Category Archives: Elimination Diet

From Obvious to Hidden Allergens – Common Toddler Foods

When I think of toddlers and young children, there are some foods that I view of as staples. Many of these common snacks, TJ cannot have yet due to his allergies.  Aside from the obvious ones like yogurt, yogurt bites, and cheese sticks…


There are a bunch of others that contain milk, wheat, or some of the other allergens that some people, including myself may not have known before this.


  1. Cheerioscontains wheat & oats


2. Rice Krispiescontains malt flavoring which is usually made from the gluten grain, barley


3. Goldfish – (although made with smiles)contains wheat and dairy


4. RITZ Crackerscontains wheat and barley

(It also contains soy but TJ can eat soy now.)


This is an excellent resource about hidden dairy in products for all ages.



These are just some of the common yummy toddler snacks that TJ cannot yet have.   However, we have faith that he will one day be able to try these delicious products.  In the meantime, we are very thankful all of the products TJ can safely snack on now and as he continues to get older.  For now, we must look at the bright side.  TJ has one of the healthiest diet ever so with that positive thought, we snack and smile on …


Art Supplies

Through this entire experience, I have become extremely thankful for other moms with blogs out there. (And dads that may have them but I just haven’t found them yet.) The information you have shared is beyond helpful.


With that being said, here is such a helpful one about gluten-free art supplies that we will be using all year long. =)

Gluten Free Art Supplies

“Manufactured on Dairy Equipment” – (Reposted from May 22)

Today, I woke up feeling even more confident and positive about the introduction of soy to TJ’s diet.  The plan was to add 1 ounce of Nature One’s Baby’s Only Organic Soy Formula for toddlers to his 11:30 am bottle.   Then, tomorrow, we would add 2 ounces and so on until this bottle is solely the soy formula.   However, as I prepped his lunch, I noticed the label of the formula stated “U – Pareve Ingredients – Manufactured on Dairy Equipment.”  WHAT!?!?!?!

From everything that I have been told, foods with this label are not safe for people with food allergies.   Since TJ is allergic to dairy, a label like this means cross-contamination is possible.   However, why did both an allergist and a nutritionist tell us to use this formula? I sent the information to my husband who then emailed both allergists, the nutritionist, and our pediatrician.

While we wait to hear back from all of them, we used organic soy milk instead.   I mixed 1.5 ounces with 4 ounces of breast milk in a bottle.   However, he only drank about 3 ounces because he has been eating a lot of food today! Yay!!!

  • Breakfast – a banana and jar of apples mixed with a lot of buck wheat
  • Lunch – a turkey meatball (that we now make with buck wheat, sweet potatoes, and canola oil and TJ seems to enjoy much more)- squash and sweet potatoes and then some blueberries with apples and buck wheat

It is a great relief that he is starting to eat more solids and his chewing has also improved a lot in the past week. Hoping that this will all help to increase his hemoglobin/iron levels.

Earlier in the week, I had left a message with a representative at Organics Happy Family about their products.   I had found the following link that lists the allergies present in each of their products.   However, I also saw that on their rice cakes, it mentioned that it was “produced on equipment that also handles soy and milk.” I noticed this as TJ ate one of the rice cakes and loved it! I wanted to check to see if this is the same with their puffs that he loves and eats daily. There was nothing on the label but I wanted to double check.   According to this chart, both puffs and the rice cakes we purchased contain none of the top allergens which includes dairy.

Right after I discovered the formula label, a representative from Happy Family called and said that all of their products including the puffs are manufactured on equipment that also handles dairy and other allergens.   However, they don’t put that on their labels because it is not required by law.   (Only in Europe where the rice cakes are produced is that required by law.) However, they follow strict cleaning and testing codes before packaging products to make sure that they are free of the allergens that they have listed on the chart above. Why is this all so complicated!?!

So now, we will just smile and laugh on at how confusing the world of food allergies is as we wait to hear back from our doctors….

The Confusing World of Food Allergies (Reposted from May 18-19)

May 18

We went to a nutritionist and allergist #2 at Mount Sinai.   Since we were there already for the nutritionist, we decided to review TJ’s latest blood work with her. It was an all afternoon visit, getting there around 2 and not getting home until after 7.   However, we got a lot of promising, encouraging advice and guidance.

1) To start,  the next step was to ask our Allergist #1 to do a soy milk challenge instead of coconut milk challenge on this Wednesday (TOMORROW!!!! ugh!!!)  This was because Allergist #2 is 99.9% sure he will tolerate soy which will open up his diet a lot!  Soy was a 1.1 (level 2 allergy) and coconut milk was a 0.6 on allergy scale (level 1 allergy). However, she said kids pass the soy milk challenge with a higher number than 1.1 which means they can drink and eat soy products.

2) Allergist #2 also said that it is a great sign peanuts, soy, and sesame all went down.  Once again she thinks wheat and oat ( gluten ) may not be a true allergies and instead TJ may tolerate them. After a soy challenge, she suggests we line up a coconut milk challenge and wheat one. Then if he passes the wheat, she advised to set up a baked egg one. (Egg is his second highest allergy.)

3) She wants me to continue to add wheat to diet since all I have added back since December is regular wheat pizza from our favorite pizzeria nearby and I only eat this once a week. She also told me to add soy back to diet.

4)  Milk/dairy allergy is bad. =(  She doesn’t really think it’s due to contact or exposure since we are both strictly avoiding. Instead, she thinks the increase from about 17 (level 3) to 53 (level 5) has more to do with it being his greatest allergy. Since TJ has grown a lot since December, his body is producing more ige antibodies for it. We need to be careful with dairy/milk residue and products touching his skin at day care or even kisses because if he gets hives from it it can cause more of an increase. Also he should avoid places like Starbucks and pizzerias that have steamed or airborne dairy.However, she also was very positive when she stated that he will probably outgrow dairy because most people do but it will probably take longer like maybe not until he is older than five. There are many studies too like a milk patch one that if need be, he can participate in to decrease allergy when he is a bit older.

5) In meantime, the Mount Sinai nutritionist does suggest we use an iron supplement for now even though the anemia is minor and retest iron in three months. This is not what we had planned to do with pediatrician’s help.

6) The nutritionist also provided many good brands and products for allergy free products like pancakes and waffles, etc …Some of these include Orgra Crispi Rice bread, Authentic Foods Rice and Corn Flour, Arrowhead Mills Buckwheat Flour, King Arthur, Brothers All Natural and Cherrybrook Kitchen.  I will post more about these products once we purchase and try them out.

7) The next time we get blood work will probably be in October/November to test levels.  Allergist #2 gave specifics of what to test for like peanut components, casein, and whey proteins. These will give a better understanding of his peanut and dairy allergy and they will be able to better predict his chance of outgrowing. A casein allergy takes longer than a whey protein allergy to outgrow.

8) We will also give Culturelle probiotics twice a day instead of once and follow up with both of them in four months

This sounded great until we reached out to Allergist #1 and our pediatrician about all of this.   Here is where it all becomes a tough call…We have two conflicts.


– When we asked Allergist #1 about switching, he said, ” I estimate 50/50 chance of passing soy.   We can certainly try it this week.   If there is a reaction, I may need to give him an injection of Benadryl or epinephrine. It is not necessarily dangerous, but I just wanted you guys to be mentally prepared for the potential risks.”

– That is much different that Allergist #2′s outlook of 99.9% chance of passing with his level.


– Our pediatrician who we LOOOOVE does not agree with an iron supplement.   Since his level is only 9.9 and he is not symptomatic, she suggests rechecking in a month or two and agree to an iron supplement if he is lower then.  She explained that iron is absorbed much better with foods rather than a supplement.  She even discussed it with her colleague and he agreed with her.

– The nutritionist provided this though.

It is 7:30 on the night before TJ’s 8:30 am food challenge and we have no clue what to do. I just pray that the right choices are made clear to us.


When I informed TJ’s teachers that he was going to be out tomorrow due to his first food challenge of coconut milk or soy milk. One of TJ’s teachers asked me, “Oh he can’t have cow’s milk ?”

Mind you, this is after I have been constantly keeping the teachers and office staff informed and updated about TJ’s allergies and levels.   I have spoken to each teacher individually in the past.  In addition, I recently explained to them the severity of the dairy allergy.  I also gave the office staff a print out about the signs of and steps to take with anaphylaxis, asking them to hang it in his classroom.   It is still not hung…I will be adamant about this once we are back at work and day care on Thursday. I will be “that mom” because if I’m not, who else will have his back.

Praying for answers as I struggle to smile on but I know that I have to for my little guy who still smiles on and on even when stuck in city traffic …

Elimination Diet – What the Heck Did I Eat? (Reposted from March 2015)

So like I posted earlier, after a few weeks of feeling as though I was losing my mind, no joke, I finally figured out some meals and products that worked for us.  These are all products and foods that work with my son’s allergies.  These may vary based on the child and allergies. Based on our blood work, my son is not allergic to rice, corn, buckwheat, sunflower oil, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peaches, pears, apples, avocado, bananas, string beans, carrots, squash, chicken, turkey, and beef.   Although sometimes, bananas and avocados irritate his eczema a bit. During those times, I limit his intake.

As far as amount and calories, I found that my body was metabolizing all of these foods much quicker.   Since I was starting to lose weight, I needed to increase my overall daily intake by doing the following:

1) Eating a whole avocado every day

2) Adding a protein shake most days

3) Snacking more often

4) Adding more protein to diet (chick peas and more chicken/turkey) – Be careful with chick peas though as some babies may have a reaction to them.   My son did not.

5) I also added more sugar to my diet.   It seemed to help with my random dizziness at the start of this diet.   Since my blood work came back normal, I think anxiety and lack of sugar caused it.

6) I started to also watch “empty” calories, those calories that really did not add nutritional value.

7) I continue to take my prenatal vitamins that I took all throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding as well.

– Rainbow Light Prenatal One Just Once Food Based Multivitamin –

-Nordic Naturals – Prenatal DHA –



LUNCH FOODS ( I either eat a salad or eat a sandwich for lunch.)

1) Salad: grilled chicken, blueberries or pineapples, spinach, tomatoes, chick peas, avocado, sometimes shredded “cheese”, croutons, a little bit of dressing or lime juice with salt and pepper

2) SunButter and Banana Sandwich –  I love peanut butter and banana sandwiches.   Since I can’t have peanut butter, I have started to eat sun butter.   It is amazing!



I usually eat the following four dinners.

1) Turkey burgers mixed and cooked with crushed croutons (loaded with avocado, tomatoes, daiya shredded cheese, and on the brown rice bread listed above)

2) Chicken Stir Fry or Wraps(grilled chicken, onions, peppers, pineapples, fennel, garlic with brown rice and cooked in a marinade that contains ketchup, pineapple juice and a gluten and soy free marinade)

3) Homemade pizza (loaded with grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, onions and pizza sauce)

4) Steak wit asparagus and roasted potatoes


1) Cereal or granola

2) Ice cream was my go-to snack before I learned of my son’s coconut allergy.   So Delicious Dairy-free Coconut Milk Cookie Dough ice cream was my favorite!

Elimination Diet – What I Cut Out? (December 2014-June 2015)

On December 24, 2014, I started to follow a strict elimination diet.   I eliminated the following ingredients from my diet. Then, in January, I also cut out soy and sesame. I also provided the website resources that I used to determine what was safe and what was unsafe. I did this diet for six months so that I could continue breastfeeding my son and had no negative side effects when I added everything back in June.

1) All dairy products

2) All egg products

3) All wheat products (Be careful of certain salad dressings and marinades.)

4) All tree nut products

5) All peanut products

6) All oat products (Be careful of products that contain oat.   For example, we were using Aveeno’s Baby Eczema Lotion and Bath wash for months for my son’s eczema.   However, it contains oat.

7) All barley products I am not sure that I was actually eating any.

8. All soy products

From Allergist #1: “I would have him avoid all soy and sesame. HOWEVER, soybean oil, soy lecithin are okay to consume. He should avoid all soy flour or soy protein ingredients.” Therefore, I did this in my diet as well.

9) All sesame products (Since my son is not allergic to sunflower seed, I only look for sesame oil and seed in products to avoid.)

10) Most coconut products (All but my coffee creamer.)- Allergist #1 said that this was okay since his allergy is low, a 0.6.  Now, looking back at this, I should have cut out coconut too.

I was someone who ate Honey Bunch of Oats almost every single morning and loved pizza on weekends.   While I admit, I cried at first and thought it was impossible.   Nothing is impossible!

“It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard. Impossible is not a word” – Kutless

I found some great substitutes.   I shared these in my post.  “What the Heck Did I Eat?”