Tuesday, November 2, 2010

FOOD ALLERGY VENT!!!!!

I am so frustrated with my kid's food allergies! I've been on a bit of a cooking strike because I just cannot figure out what to make for dinner.

First I have to deal with Lydia's peanut allergy. Of course, that's a terrifying allergy in itself. Just head to your pantry and check out your food for peanut warnings and you will see how much it limits my choices. And don't get me started about how dangerous it is to go out to eat at restaurants.

THEN....I have to deal with Collin's MILK ALLERGY! It didn't used to be so bad as I would just feed him baby food. Now he wants what we have and is heartbroken when he doesn't get it. And I don't want to make two separate meals anyway.

Imagine. Nothing made with milk, CHEESE of any kind, butter, cream of anything soup, sour cream, or yogurt. No pizza, no mac and cheese, no lasagna, no grilled cheese sandwiches, no parmesan roasted veggies (our favorite.) No chocolate, no peanut butter, no ice cream. No Mexican restaurants, no Asian restaurants. Flying is terrifying. Imagine taking your child in a huge metal trap filled with anthrax. For us it's tiny peanut packages. (Even smelling peanut can be fatal.)

80% of the food I like to make is now off limits between the two allergies. Shane mentioned once he thought we should try being vegetarians for a while. I could scarce catch my breath I laughed so hard. Sure. Let's cut out wheat too. Just for kicks. I'll just serve you guys huge plates of unsalted broccoli with some gum on the side.

I'm trying to make this work. I've been trying to feed Collin soy cheese, but it smells like a dirty diaper and tastes about the same. I've gone through my cook books and found lot's of recipes that will work. The problem is, they all take a lot of effort. I'm a busy mom with two little kids. I want some of the easy stuff! (Though I still refuse to make frozen chicken nuggets. The thought makes me gag.)

Sorry. I just needed to get that out. I think I'll go eat a coconut milk ice cream bar to cheer me up. Or the stack of 25 chocolate bars taken from Lydia's halloween sack because they were "processed on equipment that also processes peanuts." ARGH!!!!

**************


Now- I thought I would answer the three questions everyone asks when food allergies are brought up.

1. Does anyone else in your family have allergies? 

               *** No. Neither Shane nor I nor anyone in our immediate families have food allergies.

2.  How did you find out about Lydia's allergy?

               *** When Lydia was 6 months old I was eating peanuts. She was crawling around in a diaper and I went to pick her up. Almost immediately her skin broke out into horrible hives. We took her to an allergist the next day and was diagnosed. We feel very blessed it happened this way as she is so allergic, she probably would not have survived her first contact with ingesting peanut. 

3. Will they out-grown them?

               *** Collin has a good chance of outgrowing his in the next few years. Lydia does not. Neither my allergist or my pediatrician have ever heard of someone out-growing their peanut allergy when it was as severe as Lydia's when diagnosed. They gave me about a 2% chance. Still praying for it though. Everyday.

23 comments:

Big Toe Mom said...

My baby looked like she was COVERED in 'ant bites' when I gave her a peanut butter cracker. I got the same diagnosis as you. at 15, she is doing so much better. so I will cross my fingers for you. this is just a horrible stage of mommyhood. smile. I wish I had some good ideas for you, instead its just a hug,

Kiley said...

I SO feel your pain! Allergies are SO frustrating and exhausting!!!
My Canon was diagnosed with allergies to milk, eggs and peanuts at 6 months (though I knew things were bad around 4 months just from his reaction to my milk with the various things I would eat). I am so happy to say that he has grown out of his milk and egg allergy already ... though I don't have much hope for the peanut since Jarom is also severely allergic to nuts... I think they told me 3% chance of him outgrowing the peanut allergy :(.
I used to LOVE to cook and just came to HATE it when all it seemed Canon could eat Chili and soy formula. HATE SOY FORMULA! I bought all sorts of Vegan stuff which tasted and smelled awful and he wouldn't even eat it. When he was around 18 months I had had enough and decided I wasn't going to let it drive me crazy. I took a gamble and would give him extremely small doses of milk and eggs here and there (though I didn't DARE to do peanuts because of its severity). I would give him bites of my cereal, bites of french toast, etc. Though he still won't drink milk by itself or eat an egg to save his life, he had completely grown out of these when we had him re-tested at 2. We now call him the Cereal Killer because it's his favorite thing to eat.
My latest gamble (and I always have zyrtec/benedryl and the epipen close by) is to not worry about the 'warnings' and only keep him away from stuff that actually contains the 'poison' - Jarom's even taken this route too and both seem ever so slightly more tolerant of being around peanuts (they still can't eat them at all, but us girls can have peanut butter toast from time to time as long as we are SO careful!)....
AND I'm starting to enjoy cooking again!

Amanda said...

There is no easy way to cook for a child with allergies. Sorry. Wish I had some good advice, but I slug it out everyday and have had more than one breakdown in the grocery store. My middle child is extremely allergic to peanuts. After Ella's first stay in the hospital (another child at school brought nut product to a party), we became hypervigilant about peanut exposure. Then again, watching my child be hooked to tubes and vents and iv's was the worst experience of my life. Then our Layton came along. He has Celiac disease and a corn allergy. Needless to say, nothing at our house is processed. I cook a LOT on the weekends and freeze, so it's easy to heat up during the week. I promise it does get easier. Do you have access to a nutritionist? For Layton, we see a nutrition group at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. They are wonderful!!! Lots of meal plans specifically for my children's needs. If I am curious about whether or not a food is safe, I email our nutritionist, and she will normally call me back within an hour or two. There are lots of things on a label that don't say "corn" but are actually corn derivatives, so they helped me learn to read labels.
Also, if you are able, consider joining FAAN. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. They send out monthly newsletters, have restaurant guides, cookbooks you can order, labels available for purchase. All kinds of great stuff. We bought a ton of labels that we use on all items that go to school and on items in the pantry that are not safe for Ella and Layton.
Ok, I have probably overloaded you with info. :)

Natalie Jane said...

Wow! Great advice ladies. Thank you!

Dionna said...

I can only imagine how much patience is needed with food allergies as diverse as your two kiddos have. Hang in there.

Brady and Berta said...

Both Cat and I have dairy allergies. If I ate even the smallest bite of cheese while I was nursing, she would immediately throw up. You are so right that dairy is in EVERYTHING! Plus, sending your child to any birthday party is a nightmare. She gets so sick of PB and J. She is finally starting to grow out of hers. She can know eat small amounts of dairy without being ill all over. Both of us still get a really upset tummy, a cough, and unreal amounts of grossness in our throats when we eat too much. You have hope that someday pizza will be back on the menu, just look out for Collin not liking it at that point.

Cynthia said...

My four year old is not allergic to food but is allergic to a lot of medicine. She has Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
I can only imagine having two babies being allergic to food! I feel for you! I hope things get better soon!
((((HUGS)))))

Anonymous said...

I hear you. We are gluten free now, due to my 3 year old daughter having Celiac. That means no wheat, oats, rye or barley. It's terrible not being able to just give my kid goldfish crackers, chicken noodle soup or even regular pretzels. We had to stop doing our favorite family restaurant brunch amidst other things, as well. But the worst is having her feel alienated from her friends whenever snacks, birthday cakes or any kind of food is brought out. We can't even do store bought play dough.

Lynda Mitchell said...

Please join us at kidswithfoodallergies.org! Registration is free and will give you access to all of our forums including our food & cooking forums where we share food ideas, recipes, help parents adapt recipes, and more! You don't have to do this alone! We're here to help. KFA is a nonprofit charity -our focus is on empowering parents with information and confidence to make their children's lives better.

Jessica Kok said...

My nephew had a peanut and a milk allergy. He did outgrow the peanut one at age 8 though. The milk one is looking like it will stick. My best friend's daughter is allergic to milk and eggs. Both kids are at my house a lot, so I had to learn too. It may always be a struggle, but it does get easier as they get older and you gain more knowledge. Keep trying different brands. I know that my nephew doesn't bat an eye at soy cheese. As with any kid and foods that they may initially reject, keep trying!

Michelle M. said...

Food allergies are SO frustrating. My four-yr-old has a nut allergy (all but almonds - which she usually can't eat anyways because they are usually processed w/ other nuts) AND I think she's allergic to milk. She was tested by an allergist but it came back negative for milk. But she's got really bad eczema, which is often caused by a food allergy but not detected by the allergist. So we are going through the no milk thing right now, too, to see if that's what is causing the eczema. SO HARD. Especially when quesadillas and cheese sandwiches have been a staple since she can't have PB & J. So I totally get your frustrations!!!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Nash in Raleigh NC is now offering treatments for peanut, egg, and milk allergies. You can follow a mom's blog whose son is going through the treatment on Facebook under "Peanut Allergy Cure". Anyone else heard about this? I would love to have my son get the treatments but we live so far away. However, this mom writing about the treatments lives in Cincinnati.

Nicole Smith said...

It is difficult to cook for children with food allergies and different allergies makes it even more challenging! From experience, I can tell you that you will find a new normal! My 19 year old daughter has wheat allergies; my 14 year old son has life threatening peanut, tree nut, sesame, fish and shellfish allergies. I've given up being able to prepare just one meal for everyone! The good news is that the kids have become great cooks.

My son writes a monthly article for my FREE newsletter at www.allergicchild.com to share about living with food allergies and living life to the fullest.

It does get easier!

Nicole Smith
AllergicChild.com

by Ashley Guinto said...

I KNOW EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL NAT!!!!!!!! Kadence is allergic to eggs and dairy (and my hubby nuts). I have actually started cooking more vegan food for her and especially with deserts. There are some outstanding, EASY recipes that don't call for any of the dairy. I make her, her very own 'kady cakes' to take to every bday party we go to because her heart shatters when she can't eat a piece of bday cake with her friends. So frustrating. Because she's still in her picky eating phase, we eat a lot of tater tots and homemade chx fingers...blah!! I am more than willing to swap recipes with you. Good luck.

Carrie said...

I'm so sorry. Collin's allergy is certainly a nuisance but Lydia's is terrifying. It is really hard not to be "normal" when it comes to mealtime! And you KNOW I know all about that. Abby's main foods are milk and baby purees. And she's two and a half. It stinks.

You'll get your cooking groove back, don't worry! It might just take awhile. Maybe we should partner in the new year to post some easy and healthy recipes-- ones that are nut and milk free!

xcdenke said...

I have to vent about flying on airplanes for you! WHY the HELL have they not adopted the "NO Peanut rules" on planes? It is pretty ridiculous. If some kid goes into anaphylactic shock on the plane you are stuck until you get to your destination. Scary for sure! So sorry love!

smilinggreenmom said...

I know the level of frustration you feel - I really really do. I am the mom of a food allergic child and he has several! We have to avoide dairy, eggs, nuts and a few more and yes - it has changed our life and the food we eat as a family. But the great news is that it's changed us for the better! We are so much more aware of what we consume now and eat lots of healthy fruits and veggies, and I do make my own treats. I have adapted our favorites and they taste so great - and once you have spent sometime doing this, it does get easier. I want to encourage you and let you know that your kids are so young still that they dont have what we adults have....where the taste of a food is "supposed" to taste. They will probably accept it as is and love it! Here's a great site/cookbook for ya http://www.foodallergymama.com/ and here's a link to my site all about our son and living green and healthy if you want to visit! The one thing that has helped our kids so much with food intolerances too and eczema has been his Belly Boost probiotics. Here's our story on Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/user/SmilingGreenMom?feature=mhum

I really hope all of this helps you get over the hump - it really does get easier! :) {{hugs}} Your a good mama!

jenny cruger said...

check out vegan recipes. you can always add your meat :) my new blog with recipes. (sorry so short, one handed typing)http://theothermcdiet.blogspot.com/

Lisa said...

I've been peeking at your blog for awhile now and wanted to mention a friend of mine who has 5 children --most of whom have food allergies: (peanuts, dairy, strawberries, etc). Here is her blog: www.richnshar.blogspot.com

While she doesn't really talk about the allergies on her blog, maybe you could contact her and get some ideas for recipes and for coping!!

Best of luck!

Amy F. said...

I'm so sorry for you. We've been blessed that our kids don't have allergies, but they are SO picky (like their dad) and I have shed many a tear of frustration over the lack of variety of things my kids will actually eat. They're getting a bit better as they get older and it's not life threatening so I'll count my blessings. Who knew it would be so hard to feed a family!!

Allergy Mum said...

I can 100% understand how you are feeling. My son has allergies to dairy, egg, peanut & tree nuts. It can be so frustrating trying to rework recipes to be safe for your MFA family. But for me it did get easier over time, but still every now & then it gets me depressed. Hang in there!
Allergy Mum - http://www.allergymum.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

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Just the Two of US said...

I work at an allergist as a nurse and this website is a good one to visit for food Allergies
www.foodallergy.org

great website!!

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