Tag Archives: toddlers with food allergies

A Picky Eater’s Peas

Picky eating drove me crazy for way too long. From the time TJ was first able to eat, he was never really interested in food.

Some of this was due to his 21 food allergies at that time, texture sensitivities, and the fact he was a slow chewer and eater.

However, in every difficult situation, there is always a blessing. Because of his pickiness …

He wasn’t the child grabbing for someone else’s food at daycare. (Thank God for that with a list as long as his at that point.)

At his one year old appointment, his pediatrician who we love, spoke the medical truth, “TJ would have a reaction in daycare that year. The chance was too great not to. We just had to make sure the staff was prepared.”

(The course of action we took after that is for another post… as well as the panic I fell into..)

BUT…while that’s the medical facts, we believe in the God of real truth, of miracles, of the impossible … TJ was and is living proof of that. He never had a reaction that year at daycare or any of the other years after. God is good! And prayer with belief is powerful.

Looking back, his pickiness was a blessing, a way he was kept safe in otherwise, high-risk situations. However, he was still such a picky eater and it drove us nuts especially after his blood work came back around twelve months, stating he was mildly anemic, adding more to his already limited plate! (Quite the paradox if I can say so myself!)

Our options were put him on a supplements or try to build up the iron naturally with food. The latter was what we chose after meeting with two nutritionists. So we spent the next four months, getting him to eat three meals a day filled with iron … each meal would take an hour or more for him to complete… talk about patience…

When he was rechecked, sure enough it had worked! However, it did not stop the picky eating nonsense which continued for years…

Therefore, I was always on the search for new safe foods, recipes, inspiration …

When my daughter was first born, in a conversation with another mom, she mentioned roasted chickpeas being something her own picky eater loved.

TJ liked chickpeas here and there so we tried it… (I would have tried almost anything at this point) …and sure enough it was an instant hit!

And the added bonus… it’s so easy!

Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients:

  1. Organic chickpeas (When we use a can, we make sure it is BPA free.)
  2. Salt
  3. Pepper
  4. Olive oil
  5. Any other spices your child likes

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Rinse and dry chick peas. Get out as much liquid as possible
  3. Coat the oven pan with a little bit of olive oil. Not too much
  4. Put the chickpeas in the pan.
  5. Sprinkle salt, pepper or whatever spices you want. (Amount is always to your child’s liking. I only use a little pepper for that reason.)
  6. Drizzle the top with some more olive oil.
  7. Put in oven for 40-45 minutes
  8. Halfway through, shake or flip the chickpeas around to roast all sides.
  9. Finish cooking until lightly browned and crunchy.
  10. Enjoy!

It’s been over two years of making this recipe which now both of my kids continue to enjoy. And even though it may still take TJ a little longer to eat them, he does so with a smile.

A Healthy, Happy Home

Creating a healthy home has always been one of my greatest goals.  Even before kids, I considered myself healthy. However, it wasn’t until after TJ’s diagnosis that I began to see past some of my old ways of health to an even more natural way. It really opened my eyes to a world that I was not seeing clearly beforehand.   I thought I was healthy before that: I worked out every day and ate a low fat, lean diet, splurging on the weekends of course.   (Yes, I had fallen terribly for the fat free fad….oh how I had been wrong!) So to say the least, it was a huge wake up call when I took on the elimination diet for TJ and started to read more about food system.  I learned about true health by following and listening to people like Robyn O’Brien.
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While I still have a ways to go, we have come far.

Once again, I am NOT a doctor. Just a mama, wife, teacher, friend, Jesus lover, writer trying to figure out how to embrace the mess… (See disclaimer below)

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Over the past years, we have learned some go-to tips to assist our family’s health, and propel it forward…
  1. Prayer – This may sound repetitive throughout my posts, but good! It should be! The power of prayer cannot be defined.   We have truly seen it transform our health and you can too! There is no special way, time, or place. Just pray
  2. Rest – There was a time I would have told you that the r in propelling your health was to run daily.  However, as much as I still love to run each morning, getting enough sleep and rest has proven to be much more beneficial.
  3. Oils – Aside from healthy cooking oils and those in our diet like olive and coconut, essential oils have empowered our house.  It took me many years and a thousand questions (Thanks Mary for your patience!) before I actually bought my first premium starter kit from Young Living.   It’s been three years now since then and oils are now part of our daily routines.  They helped us toss out our unhealthy candles, became a friend to our immune systems, and eliminated so many unnecessary chemicals that our house once carried.We diffuse them, roller ball them up, bathe with them, make lotion using them, and even clean with them! With oils, it is important to always find a high quality brand! (Want more information on oils? Send me an email to theartofamessyhouse@gmail.com or comment below. And stay tuned for future posts.)untitled design (34)
  4. Probiotics – We saw a lot of doctors after TJ had his first reaction.  Unless necessary, I would NOT recommend doing that. Seeing a lot of doctors leads to lots of conflicting advice and one crazed Mama…or Dada.   Anyways, one recommendation that every single doctor during that time suggested was to use a good probiotic.   We went with UltraFlora Balance by Metagenics after two of them suggested that one. TJ and Madison have both used it since before they were one years old just in a reduced form. It was also what I used throughout my pregnancy with Madison. Sometimes, I switch it up too for myself with good high quality, trusted brands.
  5. Elderberry – This is very new to me this year.   During flu season last year, I read a lot about elderberry and purchased an organic brand of it.   However, it was stored away until this past Christmas when TJ got the stomach bug the night before Christmas Eve! (One of my worst nightmares!) So, we tore open that bottle and have been using it since whenever someone in the family has a compromised immune system. Next up…to try to make our own.
  6. Love – All you need is a little TLC… tender loving care, they say.  But the reality is sometimes, people are hard to love.  Sometimes, it just feels good to vent about something or someone..to burn off that steam exploded inside.   It’s healthy too… but the healthiest I have ever felt was when I began to more easily let go up “the drama,” “the negativity,” and even the people who are just plan “mean” … and focus on love. Hug more, kiss those dirty cheeks more and say “I love you” out of routine. Stop fixating on what’s wrong; challenge yourself to see the good in the picture instead. Walk away from the hate; embrace the love.

 

In addition to these ways we PROPEL our health, I also chew a clove of garlic at the first sign of a sore throat.   (I had to add this today as I am feeling under the weather and needed a morning clove.) It is not for everyone and I am sure that I do not need to tell you, it does not have the greatest taste.. or smell.  I didn’t add it to our list because I am the only one who uses this as my kids are too young to force allium sativum on them, and Timmy is not a fan of the technique.  No kissing tonight hun!

So there’s my mnemonic device for health, PROPEL!  The ELA teacher in me at work…the believer at heart. It’s not cliche.  It’s real.

 

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Even though we still get hit by viruses, we breath easier knowing that we have resources that help propel our health past the always lingering season of germs and mess.

Disclaimer: This blog is a personal blog and used as a way of sharing and connecting with other readers. The posts, articles, and stories shared on the site are meant as a source of encouragement. In this challenging world of food allergies, motherhood, and life, I have found reaching out to other parents and people in my shoes to be extremely resourceful and inspiring. Therefore, I want to give back and do the same. I am not a doctor; therefore, the information on my blog is not intended as medical advice so as always, please consult with your doctor.

Guide to Holiday Hosting with Food Allergies

The following guide to hosting parties with food allergies was too amazing not to share. Smiling on to a safe and special holiday for everyone…

 

Grandma’s Guide to Holiday Hosting with Food Allergies

Source: http://www.mamacado.com/

Making The Holidays Happy AND Allergy-Friendly

Snack Safely’s “Safe Snack Guide- Holiday 2015 Edition ” – (Updated on December 2, 2015)

Snack Safely has updated their “Safe Snack Guide” again.   Because this list helps to make  the holidays safer for everyone, we smile on…

 

Safe Snack Guide – Holiday 2015 Edition

Source: http://snacksafely.com/

SNACKS

TIPSy Tuesdays: Preparing for a Safe & Special Holiday with Food Allergies

In my experience with having a son with multiple food allergies and skin sensitivities, everything new is a scary ordeal.   Every new food, new lotion, new soap, new visitor, new school year, new milestone, new experience, new environment, and everything else you can have a new of. In addition to the new experiences, holidays and parties also add some challenges and worries. However, there are steps and precautions that you can take to ensure the special holiday that you deserve. The more prepared you are… the less likely it is that fear will enter the scene.

how to have a safe and special holiday season with food allergies

With my son’s initial anaphylactic reaction and learning of his multiple food allergies last December 2014, the holidays that year were a rough time for me.   As I tried to process it all, I was fearful of everything. It was not an enjoyable time because of this intense anxiety and stress.

While a whole year has passed, many challenges still remain for us.   However, this holiday season I plan to smile into it prepared and ready to enjoy this special time, having faith over fear….

Making The Holidays Happy AND Allergy-Friendly


Here are some tips on how to have a safe and special holiday season with food allergies:

1.  Be prepared: If you are traveling far, check to see where the local hospital/urgent care is.  Also, make sure to bring the proper medications and emergency plans.  My son’s up-to-date “Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan” is always packed in my diaper bag with his EpiPens and Benadryl.

2. Pick your setting and population: Yes, I know that you cannot pick your family. However, if you have an option of where to celebrate the holiday, pick the place where people are most understanding of food allergies and the precautions needed. If you have the means to, even offer to host.   (I am not there yet.)

3. Scope Out the Scene: Check out the place you are visiting and/or staying.   Scope out wherever and whenever you child will be eating, wipe down the surfaces all around, and scan the floor.   Since babies and toddlers love to put objects in their mouths, it is important to make sure that there is nothing unsafe to start.   From our experience, you would be surprised what food products are often around.

4. Communication/Setting up the Meal: Before the meal begins, have a plan in mind.   For example, plan ahead where your child will sit, eat, and when this will occur.   In addition to wiping down the surface, we bring Mickey Mouse place mats, his own plate, and utensils.

5. Announcement: To help with those guests who are not aware of or educated about food allergies and your family’s situation, make an announcement that your child should not be fed any food.   At a family BBQ in the summer, a person in our extended family came over to my son with her plate of cake, cheerfully and innocently asking, “Can he have some of this?” With my son in my arms, I jumped back as her spoonful of cake was way too close for comfort.   Therefore, an announcement before eating begins is a great precaution to take. Sometimes, people just don’t know or understand.

6. Washing hands/Kissing: This is another part of the reminder or announcement.   Our family has been great with accepting this request. Even though I take many precautions for my son’s safety, I do also make sure to brush my teeth always before kissing him.    We also ask everyone who is with TJ, (friends, family, daycare, etc.) to not kiss him on the face or lips if they have just eaten and especially if they have not brushed their teeth. I struggle with this because I know he deserves a million kisses every day and trust me, I want to be able to give him everything in life. However, right now, this is what we must do to ensure his safety, his health, his life.   He is still too little to speak and therefore, it is even more critical.   We show him love in soooo many other ways in addition to giving him lots of hugs. And of course we kiss him, when we know it is truly safe to do so. With that being said, inform all guests that blowing kisses is a must especially after eating has begun.

 In addition to the kissing, it is important that people understand they must wash their hands after handling or eating food of their own before they hold or contact my son.  After explaining the reality of cross contact with our family, we have been extremely blessed with their support and diligence with this. It makes my heart smile knowing that we have this support.

7. Plan Meals Beforehand: Since my son is only 18.5 months, we still make most of the food that he eats.  Therefore, we plan ahead, making sure that we had enough of his food for the duration of the visit.  If we are staying over, we also make sure that the place we were visiting has a kitchen with a refrigerator and oven to help with his food.  If it is just a day visit, we bring our own cooler with his food. Because of the reality of cross-contact, we also bring his personal pots, pans, trays, containers, and utensils. (Whatever is necessary for the visit.)

8. Allergy-free Options (Safe Food): Pass on food that you are unsure of.   For now, my son will only be eating what we provide.   In the future as he begins to talk more and expands his diet, I do plan to make allergy-free versions of some of the main course foods.   I look forward to this. However, this year we will stick to his safe foods that we will prepare beforehand.

9. Watching/Keeping in Eyesight: With young children like my son, my husband and I take turns watching him.   Throughout the event, we have one set of eyes on him the entire time.   This does not mean you are a “helicopter parent” instead it means you are the biggest, must-needed advocate.

10. Enjoy yourself: This is the step that I failed to do last holiday season.   However, this year will be different.   I find comfort and confidence in knowing that through our advocacy, my son will have an amazing, safe, and special holiday.   Therefore, we will smile on to a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and Christmas.

(And when I get home, I will be celebrating by hitting up that bottle of wine. )

SMILING ON WITH WINE

Cheers to a safe, special, and allergy-friendly holiday season!


Read more about the following topics at the links below:

Peanut Butter Kisses

Making Sure Not to Bunk Up with Cross Contact

Chef Amanda Freitag’s Food Allergy Recipes

Making the Holidays Happy and Allergy Friendly

Snack Safely’s “Safe Snack Guide & Allergence ” – (Updated on November 17, 2015)

Snack Safely has updated their “Safe Snack Guide” again.   Because this list helps to make  every day safer for our children, we smile on…

 

Check it out: Snack Safely – Newest Edition

Source: http://snacksafely.com/

SNACKS

Snack Safely’s “Safe Snack Guide & Allergence ” – (Updated on November 3, 2015)

Snack Safely has updated their “Safe Snack Guide” again.   Because this list helps to make  every day safer for our children, we smile on…

Check it out: Snack Safely –Newest Edition

Source: http://snacksafely.com/

SNACKS