completely agree that all children with life threatening allergies should be protected, it’s true that the schools are completely paranoid (of a law suit!) and care more about protecting their liability than meeting the needs of kids. Our school has gone so far as to ban “peanut butter substitutes” which is anything that might resemble peanut butter to a teacher, such as sunflower seed or pumpkin seed butter. Makes it very difficult to meet MY child’s unique nutritional needs with all these impositions. But they have no problem offering candy as ‘rewards’ for everything. So frustrating.

  • Angie Hancock

    do you think this would work as a bottom pie crust for pumpkin pie? I’ve got a paleo filling all worked out, but the crust is proving to be harder. I may give it a try and see how it works.

  • Although my kids fortunately don’t have nut allergies – I have a mild allergy to almonds (which makes a lot of Paleo treat recipes hard for me to tweak) – I also wanted to take exception to the attitude about the nut-free schools.  My two girls do eat plenty of nuts in their snacking habits, and our school cafeteria has nut-free tables, but when I think that if a scrap of peanut got from one kid’s clothing into my other kid’s backpack and into the classroom with the nut-allergic child, I’d be horrified if something so preventable led to a really bad situation. It’s not a hardship for us to leave the nuts at home, AND as a bonus, the nut-allergic child’s classroom teacher has asked us NOT to bring in ANY food all year – not for Halloween, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, nothing. All non-food goody bags, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s my older child, whose food sensitivities are more marked, whose class has cupcakes and candy for any and all holidays and birthdays, and whose old math teacher regularly gave out candy bars for kids who finished their math problems most quickly, not to mention the ubiquitous ice cream and pizza parties for “being good.”

    But for parents whose child could DIE from even breathing the air where there’s been peanuts, it’s not an exaggeration at all. It’s everyday life and everyday stress and worry, and a nut-free school is a HUGE source of relief.

    • We agree, Deb. Just think wording wasn’t right… see our response below.

  • Matt, I read your comment on Twitter, and I just wanted to let you know that I didn’t think there was anything here that was offensive in the least. I’m sorry if folks feel that way, but nothing you wrote here stepped over any line whatsoever. I think people who are dealing with this very real issue will automatically feel like something is being aimed at them, and I can see how this is plain not the case. We have to separate our emotions from discussing something intellectually.

    I’m not saying that having a child with an allergy isn’t difficult or scary, but a vocal minority doesn’t mean we shouldn’t discuss majority feelings. And trust me, I get it. I’m currently a dietary minority, especially now that I’m on a Whole30. I’ve given up trying to make restaurant meals fit, it’s just too exasperating. Sometimes we want the world to acknowledge our plight, but I think we have to define those lines and what is and isn’t other people’s responsibility.

    This gets to the heart of an important issue in our society: how far do our personal agendas go? Is it fair to ban nuts for an entire school when only a handful of children are affected? What about vegetarians who may count on them as protein sources? What if vegans want murderous meat banned from the school so their child doesn’t have to look at it? I live in a town with an extremely low vaccine compliance rate, and they all get to go to school because of some vague exception rule. Where does this end?

    I personally feel like gluten is pretty damned evil, but let’s see how far I get with trying to make a school district get on board with that. And how many parents would jump down my throat about their child not being able to bring crackers to school?

    Your point about coconut products being banned due to a lack of education is a good one, and I’m really glad I read that in case I need it in the future (I have a sense I will). And yes, school districts banning coconut stuff is paranoia and fear.

    So thank you. Again, I don’t think you were insensitive at all. Keep on keeping on!

    • Thank you for making me feel just a slight bit better. Honestly, considering my own status as a dietary minority I perhaps should have been more considerate. Thanks.

    • Mia

      When the death of a child (or anyone) is a real risk, it’s insensitive (and uneducated) to compare other non-life-threatening issues to such policies. And I wish that having a child with a severe allergy was only “difficult or scary” but sadly it is so much more. There are many great sources that could teach you about the difference between protecting a life by creating an allergen-free environment, and “personal agendas.” The examples you give are apples and oranges. Coconut being banned due to lack of education was indeed a great point, but your comments and comparisons to the issues of nut sensitvities were not thoughtful. 

      • Mia, I understand that this is a big issue for you. I’m truly grateful this isn’t an issue for me and my family. I’m not in any way trying to speak against that.

        I wasn’t comparing being a dietary minority with having a deadly allergy. I used that example to affirm that we all have frustrations with a dominant food paradigm, but we all have lines we are and are not comfortable crossing. That is worthy of discussion.

        And despite your passionate position, I’m still not convinced that making blanket recommendations for 1% of a population is the way to go. I’m sorry. But I don’t. In what other area of life do we do that?

        • Madison_mom

          It seems to me that every child has a right to go to school, and be safe there, no?  Kids are messy eaters.  Is the desire for one child to be able to consume a particular food out of many worth risking another child’s life?  The issue here isn’t simply one of a minority versus a majority, it’s also the *severity* of the *outcome.*  I’ll confess, though, that I used to think it was hysteria, that the “peanut moms” were overreacting, etc.  And then my own son nearly died. Twice.  Watching your child go into anaphylactic shock does wonders for clarifying one’s thinking on the issue. Yes, it’s inconvenient for the majority to be unable to bring a particular snack food.  Let’s assume a typical elementary school has 200 kids.  How much inconvenience are two children’s lives worth, then?

  • I totally agree with Mia and am glad she wrote in. You know for those of us who are searching for a way to heal anaphylaxis in our children, we might often end up eating Paleo. That’s why I am here. And words like “paranoia” and “exagerated reaction” are often a big red flag for me that someone doesn’t understand the severity. I understand you do though. I’m just saying, I’m here too.

    • Again, likely a word choice issue. If I may explain exactly what I was talking about, we used to go to a school that banned coconut, even though it is not a tree nut and has an extremely low chance of having a cross reaction, not to mention that the reaction itself is much less severe. It also seemed that I was hearing of many schools that banned nuts without any indication that anyone was allergic. That’s the problem I was attempting to address.

      By all means, in the face of serious issues you ought to make what ever rules make you feel comfortable. I often have trouble understanding how I will be perceived, and clearly I did not tread lightly enough. My apologies.

      • OK, I can see what you were saying now. People get very confused with coconut. Thanks for explaining. My child was exposed three times (that I caught) to peanuts at his “peanut free” school. One time the peanut butter was spread all over the table in front of him. And these were just the times I was there, which wasn’t very often at all. I got so uncomfortable, I had to pull him out, now we are homeschooling.

      • I cannot remain silent. It is simply NOT TRUE to say that coconut reactions are less severe than nut reactions. My daughter has a life-threatening reaction to coconut and treenuts. (No, coconuts are not nuts. Yes, you can still have an anaphylactic allergy to both.) My son is also anaphylactic, to eggs. Even in the face of such adversity, they both are Paleo eaters, because I am determined to heal them of these allergies. It seems to me that Paleo families and food allergy families need not be at odds. We all have the best interest of our children at heart. We all want our kids to eat healthy, nutritious, safe food. We would do well to listen to each other and better understand each other. Together, we can be a formidable force for good in changing the food supply in this country.

  • So excited to try this cookie recipe!!! We are in a nut-free school and I work very hard to ensure we don’t cross contaminate our nut-free ingredients. Anyway, I think these would probably taste awesome with a honey glaze! 🙂 I will try it and let you know. 😉

    • Thanks! I’m curious as to how it might taste with a honey glaze as well.

  • Anna

    I actually must agree with you,and I know I’m probably in the 1%, so I must explain.  Nut allergies have become the exagerated allergy because of a small population that have them, what most with nut allergy issues don’t understand is that people like my son and I who are as equally allergic to wheat, gluten, corn, and rice don’t have many options if we don’t use nut flours (usually almond or pecan).  We have to make sure there is no cross contamination, which is almost impossible, and if we (me especially) eat even the smallest amount of gluten (for example) not only do we have severe pain in our stomach and intestines (imagine digesting small pieces of glass), but we break out in horrible blisters and hives that are quite painful, but also as most parents know, rashes of any kind mean no school untill they are gone. Although it rarely requires hositaplization, as there is not much to be done, and things like Epi Pens have no effect, it last for days some times even a week or two depending on how much has been consumed. Also, where some children (not all) may grow out of a nut allergy, a gluten allergy gets worse with age, even if you don’t eat it.  Also, wheat , corn , and soy allergies have been linked to behavior issues in children with ADD, ADHD, and autisism. However, I don’t see schools banning wheat , corn, or soy as they don’t get to choose what food to feed kids (a whole new issue!) With that said there is no way to protect every child but awareness of all allergies, and what children in your childs classroom have allergies will help everyone.
     I want to thank you for the receipes and giving ideas like this one that allow children who eat differently than the average to feel included when it comes to birthday, and holiday treats. I also think that blogs like yours help bring awareness, even if everyone who reads them don’t agree with your opinion.  So thank you.

    • Megan

      As someone who has lived with a severe peanut and almond allergies for my entire life, this post as well as many of the others (and the comments in the original recipe above) outrage and disgust me. I realize this is bringing up something discussed a year ago, but the general lack of understanding of the seriousness of nut allergies has plagued me throughout my school years and now into my twenties. A nut allergy should in no way be compared to a gluten intolerance. My allergies are to the extent where I touch residue of nuts (it doesn’t need to be visible, I’ve had reactions from a door handle and a glass at a bar) I go immediately into anaphylactic shock. I realize that a gluten allergy can be bad, painful and frustrating, but you do not risk dying from simply being in the vicinity of it. And for your information Anna, nut allergies also become increasingly more severe after each exposure. With each reaction I have had, I have had drastically less time to reach a hospital before my throat closes completely. Also, the reason the epipen does not work for you is because they are intended to pause the immune system which is literally attacking the sufferers own body, as opposed to gluten which is a (very serious) digestive issue. And an epipen is not a magic cure-all for your reaction, it gives you a little bit longer to reach help, and the drugs involved with recovering from an attack put the sufferer out of commission for a little while, take a severe toll on your body and are frequently painful. I understand that the world cannot be sanitized of nuts, and it means I have to be cautious with absolutely everything–try riding in a plane when the flight attendants begin to hand out nuts to all your neighbours over the Atlantic ocean with no chance of an emergency stop for hours–but I think it should be expected that schools can be a safe zone. Young kids don’t quite understand the severity of their own nut allergy, and how easily their body can go into shock, until they’ve lived with it a few more years, and they should be granted a few years grace to figure it out. So I’m sorry if you or your children have to find alternatives to nuts for one meal and snack of their day, but its quite selfish of you to put your ‘want’ ahead of someone’s livelihood.

      As a side note to the paleoparents, I recognize that you have quite a bit of knowledge of many of the adverse effects of foods: Gluten, sugars, soy, processed foods among others. I find it quite sad that you have spent your time becoming so versed in these effects–negative but not on the spot life threatening–while completely disregarding, and encouraging incorrect information, in regards to nut allergies. If you had any idea of how, not only frustrating, but also terrifying it was, then you would not be so quick to call it ‘paranoia.’ I borrowed a copy of your cookbook from the library and was excited to find your website and this recipe, but honestly this has all just left me frustrated and a little disillusioned with you guys.

      • Anna I’m sorry you’ve ended up feeling this way from the post. I’ve re-read Matt’s words and don’t think from our stance (not the comment left by another) that we in any way “completely disregard and encourage incorrect information.”

        Please also consider, although less common, there are people with gluten ataxia as well other life threatening allergies than nuts. Our original post was only that when there is no one in an entire classroom, or the entire school, with such allergy it’s extreme to completely ban these foods – specifically coconut, which isn’t actually even a tree nut.
        We hope after you’ve had a chance to re-read our post and thoughts on it you’ll see we in no way mean to offend those with allergies, and have already apologized in the earlier comments for doing so.

  • Steelicarus

    yay! thanks for the mention 😀

  • Wow, these look terrific. It is a tradition in our family to make sugar cookies at the holidays and this is such a great alternative! Been looking for this one for a while. Thank you!

  • These actually LOOK like they would work! Fantastic ingredient list too!

    • They do work pretty well. I’m making them in the preschool on Wednesday even.

  • Marissa

    Feeling nostalgic about making sugar cookies and getting back into the baking groove… Do you think prunes would be an ok substitution for the dates if I reconstitute them a bit before pureeing? 

    • Probably… if you like the taste of prunes that is.  They would have the stickiness required.

  • Mrs. F

    This is just what I have been looking for to round out the Christmas cookie season! 

  • I was hoping to make these as a healthy alternative at the annual cookie decorating party my mother hosts. I was so excited to see a paleo cookie recipe that I could use instead of the sugar cookies my mom always makes. I was hoping you could tell me about how many cookies this recipe yields, so that I won’t over do it?


    • Depends on your cookie cutters, of course, but I’ve made about two dozen medium-sized cookies with this recipe.

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  • Hi.  I just made these and they’re great!  My boyfriend who hates anything made with coconut flour really liked them.

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  • Finn (Modern Paleo Warfare)

    Hey! Thanks for mentioning our site! Finnian is an awesome name (obviously)

  • Sarah

    Thank you very much for the recipe. I have one child with multiple severe reactions. Peanuts and tree nuts, yes, but also corn, wheat and dairy. With sensitivities to many other things. Then I have another child with ADHD who responds very well to a paleo-type diet. As you can imagine, treat time is a challenge around here. We will certainly be trying these cookies.
    I have to agree with Mia. While I understand that there are other food allergies, and food choices that mean elimination of certain foods, few foods compare to peanuts in the swiftness and severity of the reaction. Now that my oldest is in middle school, its even more of an issue. He walked into the computer lab a few weeks ago where someone had been consuming a nut-based food bar. The person had left, but the wrapper was still in the garbage can and my son happened to use the same computer. I know all this from a CSI-type post-reaction investigation with the vice principle. I hate that my son had a full-on reaction, but at least now the administration can see that I’m not being “paranoid” or some sort of hover parent. I get that it’s frustrating, and it seems that one kid in a school can wreck party time for everyone else. But after that party in the classroom down the hall, those kids still share the same playground equipment, computer equipment and drinking fountain. So yes, it absolutely does impact the kids with allergies.
    And it works both ways with the lack of education. One administrator wanted to have kids use hand sanitizer in leiu or banning nut products. It took a lot of education to teach her alcohol kills germs, not destroy proteins.
    Would I love to get sugar banned as well? Hell yes! But does my ADHD kid have a life-threatening reaction? Nope. So we work through it with him. And both he and his older brother have learned how to graciously turn down food and other products that may contain harmful ingredients.

  • Kimberly

    Are these crunchy hard or those really soft bready type? They look delish!

  • Tabitha

    Can anyone tell me what the yield is on this recipe?

    • Depends on the size of your cookie cutters – it’s enough dough to feed a class of 16… that help?

  • collie

    FYI – the comment about banning sunflower seed butter and pumpkin seed butter – my child has severe peanut, tree nut and SUNFLOWER SEED allergies – meaning, she will have a life-threatening reaction if even a tiny amount of any of these is ingested. So that is not just banning something that looks like peanut butter – it is keeping a child like mine safe from a food that is deadly to her. As far as gluten allergies – I know they make you very sick, but they are not immediately life-threatening. Someone won’t die within 15 minutes if they are allergic to gluten and ingest it. BIG difference! We need better education about food allergies in schools because ignorance is what endangers our children.

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  • Samantha

    Hi! I made these cookies yesterday for my daughters daycare treat for valentines day. Only had butter on hand so that’s what I used instead of palm shortening. I used thepaleomom’s white chocolate and freese dried berry frosting (http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/02/recipe-orange-strawberry-nut-free-cut.html) to decorate them 🙂 I really enjoyed them. I hope the kids do too! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    • Awesome, I love the idea of that frosting with them!

  • Jenn

    Just ordered your book. Sorry I did after reading your take on nut allergies. It’s going back.

  • I can’t believe how bent out of shape some of these parents are! I have a life threatening allergy and I went to school before all these food bans (80’s & 90’s) and I survived! My children have allergies too but IT IS NOT FAIR to subject the whole school to the restrictions one child has! Since when should the 1% over rule the 99%? (Except of course in America where the 2% of the rich dictate the 98% of the rest of the population).

    All of these restriction have not only helped me decide to quit teaching but also to homeschool my children. I am not going to have my children deprived of everything because 1 child in the whole school has 1 allergy while another 1 child has a different allergy therefore NOTHING is acceptable.

    Like I said both my children and I have life threatening allergies but it is not fair to everyone else because we have allergies! I survived because my parents were involved…your child can survive too WITHOUT depriving everyone else.

  • Cathy

    Glad you found a good recipe but I don’t agree with the article about banning nuts at School. For those of us that are anaphylactic to nuts and have airborne nut allergies it’s frustrating when others are very insensitive. My throat closes when I’m around others eating nuts. Oh, and I’m also allergic to coconut. OK, just my 2 cents for the day…getting off my soapbox now!

  • Lone Star Ma

    I have to agree with many of the comments here that this was a very insensitive post. Yes, coconut is often a safe option and I’m glad if it works for you. You did say “paranoid”, though, which is rather a slap in the face for families who must work every day to keep their children safe and alive and still able to do things like go to school and live life. My child with anaphylactic nut allergies is older so we do not feel nut bans are necessary except in places removed from close access to medical attention like camp and trips with long stretches between hospitals, but schools full of little kids who can’t be trusted to keep their hands out of their mouths are often a different matter for many. Most offensive, though, is the way you do implicitly compare the “hardships” of your dietary choices to accommodations made for life-threatening conditions. Frankly, I feel that the super-controlling dietary choices of people like you make my child less safe even when you are not trying to take nuts into her classroom, because the general public often mistakes us with you. They think we are over-hyper and paranoid and controlling about dietary choices that may be important for health in an ongoing big picture way, but which are going to hurt no one in terms of one little cupcake. Except that while that cupcake they sneak to our kids because they are sick of all the super-controlling details won’t really hurt your kid, it could kill mine. All-or-nothing dietary and life “philosophies” are for the minds of children, if that – not adults. Trust me, you don’t really want to live in a world of dangerous absolutes where a microscopic protein sets off the gasping and wheezing and choking. Get over yourselves.

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  • lc

    This is a very old post, yet I felt compelled to comment. This happened to be the first post I’ve ever read on this blog, and it will now be the last and only. I’m going to tell you why. I’m not on a Paleo diet. However, I have a condition that causes my body to react to most foods as if I am allergic to them, although I am not. It can be life-threatening, and I have to carry Epi-pens and maintain a low-histamine diet. I can’t have gluten/grains or soy at all. My reactions to these go beyond the digestive and into brain functioning, respiratory, throat and mouth swelling, and more (Btw this will happen from airborne gluten and soy in cooking areas as well. Tons of restaurants use soybean oil.). I am also unable to eat anything that is processed or pre-prepared and, therefore, have borrowed recipes from several specialized eating approaches and altered them to fit my needs. I’ve been on many blogs written by passionate folks who feel that their way is the best/only way (paleo, primal, raw, vegan, etc). I understand their zeal. I realize that people tend to feel this way after they have found something that works for them. This post, however, was judgmental and selfish. I get what you’re saying about the use of coconut products and applaud your success in educating school officials so that you can bring them–as long as anaphylactic shock is not an issue for traces of coconut for allergic individuals. However, it is the wording you use that shows that you hold your family’s issues in higher consideration that those of others. Yes, I read your responses to the many outraged commenters. I still don’t think you get it. The following quote from the original blog illustrates my point:

    …for those of us who feel as averse to wheat and use nut flour as a replacement, the going can get tough at “treat” time.

    You “feel as averse” to wheat? Peanut allergy sufferers don’t “feel averse” to peanuts. Touching a tiny bit of peanut oil left on a table or chair could kill them. You’re upset about your child’s “treat time”? Does your child’s enjoyment of treat time outweigh another child’s life? As many commenters have mentioned, it will only take one go-round with anaphylactic shock before you are willing to make what might seem like extreme alterations to prevent this in the future. Although not every allergy situation warrants requiring everyone to enter into a prevention plan, it certainly should when a trace amount of the substance, even airborne, could kill someone. When we are talking about children who may not have reached an understanding of how to recognize the signs of a reaction or who may not be able to communicate this to others, I really don’t think that mandating a nut-free environment at school is too much to ask. Implementing such a policy across the board simply makes good sense rather than attempting to determine where and when to apply it based on an ever-shifting population with varied activities.

    Although you said you were sorry in the comments, you didn’t change the original post other than marking through the word paranoia. Leaving it there to be seen like that is your way of saying, “I still feel the same way I did when posting. However, to appease people, I will mark through this word, yet leave it for all to see and know that I still think it is correct.” There are several places in the post where your arrogance and ignorance show as they continue to do even in comments. They still read as if saying, “We still feel like we shouldn’t be inconvenienced for others’ dietary needs unless they are going to also be inconvenienced for ours.” It is okay to feel that your nutritional plan is best, but it is not okay to believe that non-life-threatening issues trump those that are life-threatening. Maybe if you change this attitude a bit, you would attract more people to your way of thinking rather than repel them.

    • Some others voiced similar (although not quite so lengthy) opinions, and if you notice, we already responded that perhaps our tone was misinterpreted, and for that we apologized if our points were offensive. Perhaps you didn’t read those before you wrote this comment?

  • Mary M

    This is almost the problem I am having. I want to make a cookie without sugar, using dates or bananas, but the recipes coming up all have almond flour and my daughter is in a “nut” free classroom. I don’t mind using some grains; we use sprouted wheat flour, oatmeal, and rice. I guess I could try subbing the almond flour with coconut flour but my previous experience using coconut flour was not too good.