Bovine aka Beef allergy

For years I’d feel perfectly fine before a meal, but before I was finished eating, I’d start to feel sick to my stomach. Say we had one of my favorite meals, spaghetti. I’d go through all of the ingredients, fruitlessly trying to eliminate possible culprits. Was it the onions? Or garlic? Or gluten in the pasta? Oh maybe it was the wheat? Never did it cross my mind it could be the beef. I’d never heard of anyone being allergic to beef. Have you?

I began to realize food can either be poison or healing.

Fast forward to years later, I was diagnosed with a bovine and milk allergy, along with several intolerances. I remember thinking back and connecting the dots as to why I was so sick a lot of the time. I honestly had no idea.

Growing up beef and milk products were a family staple. Burgers, spaghetti, tri tip (oh gosh how I miss that), tacos. Armed with this knowledge, I started paying more attention to labels. A LOT more! I’m that chick who picks up products at the grocery store and analyses every label. Mike loves it. <-I hope you are sensing my sarcasm.

To this day I am blown away by how prevalent bovine is. It is literally in so many things you wouldn’t think. How do vegans do it? <- That was a serious, honest question. And food labels…oh good grief…they are so convoluted. Why does a bag of chips need to have 20+ ingredients? How in the hell can you take a simple potato, throw a bunch MSG, sodium & questionable man made ingredients on it and call it food?

I’m not knocking chips, they are practically a food group for me. But I do my best to choose brands with fewest, most natural ingredients with the and make sure I recognize all of them.


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Back to bovine though…my hope is that this post becomes a resource for folks who have a beef/bovine allergy. Or those who would like to avoid it for whatever reason. Below is a list of some less obvious things {*cough gelatin cough*} I have found to contain beef products. I’ve been researching this for the last year and still come across items today. It’s everywhere and in places I have yet to discover.

Here is are some things I’ve uncovered so far:

  • Gelatin. If the label doesn’t state where the gelatin was derived from, it’s safe to assume it’s from beef.
  • Medicine, both OTC & prescription, vitamins, minerals, supplements, etc that come in a “gel tab,” “capsule” or are labeled as “coated.” This was a huge one for me, back in April I was dealing with an angry gallbladder which caused nausea and a tremendous amount of bloating. I took a couple Phazyme gel tabs and felt even worse. Not a fun way to learn a lesson.
  • Salami & pepperoni. They are traditionally made only with pork, but some brands use beef as a filler.
  • Marshmallows, including store bought rice crispy treats, cereals like Frosted Mini Wheats and brands with marshmallows like Lucky Charms.

  • Gummy & chewy candy. Sour Patch Kids are fine though!
  • Jell-o. Surprisingly Jell-o pudding is bovine free.
  • Altoids, Starburst, Trolli candy. Always read the label, you might be surprised.
  • Some non fat yogurt , cream cheese & sour cream brands.
  • Refried beans, especially the authentic kind served in Mexican restaurants.
  • Deep fryers in restaurants. It’s always safe to ask what kind of oil they use and if they use the same fryer to cook things like chicken fried steak.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings. Another hard lesson learned on my part. They use beef lard in their deep fryers according to my gut and their website. This was one place I thought I was safe and didn’t think to question their oil or cooking methods. You can bet I question every restaurant after that now.
  • Planters dry roasted peanuts.
  • Pop Tarts with frosting.
  • Nail polish remover. Not that I’d drink it, but I recently found this out and was shocked.
  • Turkey, chicken, pork or other meat sausages. Always read the label. I once picked up a Jeannie-O turkey sausage and didn’t realize it came in a beef casing. Thankfully I saw it before we cooked it.

I’ll be sure to update this post as I come across more products.

Is anyone else allergic to beef? Or do you know anyone who is?

If you have food allergies and/or intolerances, what are they? How did you figure it out?

2 Comments on “Bovine aka Beef allergy

  1. Jell-o and gelatin products contain the gelatious stuff found in beef. I think it is from the bone. There was a time when gelatin was made of agar-agar, it is a type of kelp still used in many asian gelatin desserts. The main ingredient of marshmallows is gelatin, so yeah not so good for you. I totally geeked out there. #sorrynotsorry. There was a big ruckus about McD adding beef flavoring to their french fries which had vegans and vegetarians up in arms (but what are they doing at McDs in the first place??? duh!).

  2. I have a myriad of pretty bizarre food intolerances, after a year of gastro appointments, multiple “IBS” prescriptions, two upper endoscopy’s and no improvement I went to a more holistic nutritionist who ordered several blood tests including this MRT blood test for food allergies: It was really eye opening, highly recommended. I’m highly allergic to cocoa, carob, crab, chicken, all cheeses, cinnamon,etc. The strangest result was an allergy to food dyes/coloring. Anyway, I love that you’re back and you’re not alone in the unexplainable GI issues.

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