Let's start at the very beginning....a very good place to start. A couple months back, our son Calvin who was around 10 months old, started breaking out in eczema all over his face, neck, and even some spots on his back. The poor kid looked miserable. We weren't sure what was causing it since he had been eating a variety of foods since he was around 6 months old and we hadn't introduced anything new before the breakout. At our doctor's suggestion, we switched to fragrance free soap, cut out eggs from his diet, and started putting Aquaphor on his eczema spots. That seemed to clear it up a little, but it never really went away. Then a week or so before his first birthday, it got worse again. His face was bright red, his eyes were always puffy and watery with dark circles under them, and the backs of his arms would randomly get red and hot and puffy. He was no longer my happy-go-lucky, smiley baby. He was quite obviously, miserable. After seeing our doctor again (who we LOVE, by the way), he was convinced it was a reactionary rash to something he was eating and that a blood test would be the most accurate and fast way to pinpoint what we needed to eliminate from Calvin's diet.
I won't EVEN get into the circus that was my week trying to get blood drawn from that poor kid. The bottom line is, we got the blood and the results came back saying he was mildly allergic to the following: Dairy, Eggs, Wheat, Peanuts, and Soy (DEWPS-I made up this acronym all by myself!). Next, we made a game plan. Eliminate all of it for 4 weeks, and if the rash clears up by then, we re-introduce one food at a time to see which one(s) is causing the eczema. If it doesn't clear up after those 4 weeks, we have to run more extensive blood tests.
My brain was immediately like, "OMG WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO COOK FOR HIM??!!!" Then my our doctor proceeded to tell me that the blood test also showed that his iron and zinc levels were a tad low, and that even though I was about to quit nursing, I should keep nursing because that would help make sure those levels go up (And we're giving him supplements). Which means I need to not eat dairy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, and soy. Then my brain went, "OMG I AM GOING TO STARVE TO DEATH!! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO EAT!!!!!!!!?????"
For those of you who may not know me, let me explain something....I LOVE TO EAT. ALL the foods! I love to cook and I use a LOT of butter and CHEEEEEESE!!!! We buy our cheese in bulk because we eat SO much of it. Ever seen Oprah talk about how much she loves bread in that Weight Watchers commercial? Yeah that's how I feel about bread too. I also love to bake. Just about every single one of my favorite baking recipes has butter, eggs, milk, and flour in it. All of which I can now not eat. WHAT in the actual what. Pity parties ensued as did massive withdrawal headaches and fatigue.
(Side note: The day before I got the blood results I had been praying that God would reveal idols of my heart that were taking His place. I believe this was a direct answer to prayer. Not what I had in mind. But when is His plan ever what I had in my finite, fallible mind?)
After I got over the initial pity party phase, I yanked on my big girl panties, got on Pinterest, and planned an entire 4 weeks worth of DEWPS friendly meals. Some of them are brand new recipes that I've never tried and others are recipes of my own that I've adapted. I also tried to make the meals things that you could easily add cheese to for my Hubby and other son. For now, I'm trying to make do with ingredients I'm used to working with. I did however, buy some vegan cheese, (NEVER again) that Calvin seems to like a lot, but makes me shudder every time I take a bite.
Today was Day 7 of DEWPS.
Breakfast: sausage patties, avocado slices, tomatoes, and fruit.
Lunch: Leftover bun-less burgers, guacamole, and chili roasted sweet potatoes
Snack: Skinny Pop Popcorn, 2 DEWPS friendly cookies I found in the healthy section at Kroger
Dinner: Lemon-Garlic roasted whole chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans with tomatoes and bacon
There has been lots of guacamole made in the past 7 days. Thankfully, I can still get my carb fix with tortilla chips, rice, potatoes, and corn. And I can still have coffee and wine. So life is still pretty good. Not to mention, I FEEL great! Super energized, motivated to do yoga in the mornings, and just all around healthy. Calvin is back to his smiley self as well and his little chubby cheeks are starting to look as clear as they did the day he was born. So far his favorites of this new diet have been the guacamole and the chili- roasted sweet potatoes, but he's pretty much a garbage disposal for anything we throw on his tray.
Funnily enough, all this work and as of a few days ago, I can't get Calvin to nurse. He is just not interested anymore. So, I could technically go back to eating whatever I want. However, I made it a whole week. And like I told my hubby, this is good for me to do something I don't want to do. It's good for my physical health and I think it's good for my spiritual health as well. Learning to look to Jesus for comfort, rather than food. Learning to use self-control. Learning that just because I "want" something, doesn't mean I need it.
Throughout the rest of the 4 weeks, I will be blogging some of the recipes I'm trying and maybe someone out there is looking to the cyber world for inspiration, because they just found out their kid has food allergies. And maybe, just maybe, this little blog might be of help.
Happy eating, folks!