Monday, July 18, 2011

What's to Eat?

Food has been a very hot topic in our house lately.   Statements such as : "There is nothing I can eat." or "I am hungry, but I can't have anything we have."  Followed by blank and confused looks from AJ and then him trying to be very helpful and find me something to eat.  Why is food a problem, especially when we stocked the house and freezers with so much food?

Well, partially because we have eaten a lot of the freezer meals, and partially because it looks like Drew is allergic to a lot.  It looks like currently he is allergic to eggs, dairy, and wheat.   There goes my cereal addiction.  

The poor boy has been breaking out in some nasty rashes the last couple of weeks.  At first we thought it was baby acne, but then it spread to all over his body.  The spreading to the whole body, even his elbows and feet ruled out baby acne.  Next, we thought it was a heat rash.  So, we tried the keeping him cool with little clothes on and nice baths.  That helped a little bit, but not much.  Then we noticed the texture of the rash and it felt like sandpaper all over his face, head, neck, shoulders, back, chest, and elbows.  He had some that looked like acne, but most of them were fine grained and bumpy.  So, I started reading some of the articles on kellymom and started putting the pieces together. If you add the congestion, mucousy diarrhea, trouble sleeping, and the rash to the family history of allergies it starts to really look obvious.

So, we cut out the eggs immediately.  I am not a fan of eggs, but I had been eating them in the morning because they were quick and supposed to be good for both of us.  That helped a lot, as in the rash started lessening with in a couple of days.  We also cut out dairy, which is harder than I thought even though I have a mild allergy to milk myself - though I had no problems consuming large quantities while pregnant.  Now, we are working on getting all the gluten out of my diet.  This is proving to be very hard!  I don't want to give up gluten!  But, seeing the changes I have already seen by cutting out the other stuff, I know I have to cut it out.

With the foods being cut out we are seeing the rash going away slowly - it is only red when he is warm and the texture is fading, too.  His congestion is getting better and barely noticeable most of the time.  The sleep is getting better, too. I don't want to say to much and jinx myself.  His stools are still frustrating and I think that one has the most to do with the gluten.  It said it can take up to two weeks until all the bad things are out of my system, so I am hoping in the next couple of weeks we will see some big improvements.

With all these things being removed from my diet I have been a real grump about food.  Besides feeling like I am hungry all the time, I haven't known what to eat so I have been skipping a lot of meals lately.  This fact does not make AJ happy at all.  So, this weekend we set out to find somethings I can cook with and some foods I can eat.  We found egg substitutes (actually the same one AJ's family used when they were living in Peru), flour mix substitute, and decided to try using the almond milk I drink in cooking (we haven't officially tried this yet, though).  We also talked to the acupuncturist I have been seeing about food options, too.  After all of this I am starting to feel hopeful that I can make it through this.  It is going to be difficult and annoying, but doable. 

I will admit, I am still a bit nervous about how to eat when we decide to travel.  We have some adventures planned in the coming months, so I know I am going to have to deal with this.  I am just curious what it is going to look like.  Thankfully Whole Foods sells a lot of safe foods, so we can pack snacks and such.  If you know of any restaurants that are allergen friendly or travel foods that pack well, please let me know!

I know this restriction is something we have come up with and it seems to be helping, but we still plan on talking to Drew's pediatrician about all of it at his two month appointment.  I want to make sure he doesn't still have some kind of wonky stomach virus.  He is growing really well, so I don't think that is the problem, but I still want to be safe.


Jes said...

oh that's so hard! My middle child has milk and gluten allergies and I had to give up wheat and dairy. IT was hard. I can't imagine having to give up eggs on top of it. She did grow out of her dairy allergy (I think) she eats cheese and yogurt and ice cream now, but she's still gluten free. Odd thing is it was mostly the dairy that bothered her when I was nursing. She had the same rash all over, we discovered it was eczema. but no amounts of cream or lotion could take it away, it was simply giving up foods that helped. Don't skip meals or skip eating, there's always fruits, veggies, meat, and rice! yah, fun, I know. Sorry that it's such a pain, but it's worth it, and it wont be for too long. I hope and pray he does outgrow his food allergies, at least some of them, to make life easier on you all!

I don't know if you have any Brixx pizza around you, but I know they have gluten free crust and dairy free cheese as well.

Kacie said...

What sort of tests has your pediatrician conducted?

The "sandpaper rash" description reminded me of reading of a description about scarlet fever symptoms. Or it could be the allergic reaction.

Good luck with finding foods you can eat and satisfy you. That sounds so rough!

Susan said...

I've done gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free all at the same time while nursing my first baby and it is hard! I'm actually doing grain-free, lactose-free, and sugar-free now while nursing my second baby. My diets were/are for my own health reasons (I reacted to antibiotics in labor both times and ended up with lots of food intolerances that healed very slowly, with modified diet and probiotic foods.), but either way it's rough. I know right where you are!

I need a lot of calories while nursing, so I do a lot of butter-slathering on the foods I can have (vegetables, or grain-free baked goods made with coconut and almond flour), avocados (good healthy fat, and filling!), etc. I'm also soy-free, which wipes out a ton of options. The first time I went on this type of diet, with my first, I thought I was going to go insane, so I know right where you are. There was seemingly NOTHING to eat. I was starving, I had to eat to keep up my milk supply, but I didn't know what to eat! I ended up making a lot of gluten-free baked goods (brown rice flour, buckwheat, millet, etc.) to make it through the diet, but this go-round I can't even do grains. I can do small amounts of almond flour and coconut flour, but I've also been learning to adjust. I used squash, cauliflower, and similar more "filling" veggies at first, to give me the feeling that the heavy carbs would give of fullness (I can't have potatoes or corn, either, so really no starch options for dinner), but now my body has adjusted to accept meat and a lot of vegetables slather in butter as a filling and satisfying meal. Give your body some time to adjust, and also your mind to adjust to different expectations! It does get better!

Speaking of travel food. . . I'm on a 2-week road trip right now, but still keeping 100% to my strict diet (my exact diet is the GAPS diet, just fyi). It takes a little planning and some repetition of meals, but it's doable. I'm doing a lot of hard-boiled eggs, canned wild salmon, avocados and bananas, and when I get the chance to use a kitchen (every few days, at relatives' houses) I bake up a pan of meatloaf or fry up some coconut flour pancakes or cook up a pan of vegetables to get me through the next few days with a bit of variety (I travel with a cooler). Also I brought nuts, raisins and prunes, and lactose-free yogurt. It's doable.

If you need more suggestions, you can e-mail me, and I'll respond as I'm able (my internet time isn't as frequent while traveling, but I'm getting on most days). Sorry you're going through this, and I hope you can find some answers!