Anyone else dealing with Alpha Gal?

Hi. I am a good and accomplished cook but need some inspiration. I really enjoy beef and pork, but thanks to the bite of a Lone Star Tick, I now break out in hives when I eat red meat. Sigh. I can eat poultry and fish. I can make great meatballs and meatloaf with ground turkey, but I really miss things like braised short ribs. Especially this time of the year. I need to find a way to get those deep, rich, slow-cooked flavors out of a bird. All thoughts, recipes, ideas appreciated! (If you don't know about this hives thing, google Alpha Gal.)

  • Posted by: Nora
  • December 7, 2013


Tina G. September 2, 2015
There is emu, duck and I recently cooked smoked turkey legs and cabbage next best thing to pork.
Tina G. September 2, 2015
Tina G. May 11, 2015
There is a great group on Facebook called Alpha-Gal. There's lots of information there and we are always looking for food tips too. Come look us up ( over 1400 of us )
nutcakes December 15, 2013
My father doesn't like chicken and he said 'this tastes like meat!" when I made the Devil's mustard chicken with leeks from Sunday Suppers at Luques. It is an involved dish and the layers of flavor are deep, but she was inspired by Julia Child's deviled chicken which is easier.

This also has loads of flavor and is relatively easy. I love this Moroccan chicken from Eric Ripert (I use prunes when I don't have plums)
LLStone December 14, 2013
I will also tell you that I can eat a little processed pork (bacon, in small amounts, and some pepperoni that I've neglected to pick off a pizza), and I think the cured meats are a little easier on us than straight meat, but that's just my personal experience. I've honestly never cooked slow braised ribs, which might be a good thing. Grilled, barbecued ribs were what sent me to the hospital w/ a swollen throat. I really miss a steak w/ blue cheese or a London Broil - and lamb - I didn't get enough lamb!-Lori
healthierkitchen December 14, 2013
The mushroom dishes sound terrific, but here's another option. This dish has the heartiness and taste of a ragu without the beef -using boneless chicken thighs. I was surprised at how good it is.
good luck!
LLStone December 14, 2013
This looks very good. I will try this! I love chicken thighs! :)
Nora December 13, 2013
LLStone, nice to hear from a fellow sufferer. Of course, this is minor compared to real problems so many people experience yet for some of us, it's a thing. And there is some larger lesson to be learned. So I'm learning. Almost over the anger/denial phase. It is nice not to itch, and not to wonder what the heck is going on here? But I must admit, the long slow braised short ribs still call to me. I do appreciate your encouragement!
LLStone December 14, 2013
Yes, it's a relief not to itch! And to know what it is! I was convinced that it was some obscure spice, since I'd eaten beef / pork my entire life. We have an electric smoker that I just love to use for fowl and fish, and it does taste rich. I read that maybe, if we aren't bitten again, that it might just last 5 years; but now my husband is also allergic, if you can believe it. While not a terribly important problem, I do think it's a thing because our allergy is also affecting the effectiveness of some cancer drugs using this protein. At any rate, hang in there, and have a great holiday season. -Lori
LLStone December 13, 2013
I have the very same thing - since 2010, and it is tough. I grind a lot of my own chicken and turkey, and we eat fish. While I don't miss it so much anymore, I find that smoked meats (poultry and fish) taste heavier when smoked and are satisfying. I grill wild salmon burgers and top them just like I would top a beef burger, and I don't really crave hamburgers anymore. Unfortunately, I've not found anything that can replace those hearty stews / ribs / lamb that you miss. I like to cook w/ other heavy flavors like red wine, cheese, acids, herbs, and foods rich with umami such as mushrooms. If it's any consolation, it does get easier. -Lori
Nora December 10, 2013
@June, I choose organic, locally sourced meats whenever possible. Sadly for me and others with this problem, the tick bite introduced an enzyme that reacts to the meat, regardless of how it was raised. Don't know where you live, but if ticks are a problem, beware the Lone Star! Thanks for a good question.
ChefJune December 10, 2013
my bad. I didn't notice the part about the tick. How sad. Thankfully there are other tasty options besides red meat!
souptastic December 10, 2013
In addition to anchovies and mushrooms, adding a wedge of parmesan rind adds amazing umami to dishes. I was craving pasta fagiole soup and have given up pork - surprisingly, with the parmesan rind I did not miss it!
ChefJune December 9, 2013
why do I think the reaction you are having to red meat comes from the way factory farmed meat is raised? and pesticides that have been added to their food. Were you eating organically raised, free-range meat when the hives occurred?
Tina G. May 11, 2015
I too have this and I raised my own beef. It's all mammals and it is a particular sugar in the meat not the protein.
Midge December 9, 2013
I second goose. Always surprised it's not more popular. Yes, it's pricey, but a little goes a long way. Good luck Nora!
Maedl December 9, 2013
Have a look at some of Deborah Madison’s books--her recipes are vegetarian, but are so good that you will forget they don’t contain meat. In addition to mushrooms, you can also use capers, anchovies, cheeses, and tomatoes to make vegetarian dishes more desirable for carnivorous tastes.
Nora December 8, 2013
Thanks, everyone. Mushrooms are a great ingredient for me to work with, and all the dark sources of umami! I had not thought of game birds and will seek them out. Cynthia, stay warm!
boulangere December 8, 2013
Nora, thank you for asking such a provocative question. IPK and SLX, I've been ruminating for a while about something with some serious mushrooms. It's 5º below zero at the moment, and I think this may be just the day to do some experimenting. Thank you all for the inspiration.
sexyLAMBCHOPx December 8, 2013
I second inpatskitchen, so delicious and "beefy" tasting.
inpatskitchen December 8, 2013
This recipe really caught my eye when it was first posted:

Voted the Best Reply!

Franziska December 8, 2013
I am not sure whether this would be ok for you to eat, but have you tried duck or goose? Or any game bird for example pheasant? I always feel like the darker meat in those birds make for amazing gravies and overall make for fantastic winter dishes.
arcane54 December 7, 2013
Nora, I'm so sorry you've had such a reaction. I'm not dealing with Alpha Gal (googled and am now informed, thanks). One suggestion is to really boost the umami (Google too for more info) of your cooking with mushrooms (dried and reconstituted or fresh), soy sauce, and fish sauce to get the meat flavor you're missing. I've had pretty good results with boosting the fat in some ground chicken and turkey recipes to offset what you'd might experience with red meat. Some of the oilier (in a good way!) fish can be really rich too -- try smoked or fresh salmon, smoked tuna and fresh tuna (in season during the summer here on the w. coast). Sometimes it's as much about the mouthfeel as it is the taste. I'll look forward to hearing what others say and keep you in my thoughts.
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