Dealing with Food Sensitivities
A year ago we learned that our son had mild sensitivities to certain foods. I say mild sensitivities instead of allergies because if he ends up with something from one of these food groups, there is no need to panic. It essentially just does not sit well in his tummy and whoever is on diaper duty at that lucky time, gets to deal with it (if you catch my drift!). However, a year ago, things were a little different. When given these foods in large amounts my son was severely constipated and had stopped growing for several months. It took time, tests and one very smart nutritionist to identify what was happening in my, then, not even one year old son.
I could start a tangent here about our old pediatrician and how he suggested my son was not eating enough and to feed him butter to “fatten him up” but I will refrain. Instead I will tell you about a healthier, happier lifestyle and note that our new pediatrician resembles Dustin Hoffman.
Initially it started with gluten and then we gradually realized dairy and egg were part of the situation. My husband has some lactose intolerance issues, but aside from that there is nothing else between the two of us. We were a little surprised to hear the results of the testing, but knew there was an issue that needed resolving. I refused to accept the news for a while, I’ll be the first to admit.
See, I love to cook, bake, feed people, you name it. At that time I was slowly inching my way towards more organic foods and a healthier lifestyle, but my son’s sensitivities launched me into it, ready or not style. It came in two parts: eliminating gluten, dairy and egg while also choosing healthier ingredients for what was staying on the menu. For today I will stick with the first part and leave you with a few tips on how to avoid some of these foods if your littles are struggling through food sensitivities or allergies.
- We thankfully live in a gluten free friendly country. Whether people are struggling through celiac disease or trying to avoid it in general, word has gotten out to the supermarkets and they have listened. Between coconut flour, almond flour and gluten free flour mixes, there are so many options to continue your baking endeavors. There are also plenty of snacks found in their aisles (we love Trader Joe snack options in my household). If you are new to this, quite often you will find “gluten free” stamped to the front of a product making it easy to spot. By the way, Barilla brand makes a great gluten free pasta line. Or the healthier side, get a quinoa based pasta!
- We eat a ton of Mexican style food. This was easy for us because the three of us live for beans, rice and taco meat. My husband and I will add cheese at the very end to our taco bowl and our son does not. (We don’t make a big deal of adding cheese to ours, so our son does not even know what he is missing out on.) Essentially though, meals just need to be based around meats, vegetables, fruits and even a filler such as rice. If you don’t prefer Mexican, have an American night of burgers and turn them into lettuce wraps.
- It takes time. It took months to begin to acquire new staples in our home. I finally found gluten free oatmeal which my son devours every morning for breakfast with blueberries, peanut butter and chia seeds. I have snacks for on the run (peanut butter and jelly bars, apple sauce packets, apple sticks). You will often find a watermelon fully cut up in our fridge for snacking on along with other fruits. Smoothies are often being blended and I have learned that is a great place that I can sneak in vegetables.
I realize the challenge seems daunting initially and I am right there with you, Mama.
But I feel as though our little family has become better for it. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I want to cry a little every once in a while when I think of my son not being able to indulge in a bowl of macaroni and cheese or when he sees me eating a cookie and asks so nicely for a piece. It breaks my heart just a little each time! Now, I also see how healthy he is. I see that he went from the 10th percentile back to the 90th percentile and know that the sacrifices in our family, whether it be long-term or temporary is completely worth it!
I would love to hear about any food allergies you discovered in your children and the transition you took in your house too! ❤ Share your stories in the comments below.