Posts Tagged ‘food intolerance’

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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In the last post I mentioned Ada’s sypmtom of throwing up every few weeks.

As her tummy has healed on a gluten free diet, her health as improved steadily. Her symptoms stuck around, taking a year to fade. Bowel symptoms, rash/red skin in the diaper area, skin bumps, cradle cap, vomiting, slow weight gain– all have gotten better. Yet, she does still throw up once every few weeks. Her dentist asked if she did that because she was nervous, and it really annoyed me. In my last post, two friends of mine reminded me that sometimes that is the reason, even if it isn’t Ada’s reason.

I started to think about it. Why did that particular detail stick out in my mind? When something that isn’t that odd of a question makes you bristle, I think it’s worth examining your feelings.

And wouldn’t you know, everything can totally be blamed on your mother-in-law.

She has mentioned several times, though I didn’t realize it at first, about Ada throwing up because she has a nervous stomach. She has also insisted that she throws up because she eats fruit. Not because of the acid, not because of well-known intolerance like oranges or strawberries– just fruit in general. We think if she had her say, the kid’s would be raised on healthy food like McDonald’s and store bought pastries. Note the sarcasm.

She herself suffers from vomiting (I really detest that word but I can’t tell you why) when she gets emotionally upset or nervous. Her esophagus starts to itch and act funny. I have met many other women who have told me that their anxiety attacks and similar symptoms went away when they went on the elimination diet for their kid. One that says if she ever eats soy, she gets an anxiety attack again. But as long as she doesn’t eat it, she is emotionally stable and happy, within the normal limits of life.

Payman’s mother stopped eating gluten and dairy for 2 months last year. Besides losing weight, her anxiety and emotional ups and downs were clearly affected. She usually talks to me about her nervousness and vomiting on a regular basis. For those two months, she didn’t. We were overjoyed and just wish that it had lasted.

Stress clearly affects us all. I do believe even the AMA had an article about how 80 percent (that’s a whopping amount) of our immune system function is related to our stress levels. And in some of us, that stress my manifest in nausea or vomiting.

In her case, it does. But then why does it get so much better when she’s eating a healthy diet (and for her, we do believe that gluten-free is a part of a healthy diet, though she eats so horribly it would be hard to tell)? And why do I know someone whose anxiety attacks are triggered by soy? There has not been an absense of stress in her life since being soy-free, actually… she’s been through quite a bit. It’s a blessing that she figured out something that helps her food wise to cope with that stress.

My theory is that for some of us, the food intolerance makes our bodies so taxed that the stress pushes the body over its limits and it reacts in a harsher way than it might if we were avoiding the food that also stresses the body out. I guess from knowing someone that seems to blame stress for all of their health difficulties, when the solutions to those health issues are plain to see to me, it makes me question the “nervous” stomach idea. But I do remember that not everyone is like that, or like Ada. But my family and the other moms I’ve met with similar experiences can’t be the only ones.

I find it amazing that someone actually chooses stress in return for eating all the junk they like.

This link discusses finding triggers for a nervous stomach, but doesn’t go into much detail, and doesn’t sound quite as severe as some people describe it:


And here’s another link where someone discusses their nervous stomach and is diagnosed with IBS and finds that eggs, dairy and meat trigger it. I’m getting the impression that some people use the term nervous stomach to describe IBS-type symptoms, while others use it to mean more specifically a very stressful situation triggering vomiting or nausea. I wonder if that is part of the confusion I get when people are trying to talk about Ada’s issues with me.

And then, here is the link that I believe affects my family members— mental health and gluten–


It looks like there are some good links at the end of the article I’ll have to make time to look at.

This concludes my inconsequential thoughts for the day.

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A lot of moms new the the food allergy game wonder what the difference between an intolerance and an allergy is. It’s a common topic. One will get you fast, and one will get you slow. You’ll see what I mean.

Food intolerance is a broad term that means the body reacts to a food. A food allergy, in the medical sense, means that the food provokes an immue reaction, specifically, the body creates antibodies called immunoglobulin E. Thus, the commonly thought off food allergies that cause hives or anaphylaxis are also known as IgE reactions and are one type of food intolerance. Some medical doctors pay attention to IgG reactions, and some do not think they are “clinically significant”– to quote Ada’s allergist.

When you end up with a child with food ‘intolerances’ rather than testable IgE reactions, you get the sense that ‘clinically significant’ means life-threatening, while symptoms such as my older daughter gets to a food like itchy skin, constipation and emotional fragility are not. Add to that the vast amounts of kids that react to foods with ADD/ADHD like symptoms, late potty-training, speech delays, keratosis pilaris (skin bumps) and etc. Those parts just aren’t well studied or known about yet and would fall under food intolerance or food sensitivity (a really broad term).

So to review and get back on topic, a food allergy is a type of food intolerance, and a food intolerance means that a food causes an undesirable, tangible symptom. You can also get into delayed reactions or immediate reactions, another rea some doctors give more credence to or not. Some say that IgE are imediate reactions and IgG are delayed. Well known intolerances like lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance might fall under delayed for many people. Immediate reactions are obviously the throat-closing anaphylactic ones.

What would some people talk about rashes and hives and so many other symptoms while your child just has gut issues, or vice versa?

Just because people are different. I react to eggs. My daughter’s allergist was nice enough to not say my reaction was not ‘clinically significant’, but he did say it’s not an allergy, it’s just an adverse effect from a food. And that I do agree with. I get terrible gut cramps. And sugar gives me headaches. I’m not allergic to them.

I used to say I was. Just as a close friend often tells people she is allergic to peas, and I people often say they are allergic to gluten. I also used to always say I was allergic to perfume. Because I’ve had to study this stuff so much in my drive to understand what is happening in the bodies of the people I love, I now say “I react to perfumes” or “I am sensitive to chemicals”.

Using the words “reacts to” is one way to deflect all those well meaning friends, families and acquaintances that think they know how your child should or does respond to a food. If you say it’s an allergy, the immediate response is “Oh he’ll grow out of it.” This may or may not be true, and while people are trying to be supportive, I find it so annoying. But I don’t show that because I know they typically mean well. If you say it’s an intolerance, than people tend to think it’s less serious and that “a little” is okay. Also annoying.

And very untrue. You could say that, in general, the big difference is that allergies can kill swiftly while an intolerance can kill you slowly. Indeed, celiac disease and other gluten intolerance are known to be associated with cancers, IBS, type 2 diabetes– all kinds of “kill you slowly” debacles.

This is why I sometimes stick to saying “She reacts to gluten and dairy”. Or I just say “She can’t have gluten”, but reacts really explains the best. Because that seems to stop the conversation in which people will tell you everything they *think* they know about allergies. And it’s hard to argue with. I say she reacts to it, few people will challenge that. Allergy, intolerance, sensitivity. It’s semantics often. I enjoy really knowing the differences.

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I can’t believe it’s been nearly a month since I’ve made a post. Every day there is something interesting, thought-provoking, or funny that I think about sharing with the world.

But what I actually make the time to post about seems to be few things these days. Since my last post we have had a Ridvan party, made homemade dairy/gluten/soy/corn free chocolates for the kids for Easter, visited the Botanical Garden here in Fayetteville, halfway put together a playhouse for the girls, been to Durham/Raleigh for Ada and her little celiac issues a few times, attended our first children’s virtues class and almost completed the garden for the summer.

But mostly, I think I have spent my time planning, phone calling, and running around for the LLL of Fayetteville’s Baby Fair. I think I could be an event planner after this.

In all this busy-ness, most days are fabulous, but a few I can be bummed out about certain things.

Anyone who knows me knows that this blog took a turn about 6 months after it started. My first posts had to do with kids and eco-friendly things and baby things, and then Ada’s colickly little babyhood began to force me to delve into the food allergic and intolerant world. Perhaps I’ve talked about it too much.

If I have, it’s only because I am a person that talks alot and I talk about things that reflect the reality of my life. Going gluten and dairy and soy and corn and everything else free over the course of two years too up a lot of time and thought and energy. Now we are only gluten and dairy free, which sounds all-encompassing but really isn’t that bad, and non-organic corn/soy free.

I have some great food posts coming too, for those that want to read them.

My outlook on life is to embrace it. That’s why I have embraced where my life has led me. I meet a lot of parents who say things like “Well, I’m not going to switch around our whole lives just for this,” in talking about their kids allergies or whatever. That’s fine and it’s there choice…. but I think that people think I’m judging them because I’ve made very different choices.

I guess I’m feeling a bit isolated, from adults, that is. There is one place we go almost weekly that tends to bring out parents that see things the way I do, and that can be nice. But lately, even though I haven’t brought up any food stuff, I’ve get the feeling I’m the crazy-food-allergy-health-nut lady. And I’ll take that title. But it seems that with that title there is the assumption that I’m judging or something. I’ve met some health ‘nuts’ that come off pretty condescending. But I’m not one of them.

I’m being a bit sensitive, it’s true. Things just add up to annoy you. As I was saying, I haven’t brought up food stuff *lately*, but at this recent play date, a comments were made that reminded me that some people simply see the kid with food intolerances or allergies as the one who is making life difficult for everyone else, and the mom as the over-protective uppity one.

I’m being overly sensitive because it makes me wonder about each and every little statement and makes me feel like people are talking about my kids when I’m not around. I know that’s taking it too far, but I can’t help it.

I guess what puzzles me to is that I didn’t even bring it up. A parent comes to me, asks a question, and then acts a tad defensive.

Then another comes, a hour later, asking if the berries my kids have are organic. I tell her yes. She tells me she used to work in the agriculture business and that the farmers she bought from wouldn’t eat their own berries b/c they were sprayed so often, and that I should defnitely get the organic ones. So then another parent chimes in and says that our kids are going to be exposed to stuff at school and every they go and that we should just do our best, and definitely seemed defensive.

And this is pretty normal pattern. Breastfeeding, vaccines, co-sleeping, natural birth, organic, healthy, food allergies, homeschooling or not— the list goes on and on. Certain topics make parents feel jumped on or defensive. One time Payman was talking about vaccines and another dad said “So you are saying I’m a bad parent, then?”

Payman made the guy feel better in the calm and un-judgemental way he responded.

But you just want to say to people, “Who was talking about you?”

Maybe I talk about food issues a lot. Maybe it’s not a topic some want to discuss. But I feel a little estranged at times in trying to find other parents to socialize with because of this stuff. Why can’t I talk about things in my life, without *you* taking it personally? I’m talking about *me*, not *you*!

Every where we go, food is involved. I mentioned at a playdate that Ada was a little sick after Easter, b/c it seems she can’t even be in the same house where people eat gluten, and this mom, who has known me since Azita was a baby, loooong before the food allergies with Ada, got up and left and didn’t say anything to me. It’s like I’m not allowed to discuss what makes mothering a challenge for me.

If Ada had broken her leg, or gotten a fever, or was born with a birth defect, I honest-to-goodness, believe these mom-friends of mine would stay and commisserate. But because it’s about food, I have no one to talk to. That’s how I feel at times.

Yesterday at a meeting I needed to be at, we had to be there at 10 and planned to leave at two. I have to get up, make a from-scratch lunch, get the kids ready, and still be prepared to dodge food bullets while I’m out and about. And that’s fine. I live by and love my choices because they have brought such health to this family— each one of us. But I also feel like no one gets it. No one understands at all. We just can’t run to a restaurant. We just can’t grab a convenience food.

I don’t like to have too many posts that rant on the challenges of being gluten/dairy free becuase I want to be encouraging. If someone is facing big diet changes, the take home message of this blog, and of our life, is that it’s totally wonderful and doable and liberating.

Maybe the take home message of *this* rant, is that it’s actually people, and our food-obssessed culture that make all of this stressful. It’s not the planning meals, the making homemade baked goods, tortillas, crackers and breads. It’s not thinking ahead or being caught hungry. It’s not cooking all the time. There are so many fast and easy foods that are perfectly healthy for us.

It’s the comments and the lack of thought and the lack of support that I feel from those that have every *else* in common with me: other mothers.

And as a side note, a few of you will probably read this that call ahead, buy brands of lollipops you’ve seen my give the kids, make sure to only have safe snacks around… and you all are amazing and I love you and you are the ones I should focus on.

I’m just stuck sometimes… do I stop talking about something that affects us so much so that I can feel like I “fit in” at playdates, like I need to be in the popular clique in high school? A few days ago, at the place that started my blue funk of a mood, I played with Ada. I spent the day with my kids, even though I was surrounded by other adults.

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There is a lot of confusion out there about how to eliminate foods for yourself or your nursling, and what a person can or can’t react to.  I certainly didn’t kow anything about it before two years ago.  I thought that if you reacted to something it must be that it wasn’t healthy.  Now, obviously, I know that isn’t true.

I think that is why some people get a tad weird if you start talking about food intolerances.  If it isn’t a peanut, well-known for being serious in causing reactions, people think you are trying to tell them what *they* can eat.  I told someone at the Farmer’s Market that we’d eliminated eggs for a while to see if they affected Ada, and they started a conversation with me about how healthy they are.  Which I was never disputing.

Anyway, what’s bugging me today is that impractical advice given to people, especially moms with upset little babies, trying to figure out if its a food.  I see some myths repeated over and over, perhaps for the sake of making things not seem too hard for a person to think about.   It’s true… when I pondered going gluten free for Ada, I was more than a little daunted.   But what would help me, is support in that it IS doable. 

Myth 1:  Cutting back will help. 

Many moms talking to me about stopping dairy say “well I don’t eat a lot of dairy” or that they can just cut back and see if it makes a difference, before really committing.  Perhaps at times you can cut back on something a see a change, but it does back to the scientific method here, people.  You’ll never truly know if you don’t commit and cut it all out.  Then you will have wasted your time “cutting back” and probably end up still having symptoms in either you or your baby.  This is true, especially, for skin reactions.  They don’t clear up from ‘cutting back’.

I also thought I didn’t eat a lot of dairy.  But here’s my question to you…. if you insist you don’t eat alot so that isn’t what is causing your psoriasis, or acne, or fatigue,or joint pain, or your baby’s colic and rashes…. then why is it hard to give up?  If you don’t eat “a lot”.  I’m not being harsh here, I know how hard it is!  Just trying to be practical.  I feel the food eliminati0n world is full of impracticality.  If you can’t bear the thought of giving it up, you are addicted. 

I know someone who tells me “I couldn’t live without it.”  She feels it’s easier to give up gluten than dairy.  She just has to have a littl e dairy each day to feel normal.  Hm.  so if we replaced dairy with “cocaine” would we all think it’s okay?

Myth 2: You  have to do an extreme elimination diet to figure things out.

Extreme elimination diets are rarely necessary.  Most people can figure out what is causing their headaches, skin problems or fatigue through a simpler elimination and addition diet.  There is one example of an extreme elimination diet for a colicky baby on Dr. Sear’s website, and while I love Dr. Sears, this has led women to believe that this is how you go about it.  Extreme elimination diets are hard and likely to make you so frustrated you give up. 

It’s much smarter to eliminate the big offenders, and then any suspects or known allergies in the family after that.  Don’t wait a set time, like three weeks, or “until dairy has cleared from the system”.  That’s another myth.  The food is gone after a few days, but waiting for the body to heal, that’s another story.  You eliminate your list until symptoms go away.  After a week, if nothing has changed at all, eliminate more suspects, but DON’T add the first eliminations back in or you’ll never know if you/your child react to more than one thing.

For example, with Ada, I eliminated dairy when she was 3 months old.  It got a little better so I stuck with it.  After three weeks, she was clearly still reacting to something, so I did away with soy and eggs.  Three more weeks and symptoms were getting worse, so I added gluten the list.  Four days later she had her first healthy bowel movement.  Nothing extreme was needed at that point.  Sometimes you never even trial something back in because the change was so dramatic.  Eggs were trialed back in with success, and dairy and soy are coming at some point.

Myth 3: Peanuts and shellfish are the first thing to be eliminated.

Nuts and shell fish get the attention because they often cause anaphylaxsis.  But they account for a smaller percentage of foods that really cause all these common problems.  Dairy and gluten are by far the two most common intolerances, regardless of if a person has a dairy allergy, that tests positive with IgE, or true celiac disease.

After that soy, eggs and corn are up there.  Potatos and nightshades and the avocado/banana family after that.  Any person can react to anything.  It’s highly individualized, and yet, nearly everyone I know who has a kid who reacts to stuff, has had to eliminate gluten and dairy.

Myth 4:  I don’t have any food intolerances.

This one is interesting to me, because it’s what I would have said two years ago.  But the fact is, you don’t know if you’ve never eliminated a food to see if you feel differently when you don’t eat it. I was so much more exhausted at the end of the day, had so many more headaches, a really really sensitive gag reflex, and often didn’t feel well after eating, but I couldn’t ever pinpoint how I felt. Not nauseated, not hungry, not full. I also had low iron, despite eating lots of raw spinach, red meat and taking supplements. Many people discover harder to explain differences when they don’t eat certain things. They can shake depression and anxiety easier (or completely rid of anxiety acts), are less emotional or irritable, no longer have PMS, etc.

I had no food intolerances either. Now that I am gluten, dairy and egg free, I have energy, headaches or few and far between, I rarely get back aches any more, I can brush my teeth without gagging, and I have a healthy relationship with eating. I don’t feel weird after I eat, I tend to feel good.

Myth 5: Hypoallergenic formula can’t cause reactions.

It’s really a shame that so many mothers are fed this line. It was suggested to me that I use a HA formula with Ada, and they all contain corn, soy and/or dairy, all things we were eliminating. Many women report back that they regret starting the formula, that their child was never truly healthy on it, and they wish they’d just kept nursing while eliminating foods.

The bottom line is doctors tell women their babies won’t react to HA formula because this is what the pharmaceutical reps have told them. Their goal is to make money, not to safeguard your child’s health. Even if that is their goal, they are misinformed and misguiding about the rewards, difficulties, and health benefits of just eliminating foods and sticking to breastmilk.

Myth 6: Dairy myths.

There are alot of myths about dairy, in particular. That you can eat goat milk but not cow. That you are just lactose intolerant. That butter isn’t really dairy. That lactose doesn’t have the protien in it so it’s okay.

Just like with any other elimination, you eliminate it all, then trial one by one. A small, repeat *small*, percentage of people can eat goat or sheep dairy if they react to cow’s milk protien, but that is the exception and not the norm, as many people think. Lactose intolerance is the normal state of the human stomach after age 5 or so, when a human would have stopped nursing, long long ago. So those of us that still make lactase are the exception, not the rule, again , when compared to most humans. Sometimes there is lactose in a pill and a doctor will say it’s okay because the protein isn’t there. And it may be a trace enough amount that you or your baby don’t react, but no on can promise that. You trial it separately, just like everything else.

Myth 7: You should avoid “allergenic foods” while pregnant, nursing, or introducing solids or avoid all nuts or all seeds.

This one is undetermined, scientifically. But the take on it that I have heard and tend to agree with, is, if you have eliminated other foods, and have *no* reason to suspect something like nuts or shellfish, then there is no reason to eliminate it and restrict your diet further. Ada had some nuts before she was two, and we trialed eggs with her before then too. Why wait because some people react to it? She already doesn’t eat dairy and gluten. So we gave her other vegetarian proteins and she was fine.

Another thing is people are often told to avoid all nuts and seeds. Botanically, food family wise, one seed isn’t any more likely to cause a reaction that another. So just because you react to peanuts, a legume, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat sunflower seeds. Tree nuts have been lumped together but are often botanically different as well. The big complication here is cross contamination, and so some people should avoid all nuts if they haven’t sourced them carefully themself, meaning ordered then in the shell and washed, for example.

There are food cross reactions, but they might surprise you. Bananas, avocados, papaya and latex are more closely related (reaction wise) then walnuts and almonds.

For more on this, you can read here.

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Recurrent mastitis is a bear.  It sucks when something is messing with your enjoyment of your bonding and breastfeeding relationship with your little one, not to mention making a very sensitive part of your body hurt and causing a fever and body aches and sensitive skin.

Thank God it’s over with hours after you realize its started, if you get some rest and get the plug out.

But this past month it’s been overly tedious for me.  It’s getting ridiculous.  With Azita I had one bout of mastitis– one— and it was due to wearing an underwire bra, a nice common reason that once eliminated, life was good again.  And I know many, many, many woman who never have so much as a close call with it– no plugged ducts, ever. 

I can say that with confidance, as I come into contact with more nursing moms than most as an LLL Leader.  Which is great news for you, if you are a pregnant or newly nursing mom, deliberating the joys and challenges of sustaining your baby this way.

So I had learned through other moms that dealt with too much milk, or over-active letdown, or fire-hydrant boob, as I like to call it, that once they eliminated dairy from their diets for their nursling, their too much milk often got better.

For me it was strange— it worked with gluten and eggs, as I discovered my intolerances to them.  Three times I’ve reintroduced eggs in my diet and got some fire-hydranting the next day.  But not dairy.  And I figured that since dairy often stimulates the glands, as many people get a runny nose or glue ear that alleviates when they stop dairy, it worked on that pathway. 

But my body never seems to follow the norms these days.  I had found one study in the Breastfeeding Answer Book that said that women with environmental allergies often have higher rates of mastitis, so I thought maybe it works on that pathway for me.

Today I found this on Kellymom.com, so it looks like I’m not the only person with this theory, and I definitely dig the complex immune response stuff.  My body seems to be full of complex immune responses.

In her book Breastfeeding Matters, Maureen Minchin theorizes that if a mom has allergies, recurring mastitis/plugged ducts might be caused by the “complex immune responses” that occur when she is exposed to an allergen. In a group of food-intolerant women, Minchin observed that their plugged ducts, “which rarely progressed to overt infection and which often recurred either premenstrually or before ovulation,” were “often accompanied by other symptoms of allergy intolerance.”

And yes, I’ve been eating store-bought gluten free bread, made in a factory with wheat.  Ada seems to be fine, but she doesn’t like it, and she nurses less and less these days, so I am bearing the brunt of my eating it.  I’d probably find it easier to avoid if she were the one suffering.

Each week I get a headache and a plugged duct and I tell myself to stop eating that bread.  Then I have a good week and eat some.  Then that night my milk supply goes nuts and I get sick.  I’ve also been enjoying the seriously awesome little Halloween cupcakes I made, and sugar always makes my ears cloggy so maybe that’s part it. 

And the bread isn’t even that good!  Store bought gluten-free bread never is.  I make homemade stuff better.  So why, why do I keep doing this to myself?  Isn’t that a sign right there?

Anyway, I thought I’d mention this, in hopes that some woman coping with recurring mastitis that could use this information stumbles upon it— as I think most of my loyal readers aren’t dealing with this at all. 

Just another post on breastfeeding and my crazy self-discoveries.  Thanks for reading!

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This is kind of a cool little link here, True Tales of Kids Turning Down Sweets.

I actually have only read a few.  Azita is a littlle candy treat hoarder, and I have wondered at times if it is because we made it seem like something to hoard.  The other day when I was putting Ada to nap, Azita got into the bag of organic Trader Joe’s lollipops and ate 6 that I found.  A few week later we moved the couch to vacuum and found 6 more. 

I want to let her regulate herself when it comes to treats.  And I think the belief that a child at this age can’t is very influenced by our own perceptions of food and our own ability to control ourselves at adults.  Just read this post “The Saga of the Flower Cake” by a mom whose child knew he reacted to something, but really wanted it, so he ate a tiny bite every day, just enough to let himself have it but NOT get symptoms, at the age of 5.

We, as parents, society, have the choice to see our kids as either fabulous and smart and able to make the right choices, or to see them as little manipulating opportunists out to push their limits and get only what the want and eat all the sugar in the world that they can get their hands on.

Now I have to add, after that little societal judgement of a paragraph, that we are trying to let Azita make those choices with varying levels of success.

Did she eat 12 lollipops at once because I tell her that sugar suppresses the action of her immune system and she can only have one every few days and she wanted to get it all in as she could?  Or did she eat that many because she is unable to control herself?

Now the issue gets a little more complex.  It is clear, from the two links I mentioned, that when allowed, some children will absolutely make moderate, mature choices about what and how much to eat.

But what if a child has family members on all sides that have issues with carbs?  Issues with over-eating?  Issues will limiting themselves to moderate amounts of things?

Going gluten-free wasn’t that hard for me, but going baked goods free?  Harder.  Much harder, actually.  I don’t like to admit it really, but giving up a daily or every other day rice-flour baked muffin, fruit pie or cookie makes me sad, and I’m a firm believer that *not* eating something should not make you sad!  If it does, you’ve got an issue!  (And I mean that in the MOST loving and understanding way, because I have been there.  Being on an elimination/addition diet with Ada for 12 months or more taught me a lot about myself and food that I didn’t know).

 At least, it used to make me sad.  Now it’s not as hard as it used to be.  But I really craved baked goods each and every morning for a long time.  And I bounce back and forth between thinking I crave them too much and that it’s not normal to eat an entire batch of cookies at once, and thinking, “hey, I eat an amazing unprocessed, whole foods, unboxed, high-organic diet and if I want to eat a whole thing of homemade rice flour cookies, so be it!!”

But it’s really getting much easier as I focus on raw foods, stews with organic meats, and seeds and nuts.

I do feel like I have an issue with carbs and maybe blood sugar.  If there is something carby in a meal, I can eat so much of it, too much of it.  And as I have given up gluten and sugar and my compulsion for baked goods, I’ve felt better and better and I’ve felt the *need* for those carbs less and less. 

Some people might wonder why it matters if you crave a food?  If you crave it, doesn’t your body need it?  Not necessarily.  IT depends on if the foods acts on your body the way a drug or chemical does, making you want it in a weird way.  If you can’t say no, like absolutely can’t stop eating something, it is not good for you.

And this gets into the belief that some kids are “picky eaters” and that is just how they are.  So many mothers have found that their cihld’s picky eating goes away when they stop eating a food they are intolerant to.

And as we are trying to let Azita choose her own foods, she has tried some gluten a few times in the past few months.  Reliably, she gets clingy, whiny and has tummy aches and some digestive issues.  We are trying to help her make the connection.  So far it hasn’t been amazing the way some of those stories I linked too are, unforetunately.  But she has plenty of time to grow up.  And, you guessed it, she becomes a *much* pickier eater for the week or so after eating gluten or dairy.

And I don’t believe in “hiding” healthy foods in dishes, a tactic made popular by a few different cook books a few years ago.  Then I am cutting off my children’s ability to choose right from the start.  Better to get their diet clean and let them decide. 

Basically, a kid whose body is reacting to something may crave only that food and have aversions to other foods. It has to do with chemicals and hormones. Because the body is intolerant to the food, it reacts to it strangely. It can act on dopamine receptors, similar to the way a drug acts on our body.

So picky eating can be a sign of food intolerance because, either

 (1) the kid wants that food her/his body reacts to almost exclusively or

(2) the body is trying to protect itself from further assault by toxins, in this case, the food the body is
mistaking for a toxin.

I’ve talked to several moms who ask me about this stuff and say “but what will I feed him without wheat or dairy? All he eats are cheese and crackers!!” and that’s the big clue. Another mom I know realized that her kids wild hyper-active behavior
had gotten worse after eating some new frozen meal thing from Whole Foods, I believe. He would widly flapping his arms and run around and was uncontrollable and was asking for only that snack, and she realized that he was eating them to the point it seemed weird. It turned out, the boy reacted to canola oil and that was the only thing she happened to buy that had it.

 That’s a less common trigger, but it can be anything.

Along these same lines as how picky eating becomes a sign of food intolerance people having a hard time giving up a food say things that sound a lot like rationalized.  I spoke with one mom one day who was near tears at the thought of giving up dairy for her child.  She ultimately decided to wean to formula so that she didn’t have to change her diet.  Not the choice I would have made, but I try not to be judgemental.  I guess that is why I like talking about this stuff, to share information that has helped me.

And so her daughter has a dairy allergy, and yet she eats cheese in front of her.   She told me that she tried to give it up too
but she didn’t feel good without it. She rationalizes that she must need something in the cheese to be healthy. It sounds ALOT more like withdrawal to me.

“Just a little bit of cheese won’t hurt me. Everything is okay in moderation. If I don’t eat it, I’ll get a headache. I won’t eat alot and I try not to do it in front of her.” Replace the word cheese with crack, and we’d be sending her to a rehab facility.

Our bodies are meant to love wholesome variety. If we are craving only one thing or refuse most things, it is a sign
of something. And gluten and dairy both actually have scientifically discoveredaddictive substances, so it is hard to give up. Casomorphin is the one for dairy, I don’t remember the gluten/wheat one. But foods aren’t supposed to be
hard to give up, for an adult or a kid.

Also interesting is that the whole picky eating phenomena is now being studied in adults.  Hopefully, people will begin to catch on for their health and their kid’s health.  Sheesh, I even think it become a social issue.  A lot of moms too, notice their ADD diagnosed kid changes dramatically with dietery changes.  And with obesity in children on the rise… we’re all going to have to wake up soon.  Our country is not headed for health disaster, we are already there!

It hasn’t been easy with Ada, but she really saved us.  I have not doubt in my mind, that me or my husband might have developed some chronic condition, common to industrialized nations, has we continued eating a SAD (standard american diet).  Earlier this week I ate some tortillas made in a facility with wheat.  I had some stomach pain, a headache and this back pain that I used to always have but now only comes every few months.  It could be a coincidence, but you know I don’t think it is.

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