Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Food and Allergy Ideas...

Patrick's allergies seem to be expanding rapidly.  I've avoided peanuts, but in the last two days he's had reactions twice even though I'm thoroughly peanut-less, and then today I did something really, really stupid, that I will never do again (as long as he has this allergy) and made the girls peanut butter and jelly sandwiches thinking: "well he's not even in the room with them and I'll clean everything up and wash everything down afterwards and it'll be fine" since they've been begging for PB and J for days.

I was, in fact, very very wrong.

Apparently the peanut particles migrated through the air to his bassinet and he started breaking out in hives and turning red in his little bed.

Commence bathing the toddler and scrubbing surfaces and rubbing corizone all over his cute little red splotchy face.

Yesterday it happened and the only thing I'd had to eat at all was eggs... and today it happened and the only thing I'd eaten was cereal.  So, as you can imagine, I'm kind of freaking out.

I've decided to start a food journal and cut out pretty much everything that seems to be bothering him and then add things back in and see what seems to trigger it.

And then I laugh (maniacally) when I think of the food diary because wasn't it just last month I was worrying about gluttony and asking God to help me and wham now we have this and it doesn't seem like that particular weakness is really going to be a problem any more if I'm stuck eating nothing with nuts, eggs, milk, wheat, dyes, sugar or whatever else it is that he's possibly allergic to... at least until we start to figure out what it is.

And that's where I turn to you guys... because I know quite a few of you guys have commented about food sensitivities over the years and I'm trying to figure out what the heck is safe to eat for a while that will be the least likely to trigger the reaction.  So far I think that apples and bananas seem to be okay.  And beans have seemed to be okay too (which is good because beans have been a huge part of our diet since they're cheap and I can season them to make them taste like various other foods...).

I'm guessing wheat, dairy, sugar, eggs and all the rest should be gradually re-introduced?  And what other foods should I be avoiding to start out with?  Of course I'll be researching on my own too and talking to his doctors, but I know that quite a few of you have mentioned this sort of thing so I thought asking for advice here was at least a start.

Any tips (and prayers) are greatly appreciated.  The poor little guy.  It looks like we're going to be headed back to the doctor soon...


  1. *hugs*

    Soy is another big risk one... and keep in mind some of them can take a month or so to clear from your system (how much does that stink). I've heard of mama's going down to chicken and rice so its good you have an idea of a few more things he can handle.. Hopefully you'll get this figured out asap though!

  2. If the other reactions are just mild red splotches on the face, nothing else, I wouldn't worry too much. All of my kids have had periods where they get these splotches after eating various foods. They never seemed bothered by them, they never got worse, and they disappeared after 10 minutes or so each time. They outgrew these by 3. So if that's the situation here, and I don't know whether it is or not from your description, I wouldn't worry too much about other food sensitivities. I would be really careful about peanuts, of course.

  3. Poor little guy! I'm afraid I don't have any good concrete suggestions about allergen triggers, but I'll be praying for you as you figure this out. Having a kid with food allergies has always been something I've dreaded, since I have such a hard time maintaining my weight while breastfeeding that I have feared "losing" some food groups (so far I have seemed to lose 5 pounds for good with every pregnancy, and you can only do that for so long if you were not overweight to begin with!).

    I do know that extended breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for kids with potential food allergies - my brother was allergic to pretty much everything on the planet (molds, dust, grass, trees, flowers, animals), but had no food allergies, which is pediatrician attributed to the fact he nursed until 2, and pretty much refused solid foods altogether until after 12 months, and then would only eat cereal and pears until 18 months, which gave his digestive/immune system time to mature before getting hit with a lot of food triggers.


  4. The only way that I was able to positively identify (beyond a shadow of a doubt) triggers for me was to go totally clean and to only reintroduce literally one ingredient at a time. There are so many ingredients in the common boxed, canned, bagged, packaged foods that it's difficult to be entirely certain that anything is fully eliminated. You mention a "gradual" reintroduction of foods... I think rather that if you are absolutely clean, that even the very first reintroduction will tell you immediately. Also, if his body is strongly reactive to certain things, he may have a reaction to many other things simply because his system is so overwhelmed. For example, I initially eliminated white potatoes from my diet with everything else. I tried to reintroduce them during week #2 and had a brutal stomach spasm. It was the only variation in my diet and happened within moments, clearly related to the potatoes. However, It has been almost a year now and I am able to eat white potatoes on a limited scale with no discernible negative reaction. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that my stomach is no longer chronically inflamed by my primary triggers!

    I know a young mother whose son is terribly allergic to multiple things. He suffers so much and she buys special skin care products, etc. She told me that he tested positive for a soy allergy and that's good because they don't eat soy...and she told me this while he ate chicken strips from Mr. Hero. I asked her if she knew that there was likely soy protein in those fried chicken strips and she had no idea. I think she was overwhelmed by the idea that his triggers were unavoidable in most common processed foods.

    Anyway, I encourage you to try going totally clean based on known or possible triggers. The side benefit is that you will feel fantastic yourself and there won't be the "what is it?" question always lingering.

    Prayers coming your way. Poor baby... his sweet little cheeks look so angry in that photo. :(

  5. Wish I could offer something concrete, but we have no experience with food allergies (cats, dogs, detergents, yes...) I will offer prayers, however.


  6. It might be a good idea if he is having that many reactions to jump in and see an allergist if you are able. They can help you determine his triggers and give you information about the liklihood of him out growing them.

    Otherwise, I have heard of many people with severe allergies not being able to touch any surface that had allergen, so even if you washed your hands but missed peanut butter under the fingernails or one of the girls did, that can cause a reaction as well.

    It seems as though this all started rather suddenly. Is there anything else in your daily lives that could be causing the reactions? Any new lotions or cleaning products?

    Definitely talk the pediatrician asap. Prayers for you, I know food allergies are stressful!

  7. I wanted to comment that peanut allergies do not necessarily mean that he is allergic to all nuts (in fact peanuts are a legume and not a nut). So maybe you could try some almond butter for the girls, or better yet, sunflower seed butter, since that isn't even a nut. You should be able to make your own nut and seed butters in your food processor if it's a decent quality one, since they can be quite a bit pricier than regular ol' peanut butter. A quick google search will bring up plenty of blog tutorials.

  8. Do you take Probiotics and digestive enzymes? These can help, with allergies. I think I read that you are breastfeeding Patrick, so he will get them through you. You can also get infant probiotics to help build good gut flora to help him out. I know it must be tearing you up to see him with hives. I hope you can figure it out. I'll be praying you find an answer.

  9. Good can probably eat sugar. Sugar is highly inflammatory, but not terribly allergenic.! Hugs...that's so hard! The biggest allergens are dairy, wheat/gluten, eggs, soy, nuts and shellfish. I would start by eliminating those.

    Stick with meats, rice, potatoes and fruits/veggies you think are pretty safe. Maybe go easy on the fruits/veggies and introduce them slowly.

    The strictest elimination diet is basically something like rice, sweet potatoes, and turkey..but I wouldn't necessarily go that strict from the beginning. I would just eliminate those major ones and then go easy on the fruits/veggies being careful not to mix them (ie. don't add tomatoes to salad..just eat the lettuce separately and watch for a reaction and later eat tomatoes and watch for a reaction).

  10. I don't have any tips for right now, but if he does have a nut allergy when he gets older, don't try every nut to see if he's allergic or not. I've refused to try nutella to see if I'm allergic hazelnut because I don't want to end up really liking it and not being able to eat it.
    Also, avoid deli meat. It is often contaminated with cheese.

  11. I feel for you!

    Breast feeding is always best. What has the doctor said?

    Have you looked at Paleo eating? I'm doing very well with it and it pretty much removes every trigger and you still get to enjoy good food.

    It is easier to list what you CAN eat.

    Gradually add a new ingredient a week and see how it goes.

    Simplify, then gradually pick up the family's favorite veggies to add back.

    It can be so miserable when a baby has allergies. Nut allergies are pretty common as you likely already know.

    Prayers for your success at figuring out what is safe.

  12. As a mom of a girl with a peanut allergy; peanut particles don't go through the air. In fact I started keeping PB in the house and eating it occasionally (older child not nursing) because she was so terrified of even being in the same room with a child eating PB. You have to eat it or touch it to get a reaction. (peanuts are her only allergen (she was tested) and she gets hives if it touches her skin,
    My dh is terribly allergic to many many things (including incense!) I've read a lot of La Leche League material over the years (of course consult a doctor) and there's a ton of things that could be happening; what do you use as laundry detergent? Is the air very dry or did you just start using a humidifier (possible source of mold), You could try an elimination diet; but I think you should really consider talking to an allergy specialist to see if they have any fresh ideas. As an example; my dh is basically allergic to anything that grows from May to October (ie pollen etc) but if he avoids wheat; his allergies are way down. Also he's been taking his meds year round to keep the inflamation down. (like what someone said previously; inflamation can make other mild allergies worse.
    Keeping you in my prayers!

  13. Not to contradict Patience, but I have a friend who was VERY allergic to PB. So much so that as a small child even PB fumes would set off his allergy. Luckily he did out grow that part of the sensitivity and can now be around PB but still not eat it.

  14. I lost so much weight breastfeeding with my last, because I couldn't eat much of anything without him reacting to it. I lived on rice, chicken, potatoes, beans, bananas, apples. No dairy, though I could eat a little yogurt. No chocolate!! He didn't start solids until around 8 or 9 months, and now he only has allergies to mango. Go figure! Good luck finding the triggers. It can be frustrating until you find out what is OK to eat.

  15. A couple of things...since you asked. Avacados and melons are a no go. Avacado is related to latex. I know people talked fruits and veggies, but those and strawberries and raspberries aren't good either.

    What have you been washing his stuff in or any other family members stuff in? It sounds like he may be allergic to something in the fabric or something on a person (like lotions that get into his bedding). It doesn't always show up until babies are older. My dad is allergic to Tide; although I realize you make your own but it could be the soap. You may try not washing the clothes with anything for a while and see if that helps (really detergents don't do water kills all funky stuff on it's own).


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