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Posts Tagged ‘dairy’

I’m always grateful that my child doesn’t have anaphylactic, “true” food allergies (true only means that they are not IgE food allergies that provoke anaphylactic shock, not that they are not really serious in other ways).

I’ve always been grateful for that for many reasons. A slip up doesn’t have the potential to end her life quickly. I don’t have to learn about how to use an epi-pen. I’ve never felt the panic that a parent must feel when their child is in the same room as a particular, harmless-to-everyone-else-around food. I’ve never seen her lips turn red and swell. I’ve never endured a night while she tries to sleep covered in itchy hives.

Perhaps now I’m even more grateful for that fact after the place where my child is supposed to be kept safe suddenly had a breakdown in the system.

A breakdown so simple it’s aggravating. At the beginning of the school year, when I filled out my first-grader’s student health form along with parents across the country, I wrote in the section about food allergies that she cannot have dairy, artificial colors or wheat. I met with the teacher. I discussed sending her safe treats.
Last year, kindergarten, I never had an issue.

But then the past few weeks my child had been acting different. We are all the way in March… just one quarter left to the school year. She went from getting “greens” for her behavior every day to getting yellows and reds. She went from getting all 7 of her spelling words correct at the end of the week to getting 2 out of 7 correct.
She came home, unwilling to eat, emotionally fragile all the time—one night clutching her stomach and going to bed around 6:30. She missed 4 or 5 days of school in a 3 week period.

Then we got a call from the school telling us we owed a cafeteria balance, because our daughter had been eating breakfast at school for the past two weeks.

We both noticed something was off with her. We both wondered… am I giving her too much sugar? Chocolate? Not getting her to bed on time? Not spending enough time with her after the recent baby was born?

Nope. She’d simply been eating all three of the things that screw her body all up. Artificials being the worst. Dairy next. And wheat being tolerable in small amounts when she is otherwise healthy, but a bad idea when she isn’t.
She figured out, just being outgoing and curious as she always is— that if she goes to the cafeteria on her way to class in the morning she gets given a second breakfast. The teacher doesn’t know she’s there and the cafeteria seemed unaware of the fact that she can’t eat there. And they were most definitely supposed to know.

We both felt a little in shock as she listed the things she’d been eating. More than enough to make her sick, make her unable to concentrate on her school work and cranky and tummy-achy at home. First I went to her teacher.
She felt awful. The look on her face when I explained the change in her behavior let me know she did.
“Maybe I should have called you when she came in with breakfast,” she’d said.

Well, yes, she should have. She didn’t connect the dots about her not being able to eat lunch carrying over into unsafe food at breakfast. Yet, I’m not really upset at her. I hate my kid being sick being an example or anything, but I’m willing to bet it was a learning experience for this teacher that might be helpful to a mom and child in the future.

That’s not even the major breakdown in the system. Maybe that’s why I’m not that perturbed with her. One teacher can only do so much when she has 20 other kids to look after. So one kid comes in after breakfast that has some food allergies—she isn’t going to automatically realize and that sucks but I get it.

It was *really* affirming to me that I am doing the right thing with my kid’s diet when a person who knows probably next to nothing about food intolerance says “That explains so much!” If the teacher saw the difference in her too, well, that makes me feel good about how I feed her.

After the teacher, I had to go and speak with the cafeteria manager and front office. That was the real breakdown.
Apparently, my child’s student health form was never sent to the cafeteria. Her name was never added to the manager’s binder. Her intolerances were never added to her name when they pulled it up and rang up the food that makes her sick.

I’m not sure whose job that is. Was it the teacher’s? Was it the front office’s job when they got the student health form and it had food allergies listed?

I mean, really, whose fault would this be if a kid went into shock? Now– if she had that type of allergy the school would probably have an epi-pen and this mistake probably wouldn’t have happened. But probably is way too large a margin for the child that you nurture and spend your life loving and raising. What if the epi-pen stayed with the teacher, and the child, like mine, bopped on into the cafeteria in the morning before class officially started?
The system to keep her healthy and safe broke down along the way in that the cafeteria never got the forms I filled out.

The cafeteria manager took me seriously, apologized a few times, entered her allergies right on the spot, and then asked me to pay the $6 for the food my kid ate. The front office ladies seemed much less concerned. I will probably write a letter about this to the principal.

What’s unfortunate is that the food she was fed is not good food for *any* human. It has no place in a building that’s sole purpose is to foster the development of the next generation of minds that will shape our world. I have no doubt my kid is not the only one that can’t focus and has tummy aches after eating Trix and Cocoa pebbles.

What’s done is done and my kid is still recovering from the effects of two weeks of bad eating. She gets a near addictive response. She’s stolen candy at the store—snuck candy at two other houses and tried to hide it—fed her little sister something with gluten that she snuck (so now I have *two* sick children).

I think a lot of parents think that if they give their kid just a “little” of the junk—in “moderation”—then they won’t pine for it. But in actuality, for many of us, it just makes us want it more. There are biological reasons for that— that I’m not going to write about now. But I hope this saga is over. And I hope my kid gets back to herself quickly.

Not only for her, but for us as parents. Her behavior is really hard to cope with. Why on earth parents thing it’s harder to eat free of artificial stuff and anything else their kid is allergic/intolerant than to deal with regular colds, tummy aches and tantrums is truly beyond my comprehension. And it’s not like I’m a good cook. I’m not. I’ve just figured out fast ways to always make homemade food and keep us healthy. It’s just easier that way.

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Ada’s doctors have had this preoccupation with whether or not Ada is drinking a dairy milk substitute since she is not drinking dairy.  Soy is out for her.  Other subs include hemp milk, coconut milk and rice milk.

And of course, the truth is that she doesn’t need a milk substitute at all– she’s still getting what her 17-month-old body expects:  breastmilk.

It strikes me funny that people think kids need dairy or a marketed “toddler formula” to fill the nutritional gaps created when they turn a year old and typically wean off of breastmilk, but think it’s odd for a kid to nurse past 1 year of age.

The WHO and American Academy of Family Practitioners both say that nursing until two years of age is a good goal.  I think that is based on nutritional needs and immune system maturity.  And of course, cow’s milk and formula don’t have immunities that encourage a child’s immune system to mature.

Ada’s doctor asked me what milk I am drinking since I can’t do dairy or soy.  I said I make rice milk on occassion and cook with coconut milk, and her face looked so relieved!  Which is funny, because coconut milk has good fat but little protein, and rice milk has next to nothing in it but some carbs.  They are poor poor substitues for breastmilk for Ada or calcium for me. 

I get tons of calcium  in my raw green smoothies anyway.  And I eat canned salmon with bones, so I’m not worried about it.

It’s just funny that she is relieved I have some type of “milk” in our diets.  People have started to think that milk is a word synonymous with calcium, protein and vitamin D and that’s just not true.  I won’t theorize on the effects of the dairy council and marketing and us being oblivious to what is truly healthy just now.

And I’m not a vegan activist either.  Up until a year and some months ago, I ate cheese and butter probably most days.  Which is funny because I didn’t think at the time that I ate alot of dairy.  Amazing how giving up foods for weeks or months opens your eyes to yourself.

And I was never a milk drinker because I thought cow’s milk is basically meant for baby cows and not humans, and I never liked it. 

I had also read in a book while I was pregnant with Azita that researchers tested the pee of women who drank milk for their calcium and women that ate broccoli, and then women that ate broccoli were retaining more then the milk drinkers.  Has to do with the bio-availability or something like that.

So either way, I’m not trying to make anyone  feel bad about dairy for them or formula/dairy for their toddler, that’s not my point.  I just find it funny that everyone is so worried when you make the decision, based on health or ethics, not to eat it.

One mom in the yahoo Foodlab group is struggling with giving up dairy for her child who is reacting to it.  It is hard to give things up, I get it.  But dairy is toxic to her baby, even if not for the rest of us.  She’ll figure out her way.  I did with all of our eliminations.  She wrote that she is a vegetarian and so has no options but dairy for protien.  I gently reminded her of eggs, beans/legumes, nuts, seeds.  There is always more.

Another mom was trying to figure out what milk to give her kid when she turns a year old, in case she is no longer nursing.

Cyndi, who blogs here, wrote this to her, which I think sums it up well:

 

Here’s the bottom line. Adults and older children don’t need milk. Of any kind, dairy or not. If a child is young enough to require some sort of milk it means they are too young to be weaned. Period. Nothing is better than the milk you make. Certainly a cow being artificially nursed long after her own baby has been weaned (or taken from her) is not going to provide better nutrition. And no substitute can either.

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If you haven’t tried Nana’s Dairy, egg and gluten free cookies you are missing out.  They cost about $2.oo at the health food store (I go to the Apple Crate, a local store) but man are they awesome.  Having a kid with food allergies lets me justify spending money on expensive treats that cater to being non-whatever-it-is-you-can’t-eat.

I love it! 

I love making my own cookies as well.  I’ve been in the habit of making homemade cookies, muffins, waffles (and then freezing them so we have our own easy to heat up breakfasts) and pancakes, since we are so hyper-healthy-nutty about sugar and processed packaged foods.  

We’ve used or developed our recipes to use just honey or agave as sweeteners, or when I feel like it, atleast the organic “evaporated cane juice” crystals instead of refined, whitened sugar.  It’s still sugar, but better for our deal mother earth since its not processed or pesticided.

I always get so annoyed at those commercials defending high fructose corn syrup that say “its got the same calories as sugar” and is all natural and all that.  Calories isn’t what makes food healthy.  It’s how the body metabolizes and uses it.  But anyway, I’m not a scientist and don’t have time to research and prove those points before the two kiddos wake up. 

Suffice it to say, I like to keep my sweeteners as close to the earth as possible, and any sweetener that has to be derived and processed, like HFCS or white sugar, is less good for the environment because the energy taken to produce it is more.  And the closer any food is to its origin, like honey, the better it is for you.

So I’m loving the health food treats and my new excuse to buy them!  It makes up for no mozarella cheese.

I’ve haven’t been doing too much home baking these days though, with the kids and all, so I guess I’m not as eco-frindly as I could be!  Homemade food is better for the environment since you don’t waste packaging or even have to spend the energy to recycle the boxes.

For Mother’s Day, Payman made me dairy-free, gluten-free pancakes.  They were quite good.  Definitely a different flavor.  A stronger flavor, because the gluten free flour we got uses chickpea flour.  But then its got to be healthier for you, I figure, since its full of protein.  I usually do the muffins and cookies, P makes the pancakes and waffles.  He’s the breakfast lover and I’m the snacky type.

Then last night, we winged our way through gluten free biscuits.  Not bad either.  We had to google a recipe half-way through to salvage it though.  Biscuits really need the gluten to hold together, so it turns out adding an egg will help. 

It’s not the same taste, but it’s not bad either. 

Ada isn’t gluten intolerant as far as we know.  She’s doing very well with the no dairy and soy.

We are cutting gluten, or at least experimenting with it, because my husband has such bad psoriasis, has always had joint pain, and feels like he is more tired than he should be.  Since being introduced to the food allergy world we are really paying a little more attention to what we eat and how it might affect us.

We started reading about gluten, and while most of us think of these severe abdominal pains and problems associated with people that can’t have gluten, it seems like more and more people are finding out they have a mild sensitivity to it and it causes smaller problems, like the ones I mentioned.

Gluten-free baking takes a little of the fun out of it though.  I love to eat biscuit dough, batter, cookie dough— everything before it’s baked.  My husband thinks it’s disgusting.  It’s a terrible habit from childhood and I love it.  But gluten-free biscuit dough is not the same at all!!  That chickpea flavor was strong!  It has to cook to become a nice, well-rounded flavor in a way that white flour just doesn’t.

Was there a point in all this rambling?

I had a great Mother’s day.

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