I know I haven’t posted for months. I have some catching up to do, including sharing about the birth of my sweet baby five months ago! But today my mind is on food allergies.
While I was pregnant, my son’s diet took a backseat. I was just really struggling with being pregnant–the nausea, the food aversions, the fatigue. It was all I could do to feed myself, most days. My son, aged 5 at the time, was not getting the same quality nutrition that he was getting before. I wasn’t soaking grains or keeping up on the kefir. I even hogged up all the raw milk myself, and since my husband would have freaked out if I asked to sign up for more so our son could have some, I gave him pasteurized grassfed milk instead. I felt so horrible about all this. In the meantime he seemed like he kept hitting growth spurts and I knew he was missing valuable nutrition needed to develop optimally. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but I swear he face looks longer than it did before. If you know anything about the studies of Weston A Price, you’ll know that wide-set faces are a hallmark of good nutrition and lead to better health. I fear that now my son is even more set for having crowded teeth and poor eyesight (his eyes actually look too big for his face now). I just want to cry about it.
Also during my pregnancy, I noticed he was getting those purple rings under his eyes, which are a hallmark of nutritional deficiencies and allergies. It’s been almost five months since baby was born, and I’ve slowly been getting back into the swing of things, though not yet back to the same level of quality meals we were previously enjoying. While he has been able to have raw milk again, he’s also been eating plenty of unsoaked grains, store-bought ice cream (organic but still not ideal), and almost no bone broth and organ meat, and kefir has been very off and on. I’m surprised my kefir grains are still alive, actually–I keep throwing them into the fridge because I don’t feel like dealing with them.
Anyway, I had been suspecting a gluten intolerance for a long, long time. I kept allowing him to eat it, though, because it was easy and I needed something easy, and also if he was allergic, he likely needed to keep consuming it in order for it to show up on a test. Finally, after his sixth birthday, I took him to the naturopath/midwife who had delivered my baby for a well-child visit. I explained to her his history of sleep disturbances–never sleeping through the night till he was four, and even then not regularly; night terrors starting in toddlerhood; and more recently, sleepwalking. She told me that sleep disturbances were often the result of food allergies. Having wanted him tested, anyway, I quickly agreed to a test.
Yesterday I got the results. It turns out that he’s not allergic to gluten (yay, no celiac disease!), although he could still be intolerant of it. He is, however, mildly allergic to whole wheat–just not the gluten part. I was sad to find out he is highly allergic to the one “sacred” food that I’m always trying to push on him–eggs. He’s also mildly allergic to milk, which makes me so sad as it was the one very nutritious thing I was able to get him to eat every day. In fact, he tells me he is sad about that–he loves the taste of cow milk. He also has a moderate allergy to peanuts and duck egg, and mild allergy to almonds and cane sugar. Pineapple and amaranth were two random allergies because he’s never had amaranth and rarely eats pineapple. Well, and he only had duck egg once. Everything else on the list were things he consumes very frequently, which makes me suspect it is the result of a leaky gut and being sensitized to foods he is eating a lot. A couple years ago, he saw a homeopath for strep throat, and the doctor told me his immune system needed support and that I should put him on a rotating diet to eliminate and prevent food allergies. I tried to follow this advice in part, by rotating most of our diet–the meats, grains, vegetables and fruit that we eat. I also tried not to have almonds every day, but we have been having quite a bit of almond baked goods lately. However, I ignored the idea of rotating eggs and milk because I really wanted him to have those foods as often as possible for the nutrition. The wheat bread he’s been eating as been purely out of convenience, of course. I would rather he not have had it at all. The cane sugar allergy probably came from all the ice cream we’ve been eating lately–I used to never give it to him. So, I think the homeopath was on the right track about rotating foods–he’s not allergic to any of the foods I’ve been good about rotating.
As I examined the list of food allergies, I couldn’t help but notice that eggs, wheat, milk, peanuts and sugar are all very common foods in the typical American kid’s diet. And typically, one could substitute almond milk for dairy milk, almond butter for peanut butter, and almond flour for wheat flour…but he is allergic to almonds as well! If I was a typical American mom, I think I’d be feeling extremely overwhelmed right now, but I’m not. I’m simply disappointed that he cannot have eggs, and I’m hoping he will accept goat milk and raw cheddar cheese (he wasn’t allergic to cheddar, interestingly) as an alternative to cow milk. There are other “sacred” foods (sacred foods are foods revered by traditional societies for their strong nutritional density) that he can eat, so I know I can focus on getting more of those in his diet. He doesn’t even like eating eggs very much, so I’m almost relieved that I don’t have to give them to him anymore.
I need to focus now on healing his gut and rotating his diet to prevent further allergies. I believe his food allergies can be cured. I’m grateful for my previous experience with the GAPS diet, my awareness of the Body Ecology Diet (both gut-healing diets), my experience in having to avoid common foods, and my knowledge of traditional diets and food preparation. I may have fallen off track with being pregnant and having a new baby, but now I can get back in there and work with my son’s diet and help him achieve better health.