Sunday, December 28, 2008

Whoops, daddy is still learning too

This morning Dave got up and worked on making a double-batch of pancakes so we can freeze a bunch for easy toasting. He followed a multi-flour recipe, used unique ingredients, everything was going SO well.....until, I happened to notice the OLIVE oil on the counter. I said, "Ummmm, Dave, why is this out?" His eye popped out of his head and he said, "I THOUGHT THAT WAS GRAPESEED OIL!" Grayson can't have olive, it's one of the foods he is allergic to. Soooo, we will try them once in a while, but they cannot be eaten often and if he has a reaction, well, then WE eat them I guess, ha ha ha. He learned his lesson, READ everything you use!! Grayson ate the mistaken pancakes today and he did well so far, tomorrow is another day, we shall see!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Recipe - Nut milk yogurt

I am so proud of the results of this recipe, because everywhere I look for nut milk yogurt says it can't be done, that it is watery, it separates, and shares no common traits with yogurt. Well my dear readers, it CAN be done. There are two tricks to it: don't use commercial nut milk and don't heat it prior to incubation. I used to make cow's milk yogurt regularly, that is, until we could no longer tolerate cow's milk. Grayson also gave up on liking yogurt about a year ago, so it wasn't really a big deal. I like yogurt as a snack, it reminds me of our honeymoon....eating Greek yogurt under canopied patios by the sea with honey and fruit on top. That was the best yogurt I have EVER tasted. Well anyway, back to reality....nut yogurt. It's not Greek yogurt, but it sure is tasty. It even looks and smells like yogurt! It IS watery and separated when it's done incubating, but the additional step to drip it through a cheesecloth makes it the perfect consistency. So try it, you'll like it!! Even Grayson did. We added some honey and strawberries, what a tasty treat. Oh and be warned, it is slightly labor intensive with the blending, straining then straining again, and it won't be ready for a day, so don't plan to make it and eat it right away. Anywhoooo, here is the recipe, thanks to "Marjan", the only author of a successful nut-based yogurt I could find!

1 1/3 cup whole, RAW blanched almonds or RAW blanched hazelnuts (filberts) or RAW macadamias (we used cashews which have a very mild flavor)
2 TBL clear honey
Yogurt starter (ProGurt by GI ProHealth) We got this same starter online, highly recommended for dairy free yogurts

Step-by-step instructions for making nut yogurt:

1. Put all things you need on a tea towel on the kitchen table:
blender, a fine sieve/mesh strainer, some tea towels, the nuts, honey, two tablespoons, whisk, water, yogurt maker + yogurt container. Get the probiotics out of the freezer only when you need them.
2. Put nuts into blender
3. Add enough cold water to get a total of 4 to 5 cups / =1 litre
4. Add 2 tablespoons of honey (the bacteria need the sweets to feed off of, cow's milk is naturally sweet)
5. Blend for 10 minutes (use a stopwatch)
6. Pour about 1 cup of the nut milk through the fine sieve (I saved the "solids" from this process and made a mock cream cheese with a little added vanilla)
(You can squeeze out more liquid if you use a teacloth/cheesecloth and twist it firmly.)

NOW take your probiotics out of the freezer

7. Add 1/8 tsp of ProGurt yogurt starter to the milk, per 1 quart of yogurt.
8. Stir well with whisk, add the rest of the milk, with back of spoon press out all liquids
9. Stir well and place container in yogurt maker
10. Ferment for 8 hours.
11. Place in the fridge overnight or at least for 5 hours (overnight is better)
12. Get a bowl, put the sieve on the bowl, put a cheesecloth in the sieve
13. Pour the yogurt in the cheesecloth so that it can drip
14. Drip for about an hour, or longer if you'd like the yoghurt thicker
15. By pressing the dripped yoghurt further, you can make something that resembles cheese

The fermentation process takes place at about 105 Fahrenheit.

As you see, I do NOT cook or heat the milk. After blending, the milk should be lukewarm, not warmer than 105F. If you heat more, the milk will separate and the fermentation will not take place.

Try to find RAW nuts that have been through minimal processing. Deep frying them may be very tasty, but it will negatively affect the outcome and it is also a bit unhealthy.

The sieve is such, that if you pour orange juice through it, there's no pulp in your glass.

Learning, learning and more learning...

It's amazing to me how many layers can be unraveled in the process of treating food allergies! The more I dig, the more I learn, the more I learn, the more convinced I am that we are going to cure Grayson of his food allergies!! With time, of course, and anyone who knows me also knows that I am an immediate gratification kind of girl! I am also learning to be patient here! (wink)

By getting to the reason for Grayson's allergies, we are going to eradicate his intolerances. The food allergies are not the problem, they are a result of the problem. And speaking of problems, the problem for me is the time it takes and the experimenting to find the right course of treatment.

I am convinced that Grayson's "problem" is yeast. Currently we are using 500mcg of Biotin which is in the B-complex family, it fights yeast, but 500mcg only equates to 1mg!! I think we need to up the dosage to get results, but starting slowly reduces the yeast die-off effect. Yeast die-off is not fun for Grayson or us, because it results in many of the behaviors that got us to this point in the first place: self-stimulating behaviors, humming and repetitive sounds, jumping, bumping and crashing, extreme irritation from clothing and pretty much everything around him, severely emotional outbursts, rubbing and swatting at his head (which has been constant some days) get the picture. BUT, we are also seeing improvement at the same time: better sleep, more speech improvement, clear and thorough communication, attention to detail, focus. Anyway, the point is that by seeing improvement even while experiencing negative effects, it is a sure sign that the yeast protocol we have adapted is working. It could take a good 6 weeks to get through the negative effect of yeast die-off. I did however just learn that there are ways to help reduce his reaction. I can increase his protease enzymes 3-4 times a day, increase vitamin c, give more epsom salt baths and if it gets really bad, we can add activated charcoal to his regimen.

Let's go off topic, it's Christmas Eve, I am home with all three of my favorite guys in the world, dinner is in the crock pot cooking, what more can one ask for? Grayson is currently cleaning his playroom with daddy to make room for new toys. I told him that I would e-mail Santa when he's done, so he knows that there is room for whatever he plans to bring. Grayson's face lit up, he said, "IN THE NORTH POLE?" as he literally ran to clean his playroom!! Oh the innocence of youth, can we keep this forever....and ever?? Merry Christmas to all who celebrate this special time of year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays and all that jazz

We love the holidays, but this year being the first on Grayson's new and challenging diet makes things a bit harder to manage. We have to bring foods with us that he can eat, if there isn't something available. We try to mirror the foods we have for dinner so he doesn't feel completely different. Luckily by just removing the food before sauces are added, etc, he can usually just have the fresh and simply cooked foods, but it certainly does make it hard for whoever is cooking. He watches prepared dishes go by at the table while telling us he wants to try it. Of course, NOW he wants to try everything that passes him by, not before the diet, ha ha ha. That brings me to another topic, variety. I can't believe what a 180 he has done since removing the culprit foods. He used to limit himself (which, accompanied by other symptoms, can be a sure sign of food allergy) to breads, cereals, crackers, pretzels, pancakes, waffles, milk, cheese....all the highly allergenic foods he is reactive to. Since we have rid him of the foods he craves, he eats and ENJOYS an amazing variety of foods. How many three year olds ASK for salmon and brocolli for lunch?? Mine does! That is the full side of this half empty glass!

The hardest part of the holiday dinners is sweets. Every holiday dinner comes complete with an array of desserts that he can't even come near with a ten foot pole. He earnestly watches everyone enjoying their yummy treats while he eats whatever experimental dessert mommy can make and pack up for the night. He's a trooper though, he handles it like a champ! I think it hurts me more than it hurts him. Isn't that always the way?

We are struggling with trying to figure out the cause of his food allergies. Once we get that figured out and dealt with, there is a VERY good chance he could eat normal again. He progressed by leaps and bounds when we first took him off the allergenic foods, a HUGE leap forward. But now, we are seeing some other things that were probably masked by the effects of the foods in the first place. He continuously swats and rubs at his head, face, ears and nose. I noticed these habits since he was learning to walk, but thought he was just teething. Obviously he isn't teething anymore, but continues to do this. He tells me he is itchy. For many, this is a sign of yeast overgrowth so he could have chronic yeast and/or viral issues. Yeast doesn't have to be in the intestines either, it can be in organs and in the brain. So we will be experimenting with natural yeast treatments. A sure sign of this is an overactive immune system, sensory issues, sleep disturbances, an increase in symptoms when he has viral die off from being ill with a now. We found a wonderful product made by BioRay Inc. which has fabulous reports from other parents. It's all natural and completely safe. We will start by detoxing his liver and balancing his PH levels, if need be. It's safe enough for a breastfeeding mother to take and I personally am considering trying it, as well! Liver detoxification would benefit anyone who is effected by every day life.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Getting started

Backing up a bit, I thought I would explain how to get started on a diet that is often greeted with hesitation and fear. When I opened the envelope from the lab and saw the list of 23 foods we needed to avoid (half of them were his favorite foods) I just about choked! When you take it one step at a time, it isn't as daunting as it appears from the overall perspective. So let's break it down:

Breath first
Big deep breaths!! It CAN be done and it WILL become habit.

Go online and hit all the websites that detail recipes and alternative foods. Read, read, read!

Make lists of all the foods the child CAN have and there really are still a lot of foods available. Make lists of the foods the child cannot have, including and even more importantly the list of hidden foods/ingredients to avoid and keep those in a bag that is with you always, for the sake of shopping. You will need to refer back to these on many occasions. Make a copy of them to give to close relatives and care givers who interact with your child.

Find recipes online, from friends, and in books that address special diets, make grocery lists from there initially, eventually you will just be replacing those items as you run out.  It becomes second nature to shop for these foods.  In the early days I found it helpful to keep a running list, as I ran out of a food, I would write it down.  Now, I have a generic list that I typed up and I just check off the foods I need as I run out, since so many are the same every time we shop =)

Talk with your child through it all.
I am amazed at how well a three year old can really comprehend what this is all about. He knows he cannot eat foods from the "red list" (the color of the reactive foods on the test, lol) and how they effect him. I believe that by feeling better on the good foods, he also gets a true life lesson about the foods he can and can't have. When he has an infraction, he feels the effect more than we do. His outward behaviors are just a sign of what is going on inside.

Keep a daily journal that not only details foods and supplements, but keep track of good and difficult behaviors, you will start noticing connections to certain things that can further be eliminated. This is also important when choosing to challenge a food. The other great thing about a journal is that you will be able to look back at the progress you are making with the diet. It is easy to forget the difficult behaviors until you are faced with them again. Something that helped me was to use color coding highlighters with one color for improved/good behaviors, one for difficult behaviors and another for the first three times foods were introduced during the diet, so I could watch for patterns. When you have umpteen pages to sift through, this will save your sanity!

Find a local or internet-based group you can share with and learn from. Yahoo and Google both have great groups you can search through. and Facebook now offers us endless reaches around the globe, instantly.  There is nothing better than having a resource like this. When a question pops up, you can gain knowledge from those who are directly effected by the very same issues you are faced with. It's a two way road, you will learn from others who are more experienced than you and eventually you will help others who are newer at it than you. I find this method of learning to be priceless and rewarding in many ways.

And last - make the switch - go shopping
We went cold turkey, but for some, a gradual approach works best. Either way, just go for it and don't look back. When you offer your child a new food, it becomes the ONLY option. The good thing about children is that they tend to have narrow food interests, so once you find a food to replace a favorite, maintaining the diet is actually pretty easy! Imagine that? Comfort and ease come with repetition. We had resistance, and still do, with two favorites - milk and bread. So basically, we have none! I do keep almond milk in the house (mainly for me, since the baby can't handle dairy either) but for bowls of cereal, it really doesn't taste much different. It's also great for baking and cooking. As long as a child is receiving supplements and eating other foods high in calcium and D, milk isn't even necessary. (note - almond milk is high oxalate, which we no longer use now)  See my more recent blog entry for pumpkin seed milk, if you need a low oxalate alternative to milk. 

At some point, consider researching and adding enzymes to the diet. Generally, food intolerance is related to the lack of an enzyme needed to digest the food(s) which causes a leaky gut, resulting in antibody production. Adding enzymes for a good two months while on the diet may allow you to return some food(s) to the diet, slowly, but possibly even permanently. Check out my enzyme links to the right. There is more information than you could ask for on

If any readers have tips or tricks to share here, please do!

**A fabulous GFCF resource is TACA (regardless of whether autism is part of the picture, this source of dietary steps to take are priceless, after all autism is proving to be an autoimmune disease too).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Always learning

One thing for certain is that I have PLENTY to learn still and a prime example is that I just learned that Kirkman Labs vitamin C and the liquid zinc are made with sucralose, which is another fancy name for Splenda! YIKES!! Looks like we will be on the lookout for yet another safe supplement to replace each of these.

Food he CAN eat

So we have seen what he can't eat, and that list is long, but what CAN he eat you wonder? Interestingly, the foods he can eat are very high in vitamins, minerals and proteins. I do, however, understand why the average baked goods are NOT made with the flours he can have in place of wheat, rice, potato and gluten. They are strange, gummy, smelly and if I thought I wasn't a baker before this diet, woah, this has been the true test of all baking tests!! I am impressed with the outcome of many of the cookies we have tried, but breads, I have completely given up. So if anyone reading this post, by chance, has a bread recipe that will work for my free-of-everything kid, PLEASE let me know!! Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a thing of the past. I did try making him one on some great thick buckwheat pancakes, but now he is telling me he doesn't like the natural peanut butter anymore, nor the almond or cashew butters I bought for him. Waste??? You think your child wastes food??? Try baking these odd breads, cakes and cookies and THEN you will see what waste is, ha ha ha. Ok, so back to the topic at hand, what he can eat. He can eat any fresh veggies and meats (some may require the accomaniment of a No Phenol enzyme), he can have quinoa, amaranth, millet, barley (although I limit it due to the gluten), buckwheat (a favorite of ours for pancakes and cookies), corn, oat, soy (we limit this one also, since the proteins are very similar to casein and gluten) and all seafood, which luckily, he likes so far! Now if we could just afford to live on lobster and king crab, we would be one happy family!!!

Funny thing, my mother-in-law just called to discuss baking cookies and using flour replacements, ha ha ha. She is experiencing my world! She tried a recipe for gingerbread man cookies and thought they had an "off" taste. YUP Just about everything with these new flours does. It takes some getting used to, but one thing I've learned is that a kid is happy with anything sweet. She is on to recipe number two, attempting to replace flour, sugar and eggs, good luck mom!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shake the sickies out

Tis' the season for the sickies. Grayson was always that kid who never got sick, that is, until he started preschool, ha ha ha. I was warned that when they start school for the first time, everything that goes around, comes home! He has been sick three times since the start of the school year, so we are averaging about one illness per month. Anytime we are dealing with a virus, we end up with regression in his SPD symptoms in a bad way! Viral die-off causes an overgrowth in yeast, and this makes him much more sensitive to his sensory aversions and his need for input becomes greater. So a typical day for us includes a lot of swatting at his head, ears and face, increase in bumping, crashing and touching, clothing bothers him, blankets are never on right, the coat is on wrong, shoes are too tight, the sun is too bright, pajamas bother the armpits, the fork doesn't work, the chair is pushed in unevenly, get the picture? When there is viral die-off and an increase in yeast, the two best natural remedies are grapefruit seed extract (GSE) and olive leaf extract (OLE), however, he is slightly sensitive to both, so we must administer each of them along with a No Phenol to reduce a possible reaction.

Oh, and just for the record, viruses are not living things, they are particles made of proteins and DNA so technically, they don't really "die-off", this term refers to what is happening when you are trying to get rid of a virus. Here again, enzymes come to the rescue (they are powerhouses). A virus is surrounded by a protective protein which is digested by our friend the protease enzyme! Once that coating is stripped away, the virus is unprotected and vulnerable to antivirals (OLE to the rescue)!

Grayson's latest virus is croup, which amazingly is an influenza virus (diphtherial) and can actually be caused by coming in contact with someone who has just had the measles or flu vaccination! Ironically, the Hib vaccine is supposed to protect against this very virus, which he has had. Vaccinations do not make our kids bulletproof.

Sorry to cut this short, but I am needed to help unveil our HUGE Christmas tree, let the festivities begin....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Let's talk Phenols

What?  Phenols?  What are those?  In layman's terms, phenols are chemicals found in all foods, however many foods have high phenols and there are people who cannot tolerate or process them as fast as they are consumed, causing an overload.  they can actually back up in the system!  What happens then you ask...well, like everything else, there would be "symptoms" or reactions which look like this: (and keep in mind that not all of these need to be present) dark circles under the yes, diarrhea, hyperactivity (this one is everywhere, isn't it? and we think it's normal kid behavior...not!), red face and ears, aggression, headache, head banging or other self-injury behaviors, inappropriate laughter, difficulty falling asleep at night and night waking for several hours.  Just for the heck of it, the typical adult symptom of phenol intolerance is....get this....chronic fatigue syndrome!!  I know more than a handful of people with this disorder and who would have thought that what you eat could be the cause??  Surprise surprise, you are what you eat!  

So now we need to know which specific foods can wreak such havoc on us, right?  The shortlist of foods you may want to eliminate or at least reduce to prevent overload is:  food dyes, tomatoes, apples, peanuts, bananas, oranges, cocoa, red grapes, colored fruits and milk.  

The highly phenolic/salicylate foods and ingredients that can be in anything from foods to cleaning and art supplies and they are:  synthetic/artificial colors and flavors, CHA, BHT, TBHQ (all related to petroleum), natural flavoring, natural coloring (these ingredients are in just about everything processed, and I mean everything!), almonds, apples, apricots, berries (all), plums, prunes, tangerines, cider and cider vinegar, wine and wine vinegar (grapes), oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate).  Other items to consider are perfumes and fragrances, nitrites and nitrates, monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolized vegetable protein, sulfites, benzoates and corn syrup.

Is your head spinning yet?  How do you avoid these things, since they are in everything?  It's easy, begin to read ingredients for everything you buy.  Yes, it's daunting at first, but just like anything else repetitive, it does become second nature.  The first few times you go shopping, ok maybe the first few dozen times, ha ha ha, it's hard and it takes forever, so make sure you have a full afternoon free!  But comfort and ease comes with time.  Initially, the menu for someone avoiding all these things (and more) is very limited, but that is ok.  Over time you expand and broaden your options.  We are still in the learning phase, but it's quickly become second nature for me to flip a bottle and look for ingredients.  Everyone could benefit from avoiding dyes, artificials and preservatives, because if you don't already have a problem with these ingredients, they are SURE to do damage with increased intake.  The bottom line is, eat natural whole foods, eat with variety (repetition of any food can cause sensitivity to it and/or an overload of chemicals), and buy organic whenever you can.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Does he really need ALL of those?

I think I could write a book on Grayson's daily intake of supplements alone!  When a child needs so many healthy foods removed from his or her diet, supplementation is the name of the game.  The list is long and can vary from day to day depending on his needs for any given day. The usual looks like this: two enzymes for gluten and casein, two enzymes for carbohydrates, a No Phenol enzyme, two multivitamins, four cod liver oil gel tabs, two drops of grapefruit seed extract, liquid calcium, and one probiotic....on days when he is coming down with something or has a cold, we add zinc, vitamin A and additional vitamin C.   Another challenge with supplementing is that we need to be very cognizant of the ingredients to be sure they don't contain anything he is allergic to and just about every supplement has a filler of some sort, mostly likely containing gluten and/or casein.  Probiotics are often made from dairy and vitamin C from citrus.  Many, many children's chewables are made with "natural" citrus or pineapple flavors.  So we buy most of our supplements from specialty providers online, like Kirkman Labs and Houston Enzymes.

The role of enzymes in this diet is huge and may even allow us to reintroduce many of the foods he is slightly sensitive to.  If you were to ask Grayson what the enzymes are for, he will tell you that "they are for badestion", ha ha ha.  Translation = digestion.  The link between food allergies and the lack of enzymes is very common, so with the added enzymes every time he eats, they provide him with the ability to break the foods down further.  Leaky gut syndrome comes from undigested food particles which actually make their way out of the intestines and into other parts of the body!  Weird, isn't it?  There are enzymes for many different foods and just about EVERYONE would benefit from additional enzymes in their diet.  Enzymes are naturally occurring and are only available in raw foods so once you heat a food over about 100 degrees you kill the enzymes, which then requires your body to use it's "stash" to digest the food you've just eaten.  You can actually deplete your body's enzymes by eating only cooked foods.  Raw foods provide just enough of their own enzymes to break itself down, there is no excess.  So when your body is forced to give up it's enzyme stash to digest foods on a daily basis, other parts of the body begin to suffer and you become more susceptible to illness.  When you see a fruit decomposing, going bad, those are enzymes at work.  The reason you don't feed a baby from a baby jar, put it away and then continue feeding from that same jar again later is because of enzymes.  The mouth contains enzymes and when you put the spoon back into the baby jar, the food in the jar comes into contact with the enzymes on the spoon, digestion actually begins to occur, yummm!

This child never ceases to amaze me.  He saw me swallowing my cod liver oil and wanted to do the same with his, which are of course chewable.  I promptly explained that his are chewed and mine aren't.  He was content with that answer...that day.  When we ran out of his cod liver oil and again he witnessed me swallowing mine.  He said, "It's fine mommy, I can just take yours!"  I told him he would have to swallow it like I do and he very convincingly told me he could do it.  So who am I to hold back a child?  I handed him one and expected to see him gag and choke on it, but you've got to live and learn, right?  He immediately popped it in his mouth and like a pro, guzzled some water and proudly opened his empty mouth for me to inspect!!  Can you say determination??  Who said reverse psychology doesn't work??  If you want to get a three year old to do something, just tell him he can't and you will be greeted with childhood optimism I wish we all still had.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What happens...and why?

I'm sure you must be wondering what causes all of these crazy changes in a once well-behaved child. How could food have an effect like this on someone? Just like some people have hay fever or environmental allergies, others have food allergies or reactions to the chemicals in certain foods (phenols).

When a food is not "tolerated", it's also known in lay terms as an allergy, even though it may not inflict a true allergic reaction on a person. Those who have immediate response to foods with rashes, hives, itchies....they are having an IgE reaction, a true allergy. When someone displays changes in behaviors, hypoglycemic responses, headaches and more delayed reactions to foods, they are having an IgG response. This means that their bodies are developing antibodies to the foods and over time this will throw the body into autoimmune disorder(s). When an IgG blood test is done, the blood is put into separate vials where somewhere around 113 foods (one at a time) are then dropped into each of the vials. When the blood "reacts" to the food, it's considered reactive or positive. Is this 100%, no...what is? That is where the food challenges come in, but we can save that for another day's explanation.

The crazy thing about what undigested foods do to us is scary! They create what is known as an "opiate" effect...yes, as in OPIUM, the drug. The undigested foods build up and cause the same exact effect on the brain that opium causes!! Tested and proven! Imagine giving your child a nice dose of opium with breakfast, and then lunch....and then dinner, every day! Wheat and dairy are the biggest culprits of this effect and it causes that hypoglycemic effect that is oh so common in many. The brain is satisfied as long as it is being "fed" it's drug of choice. When the food is no longer available, it goes through withdraw, causing those crazy highs and lows in personality we see, then the food is ingested again, satisfying the brain for some time. Many kids also begin to self-limit the foods they will eat, sticking to just the foods that give them a high, avoiding all others. As long as you keep feeding the monster, it's happy, sounds like a drug addict, doesn't it? Well, it IS! People experiencing this effect will begin to crave the very foods they should be avoiding, because they NEED them, well the brain thinks so. Take away the foods and you will see a drug addict in withdraw, literally, yes in your child! It's is amazing to watch the progress. Grayson was slurring, walking into walls, holding himself up while walking, he was in a daze, then he would get "stimmy" (sensory stimulating behaviors like touching everything around him, bumping into people and things, throwing himself on the floors and furniture, repeating strange words over and over in a sing songy pattern). It was a crazy few weeks until he leveled out, but once he was without the foods for a few weeks, he was/is a new child!! Well, the old child really. Many kids start showing signs of food sensitivities between 2 and 3, because this is how long it takes to buld up enough in the body to start showing these signs outwardly. When you are seeing these signs in your child, you are seeing an outward expression of what the brain and body are experiencing inside. If you continue to feed the culprit foods, as an adult, they turn into autoimmune illnesses such as arthritis, IBS, lupus, asthma, cancer...the list is endless! So how many illnesses can we prevent, who knows, but am I willing to bet we are helping our son extend his life!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Testing, 1, 2, 3

Oh the fun of "challenging" an allergy diet! With a diet like this, comes the trials and tribulations of testing the foods he can't have to be sure he needs to avoid them, also known as challenging the diet. So last night he was eating his quinoa pasta and since he has been doing so well on the diet (which we have been doing since the first week of September now), I thought it would be a good time to try sheep's cheese. Since he tested positive for cow's milk and goat's milk, it was possible that he could handle sheep's cheese, manchego. I grated a tiny bit on top of his pasta and he gobbled it up, of course. He did great this morning with the exception of waking a tad too early with a stuffy nose. I thought we would be in the clear by afternoon. I hauled him off to school in the hopes that he would have yet another good day. Remind me to tell you how far he has come with issues at school since starting this diet!! Well, when I got there to pick him up after school, Michelle came walking out to me...never a good sign, it's like being called to the principle's office. Uh oh, what did he do? She asked me, if we changed something....well now that you mention it, ummmm, can you say CHEESE?! She said that all of his previous behaviors resurfaced today. He has been doing "remarkably" since the diet and today, it was the old Grayson again. Wow, for her to notice that quickly, this diet is the real deal!! I thought it was odd that he would have these problems at schoo,l yet he was so well behaved at home this morning. As I headed for home, I immediately began to realize that it was going to be a LONG evening with Dave away on a business trip!! Epsom salts draw out toxins, so before an early bedtime, I soaked him in the tub for a while hoping they would draw out all the nasties so we can have a nice day tomorrow. A new day...

Reality check

You are what you eat....This statement could never be more true in our house! I have always been into eating healthy and living healthy, but having a son newly diagnosed with several food allergies adds new meaning to that theory!!

Our adventure began with a diagnosis of SPD (sensory processing disorder). His sensory seeking behaviors, tantrums and low self esteem was becoming increasingly more disturbing and when the behaviors began to effect life around our household, we knew we needed professional help. So in addition to seeking help for the SPD, we saw a wonderful holistic doctor who pointed us in the right direction. I also read a TON of great books addressing behavioral issues, SPD and even diet. I knew that there was a possibility that something he was eating could be effecting him so with the combination of therapy and diet intervention, I thought we could figure things out. And boy, I couldn't be more right!!

Fast forward to the current status of our household....a three year old who is always sweet to his baby brother, who has impeccable manners, is empathetic, smart beyond his years, glows with happiness and pride!

So what did we do differently you ask? We REMOVED allergenic foods that came up on an IgG blood test. Is it easy, heck no!! But it turns our child into the person he used to be, and I will do anything to keep him happy and healthy including baking, re-baking and baking again when the recipes turn out awful!! So if you thought meals in your house were challenging, try working without wheat, milk, eggs, rice, potatoes, kidney and pinto beans, coconut, cheese, asparagus, all citrus, pumpkin, olive (yes that includes the oil), canola oil, sesame....ugh!! There is at least one of these ingredients in just about everything! Not to mention the HIDDEN ingredients associated with wheat and milk. I have become a scientist, a chemist, a doctor and oddly enough, a chef! I HATE baking!! Luckily he can eat corn, because it seems like everything he DOES eat is from corn, corn chips, corn pasta, corn cereal, corn corn corn. Another great replacement for us has been a grain called quinoa (pronounced KEEN wah), which is actually not really a grain at all, it's the seed of a fruit and contains major amounts of protein. We use it in place of rice, it's so versatile and tasty, not to mention, great for you! Luckily for Grayson, one thing I have going for me is creativity. So while our ingredients are limited, our diet hasn't been quite so boring. I mix it up a bit and amazingly, since we started this diet, Grayson's cravings (a sign of food allergies) have disappeared and he eats everything!! He wouldn't touch meat with a ten foot pole, now he eats steak, turkey, chicken, pork, fish of all kinds, shellfish, he's eating veggies without a fight, imagine that? A three year old eating veggies and saying he likes them? I make creative pestos for him, he loves garlic which is great for him and adds some umph to his foods, he is very interested in spices and cooking with me, so while this has been a challenge, we are up to it and we are learning and growing from it, and with it!