Don’t you love how parents give each other the best advice? After one of those kind of parent chats yesterday, I realized I hadn’t shared some of my hard-earned tips for feeding a child who we recently discovered is allergic to EVERYTHING and super picky to boot.
JJ is allergic to the following: dairy (milk/cheese), soy, tree nuts, peanuts, and eggs. She’s intolerant to: gluten, coconut, papaya, and cashews. (And, I keep her away from corn since it’s inflammatory and usually GMO.)
We didn’t know about her allergies until another mom (again, thanks to good mom friends!) shared about her own daughter’s allergy shiners being her ONLY symptom of severe allergies — huge black circles under her eyes. That plus my daughter’s worsening tummy troubles made me go visit an immunologist / allergist to see if allergies were a possible cause.
We first got her tested with the traditional IGG skin prick on the back and then did more detailed blood tests at National Jewish Hospital and a naturopathic doctor. She was reactive to everything, not just foods. It was overwhelming. But it’s getting easier with practice. (She is currently getting allergy shots for the environmental allergies and is already on her maintenance dose.)
Foods My Picky, Allergic Girl Eats
Feeding this kid became a LOT of trial and error and unfortunately, a lot of tossing of food fails. Finally, we’ve found what she can and will eat. And I want to share that with you.
Important Brain Function Note: JJ is developing her midbrain with crawling. She was an early walker (10 months) and at the time I didn’t realize that not crawling meant not developing her midbrain! The midbrain development is SO important so the prefrontal cortex doesn’t get overloaded. Underdeveloped midbrains, among other things, means sensitivity to food textures. So the floor work she’s doing as assigned to us at Brain Highways is developing her underdeveloped mid-brain and dramatically improving her sensitivity to food textures. She’s done about 30 hours of crawling so far that has made a HUGE difference in her eating life.
Based on the recommendation of her acupuncturist, we watch her sugar and try to have her eat an alkaline diet. She goes to acupuncture 1 – 2 x a week. (It’s only moderately helping.)
Not only that, she’s struggled with constipation and digestion so fiber, good fats, and water are all an additional big part of her diet.
Also, we only eat organic.
Unfortunately, she’s still struggling with tummy aches which tells me we haven’t figure out the root of the problem quite yet — just treating the symptoms. I’m excited because next week we get the test results from our new functional doctor!! He will help us get to root issue of her fatigue, tummy troubles, and in my opinion, lack of nutrient absorption.
Daily Meals and Snacks
lunch: smoothie with protein powder, fruit, rice milk, and green powder from Greens First
After trying a kazillion vegan (not dairy) protein powders, she found she liked the Arbonne vanilla pea protein powder best. (I personally love the Isagenix chocolate or vanilla vegan pea protein powder but she doesn’t like it as much.) To keep the sugar low we use frozen GREEN bananas and just a few strawberries.
dinner: brown rice or quinoa pasta with dairy free, soy free butter, organic roasted chicken, and carrots
homemade rice tortilla chips with guacamole
I use brown rice tortillas, cut them, fry in ghee (emulsified so it’s okay for dairy allergies) or avocado oil. To make the guacamole, I just mash up an avocado and add a little salt and little lime juice.
English cucumbers peeled and sliced
homemade banana muffins or zucchini bread (I cut the sugar, use egg replacements, use dairy-free, soy-free butter, and sub gluten-free flour for regular flour.)
veggie juice (my husband juices almost every day, usually including carrots, celery, spinach, parsley, cucumber, and apple using a Breville Juicer)
In the Fridge
fruit and veggies (all pre-cut except apples)
homemade baked snacks
(We don’t buy pre-made gluten free breads because they generally have eggs and soy.)
In the Pantry
veggies chips or veggie straws (365 brand usually)
Monte Bene Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce (she doesn’t love tomatoes but this is what we use occasionally – love that it’s low sugar)
NOTE: We must also keep a close eye on other products to be sure they’re free of her allergens. For instance, shampoo, lotion, and vitamins. (We just found that the vitamins her former naturopath prescribed were made with coconut oil!!)
I make mistakes all the time –like finding out that something I’ve been giving her contains soy or another allergen. Lucky for me, she’s very in tune with what she’s allergic to and helps me as much as I help her.
I don’t strive for perfect otherwise I’d be a huge stress case. My motto is to do the best I can every day. And to do better than the day before.
Like Maya Angelou said, ‘once you know better you do better.’ It’s a process.
Does this help? I hope so!
Leave me your questions and suggestions in the comments — I can’t wait to hear your experiences, too.