Category: Julie

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Our good friend found these marshmallows for us a couple months ago. They were an exciting treat, and reward for our potty training son. It was quite exciting to have this new treat.

20130907_123759Then a couple weeks ago we were at a BBQ with some friends from church. They offered a fire pit and supplies for S’mores. Knowing this ahead of time, we packed our special marshmallows. Our kids thought it was so incredible “cool” to roast marshmallows. They felt like we were the best parents ever for letting them have 2 plain marshmallows each.

This got us thinking, it was almost Labor Day weekend. My husband’s parents have a small fire pit. Last year we let our daughter roast banana on the fire because that was all we could do. So we decided to make an extra stop on our way to his parents just to buy some bags of marshmallows for everyone. We also bought safe chocolate and an almost safe graham cracker.

The kids reveled in their 3 marshmallows this time while mommy and daddy indulged with chocolate as well! Mmmm. They are quite tasty!

Here’s a picture of our safe marshmallows.

 

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DSC_0051I was just given an article by a friend that was about  a friendship forged at a young age because of a shared dietary restriction. This got me thinking. We really have many conversation throughout out our week about food. These conversations are often with people we know and a little less frequently with people we don’t know.

We are created to need food. We are created to need other people. So many cultures around the world place such value in meals and celebrations involving food. This is important stuff! We are build to eat and hang out. This leads me to think about being intentional and ready  to discuss our family’s journey as we meet others over a friendly table of fun food. We could change the world!

 

 

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Grandma and Grandpa took the family to Great Wolf Lodge for the kids’ birthday present. They had lots of fun and enjoyed their time. After fun in the water and arcade and hotel we even got to go to an actual restaurant and order actual food!

While we were still at the hotel it was becoming obvious that our son was reacting to the chlorine in the water. Our daughter too, to a lesser degree. Even mom was itchy a little bit. We showered after swimming and brought our own “safe” food from home for all meals (except lunch on our way home). We also anticipated a likely reaction to the water.

So, we returned home with the knowledge that we were going to be eating our ultra-strict (even more so than normal) “Detox” type diet to help clear up everyone’s skin as quickly as possible. This has led to my re-discovery of the versatility of yams!

I’ve made fried yam, yam chips, yam hash browns, yam pudding, improved yam pudding, and yam muffins all in the past 4 days. I’m glad we like yams (with the exception of our daughter who rejects yams but eats them just fine when I hide them). Boring fried yam fries led to yam fries with apples and pears added (yummy!) which led to improved yam pudding, which led to yam muffins! It’s been an exciting yam week so far!

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Last year as our son was still in the process of getting completely cleared up, we were thrown for a loop. Just as the weather started getting warmer (like over 65 F – I know, ridiculous and not even close to hot yet) he started getting a new looking rash. It took us a little while to figure out that it was related to the heat.

So we kept him in shorts and t shirts as much as possible. Hawaii was not perfect, but he did okay. Sleepwear was the hardest to regulate. He needs something to keep him cool enough to keep the rashes at bay.  He also needs something warm enough that he doesn’t wake up 800 times because he’s cold. We found a couple options that seemed to work.

Then fall came and we had to revisit the sleepwear issue again. He needs to be warmer now, but not TOO warm. I think we have a basic plan worked out now. It’s summer again and he seems to have the same issue again this year.

Does anyone else out there have a similar experience, or someone in their life with similar experiences? What do you do to keep everyone comfortable and as rash free as possible?

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While we are continually thankful for the relief and happiness that discovering food allergies brings, we are also met with new challenges every so often (thankfully fewer and far between now).

When sick with a stomach bug my husband and I used to resort to Saltines and 7 Up. Those aren’t options anymore. In fact, they’d likely make us much sicker now. So what do you do? What is easy on the stomach, and helpful for recovery?

We’ve discovered chicken broth with rice (for me) or quinoa (for both) is actually a pretty nice remedy. Our son and I can have plain rice. And we can all have sparkling water (some even comes with lemon or lime, or we add our own). This is the best we’ve come up with so far.

For colds tea is always nice. And that chicken soup again, with some Franks or other hot sauce added.

Thankfully, we don’t get sick very often anymore so we’ve only run into stomach issues twice and only a few colds since changing our diets. That’s pretty good with both adults working in the public and both children in “school”. Along with feeling icky, it has a tiny bit of nostalgic longing for Saltines and 7Up (at least until we think about the actual consequences).

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20130316_161622I am often struck by how blessed I am to have the help and support from my husband. He has journied with us and contributes to all of the extra time our healthier lifestyle requires. My husband not only does the dishes and cleans the kitchen, he also cooks at least half the time. Let me tell you how tremendous a feat that is!

Cooking at our house means planning ahead, keeping tons to fresh foods on hand, and most often preparing 2 versions of the same meal. This is our daily routine.

Cooking at our house also includes family “get-togethers”, play dates, birthday parties, and other such events. My husband makes very large batches of baked goods and other dishes so our family can eat and so we can share with others. He’s quite talented as evidenced by the people he cooks for (who don’t typically eat our strange alternative foods) actually enjoy the recipies and ask that he share them.

I am so thankful to have his help with all of this, both practically and emotionally. I can’t imagine doing this on my own!

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ricepancakeMy kids love pancakes. I used to make them more often, but they are just so time consuming I’ve learned I need to save them for the weekends. This is what Pancake morning looks like at our house.

 

Two pans, two batters, two plates, and color coded spatulas. I’ve learned the oat must stay on the left and the rice on the right so that I can ensure I don’t cross-contaminate allergens.
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While shopping for household groceries as well as supplies for my sisters’ (gluten free, dairy free, egg free, corn free, legume free) Baby Shower, I came across this: “New Improved Taste” on a coconut milk carton (this is a staple in all our households). While very please they announced they changed something (it’s really annoying to not check a product we’ve deemed “safe” only to learn they recently changed an ingredient – thus suffering the consequences), I was also dismayed they changed anything. Why change a good thing?!

So my next task was to try and figure out what  they changed and if it was still a safe food for my family. They reorganized their ingredient label (ingredients, vitamins & minerals, allergens). Other than that it seem pretty close to what I could remember. I looked up Carrageenan and wasn’t sure if our son had ever had that before. It  has potential to cause a reaction. I was unsure.
Then, after wrangling a 3.5 yr old back to my side, I remembered my husband is at home sick! Who knew I’d be excited about that?! I called him and asked him to read the milk label from the fridge to me. The change was from “evaporated cane juice” to “cane sugar” and the sugar moved to the number 2 spot on the list rather than the number 4 spot. By the way, that’s not improved taste, that’s simply sweetening it.
Disappointed they increased sugar content, and happy our son can still drink it, I proceeded to place 1 carton into our cart. It will safely serve its purpose for baking for the baby shower. I have to decide now if I’m willing to continue giving this even sweeter drink to my son. This will likely mean looking at tons of coconut milk labels to see if any other brands will even work!
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So our son is allergic to oats. We suspected this and then tested this and know he reacts to oats (or the nickel in oats). He and I use rice flour for most of our bread products and grains. My husband and daughter use mostly oat and almond flour for their bread products and grains. I have systems set up to ensure I don’t cross contaminate the 2 while making things simultaneously.

Our son is not quite 2yrs old.  He does things like ask for his siter’s food (and takes it pretty well when I tell him he can’t), throws his food on the floor and then eats it later, and eats random things off the floor.  This is typical toddler behavior. I expected it, anticipated it, and do okay staying after him so that he doesn’t eat TOO much off the floor.

The other day he was helping me cook (this typically looks like me cooking and our son standing on a small chair next to me). He helps with stiring and dumping and pouring. I am quick and mostly alert when he’s cooking something of his sister’s with me. I turned briefly to grab something from the other side of the counter and immediately turned back to see his head cocked to the side on the counter licking oat flour off the counter! Eeww! And it did give him a small rash for a couple days.

 

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What is (or would be) helpful to know about my kids and their food allergies? Are there things that make you nervous when my children are around? Are you left feeling like you can’t provide hospitality to our family? What would be helpful for you to be more comfortable with our family and our family’s allergies?