Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The ups and downs of food allergies

I haven't tried any new recipes in a while, but later today I plan on doing some chocolate cupcake experimenting. My little girl's birthday is this weekend and I want to make sure my little guy has a safe treat too! He's really loving chocolate lately, so I think a chocolate cupcake is in order. I'll be sure to post whatever works!

Since I last posted there have certainly been some ups and downs when in comes to food allergies. Little C wasn't supposed to have another checkup with his allergist until April, but it's been moved up to later this month, so I'm hoping to get my thoughts together for the appointment with this post.

The bad:
#1 In mid November we discovered these crackers at our local grocery store. Amazed to find a new safe cracker, I let my little guy try them and he LOVED them. Devoured almost the entire box in one afternoon. And less than 24 hours later was very clearly having a definite reaction.

I called the company that next day when he was reacting, to see if they changed the maltodextrin that was clearly stated on the box "from tapioca" to corn, and they insisted that nothing had changed. C's been eating this company's brown rice snaps since that was almost his only solid food, so I do trust them. I don't know what happened. We re-trialed the crackers (a different box) an he did NOT have a reaction to them, so my only idea is that the previous box was cross-contaminated with something from of their flavored cracker lines. (Maybe the bbq variety?)

#2 Then while we were on vacation I gave him chicken that seemed to be safe, but turned out not to be. I'm not sure what it had on it that he reacted to.

#3 I bought the wrong box of tea and picked up a kind that had "essence of lemon." C is used to sneaking a sip of my glass of iced tea and he did when I'd made a pitcher of tea using 1/2 "lemon" bags. Almost another week of reacting.

And here's where the reactions just start running in to one another...
#4 I bought a case of juice boxes to send in to preschool for snacktime and foolishly left the shrink-wrapped case on the kitchen floor. He pried a straw off the side of one box and then poked through several boxed of citrus and berry fruit punch. The strawberry was a problem for sure & I already suspected orange would be a problem.

#5 A bowl with a few dry chocolate Cheerios was left unattended on the kitchen table. He quickly swiped it. Not sure how many he ate.

#6 Unattended cup of cow's milk left on the kitchen table another day, also grabbed.

Somewhere in there was also a stomach virus.

I feel like there were other reactions in there too, but I cannot remember what they were. I got suspicious about all sorts of cross-contamination, so nearly everything was suspect really. When he has successive reactions it takes a lot longer to recover, but finally, just after New Year's he started to get back to normal.  That was nearly 6 weeks straight sick.

When he is in a reaction I have to put him on an even more restricted diet (under the advisement of his allergist). It's basically the BRAT diet, but modified for him. His GI system is flared and he has trouble digesting anything, so no fatty foods, no red meat, and I've discovered no grapes. Mainly when reacting he eats nonstop rice products and apples, and when he's a little better I let him have oats, chicken and turkey too.

During this time I did take him in for a check-up with his pediatrician and confirmed that he'd lost a 1/2 pound from his last recorded weight in October.

The good:
By mid-January C had been healthy for just about 2 weeks. I'd slowly introduced his favorites back into his diet: soy yogurt, coconut milk, beef & bison, grapes and even retrialled those suspect rice crackers without incident. We visited his GI doctor and he weighed in at an amazing 30 pounds! He not only regained the lost weight, he gained back more, putting him at the 50th percentile for weight for his age. An amazing thing considering he used to be under the 3rd percentile.

(I consider that proof that you can get fat on rice cakes!)

Recent good & bad: 
Since C was doing so much better I decided to finally trial something new. Sunflower seeds aka Sunbutter. I'd intended to try it a long while ago and even included in on one his scratch tests but never had the nerve to feed it to him. But his skin looked great and he wasn't having any GI trouble, so we tried it. He wasn't a fan, but he did eat a little bit which is a big step, and didn't show any immediate reaction or GI reaction! But his ezcema did flare a bit in the following days, so I'm not sure what to think.  The allergist wants to me bring along all recent suspect food to the next appt for fresh food scratch testing, so I'll bring it too I guess. 


I'd planned on doing a product feature of one of little C's favorite things, but called the company this morning to ask them a question (I wanted to clarify before recommending) and now I'm left a bit uncomfortable. Considering just how often I was buying it, I'm really disappointed. Another case of "your family should probably not consume our product." I appreciate their truthfulness when I called, but aarrrgggghhh!!! Now I wonder if cross-contaimination from their product contributed to some of his trouble . Basically small companies don't have the $ to keep everything clean or isolated from cross contamination and big companies that could afford to, won't dare disclose their proprietary information and don't want you to buy from them anyway.


  1. I came across your blog from your link of Cybele Pascal's website. Reading your frustration I can totally relate. I have a son who is 3 and is barely 30lbs and suffers from multiple food allergies very similar to your sons. Going from being allowed to eat a product that is consumed a lot, then not being able to eat it anymore is SO disappointing. Sunbutter was our most recent culprit and has now been taken off my son's diet :( Food allergies are the worst, but as you know you are NOT alone! :)