Wednesday, May 12, 2010

food allergies.

I am not a doctor.
by any stretch of the imagination.

I am a mom.
and my son has food allergies.

I have poured my time. tears. and gallons of rice milk.
into making healthy choices for him and our family.

If this does not pertain to you.
have a nice day.
but I have found many other moms in my shoes.
not really knowing what to buy. cook. or eat.
so here is my experience...

when trent was firstborn
he was inconsolable.
screaming. all day. all night.
he had blood in his diarrhea.
and eczema on his skin.
bless his heart, we brought him back to
our pediatricians around 6 weeks.
she told us it was food allergy.
trent could not tolerate milk protein.
lactose intolerance is the sugar in milk not the protein. different.

she gave me a list of other "names" for milk.
whey. lacto-. casein. 
from this great site
I was not only to take out the obvious milk. butter. cheese. yogurt.
but check all food labels to see if there were any less obvious ones hidden.
and boy are they.

on the back of food packaging there is a list of ingredients.
we spent several hours at the grocery checking labels only to put them
right back on the shelf.

a large number of children allergic to cows milk also cannot tolerate soy.
which was our case.
so we were avoiding milk. and soy. 
most food altogether for that matter.

I was quite discouraged.
I was a breastfeeding mom and was starving.
I could not eat or drink enough.
I ate embarrassing amounts of
chicken. green beans. bananas. grapes. raisins. 
but was quite hungry.
and then it happened.
two weeks after eliminating all dairy and soy.
we had a different baby.
calm. happy. peaceful.
we had a different house.
calm. happy. peaceful.

it totally worked.
the eczema was gone. diarrhea gone. screaming...gone.

There are many great subs out there for the foods you love.
I would highly advise anyone starting this drastic of a change in their diet
to do the first two weeks of just protein. fruit. and veg. and perhaps rice or potatoes.
it will change your tastebuds enough so that you will not miss the originals
and break any bad habits.

yes, lots of grilled chicken atop plain lettuce if we are out.
dried fruits. nuts. peanut butter on fruit.
loads of fruit. loads of veg.
but I have never felt better.

the diet did the trick and now that I had changed all my eating I needed
to expand my recipe box. and add to my list of menus.
so we started experimenting.

We were baking.
We were eating waffles. 
I subbed organic enriched Rice Dream rice milk for milk
and coconut oil for butter.
note: I nursed trent exclusively for the first 18 months and began giving him rice milk 
with my pediatricians blessing.

we bought this dairy free chocolate chunk cookie mix
which I cannot live without.

I got the BabyCakes cookbook
and looked for any labels reading Vegan (and then would check for Soy)
or any labels reading anything about Allergen Free.
My local health food store.
has tons.
anything I crave. they have.
like Luna and Larry's Organic Coconut Bliss Ice cream and Popsicles. 

oh my.

as you can see we have quite the sweet tooth so each day we fill up on oatmeal. rice. hummus. peanut butter. fruit. veg. chicken and fish. 
and then treat ourselves to some kind of dairy free delectable at night.

The only things I struggle with...
going on vacation. we bring a cooler.
unless we are going to Disney 
which in fact is the best place to be if you have food allergies.
a chef comes to your table and talks to you about what wonderful things he can make.
and there are Divvies Allergy Free snacks throughout the park.

parties. we bring our own food.

and food on the go....
well. I have found some good snacks to keep on hand 
because I cant and won't just run through a drive through or something like that.
dried fruit. bananas. apples. small packs of applesauce. boxes of raisins. Lara bars.
We have found the restaurants that are most accommodating and frequent them.

as for now. we are all doing wonderful. our pediatrician asked me (since I am breastfeeding) 
to eliminate dairy and soy again a few weeks prior to Lila's arrival last summer. 
and keep it out of my diet for her first year 
since there is a family history of food allergies.
as I write this I am munching on Newmans Own raisins. they are a still a fave treat.
we are still dairy free.
well at least three of us are...
tom occasionally indulges in chocolate frozen yogurt with reeses peanut butter chunks.
but I make him eat it in the closet.


Jess said...

I found your blog and I just love it! I have an eight month old baby girl who also happens to have the wonderful milk allergy :) Though I hear it is quite "rare" I have heard of many breast feed babies with this allergy. I laughed so hard when you said "not lactose intolerance, that's different". I had to explain that to sooo many people. :) Anyways, I applaud you for cutting it out for EIGHTEEN months and now again for your baby girl. My daughter seems to have outgrown her allergy (I have been cautiously introducing dairy back and no symptoms!). Thanks for posting these tips and sites!

Oh--my blog is private but you can email me if you would like to read:

Karen said...

Aunt Carolyn told me about your blog today and I love it!! You are my kind of girl! Looking forward to reading more of your posts.
I identify with the food allergies-I found out I can't have gluten after my 2nd child was born, my husband can't do tomatoes, my mom can't do milk or sugar and my sister can't do eggs or garlic! HA!
You should just see the Thanksgiving spread when my extended fam gets together!!
Karen Heflin

Cakedreamer said...

My daughter has 11 different food allergies and I definitely can empathize! I love to experiment with baking. Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy reading of others similar journeys.

thedirtyknitter said...

oh i can't imagine also being allergic to little one was exactly the same when he was first born, but could tolerate soy. now, at 15 months he just passed his milk oral challenge, although we're dealing with some weight gain (or lack there-of) issues now, but he's doing great! i don't even remember how to cook w/ regular milk in things! we've been avoiding it in so many ways! great tips for someone in the same situation :)

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