I began this blog after much consideration. What finally prodded me to begin was an encounter that I had with a woman in the local grocery store. I looked up to see her staring at the food in the health food section with a rather overwhelmed look on her face. She had some almond milk and a couple of other items in her cart. I slipped next to her to get something from the shelf before her; and asked her if she was on a special diet. She said she had just started eating gluten free about two month before. What struck me was the look of consternation on her face. I remember that same confused, overwhelmed, panic feeling that I felt the first time I went shopping to find food for our just then diagnosed 3 yr old son. With all the limitations the allergy testing showed he needed in his diet, how did I feed him? Thankfully, I have a loving Father God who showed me how, directed me to people and websites that equipped me to become comfortable in dealing with feeding a child with complex multiple food allergies. I had great joy in showing her some of the products we had had success with and pointing her toward some other items that she might find useful for her diet.
So to back up, our journey into dealing with food allergies began at the beginning of 2010 with seeking out an allergist for our 3 yr old son. Prior to that he had a history of amorphous symptoms which the pediatrician would always say was nothing and that he was okay. I was continually brushed off as my concerns for him were due to being an over protective parent.
But I KNEW that there was something NOT normal going on in my child. His natural personality was sweet, compliant (mostly), gentle and calm. But he would have fits of rage, screaming over everything, constant night cryings, unexplained recurrent fevers, constant sinus drainage, recurrent ear infections, sleep disturbances, ear flushing, black circles under his eyes, little to no appetite, little to no weight gain or growth (he grew 1/4 inch & gained 1/2 lb from age 2 to age 3). All of this was handled by his pediatrician by simply putting him on an antihistamine and referring us to an ENT.
The ENT investigated more fully and after about three months scheduled him for adenoid removal and tubes in his ears. When they did a hearing test before the surgery, he had 80% blockage of his adenoids and had considerable hearing impairment. Following the surgery his hearing improved dramatically along with his speech (which was already way above normal development) and he started to sleep better and stopped having the fevers... for a while. Then the fevers started returning and the sleep disturbances began once again, not to mention all the other symptoms that still plagued him.
At the recommendation of a friend, we took our son to a local allergist in January of 2010. The allergist talked with me for an hour. After getting his medical history and all of my observations, she removed dairy from his diet, started him on digestive enzymes and probiotics, and scheduled him for the skin tests. We waited for two weeks while he got off of antihistamines and then they tested him for 64 allergens (food and environmental).
I had expected that he would be allergic to some things, but I was astounded when the panel results came back. He had considerable food allergies and some environmental. The foods he tested allergic to totaled 34 in all! They sent me home with a little pamphlet explaining food rotation diet and told me to return the next week for his allergy shot serum.
The magnitude of it all didn't hit me until I got home and needed to feed my dear son lunch. I had to make him a smoothie with the allowed fruits and some apple juice and rice protein. I felt like I had just begun having to starve my kid!
Thankfully, I have a friend (first one I ever met) who has similar food allergies on such a large scale. I called her and said "How do you rotate 34 foods!!!" Of course her practical advice was to say "you don't". She began to lay out for me how to rotate the low allergen foods and remove completely the high allergen foods. After that I went to the store armed with the information and thinking I was prepared to be able to take this on. NOT!!!
I stood in the grocery store and felt panic and a feeling of being overwhelmed with a lump in my throat ready to cry. I spent 100 bucks and came back with a little bag of groceries. I stood in my kitchen and cried out to God. "Lord you gave me this child and all of his challenges, show me how to feed him!!!!" And my ever faithful Lord did just that. He gave me ideas on what to combine and how to make each meal for my child and still feed the other four people in our family properly too and not go broke doing it. Today it feels so simple and easy and not complicated, but back then starting off it felt so daunting.
So that is why I have started this blog. For those in the midst of dealing with food allergies or those at the beginning, feeling overwhelmed. I hope that my recipes, ideas, and experiences will be helpful and be a vehicle for you to become comfortable with a new way of cooking and eating. It is possible and doesn't have to be expensive.