Blog post, Holiday & vacation

Holiday spice swaps for food intolerances

Are you getting ready for the most wonderful time of the year? Between big family dinners and Christmas cookies, the holiday season always tastes delicious – thanks to warming flavorful spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and of course vanilla.

Believe it or not, but food intolerances against certain spices are not uncommon. But what can you do if your stomach doesn’t agree with a pinch of cinnamon, or you feel nauseous after tasting ginger? We say: Swap your spices! It’s unlikely that you have an intolerance reaction to all the popular holiday spices. During our research for the FIT food intolerance test, we were also actively looking for alternative spices that intolerance patients can use in their recipes.


  • Often used as a flavoring agent for oatmeal, smoothies, yoghurt, cakes, and savory dishes like curry. Holiday recipes featuring cinnamon include cinnamon buns, crepes, cookies, coffee cake, cupcakes, sugar knots, and Christmas bread.
  • Possible alternatives include nutmeg, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, allspice, and cardamom.




  • Often used as a flavoring agent for meat dishes, rice dishes, sauces, chai tea, and spice blends (e.g., garam masala). Holiday recipes featuring cloves include cinnamon clove syrup, various soups, clove glazed ham, and various cookie recipes.
  • Possible alternatives include nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, and pumpkin pie spice.


  • Often used as a flavoring agent for sauces, glazes, marinades, soups, salads, and stir fries. Holiday recipes features ginger include gingerbread cookies, ginger pumpkin pie, gingerbread loaf, gingerbread eggnog, and gingerbread rolls.
  • Possible alternatives include allspice, as well as cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, or even a combination of all three.


  • Often used as a flavoring agent in soups, stews, baked goods (e.g., pumpkin pie, muffins, cakes), and custards. Holiday recipes featuring nutmeg include eggnog, nutmeg sauce, custard pies, sugar cookies, and various creamy soups.
  • Possible alternatives for nutmeg include cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, and cloves. In sweet recipes, you can also try allspice.



  • Often used as a flavoring agent in baked goods (e.g., cakes, muffins, cupcakes), quick breads, chocolate, ice cream, custards, dairy products, cream sodas, root beer, and cocktails. Holiday recipes featuring vanilla include vanilla biscuits, vanilla crescents, cookies, sugar cream pies, buttercream frostings, vanilla sauce, bread pudding, vanilla custard, and more.
  • Possible alternative for vanilla include maple syrup, almond extract, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg.


The great thing about swapping out your spices is that you might find some tasty combinations that you like even better than the original recipe – and your stomach might thank you for it.


Want to explore your food intolerances? Get the FIT food intolerance test and screen for 286 food antigens from 13 different food groups – spices included.