I am affected of favism. A blood enzyme deficit. Favism is an X-linked recessive inborn error of metabolism that predisposes to hemolysis (spontaneous destruction of red blood cells) and resultant jaundice in response to a number of triggers, such as certain foods, illness, or medication. It is particularly common in people of Mediterranean and African origin.
They found out about me when I was 3 years old, in Italy, during the lunch break at the daycare, they served stewed fava beans and after few hours I have got the reaction, the hemolysis. After that episode I grew up in a very careful environment, away from plants and flowers of favas, often reason of disappointed by far from my neighbors which the city banned to cultivated fava beans around my house.
Doctor prohibited me to eat peas and fava beans, with a list of preservatives and medications who could activate an hemolysis. Almost growing with a regular life but more fear and panic when eating outdoor.
For years I never had problem eating out, until I have moved in Canada, where globalization and international cuisines faced me the realty of being aware in certain restaurant, aka Japanese, Chinese or vegetarian using peas, snow peas the most.
This is one of the reasons why I focused my food vision on cooking for healthy eating. So far so good, I well managed this deficit, until I started to look at vegans and vegan food. I started developing my own flour mixes, having my flour jars in my studio, study quality and characteristics of each flour for creating a great vegan and gluten free result.
I created wonderful products, and Schipano fine foods is proud for having made this happen. Then I started to go out and try what Toronto vegan market offers to consumers. I had alway a good experience in each of these artisan restaurant/bakeries, but how much knowledge they have and where are they coming from? Are them cooks, pastries, connoisseurs? Or they just started this type of business for opportunity and popularity? Mostly of these professional use premix flour and followmthe recipes attached or books. Unfortunately!
The only regret was, that sometime with some product, I was kind of feeling sick, low energy, abdominal cramps, when one day, back to one of this vegan coffe shop, I read on a tag with the name of the pastry, the ingredients and there was listed fava bean flour! I was going to die.
I stopped to go to this bakery, in the beaches area, and started to go in annex and bloor/Christie area. Well, believe or not, I had the same experience. I asked the teller and she confirmed that almost 90% of their products contain fava bean flour. I was sick for 2 days, I was ready to go to an Emergency in case feeling worst. I think, and hope, the probably the amount of favas or the much I have eaten wasn’t enough to get an hemolysis. But I just decided to not have longer any vegan goods.
The reason of this post is to aware everyone on what you’re eating outside, to ask the ingredient list, and if they are not sure or they don’t seem confident on what are selling, please don’t buy anything. Your health is behind that craving.
Mostly the answer that I’ve got is “we cover so many allergies, that is hard to cover all of them”. Schipano fine foods research and test all recipes, I create my flours mix, I don’t play with premix and processed flours.
ASK YOUR BAKER ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS USED BEFORE BUY AND EAT ANYTHING.