3 weeks in the books! My daughter has been completely Wheat/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Legume free for 3 weeks today and we have all survived! She has thinned out and her rash has thinned out as well. It, as well as her, are not as red and puffy as usual. The lines of the rash have thinned out and are closer to her skin and closer to skin tone than before. Only one time since she’s gotten this rash has it gotten better like this, and last time was with super high powered steroid cream that only thinned the skin itself and never actually got rid of the rash.
Yes it is still there and still prominent but believe it or not, it is better.
This might be the most dreaded holiday of the school year for a mom whose kids have food allergies.
At the beginning of the school year, I went to my daughter’s class and made oat flour and then oat pancakes with her entire class. They had a good time and I hope it helped her different food be more “exciting.”
I pack both their lunches and snacks every day so I do not worry much about what they are exposed to on a daily basis. Their school is also wonderful at communicating with me and taking their allergies seriously.
I’ve left a stash of treats with the teachers for my daughter for days when classmates bring birthday treats. She has never complained to me about this arrangement. I think she’s content.
Tomorrow it is the unknown that worries me. I know the teachers will keep an eye on my daughter and what she eats. I also know they will ask all children to leave the candy alone while at school. However, a classroom full of 3 year olds is going to be bringing in loads of candy and other treats. What if someone sneaks a treat? What if my daughter’s friend convinces her to sneak a treat too?
Thankfully my daughter is understanding of her food needs. We will have one of “those” discussions at home tomorrow morning and in the car on the way to school too.
We bought our daughter a tea set for Christmas and she has been oh so excited since. She and I invited her cousins and friends to a Valentine Tea Party – Fancy Nancy style. The tea party was a success. One mom shared that her daughter told her it was the “best tea party ever.”
We served foods that my daughter and her cousin (with similar though slightly different allergies) could eat. We had Mango Muffins (with Oat Flour, Baby Food Mangos, flax seed as egg substitute), fresh fruit, Fruit Snacks, “sandwich” bread, cold cuts, mayo (for the non-restricted guests), coconut yogurt, Pink Lemonade, and “tea” (Apple Juice).
Yes. The announcement was made at 8:30 am today. There are donuts in the break room. I normally do not particularly enjoy donuts. I really only like berry jelly filled powdery ones so I’m usually not tempted. I walked in to re-fill my water and saw a box full of berry jelly filled powdery donuts. With Monday’s food hangover still fresh in my memory, I just sighed and decided to grab my snack. Here is my answer to you, Donuts in the break room!
A bucket full of strawberries shall do just fine. (It pays to be prepared!)
Also, a side note to my last post: That mayo recipe did NOT work. It was just milky oil, it never thickened. I’m not sure if that’s due to not using a hand mixer throughout the process, or if it’s due to using coconut milk as a substitute to their suggested Soy…maybe I will try again another day. I added it to the chicken “salad” anyways and added a little vinegar for flavor. It was ok, but nothing remarkable.
We have successfully survived week 1 of the “elimination” part of our diet. I am continually coming across hurdles to find substitutes for things that normally are completely simple to pick up at the store or make at home. Tomorrow, my daughter’s daycare is having Chicken Salad Sandwiches for lunch. Not only do I have no clue what I will do about bread, but I had no clue where to start finding/making mayo for the chicken salad part. (Every mayo I’ve come across and recipe I’ve found has eggs.) Thank goodness for the internet. That’s all I have to say. I don’t know what we would do if we didn’t have recipes at the tips of our fingers! Here is my latest find that I will be attempting tonight:
Dairy + Egg Free Mayonnaise:
(I found this on Gluten Free Day.com but substituted the milk)
Makes about 1/2 cup Mayo
– 1/4 cup Milk (coconut or rice)
– 2 tbls lemon juice
– pinch of salt (to taste)
– 3/4 cup oil (saffron or coconut?)
– Spices (to taste)
Mix everything together first before adding oil. Add oil slowly while mixing until thick.
Sounds simple. Hopefully it will be and will taste good!I have not perfected the art of food photography. I’m not sure if I should continue to take pictures for the blog because so far they all seem pretty unappetizing (but taste so much better than they look!) Like this one.
This is my homemade sweet & sour meatballs. Looks pretty gross but it was delicious! I used my mom’s recipe and adjusted a few details to make it allergy friendly. My daughter devoured it for lunch and then a few nights later requested it for dinner again.
Throughout the week our biggest struggles seemed that through the Detox process, Gwen was having some terrible diapers accompanied by some terrible moods. I was really hoping it was due to detox and not a long stretch of “terrible twos” about to hit. Her moods seemed to level out by Friday night and was pretty much an angel all weekend. Thankfully! She slept a little bit better so we all were in better moods and sleeping better.
This successful week was followed by an action packed weekend. I took Gwen to her cousins allergy friendly Tea Party where the girls got to dress up fancy and do fancy arts and crafts. She had a blast (and was very well behaved I might add!) then from there we went to her Big Sister class at the hospital. They had snacks at the class but since they were graham crackers she could not participate. This was the first time she’s been left completely out of something. I felt terrible but luckily my sister let me pack some food from the tea party, so I just told her that I had a muffin for her in the car when the class was through. She just said “Ok” with a smile and that was that. She did not cry or ask why she couldn’t participate. I’m so proud of her.
Yesterday I went to a friend’s Baby shower. I had considered cheating a few times during the week and having chocolate or something dairy filled but decided to save all of the cravings for Sunday, since I wouldn’t have Gwen with me I could eat a little more free and not feel as sneaky. I felt like a kid in a candy store. It was a long buffet line of everything “naughty”. (In reality I was a pregnant lady at a buffet. Enough said.) Homemade mac n cheese, crackers, cheese cubes, cupcakes, quiches, basically eggs, dairy and gluten everywhere. I even had a chocolate peanut butter cupcake to add every allergen onto my plate. I figured if one thing on my plate would make me sick, why not enjoy everything.
Well, I didn’t enjoy it for very long. Just a few short minutes after I started my gluttonous feast, my body started protesting. I got a headache and body aches, instantly I felt exhausted and my stomach felt like it was trying to expand outside of my body.
For this whole week I wasn’t sure if I had any or all of the allergies my daughter did. I wasn’t sure I felt any different being on this diet. Saturday was the first day I felt very happy and had alot of energy but I wasn’t sure if it was because the sun was shining and my husband let me be able to sleep in. Now I have my answers. Since I jam packed my plate with everything, I’m not sure which food caused which side effect but I know now that “cheating” is totally not worth it. At our visit a few weeks ago, the doctor likened food allergies to drinking alcohol. People don’t have to completely avoid them, but if they chose to eat what they shouldn’t they will be fully aware of the consequences shortly after. Like drinking 2 bottles of wine. You learn after the first time of doing it that there are consequences and if you ever chose to drink 2 bottles of wine again, you will know exactly what to expect the next morning. I completely have a dairy/egg/gluten hangover today and feel I’ve learned my lesson. Now I’m excited to let my body detox again so I can feel as happy and healthy as I did on Saturday.
Jumping headfirst into a crazy type of elimination diet has felt like jumping headfirst into a tornado. So many labels to read, so many ingredients to avoid but luckily also so many alternative ingredients to find and use. I’ve never been a consistent cook but so far I’ve been planning and preparing meals for the week going on 4 days now and am very encouraged and proud of myself. So far everything is turning out very tasty and my family is eating it! We still struggle with being hungry a few hours after a meal but have enough fruit and Trader Joes snacks that we’ve been doing alright.
While clearing out our pantry of food we can no longer eat and the first day of grocery shopping trips (3 stores in one morning to find everything on my list), the biggest shock to me was Soy. When on earth did Soy start being added to EVERYTHING?! And did this happen with no one noticing? It is in every single can of Tuna Fish in the regular grocery store. TUNA!? My pregnancy has given me a bit of a paranoid personality for some reason, but I feel that a Soy conspiracy theory at this point is not being overly paranoid. I wouldn’t have to make as much from scratch if it wasn’t for Soy being everywhere.
What I’ve come to understand is that the soy bean plant is cheap and effective. Because it is so cheap and effective, it has been genetically modified to produce more, thrive in the midst of being covered in pesticides, and stripped down for use of every single particle and excrement of the plant. The main use for it, I’m finding, is that it’s an emulsifier. Take the tuna for example. Soy is added to carry the consistency of the fish oil and water together, so that it fully covers all parts of the can and doesn’t let any of it dry out. So the fact that this plant is a great marketing tool for keeping food looking good and is cheap has led to its production and insertion into everything we eat. People don’t realize how much soy they consume on a regular basis. The fact that it mimics estrogen in the body and screws up our natural hormones frightens me. So having it show up with a high reaction on my daughters chart is very exciting for me! I’m glad to clear our systems of this genetically modified, toxin sprayed, sneaky food additive.
Ok, off that soapbox.
On Sunday night my sisters and I prepped some dough and batter for the week to help save time. It has been extremely helpful as I get home from work around 5:00pm and my daughter’s bed time is 7:00. We made dough for biscuits and pizza and also pancake mix.
Here are some recipes! (Big thanks to my sisters)
Gluten Free Biscuits
1½ cups superfine white or brown rice flour plus more for rolling
¾ cup tapioca or potato starch (not potato flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
6 tablespoons cold fat (such as butter, Earth Balance or shortening. I used Coconut Oil), cut into small pieces
¾ cup milk (any kind including dairy free. I used Coconut)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
Whisk together the flour, starch baking powder and salt. Cut the fat into the flour either with a pastry cutter, two knives or by rubbing the fat into the flour with your fingers. Make sure you leave some larger pieces of fat. Add the liquid, starting with ½ a cup and gradually adding a little more at a time, mixing until the dough comes together. Put a little flour on a work surface and dump out the dough. Knead 3 or 4 times then either roll or pat it out to about ½ inch thick. Cut into biscuits using a 2 ½ inch cookie cutter. You can gently reform the dough to cut more biscuits. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.
Gluten Free Pizza Dough: http://www.food.com/recipe/gluten-free-pizza-crust-44487
Here’s how mine turned out! (Toppings: SunDried tomato chicken sausage, red peppers and mushrooms)
And for the Rice Pancakes:
1 cup (rice or gluten free Oat) flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg (I used a banana instead as the binding ingredient)
1 cup (rice or coconut) milk/water
I used the Oat flour, Coconut Milk and Banana replacements and they tasted like Banana Bread Pancakes! So yummy!
So for these first 2 school days, I’ve been able to very closely match my daughters food to that of what they are serving in her class. Yesterday was Cereal from the Organic/Natural food store for breakfast, Quinoa Chicken Soup and biscuits for lunch and some Trader Joe’s rice chips for snack. Today was oatmeal for breakfast, gluten/dairy/egg/soy free pizza for lunch and they are having fruit and veggies for snacks. I’m a little worried that this has been almost too easy. I hope it’s just because my whole family has taken our little family under their wings and are walking us through it right. I’m so thankful for them! I’m sure I’d still be floundering and packing plain rice and sausage for lunch every day feeling too overwhelmed to even know where to start if it wasn’t for all their help! So I will continue this positive and productive energy and keep the food coming for my family and wait for hopefully positive results to show up. In my daughter’s rash, in our families energy and our health.
The following is something I’ve written for a couple separate websites. It seems blogging might reach a larger audience. So here it is!
In January 2011, I (wife & mom) decided I needed to really try something with Doctor to get my weight under control. I was pregnant at the time so Doctor suggested we wait until about 6 months after the baby was born to start an elimination diet. He explained this was a good way to determine if a food allergy was making it difficult for my body to shed the weight.
Our son (infant) was born 3 weeks earlier than planned. He spent 4 days in NICU due to a lung issue. That resolved. He took a little while to gain weight. By 2 months old he was on track. Then when he was 4 months old he developed a mild, strange rash on his cheeks.
This rash spread to his whole body (scalp, face, back, stomach, diaper area, arms and legs). Doctor suggested I eliminate all dairy (our son is strictly breastfed) to see if it helps clear the rash. I was very careful and did not have ANY dairy. Unfortunately our son’s rash got worse rather than better.
I maintained no dairy, then proceeded with the true elimination diet in January 2012. My husband joined me in the elimination diet at this point. He was quite skeptical and frankly, pretty grumpy about it all. I held a secret hope that we’d discover a tiny, tiny relief to my husband’s lifelong depression and anger (which had intensified recently). I didn’t focus much on that hope though, because I didn’t think it would really work like that.
As a family, we did well with the Elimination Diet. We went through the normal process (hunger, “What do I eat!?,” “I’m tired of eating this,”) that everyone goes through. We both felt tired and low energy and grumpy for 10 or so days. I started losing weight quickly (to the tune of 10-15 lbs the first month). We stuck with it. I even unwittingly challenged my husband to maintain strict adherence by accusing him of trying to cheat. Our son got really bad. His rash was very red, inflamed, bleeding, oozing fluid, really uncomfortable, and gross looking. We spent days putting a wet cloth over his head to try to provide relief so he’d stop scratching. We tried different oils for his skin. We tried gentle soap, no soap, special soap. It felt like we were trying everything and looking for other possibilities. Doctor kept us on track.
Doctor started looking into other possibilities for our son’s rash. He started asking other professionals for any advise, similar cases, etc. We moved on to the Elimination Diet coupled with a Histamine Diet. I continue to drop weight easily. After another adjustment to the new diet, I was able to maintain workouts again at the gym.
One day Doctor sent us information on Nickel Sensitivity. The symptoms seemed to fit. We found some other personal blogs online from individuals suffering with this. The stories and symptoms seemed to fit. Doctor found a Low Nickel Diet and study from the Indian Journal of Medicine. So at this point I am on the Elimination Diet, Histimine Diet, and Low Nickel Diet. Our son is now 7 months old and his rash is bad. We performed a contact allergy test, and our son reacted to a nickel strapped to his skin. This gave some indication that Doctor was on the right track. We bought ceramic knives, wooden utensils, porcelain and nickel free pots & pans to cook with. We are beginning to realize the ramification of this possible diagnosis.
Then we stumbled upon amazing breakthroughs! My husband has realized he’s allergic to Cashews, which, Doctor informs us is a legume. So my husband cuts out all legumes. After only a week we noticed he was happier. Neither of us said anything to each other, thinking it was too good to be true and not wanting to jinx it. After another week, we started talking about it. My husband’s depression and anger are gone! After 1-2 weeks of the Low Nickel Diet, our son’s rash is improving. He looks better and he’s less itchy! Suddenly our lives are happier and easier (except frequent and complicated grocery shopping trips). We are really happy and excited. Doctor is cautiously optimistic at this point. He has done a great job at maintaining an open mind for other possibilities.
I continue the Low Nickel Diet, our son is now 9 months. Our son started looking really good after 28 days of the Low Nickel Diet. By 45 days was pretty much clear! About that same time we tried an antifungal for a rash on my chest that looked similar to a lingering redness on our son’s face. Doctor prescribed Dyflucan and we both cleared up. Our son looks fantastic!
Today is the 67th day of the Low Nickel Diet. He’s clear. We’ve been able to test about 5 foods so far. We are slowly developing a list of “safe” food and foods we have to avoid. He’s been eating safe, pureed foods for about a month now. Doctor says we will be moving forward with different kinds of testing now. This week we will strap a nickel to his skin again and watch for a reaction.
We are a little overwhelmed with what a systemic Nickel allergy means. We are taking it slow. Mostly we are very, very relieved and happy to have answers. This process has produced everything we ever dared hope for, for our health and more! Our son’s skin is better. My husband’s depression and anger are gone. I’ve lost 52lbs. Our daughter (2 ½) has stopped having temper tantrums. My husband’s seasonal allergies are gone! My seasonal allergies are barely noticeable anymore. We are so pleased. Thank you Doctor!
We have fallen into a nice pattern for shopping, eating, cooking, etc. Our son has remained clear as long as we maintain strict adherence to the low nickel diet. At the doctor’s orders we provoked a reaction by trying oats.This has confirmed the diagnosis in our minds (husband and I). The doctor is still keeping his mind open for other possibilities though has admitted that systemic nickel allergy seems more likely now.
I lost a total of 65lbs. My husband and daughter’s moods are under control. We are a healthy and happy family! Our daughter (3) even drew a picture at school of the family. We’re all holding hands and we’re all smiling!
It is amazing what God uses in our lives to focus us, refocus us, and bring contentment and happiness.
Hi, My name is Nicole and I am a 28 year old Wife, Mom, Paralegal, and most recently now, Blogger! Not only am I new to blogging but I’m also brand new to food allergies and that is going to be my main focus on this blog. So, as of now the only recipes I have to share are from my sisters. They have both had to make radical changes to their diets along with their entire families and have been living this way for a little over a year now. I have much to learn!
A few different things have led me to this point. Most importantly, my daughter Gwen. She is 2.5 years old and as of yesterday we found out is allergic to Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Wheat, Grains, and Legumes. Luckily, they are not life threatening allergies but the wrong foods drastically affect her mood and the outcome of her diapers.
Little things led us to her current doctor that we love and who helped us find this out. From her having bad acid reflux as a baby and trying all types of formula to no avail, her re-occurring bouts of diarrhea that would have her missing out on daycare and me missing out on work, and finally her rash on her left arm that has been there for 2 years. The pediatrician ordered a regular food allergy blood test which came back with nothing. Their only instruction was to make sure she stayed hydrated and referred us to a dermatologist. The dermatologist only delved skin deep into the issue (hehe) and never did any type of follow up research. We went 4 times over the last 2 years wondering when that rash was ever going to go away. Every single time the doctor said it looked like Linear Epidermal Nevi or Lichen Striatus. One should go away in a year, the other may never go away at all. That’s it. They didn’t continue to research anything or want to take a biopsy. Each visit they prescribed a different level of steroid creme until the last visit, they said the steroid would thin out her skin too much in case we wanted to actually do a biopsy later. So they gave us an ointment and sent us on our way once again to wait and see if it would go away this year. At this point as a mother I was livid. My daughter wasn’t born with this rash on her arm so I refuse to accept the possibility of it remaining there for the rest of her life because one doctor wouldn’t do anything or look into it any further.
Meanwhile over the last year, my oldest sister went through the process of finding out the allergies of her whole family and removing those things from their diets resulting in the clearing of my nephew’s severe all-over rash and the increase of their overall health and happiness. She packs her kids’ lunches every day and takes their own muffins/cupcakes to birthday parties and never complains because she knows the benefits of keeping foods that are toxic to their bodies out. It almost fully eradicated the terrible twos from my niece and will probably prevent them from my nephew. She herself lost a ton of weight and is in the best shape and health of her life.
When I decided to stop going to the dermatologist and find somewhere else to turn, I went to her Naturopath. He had cleared my nephews rash and is extremely knowledgeable about how food can affect the body so it seemed like the best next choice.
Helping herself to breakfast at Grandmas: pre-alergy test results
Boy was I right! With just the first visit, Gwen was sent for an extensive blood panel for non-life threatening food allergies, taken off dairy and he said he would be doing more research into the rash and her previous diagnosis! An answer! A suggestion! A “next step” has finally been offered!
Within 2 days of having zero dairy in her diet, Gwen’s mood was already better. Daycare said she was playing much nicer with her friends. Even with her cousins she stopped being aggressive and was sharing better. She stopped fighting with me as much (She’s still 2, it would to take a whole lot more to stop her fighting completely than just eliminating dairy!) and she stopped snoring completely. She used to snore so badly that I recorded it with the intent of bringing her to an ENT doctor some day. It sounded like sleep apnea or just plain choking. Now it’s completely vanished.
3 Weeks went by and she started having some pretty bad days. Bad diapers and bad moods. Finally the results came in and we found out why. Her reactions to Dairy, Eggs, Wheat, Grain, Soy and Legumes were almost off the chart. She’d had exceptionally bad moods the previous day and I realized she had a bunch of eggs for breakfast that morning. It’s amazing how everything started making sense. No changes in her rash yet, but the doctor said that will take more time and he is still doing research into it. (Still a great answer!)
Now, we begin our lifelong journey of what we CAN eat. My husband and I decided we will make this a family effort, keeping the foods out of the house that affect her (and probably us too, we haven’t gotten our own blood tested yet and the doctor said her reactions could be genetic) and exploring all the ways to substitute the foods we will crave and miss. Luckily she is young enough that she shouldn’t miss too much. I am 6.5 months pregnant with our 2nd girl, so she wont be missing anything either
(old photo) Our Family
My hope is to fill this blog with great ideas, recipes, links, research etc. to help anyone who wants it. I am so very lucky to have my sisters and my parents to help me along, hopefully this can be as helpful to people who don’t have living resources in the next town over. So please keep reading if you or your loved ones have food allergies or if you just want to eat healthier! This is not a diet, this is a complete lifestyle makeover and we are in this together.
Thanks for reading my first blog post ever!