Sunday, August 14, 2011

Here we go again...

I'm making more changes to my family's diet. Now, nothing has been diagnosed. I'm due for a blood test this week and then it'll be 2 more weeks before I get the results and the kids are seeing our new Integrative Medicine doctor soon. I've been doing a lot of research into a gluten-free diet. I've known for a while that it was a good possibility I would make this switch for my youngest daughter, but more recently I've realized it's something my other daughter AND I need as well. I don't know why my family has these food intolerances and we're not 100% sure what they all are.

For instance, S had an allergic reaction while we were on vacation after eating sausage, eggs and pancakes. She's never had a problem with eggs or the ingredients in the pancakes, so we immediately thought it was the spices in the sausage. She came to us and said she didn't feel well in her stomach and her chest hurt. I noticed right away her cheeks were swollen, red and puffy, as were her lips. After a few minutes, her lips turned purple. There was a time a while ago when she was 5 that this happened and we thought she had croup and took her to the ER. It was too long ago to remember what she'd eaten and we didn't think it was an allergic reaction at the time, but maybe reflux. She seemed to be having reflux at the same time as this allergic reaction, so we gave her a Benadryl and a Pepcid. After 15 minutes her breathing was less labored and her swelling had gone down. She still felt shaky and nauseous for about a half hour and then threw up. After that she felt fully recovered. Let me tell you, that was scary. She's had this type of reaction (minus the severity of the throat closing) to strawberries, cinnamon and nutmeg, and crabs. We don't know if it was the crabs, but she's been fine with shrimp since then--even with Old Bay seasoning on them, which we thought might have been the cause of the reaction. The crab reaction was the longest lasting because she had swollen, puffy cheeks for 4 days (even with Benadryl), but didn't have any problems with her throat. This last reaction really scared us and Will mentioned we should have epipens in case this happens more severely. I'll be discussing all of this with our new doctor, of course.

G is obviously sensitive to artificial dyes, namely Yellow #5. All through kindergarten she had trouble not talking at times and would have to have time outs at least once a week because of it. She certainly wasn't the most ADHD kid in her class, but she definitely has the tendency to be that way. Until now, I just chalked up her climbing, moving, running, going all around the house, antsyness at the table, incessant talking, tantrums, whinyness, impulsiveness and general lack of control to her young age. Many, if not all, of those behaviors are typical for a 1-4 year old and ADHD isn't really diagnosed at such a young age. Truthfully, I do not consider her as having attention deficit. She can play with other kids in a very focused imagination-rich game for hours. She can play on the computer for hours, too. Usually what stops her is her hunger. She does have difficulty sitting still when coloring, eating, watching TV, doing homework, etc. She's hyperactive and impulsive, which in itself is a type of disorder. If she has cereal or candy with dye in it, within the hour she will talk non-stop. She makes her voice funny and she doesn't even care what she's talking or who is listening or responding. She just keeps talking. Then it ends in whining, crying and often a tantrum which involves hanging on me, hitting her sister and/or needing to be isolated from people. She seems to crave bread items and sugar, especially chocolate sweets. My goal with her is to have a G.F. vegan, sugar-free diet. And I'm going to do it for me AND S as well. Now that's going to be difficult in many situations.

No more fast food (we only visit Chik-fil-a or Arby's once a month, usually when traveling or extremely busy). No more sugary, store-bought cereals and granola bars. Fortunately G LOVES Larabars and I've found very easy granola bar recipes that S is sure to like. Anything with coconut and chocolate in it is bound to be a success in this house. Probably Will is going to chow down on them, too. Hummus and veggies are one of our favorites. We all like beans and veggies cooked in chili and soup or with G.F. grains or rice noodles. I can bake with maple syrup and agave. The biggest challenge will be in reading more labels and finding ways to have GF products without spending more on food.

Make home-made cereals, snacks and dinners that can be eaten as left overs.
Plan ahead, have menus for each week and make bulk recipes on the weekend
to freeze or have through the week.

BTW, there are an abundance of bloggers out there with great GF recipes and even some who are GF and vegan! I'll be adding their sites to my blogroll.

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