Tbt – Coconut Milk Food Challenge (Take 1)

It was March 4, 2015.  The day that I had internally dreaded and battled for weeks and weeks now had arrived. Today would be TJ’s first food challenge where he would ingest coconut for the first time.

COCONUT

But before we recap that day, what is a food challenge?

According to Foodallergy.org, an oral food challenge is a highly accurate diagnostic test for a food allergy.” It is done with an allergist at a medical facility due to the potential risk of an allergic reaction. See more here: 

Oral Food Challenge – Resource 1

FOOD CHALLENGES

(Check out the link below for this awesome resource…)

Oral Food Challenge – Resource 2

(Source: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/)


Since TJ was 10 months and allergic to most varieties of milk (almond, soy, cow’s, goat, oat, coconut), we were trying to figure out what route to take after I stopped breastfeeding. I do not regret for one second doing that crazy strict elimination diet from December through June to continue breastfeeding as I know that it was best for TJ’s health and safety during that time. However, we prayed that TJ’s body would mature and be able to thrive on another option as well. I could not breastfeed forever.

Therefore, his doctors analyzed his blood work to devise a plan. To complicate matters, testing for allergies via blood work is not always accurate. People can have false negatives and false positives within their results. (For more about blood tests and its accuracy, click here.) Because of his dermographism, skin testing is not an option right now. His skin reacts to many substances due to being hyper-sensitive, not only due to allergies. According to blood work IgE levels, coconut was his lowest level of his allergies.  Therefore, in theory, he had the least chance of having a reaction to coconut.

(Despite that, it is important to note that there is ALWAYS a chance of a mild or even severe reaction at any level. With an IgE level of 0.6, I was never told to eliminate coconut from my diet during the six months of the elimination diet.   Our doctor, allergists, and nutritionist all agreed, this was PROBABLY not a true allergy.)

Click here to see my post on Allergy Classification.

Still I did not find comfort in the “probably.” Actually, I’ve never found comfort in the “probablys” in life. (Ask my parents…  I drove them crazy growing up, insisting on a “definitely” if I was ever told “probably.” Now, I am still that same persistent self…. my poor husband … )

EMBARASSED

Anyways, I prayed and prayed that God would guide us and protect TJ.

FAITH 10

On the morning of the challenge, TJ woke up and he nursed like usual. After feeding for a few minutes, he unlatched and puked all over.  This had never happened before even before our elimination diet. This was different. It was not allergy related. It was his first stomach bug. The food challenge had to be postponed, and later cancelled until further testing.

I took it as a sign back then that his body wasn’t ready for any food challenges and that we would wait until his allergies were retested around his first birthday to come up with a plan.  For me, the exact timing of the stomach bug was not a coincidence. Instead, it confirmed that this was indeed God’s way of protecting TJ and showing us not to put him in the food challenge back in early March.   How amazing is that!

god is good

4 months later (in July)…

After his first birthday, TJ passed both a soy and pea oral food challenge. He was and continues to do wonderfully with both. It was recommended that he also participate in a coconut milk challenge then at 14 months old.  This time around I was not as worried as I had been in the past.  His body seemed to be making such progress with allergies. But we would soon learn why that word probably is often used…

TJ’s blood IgE level for soy was higher than coconut ever was. He passed soy and consumes it every day since. However, his body would reject coconut milk and cause him to mildly vomit and develop an itchy mouth when he went on to challenge it with his allergist. Therefore, despite levels, coconut is a true allergy and soy may have never been.  It is either crazy frustrating or fascinating … but all depends how you chose to look at it. All of this drove me crazy for awhile but now I accept it as part of this world of food allergies…

Looking back, I truly believe TJ would have had a worse reaction to coconut if he had challenged it back in March. Thank God for that “”perfectly-timed” stomach bug… . Never thought I’d say that

Most importantly, thank God for protecting him not only that day but every day, giving us more reasons to smile on even if it is without coconut…


What are your thoughts on or experiences with food challenges?  

Looking back, has anything negative like a stomach bug ever come at the “perfect” time for you?

 I’d love to hear what you have to say. 

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15 thoughts on “Tbt – Coconut Milk Food Challenge (Take 1)

  1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

    Thank you for reading and your comment. Yes, coconut is definitely a less common allergy, but shows up in sooo many places.

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  2. Kirsten Toyne

    We would love our son to be able to have coconut too but it is one we are nervous about trying. It is never an easy thing to do. I am glad he his looking so happy and healthy. It does make life more difficult having multiple food allergies but as long as they are healthy it is okay. There are upsides too! Thanks for sharing. Kirsten

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    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      I couldn’t agree with you more. A healthy and happy is all that matters. I totally understand being nervous to introduce new foods. What allergies are you dealing with? Thanks for sharing and stopping by 😄

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  3. Picking Up Toys

    My daughter has soy milk as she has a dairy allergy,I have never thought about trying coconut though!I find it frustrating though that my Dr is very nonchalant about it all and she has never been formally tested. #picnmix

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    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      We use soy as well now. I’ve also heard great things about hemp milk but haven’t tried it. Soy works well here so we will just stick with that for now. That’s frustrating. How does he monitor if she’s outgrown it? … How did you find out about the dairy allergy ? Thanks for sharing 😄

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    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you! =) Our fingers are crossed that this week opens up some new doors of new foods. =)

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  4. DomesticatedMomster

    I am so thankful that my kids, so far, have never shown any signs of food allergies. It’s so strange how common it is now days to hear about all these allergies and it really makes me wonder what has changed so much from when I was a kid with the process in which they make stuff. Scary to think about it really. Thank you for sharing this with #momsterslink.

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  5. Jenny @ Let's Talk Mommy

    Oh it’s tough going through the various food challenges. We are constantly doing this with my son and he is highly (deadly) allergic to nuts and eggs so its’ been a long few years of it now. Wish you the best of luck and passing. 🙂 Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great round. #sharewithme

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    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thanks for posting and sharing. Food challenges definitely involve quite the wide range of emotions. I hope that your son outgrows his allergies and that the severity of them improves with time. I definitely plan to link up again. =)

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  6. acornishmum

    My eldest used to get chronic eczema and his triggers were dairy and citrus fruits so we avoided both, he was fine with soya luckily and as he;s got older he can now cope with his old triggers in moderation, but he hates the taste of normal milk now! Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix
    Stevie x

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    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your son’s experience with allergies. Glad that there have been improvements as he has gotten older. I have frequently heard of the “not liking the taste of foods previously allergic to” thing. For example, my husband was allergic to eggs as a baby and child. For many years, he did not like eggs and would not eat them. Now, he is very picky about how he will eat them and rarely does.

      We are hopeful that with time my son will outgrow all or most of these allergies. Thanks again! =)

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  7. Mummyandmonkeys

    Hi nice to read about your challenges as we face the same with our little girl. She is currently as far as we know ige to dairy, soya, egg and banana. We have yet found out about peanuts. We are having allergy tests next month which I am dreading before beginning the food trials. Great that your little one is doing well with the soya and pea. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix

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    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you for hosting! Good luck with testing and food trials. Sending prayers your way that you receive positive news regarding your cutie’s allergies. =)

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