Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Food Sensitivity Update: Oy!


So, it looks like we've got quite a lot of food sensitivities around here. I took Henry (age 5) and Tate (age 3) to the Wellness Clinic at People's Pharmacy to be tested. I wanted to test Henry because he has issues with self-regulation and calming, and I wanted to get Tate tested because he has eczema on his arms and face, and I didn't want to start applying steroid cream like his pediatrician recommended. 

It turns out that the test revealed food sensitivities that might be connected to the issues they are having. Henry needs to eliminate eggs, gluten, peanuts, and pineapple. A sensitivity to gluten in particular is very connected to the issues Henry is having. He needs to minimize dairy and soy.

Tate needs to eliminate citrus, milk/whey, and pineapples. He needs to minimize dairy (especially cheese), gluten, soy, and peanuts. The milk is most likely connected to his eczema. 

I'm not going to lie about the fact that these recommendations cause me heart palpitations, especially given the struggles I've been having to put meals on our table. Not to mention breakfast, snacks, and lunch! 

I honestly don't think I can remain a vegetarian in a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free house. I've been a vegetarian for 16 years primarily because there was very little ethical production of meat happening 16 years ago. Now I still don't eat ethical meat because of its impact on the environment. 

I get teary-eyed thinking about the things that we should eliminate from our lives that have brought us much joy: donuts from our favorite neighborhood shop, milkshakes from various places all over Austin, Amy's Ice Cream, queso, homemade wheat bread from my favorite recipe, and veggie burgers with soft buns.

I kind of want to get Matt and me tested, but I also kind of don't want to know. 

Having a sensitivity doesn't mean we can't have it at all; but we should completely eliminate these things while Tate is trying to heal his eczema and Henry is trying to restore his gut, which is estimated to take 8-12 months. 

This is definitely a relatively small program in the scheme of the world's problems, but it's still making my heart a little sad right now. 

Photo courtesy of Hank + Tank Photography (it's Matt!)


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12 comments:

Amy said...

Have you considered taking the boys to an allergist? There is very little peer reviewed scientific evidence supporting IgG food sensitivity testing. In fact I often, the results will vary wildly depending on the lab running the test. You may want to seriously investigate the science (or lack of) behind the testing before further complicating your already very busy life. I'd be happy to link some journal articles if you are interested.

BethanyBoo said...

I wonder if there's a service out there that will put together some meal plans given a bunch of restrictions? That does sound tough.

Alycia said...

I agree with Amy's comments above. What does the pediatrician say about this? I wonder how calm any five year old will be when you say no more ice cream or milkshakes or donuts or even eggs and you are still stressed about what to cook? Don't make things harder.

Katie Z said...

This is so hard! One good resource may be the Conscious Cleanse and the associated cookbooks and resources. This is a food sensitivity cleanse geared toward both vegetarians and non vegetarians designed to become a life style and it cuts virtually all the allergies you mentioned (plus a few). The recipes are quick and easy and the book itself has great life style hints that I found helpful. Plus they offer the opportunity to join a community so that you can have support (similar to the model you use with purposeful pregnancy/conception). It may be a way to jumpstart this life style change and to feel supported. I do it regularly and have had tons of friends do it, many of whom make it a lifestyle. I was a youth mentor with one of the women who started it and have enjoyed watching her vision of health and vitality bloom much like I've watched your school bloom!

Also, one quick excema recommendation. Eucerine excema applied after bath is a pretty awesome alternative to steroids until the food changes kick in!

Good luck!

Luisa said...

You might check out the Whole30 cookbooks as well or do a quick search for Whole30 compliant recipes online, as those do not contain any grains, dairy, legumes, or added sugars. Good luck!

Rebecca said...

At least you have a starting point - hopefully everything that gets better will make room for the difficulties of food planning and preparation. I personally think food elimination doesn't hurt to try and does not need to be under the guidance of a physician if you maintain a well-balanced diet for everyone.

Try not to dwell on the things you won't be able to do anymore and have fun potentially finding even better replacements. A quick search shows that Amy's Ice Cream does have dairy free fruit ices (most of the time my 5-year old chooses the dairy free sorbets at our local place already) and it doesn't look close to you but coconut based ice cream at Lick sounds amazing! Maybe you can replace donuts with brownie bites from Counter Culture (they have donuts holes but they contain pineapple). Queso is a tough one, but there are tons of other options for bread and you could even test your current recipe with different gf flours and might find one that works (my MIL has started to use potato flour as her substitute, I'm not sure if she tried straight bread yet but she used it in other recipes with great success).

Mismikado said...

I have so many food issues myself! As regards allergist testing comments above, I'm on the fence about the productiveness of seeing an allergist. A couple years ago I finally went to an allergist for a full panel test since I break out in hives and swell with certain foods and the results were that I have no allergies. Or specifically that I have "Non-IgE mediated food allergies" that "cannot be tested for". This diagnosis is very frustrating since I clearly have problems with things like eggs, dairy, mango, cinnamon, potatoes, onions, etc as evidenced by the hives, rashes, and swelling I experience when eating them and only have gotten better via elimination. It's definitely very frustrating a big lifestyle changer. One tip I'll through out is try Ben & Jerry's Non-Dairy Ice Cream. It's made with cashew (or almond) milk and is seriously the only non-dairy ice cream ice found that tastes like the real stuff!

mamarunsmiles.com said...

I'd second the suggestion to visit an allergist, preferably a pediatric allergist.

Anthropolochic said...

These are stressful results. I'm so sorry.

I do, however, agree with Amy. Peer-reviewed research on IgG-based food sensitivity testing is minimal and all over the map. In the case of the eczema in particular, it might be very useful to see an allergist. Thing is, eczema involves many immune cell types signaling uncontrollably and making a soup of pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Once an outbreak gets rolling it doesn't need outside stimuli to keep going. For someone who is inherently prone, the trigger doesn't have to be an allergen. It can be endogenous. If someone is having a continuous, single, uncomplicated outbreak the fastest, least harm approach to stopping the signaling involved is to uniformly down-regulate the pro inflammatory signaling. As you know, that's typically done through short-term application of a weak topical cortico-steroid. The effect is localized. It literally tells Th2, eosinophils, mast and any other cells that might be involved to knock off over-active pro-inflammatory signaling. The cells get the message, and, unless the cases is severe, normal signaling resumes, eczema goes away. Inflammation like that leads to tissue remodeling over time, and can contribute to future outbreaks so its important to tamp overt signaling as quickly as possible.

If a localized steroid effect doesn't sit well with you and the case is mild, and being propelled in part by, say, new skin exposure to air, people sometimes have luck with the direct application of glycerin. Spectro makes a little creme for kids for this purpose. I'm sure you know this already, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

All of this to say, that's how that particular condition operates. I don't envy you the position of having to intervene and manage it, especially if it is severe. Certainly, the unpredictability inherent to having two kids come back with positive test results that could require lots of lifestyle reorganization is stressful. Best wishes to you while you navigate these issues with self-regulation and skin inflammation.

Thais said...

I'm sorry you got some rough news. We are vegan with kids and there are wonderful coconut-based ice creams out there, and cashew ones as well! Even ben and jerrys makes some sold at Target now. Also, Follow Your Heart makes sliced cheese, I adore their mozzarella and it tastes nearly identical to real cheese. Daiya shredded cheese is great, and many pizza places have it as an option as well as most whole foods. There is also an amazing vegan cream cheese by Kite Hill I think is the brand, almost the same as normal or even better. Of course you can make popsicles at home with coconut or almond milk and fruits too. I think you can definitely do it and still be vegetarian! There are all these cheeses I mentioned, and you can eat more rice, corn, and potatoes instead of wheat. Mexican food is super easy- get corn tortillas, corn nacho chips, rice and beans, and use the daiya shredded cheese :)

Rachel said...

I would question the validity of "Food Sensitivity" and agree with others that seeing a pediatric allergist would be beneficial. These test results seems really questionable scientifically and like a hardship you're bringing on yourself to try to address issues that may or may not be connected to the so-called sensitivities at all. Are the issues you're trying to correct impacting your life more severely than the impact of trying to eliminate all of these things from your life (the paragraph in which you describe all of the fun things you do as a family)?

Sara E. Cotner said...

Thank you, All! I'm sorry my week completely swamped me and prevented me from responding to your awesome comments!

I understand that this form of testing isn't the most reliable, but it was interestingly very aligned to each of the issues they are facing. It feels worth it to try eliminating these things for a while and to see if we notice a difference.

I'll check out the suggestions you mentioned!

I'm in a better place now that I've put some days between the diagnosis and where we are now--eager to see how all of our bodies feel when we take out gluten and dairy!

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