Friday, June 22, 2012

A Food Allergy Update

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I've been terrible at blogging lately and I do apologize, I've been terrible at cleaning my house as well.... I blame it on the pregnancy. Haha, I always forget I can blame things on the pregnancy, but well, it usually is the pregnancy. I am normally very clean and very scheduled and very under control... just not when I am in my 1st trimester I guess. Ha! 

A friend recently brought to my attention that I have not blogged about Sofia's allergies in a while and that made me realized that A. I needed to get back on the blogging train and B. I needed to post an update on our dear sweet one's food allergies. 

Sofia has been doing amazingly well! In fact, she hasn't had a reaction in a month! I can't even believe I am writing this. I felt so defeated for a while there, it was like no matter how careful I was I just wasn't careful enough. I think that is a common feeling when parents are first learning how to accommodate food allergies. It requires a lot of stretching and creativity and well, good ol' fashioned pull yourself up by your bootstraps hard work.

I did, I felt like no matter how hard I tried I just kept making mistakes and she would have a reaction. I would make stupid mistakes, like feeding her eggs or guacamole at a restaurant, thinking it was safe. Only to find out that restaurants pack their food full of fillers, putting pancake batter in their scrambled eggs and sour cream in their guacamole. Most of their foods are cooked in soybean oil because well, it's a government subsidized commodity and its dirt cheap. 

So we learned A LOT. We learned A LOT about our food, whats really in our food, what we are unknowingly putting into our bodies just by eating out or buying shelf-stable. 

I began making almost everything home-made. We went to the extreme. Then I began revisiting some labels and finding shelf-stable items that worked for us. So I reintroduced some items into our household, but mostly we eat whole foods. 

Sofia is allergic to dairy and soy. We go back to the allergist in July and I will have more of a "medical" update for you at that time. But as for now, I have completely eliminated dairy and soy from her diet.

Some of our Go-To meal items are: 

*Sofia always gets a 9oz. bottle of vitamin & mineral fortified rice milk when she wakes*
Eggs (scrambled, olive oil, S&P)
Fresh Fruit (whatever came in our CSA that week)
Pancakes (made with rice milk)
Bacon (if I make an actual breakfast)

Turkey Meat
Fresh Fruit
Peanut Butter & Jelly
Peanut Butter & Banana & Honey

Afternoon Snack
Trader Joe's Honey Pretzel Sticks
Fresh Fruit
Trader Joe's Skinny Fries
Tasty Organic All-Natural Fruit Snacks (usually an on-the-go treat)
Kirkland Freeze Dried Apples (another on-the-go treat)

Whatever I make that night, we eat together. This used to be the hardest meal, but now it is no problem for me. I try to make things where cheese can be added after the fact for Wes & I, or maybe one dish has cheese but the rest don't etc. I said from the start that I wasn't going to make multiple meals and I have successfully avoided that thus far.

For instance, last night I made tacos. The taco meat was shredded chicken with S&P and Kirkland Organic Mild Salsa (all mixed together). I buy handmade all-natural corn tortillas from TJ's and fry them in extra-light olive oil. Sofia's plate was made up of taco meat, avocado slices and half of a tortilla. She gobbled it down. I made myself actual tacos, adding cheese, tomatoes and lettuce. So we try to work around having to make multiple meals, but just leaving ingredients out for her. 

The whole family is SOY FREE. Sofia is SOY & DAIRY FREE. Sofia gets another 9oz. bottle of fortified rice milk before bed. 

I have a liquid vitamin & mineral for her that I am still working on finding delicious ways to give it to her, it says it "tastes great" but obviously it doesn't. My goal is to get a blender so I can start making us smoothies and her vitamin complex can go in there. 

Also, I focus on feeding her high-fat fruits such as avocado and banana and I don't worry about cooking her food in olive oil because she needs the fat for her brain growth since she is not getting whole milk. 

So she is doing great, we've been reaction free for a month and I am feeling more confidant and on top of things. It doesn't feel like such a stretch anymore, it starting to feel very normal.

So for those of you who are just entering into the world of food allergies, remember that it is normal to feel like your being stretched and defeated, it is normal to cry and get frustrated and not know where to start. You start doing the research, you start realizing how many babies have food allergies, you become even more passionate about your food, you change your family's eating habits, you feel happier & healthy and your babe becomes reaction-free and you suddenly realize your back on the horse and it isn't as hard as it seemed in the beginning. So don't give up, keep pushing, keep researching, keep experimenting with new foods and before you know it you will have new favorites and you won't even remember what it was like before.

Also, if you are just starting out, or your child has multiple allergies, there is a wonderful cookbook by Elizabeth Gordon called The Complete Allergy Free Cookbook, it really inspired me and brought hope back into our kitchen.

Happy cooking!

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