Tag Archives: Dairy

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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Weekly Smiles (Events)

Here is a list of Smiling Away Allergies’ weekly events:

TIPSy Tuesdays

On Tuesdays, I plan to post tips that we have found helpful or something that we have learned during this journey so far. I call it “TIPS”y TUESDAYS not only because I must admit to being a bit corny at times, but mainly because I want to help others be prepared.  Therefore, once a week we will CHEERS to being prepared so we can smile on…


Worry-Free Wednesdays

Each Wednesday I will try to post a quote or lyrics to a song that I find inspirational.  Words that help me see past fear and worry, enabling us to continue to smile on…


Tbt (Throw Back Thursdays)

On some Thursdays, we will throw it back to some of the earlier signs and experiences with food allergies/eczema as well as what we have learned through it. Regardless of what should have or could have happened, we smile on together in trying to educate others about the world of allergies…


Favorite Finds Fridays

I plan to post a “favorite find” on Fridays.  It may not always be directly relate to food allergies and eczema.   However, it will always be something that has helped us a lot with TJ’s experience, allowing us all to smile on in faith…


SMILING ON...

(Source: http://www.firstcovers.com/userquotes/39076/let+your+smile.html)


Restoring Gut Bacteria

Whether you have food allergies or not, there is a lot of information out there stating the importance of having a healthy gut. I know that I need to continue to find ways to restore healthy bacteria in my own. Even though I have no food allergies, I do have some sensitivities to certain foods like yogurt and regular cow’s milk. Below are two articles I found very informative about this exact concern, healing the gut. Once again, sharing is caring so we smile on…

What do you do to promote your own gut or overall health? 

http://breakingmuscle.com/nutrition/the-four-rs-how-to-restore-optimal-gut-health

http://chriskresser.com/9-steps-to-perfect-health-5-heal-your-gut/

TIPSy TUESDAYS – Always Read Labels – The Reality of Hidden Allergens

From food to non-food products, it is extremely crucial to be on the look out for hidden allergens. Reading food labels and learning about ingredients becomes second nature when living with food allergies.   However, even when you are comfortable with a product, it is important still double check the label especially since companies can change the makeup of their products. In addition, the ingredients in many everyday items will amaze you at times.   I know that I continue to be surprised by many of the components of common foods and non-food products.

Here is some of the information about coconut, oats, dairy, and peanuts/nuts that I have learned throughout the course of this journey so far. (It does not include every location of these allergens as we are still learning.)


1) COCONUT/COCONUT DERIVED PRODUCTS are present in…

COCONUT 

  • many cakes, candies, chocolates, cookies, ice creams      
  • some Thai and Indian foods
  • some shampoos, soaps, lotions, sun products, and cosmetics

NOTE: Everyone’s body tolerates and reacts to foods differently.  For example,  TJ mildly vomited (spit up) the coconut milk that he drank at his last food challenge. Therefore, his body does not tolerate coconut milk and he is allergic to it.  However, the toddler soy formula that he has been drinking since June contains coconut oil which his body does tolerate.  In addition to this, Exederm, the shampoo/body wash we use for him contains Decyl Glucoside, an extract from coconut oil, glucose, and palm kernel oil. TJ’s body does wonderfully with this as well.  His body tolerates the oil but not the protein.

Coconut Allergy Resource 1

(Source: http://www.allergy.org.au/)

Coconut Allergy Resource 2 (Derived Ingredients)

(Source: http://coconutallergy.blogspot.com/)


2) OATS are present in…

OATS

  • many granola bars, cereals, cookies, puddings
  • oat based milks and creams
  • some moisturizers, face washes and scrubs
  • the Aveeno products that we had been using
  • some beers

Interesting article regarding foods with gluten and how oats are related to this

(Source: http://www.diabetes.org/?loc=logo)


3) MILK (DAIRY)/MILK DERIVATIVES are present in…

Aside from the obvious dairy foods like all of the varieties of cow’s milk, creamer, butter, creams, cheese and cheese products, yogurt, and ice cream, dairy crosses your path more than you think. Here are some other places that milk proteins and lactose exist…

COW

  • some baking mixes, baked goods, breads, cookies, crackers, granola bars
  • some cereals (For example:  Honey Bunches of Oats contains whey from milk.)
  • some chewing gums (http://www.recaldent.com/c_where_find_recal.asp) and some breath mints
  • some caramel and candies
  • some non-dairy creamers and lactose-free milks (This includes my favorite “non-dairy” creamer that contains sodium caseinate, a milk derivative.)
  • some soups, broths and gravies
  • imitation syrups
  • Lactose is used in some prescription and over-the-counter drugs and vitamins.
  • Casein is in some art supplies like some types of chalk. (Check out the article below.)

Chalk & Dairy Allergy

(Source: https://www.navanfoods.com/navanblog)


4) PEANUTS/TREE NUTS are present in…

  • Because I could not compile a better list myself, I wanted to share this amazing resource as we read and smile on to a great week…

Peanut Allergy Avoidance List & Travel-Size Cards

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

peanut


  • Additional peanut/tree nut articles that I found interesting and informative.

Medications & Peanut/Tree Nut Allergies

(Source: http://www.peanutallergy.com/)


“Stupid Things That Contain Nuts”

(Source: https://itsahardnutlife.wordpress.com/)


TIPSy TUESDAYS – Always Read Labels –


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…

MOOCHEESE

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.

TODDLER FOODS:

  1. Cheerioscontains wheat & oats

CHEERIOS

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

RICE KRISPIES

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

GOLDFISH 2 GOLDFISH

4. RITZ Crackerscontains wheat and barley

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

RITZ

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

HIDDEN DAIRY


 

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 …