If you remember, I took a big break from blogging this summer. I didn’t really know why, but for some reason I just never seemed to get to it. I always have a million blog posts in my mind and only a few actually make it to the screen anyway. But over the summer, NOTHING made it to the blog. It never really occurred to me why until recently. I seemed to have once again taken a blogging break. It isn’t because I don’t love to blog. It isn’t because I don’t have a ton of ideas for posts. It is because once again my time has been consumed by adjusting our diet. I finally realized that I got sidetracked this summer because we decided to adjust Jack’s diet and go gluten-free. Then a few weeks ago we adjusted his diet even more. The result…a Mama obsessed with researching every gluten-free/dairy free blog I can find, trying new recipes and trying to figure out how to feed my family without going crazy!
Jack has been gluten-free and dairy light since June. We began adjusting his diet for behavioral reasons and found that the result was helpful on many fronts. After a few months, a reaction to gluten he accidentally ingested, a HORRIBLE appointment with his allergist, and much improved behavior, we felt like we were on the right path but not entirely there. So in September I started taking Jack to a MD who practices homeopathy. After a few appointments (which Travis think cost way too much and have way too little results), blood tests to determine that he was severely deficient in Vitamin D and Iron and a myriad of supplements, we decided to have a special allergy/food sensitivity test called ALCAT performed. Basically a blood sample was sent off and his white blood cells were exposed to 200 foods. Depending on how the cells reacted to the different foods, they classify Jack as having severe, moderate, minimal or no allergies/sensitivities to the foods. We got the results a few weeks ago and frankly they changed a lot for us. (NOTE– this test is something slightly unconventional that we decided to have performed. His sensitivity to these foods does not mean that he has an anaphylactic response to the foods. In fact, we may not have even noticed that he was having a potential reaction to the foods. I don’t want you to think that if he eats these things his throat is going to swell shut and we’ll be rushing to the emergency room. A side effect to having the food may be as little as a slight headache or runny nose or as severe as behavioral problems, upset stomach etc.)
So the results were kind of overwhelming. According to the test he is severely allergic/sensitive to carrots, cashews, rice, saffron, & scallops. Moderately allergic/sensitive to crab, eggplant, grapefruit, jalapeno pepper, liver, sesame, strawberries, trout & vanilla. Plus the gluten foods and oats and all dairy (cows, goats and sheep). He is minimally allergic/sensitive to almonds, anise seed, apple, apricot, avocado, black pepper, black & green tea, brazil nuts, cabbage, cantaloupe, cayenne pepper, cumin, duck, honeydew melon, hops, liquorice, maple sugar, mint, mussels, navy beans, papaya, parsley, pistachio, pumpkin, sage, snapper, swordfish, walnut & watercress. This means that those foods can only be eaten on a 4 day rotation. This means that we have entirely removed the severe and moderate foods from his diet and are limiting the other foods to the 4 day rotation or less. The poor kid was eating tons of carrots, rice, strawberries, vanilla & almonds. Most commercially prepared gluten-free foods use rice flour and almond flour as a substitute for wheat. This means that there is virtually no prepared snack foods that Jack can eat. While this isn’t a bad thing entirely, it does make it difficult to take quick snacks places. Jack will be on this diet for 6 months and then we will start adding foods back in one at a time. If he doesn’t show any reaction to a food then we will slowly move on to another and see where it takes us. There is a great chance that he’ll be able to eat virtually all of the offending foods, just not right now.
At first I was completely overwhelmed and felt like I had no idea where to start. But after a few days of searching and reading blogs, I feel better. I have already successfully prepared homemade gluten-free, dairy free, rice free bread in my bread machine, rolls, & chocolate cupcakes with frosting. Last week we did well with dinners at home and I’m hoping to expand the vegetables that Jack will eat. This really means that we are basically on a whole foods diet– meat, fruits, vegetables. Dry snacks are pretty much a thing of the past for Jack. And honestly, for the most part for all of us. I’m not preparing a million different foods each meal, so pretty much everyone eats what Jack can eat. This is hardest on Travis because he is the last of us to attempt the gluten free thing. Garrett and I have been essentially gluten and dairy free since September. I cheat occasionally but not often. I’m truly feeling better and notice a difference in how I feel when I have gluten. Garrett’s bad skin and horrible cradle cap have improved drastically since I limited our dairy. Seems that in hindsight a dairy sensitivity may have been the culprit in G’s reflux…or in the very least a contributing factor.
So food is my life right now. Blogging has been an afterthought. Though I have been spending a lot of time on blogs, they just happen to all be gluten-free food blogs. And by the way, there are some amazing food blogs out there. I’m trying great new recipes and learning tons. I always thought I was a pretty good baker but there are some phenomenal bakers out there. Baking is one thing, baking good gluten-free food is whole other talent. I think I’m brushing up on my chemistry and learning how different elements in a recipe effect how food turns out. It is pretty crazy. Two weeks ago I was feeling like our life was never going to be the same. Now I’m feeling like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And the best part is we see great results in Jack every single day. If you ever wondered how diet can effect you, it is in more ways than many people ever imagine!