Sunday, July 31, 2011

Allergy Free Oreos


Sometimes I miss Pepperidge Farm Cookies or Oreos or the Keebler Elves.  Sometimes I hear them calling to me from their little treehouse.  I'm just sure that they make the fudge stripe cookies just for me....
I don't even allow myself to walk down the snack aisle in our grocery store.  I have to stay away from all those snack foods!

On my recent road trip I found an alternative that helps satisfy my cravings and it was a huge hit with the kiddos.  I do have to admit that they tasted every bit as good as a traditional oreo and the vanilla version was even better in my opinion.  The kids thought they were great and they would always insist on one of each flavor.



These are my new favorite snack food cookie..........if only they would carry them at our local store!  They also make several other cookies and foods that Bee can have.  I'm hoping we'll have the chance to try most of them to see what we think. 

A disclaimer:  These cookies do have small amounts of soy in the form of soy lecithin.  Soy is one of Bee's lower allergens and she has tolerated items with small amounts of soy lecithin in the past.  So we compromise and allow a little soy lecithin in the house but are strictly free of most of her other main allergens.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Breastmilk Allergy

Ladybug is quite the Queen of spit up lately.  I don't think there's a surface in our house that has escaped.  Her aim is pretty precise and she's been able to spit up down my shirt, up my shorts, and up my sleeves.  I thought there was a law called gravity but she defies that one.

She had a massive spit-up on our comforter and I did the best I could to clean it up but I'm sure it wasn't good enough - I sense an item for our Christmas list for one of our parents....new bedding and some new sheets thrown in!  Did I mention Ladybug also had an explosive diaper on our sheets?  Yes, that was a fun day.

Later that day, Bee was climbing on our bed and jumping away, because if it's there, it should be climbed and then jumped on or jumped from...she makes me a nervous wreck.

As she was lying on the bed, she began to break out on the back of her neck and on one shoulder.  That was a new one-she's allergic to comforters?  Then we remembered-the spit up on the bed, on that very spot.  Is Bee allergic to the spit up?  The breastmilk?  What is going on?

Either Bee is allergic to breastmilk (and if she is I'll feel forever guilty for nursing her for 10 months) or I ate some contraband late at night and some of that dairy protein was in the milk and is what broke her out.

And if it's a problem of casein in the milk, then is Ladybug reacting to it too?  Are her spit up episodes related to our occasional late night pizza or ice cream snacks?

Ok, that makes my head hurt.  I'm going to be doing much better spit up clean-ups from now on.  And I guess I'll say goodbye to our late night "dinner dates."

It's just such a sad thought!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Milk Free Calcium Supplement



Trying to find a dairy and soy free calcium supplement can be challenging!  But I'm happy to report that I found one that all the kids will take without complaints!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Eczema and Itching



Bee's eczema makes her so horribly itchy, especially in this heat.  We do all we can to help minimize the itchiness-cool tub soaks, wet wraps, lots of lotion, itch relief cream, and keeping her skin covered as much as we can.  But sometimes she scratches her skin completely raw and then I feel like we're just starting over.

Bee isn't old enough to understand that itching only makes it worse.  We tell her again and again not to scratch.  Some days I get so sick of hearing myself say "Don't scratch!  Don't itch!"  Even the other kids chime in with their reminders.  I try to be so patient with all the reminders but at times I start to get frantic.  I resort to begging her to stop itching and sometimes I even cry with her.  I know it itches!  I know she's miserable!  But she has to stop scratching or the eczema will flare out of control and she'll be at risk for infections.

I find myself losing my patience with her itching.  Some days I can't change her diaper fast enough before she starts scratching.  On those days I can be so impatient with her itching.

I find myself becoming frustrated with her constant scratching.  I remind her over and over and over again to stop.  I try to keep her within arms reach so I can quickly pull her fingers away from her legs or elbows if she's starting to scratch.  I even have her positioned behind the passenger seat so if I'm driving, I can still reach her to stop the itching.

I get so frustrated at myself that I'm so frustrated with her.  I know she can't help it.  I know she isn't old enough to understand.  I can hear the panic and frustration in my voice when I'm asking her to stop.  I feel like I'm always on edge and always watching her, always worried, and always on guard.

Just because her itching causes me to be stressed and worried is not excuse to be impatient with her.  Yet, I feel like it gets so old.  She's always itchy; it doesn't go away.  Day after day we deal with the same issues and I can get so worn down.  But it's never a excuse to be so short on patience.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the uity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  Ephesians 4:1-3

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Allergy to Salba

Well, we have a new allergen to add to our ever-growing list.  Bee is allergic to Salba seeds.

We had some chicken and rice for dinner the other night.  Bee likes to squeeze some applesauce over hers for her "sauce."  We had several different brands of squeezable applesauces but Bee chose this variety.  Several bites in to dinner she was breaking out.



We have gotten pretty good at our allergy drill and gave her some medicine, put her in a cool bath, put on some cortizone and sat over her with the Epi-pen waiting to see if the hives were spreading.  We were able to keep this reaction under control although it made her very itchy.

Our dinner was leftovers from lunch the day before so we knew that it should not have caused her rash.  The only thing different was the variety of applesauce she chose for her sauce.  After re-reading the label of Squash Applesauce, we learned that this brand put Salba seed into their sauce to add Omega-3s.  We began to suspect the Salba and after doing some research learned that Salba can be related to sesame seed.  Those with a sesame seed allergy should not have Salba.  We found our culprit.  After talking with our dietician, she also recommended that we avoid flax seed if Salba and sesame are problems.  That's two more for our list.........Poor Cinderelly........


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Allergy Free Pancakes

Before Bee was born, Prince Charming and I used to get up early on some Saturday mornings and put together a whole grain pancake mix, add some buttermilk and cinnamon, and have some of the most amazing pancakes which were ready when the little Curly and Tiger woke up.  Those pancakes are one of the things I miss the most.  So, Prince Charming has been determined to make a better pancake that isn't too gummy, isn't too flat, and isn't too dense.  Last weekend he surprised the kids with pancakes that are reminiscent of our favorite recipe, just allergy free so Bee can enjoy too!

Here is Prince Charming's version of buttermilk pancakes.



Whisk together:
2 cups GF flour mix  (4 cups rice flour, 1 1/3 cup potato starch, 2/3 cup tapioca flour)
1/2 cup millet flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 t baking powder
2 t salt

Add:
1 T honey
3 t egg replacer whisked with 4 T vanilla Hemp milk (or rice or almond)
2 cups of plain rice milk (or other plain milk)

You might need to add more or less milk depending on how thick you want your pancakes.

And you could easily put in less sugar but Prince Charming believes that pancakes are part dessert and are even better with lots of real maple syrup.

These pancakes disappeared quickly and tasted like a whole grain variety.  I think it must have been the nutty flavor of the hemp milk.

All 3 kids begged Prince Charming to make them again!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Allergy Free Hamburger Buns



I am on a quest to learn how to make hamburger buns but that will have to wait for several weeks as we have a packed schedule coming up.  In the meantime I settled for some store bought buns and they weren't too bad.  They are more dense than a regular hamburger bun but held together well without crumbling.  I think they are a little on the dry side but overall were pretty good.  These buns wouldn't be too bad toasted, with a juicy burger in between.  We had gotten tired of eating plain hamburger patties so the bun was a nice addition.
I will master the hamburger bun one day but these buns will be an ok stand-in when Prince Charming mans the grill.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Yeast and Eczema

What causes eczema?

There are five intolerances that are believed to be the main culprits behind eczema:

Casein or Lactose (dairy)
Yeast
Gluten (wheat, barley, oats, rye, spelt)
Sugar or Fructose
Other Food Allergy

While we know that casein, gluten, and other food allergies contribute to Bee's allergies.  No doctor has yet mentioned yeast or sugar.  After talking with some other parents and doing some brief research, I've decided that we will try cutting back on both yeast and sugar in Bee's diets. 

An overgrowth of yeast can contribute to eczema outbreaks.  When I spoke with a local naturopath, his first recommendation for Bee was to begin a yeast-free diet and avoid sugars.  This seems to make sense because Bee has battled multiple topical yeast infections in addition to her eczema.  Many times I've felt her "eczema patches" were actually a yeast infection.  No amount of steroid cream would keep them clear.  Only an anti-fungal cleared up her skin.  I definitely believe in the connection. 

Yet another thing to try.......

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bee Update



What's been up with Bee lately?  She is 2.  That should be enough of an update!

Her favorite phrases are:

I do it!
Look at me!
That's mine!
My turn!
No!

Did I mention that she is 2?

She can throw one sassy little tantrum.  She can also recover from a tantrum in lightning speed.  She's all drama!  And stubborness.  And independent.

She also climbs everything!  I spend my day rescuing her from high perches and picking her up after she jumps from them.

I also rescue her older and bigger brother and sister from her wrath.  You do not want to experience the wrath of Bee.  She will retaliate.  You will be sorry.  My older two run from her in fear.  They need to toughen up!

Bee's other famous phrase is "later."  I don't know what I would do without that word.  Anytime she asks to do something that we can't do right then, I use the magic word, "later."  This satisfies her and she goes about her business.  If I forget that one word, a tantrum ensues.  She will do everything later.  She will obey later.  She will pick up later.  She will eat later.  She will nap later.  So, it's a double-edged sword.

Bee is also the snuggly, cuddly, caring little person who freely shares kisses and hugs, always looks for an empty lap, and gently cares for her baby dolls.

Bee insists that she is actually 3.  Her vocabulary might fool some, but of course her tantrums would give her away.  Sorry Bee!  We know you're 2!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chewable Probiotic

Finding a probiotic is difficult enough, but to find a dairy-free probiotic is even harder.  Probiotic powders are very hard to give to little ones.  If you sneak it into their food or drink they seem to just know.  So, I have been on the hunt for a chewable probiotic.  And I found one!



This is dairy and gluten free, although it does say it contains trace amounts of soy.  Tiny amounts of soy have not bothered Bee so we decided to give it a try.  She loves the little "vitamins" as she calls them and all the kids have been taking them with her.  We'll try it for a month and see if we notice any major eczema improvement.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wet Wraps

I've been trying to be consistent with some wet wrap therapy for Bee these past few weeks.  I feel like it takes forever, but it's helping.  So, it is definitely worth the time and effort.

We do short tub soaks-no soap!  Then as soon as she gets out we grab our Vanicream and lather her up.  Then I soak some gauze strips in cool water.  I wrap those around her arms or legs and use a self-adhesive bandage over the top.  Then, on go the jammies to keep her wraps in place.  After an hour or two I remove the wraps and use more lotion.  We sometimes do the wraps several times in a day.

What does Bee think about wet wraps?  Bee is not a fan of wet wraps, mostly because she has to stop what she's playing with to let me wrap or unwrap her legs and put on more lotion.  She thinks it is very inconvenient and she complains the entire time.  

Is it helping?  I've noticed a huge decrease in her itching.  The redness and inflammation in her skin is decreasing.  Her rough patches are softening and her skin is healing.  I'm so thankful!

I'm hoping we can continue to make improvements without using daily steroid creams or taking a daily antihistamine.  Bee hasn't taken anything daily for over a year and I'd like to keep it that way.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Talking with other "allergy parents"

Sometimes it is just refreshing to talk with other parents of allergic kids because they just get it.  They understand what you are saying and even what you aren't saying.

I had one of those conversations recently.  This mom was still somewhat new to the allergy lifestyle.  Her son cannot have dairy.  We were discussing other options and changes we've made to avoid dairy.  She brought up a few issues that we've encountered on our allergy journey.

1)  Some people do not take the allergy seriously.
Some people are simply ignorant regarding allergies and others just aren't concerned.

When you mention allergy, some automatically assume that you mean a peanut allergy.  If you attempt to describe any other type of allergy you are met with blank stares.

Others are in disbelief that someone could possibly be allergic to things such as watermelon and avocado.

And some just don't take any precautions and are very inconsiderate. 

2)  Others think the situation is overly-dramatized and do not understand the severity.

These individuals are the ones who think a little is ok.  Everything in moderation, right?


This mom had someone give her son something that contained dairy, because dairy was only one of the ingredients in a long list.  This somehow made it ok for her son.  He became very sick afterwards and had stomach issues for days.

For most allergic individuals, it's not the amount that matters-it's the ingredient, even in trace amounts.

In the case of an allergic person, no means no-not at all-not in any form-not in any amount-not cooked-not raw-not processed-not ever.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ladybug

Here's a brief update on Ladybug:

Ladybug is such a sweet, laid-back, happy baby!  She loves to be right in the middle of the action and is fascinated by her older brother and sisters.



They can't get enough of her either.





Ladybug is sleeping through the night!  And so am I!



And she has no rash and no eczema at the moment.  She either has no allergies or our limited diet is working for her and keeps her rash free.  We hope to take her to our immunologist to discuss possibilities and to talk about starting solids.



She hates tummy time but loves to play on her little play mat.



She also loves to eat.  Ladybug is our "chunky monkey!"

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cotton Fabric and Eczema

Cotton fabric is our best friend.  Polyester makes Bee itchy and we haven't tried any other fabrics after that mess.  We stick with cotton.  Too bad we can't find a cotton swimsuit............

Bee loves to swim and play in the water!  I hope her swimsuit isn't one of the things causing her to be more itchy lately!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dog Allergy



Yes, we are allergic to dogs.

We initially thought cats were our only pet allergy.  Nope!  Dogs are dangerous too!  This picture was taken after a dog licked Bee.  What a scary day!  I thought a hospital trip was in our near future after this one.

The worse part about this is that Bee loves dogs!  She wants to touch every dog she sees!  My other kids could care less about dogs, but not Bee.  She is an animal girl.  Now, I can't allow her to be around them!

We're just adding to my paranoia.  Every time we're out at a park, at the beach, anywhere outdoors, I have to be in fear of every dog.

How many times lately has someone walked their dog by and offered to let Bee pet the dog?  I have to turn them down every time.  If a dog comes close, we scoop Bee up to keep her away.  The owner always has the same response, "He/She's friendly."  That's terrible!  Friendly dogs are no good!  They can be friendly to us all they want, but we won't be friendly back.

This means that we won't be getting a dog anytime soon, and probably not ever.  We have so missed our first dog and have always hoped to have another dog one day.  Nope!  What does that leave us with, a fish?  No thanks............

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Please Share

Bee loves her sweet potato fries!  When I asked her to please share one with me, this is what I got!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ice Cream Alternative


On our recent visit to our doctor, the dietician recommended trying Hemp Ice Cream since Bee isn't a huge fan of Rice Ice Cream.  They even have hemp ice cream bars!  I'm hoping it tastes better than the "rice cream" and that maybe we can all tolerate making the switch........The reviews are positive and the dietician thought it would be a hit.  If only our local store carried it.....they don't and won't.  Sigh.  I sense a road trip with a large cooler in my near future!  It's summer!  Every child deserves "ice cream!"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Eczema Patches

Bee has been so much better lately, very few outbreaks and only occasional hives.  Our only problem is the eczema patches behind her knees and on the inside of her elbows.  I feel like we cannot get rid of them!

We are avoiding all her known allergens (as best we can) which should lower her number of outbreaks.


We use Vanicream lotion each night.  


She does tub soaks followed by lotion to keep her skin hydrated.


She drinks plenty of water.


We work hard to keep her from itching-she lives in footie pj's to make it difficult for her to scratch.

Next on our list is to add in some probiotics which might help.

Apparently there are widely differing opinions on the use of probiotics for those with eczema.

To use them or to not?

But it seems like no matter what we do, the eczema still pops up when we least expect it.  Unbelievably frustrating!!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Probiotics

I have tried probiotics in the past with Bee and have given up.  She won't drink milk or juice with that powder stirred in.  She seems to instinctively know that it's in there.  I pour out her drink and see the probiotic sludge left in the bottom, the sludge that she reaped no benefit from since she probably only drank one granule.

I have been searching for a liquid or chewable probiotic-anything other than a powder!  It's hard enough to find a dairy and soy free probiotic but not find it in another form, that is a tall-order.  But with the help of our dietician, I have found one.

It can only be ordered through a doctor so I'm working with mine to find out if we can get some to try.  I'm hoping that Bee would actually take a chewable probiotic and that we could see if taking one daily for a month or two would make a difference for her.  Maybe if I nag them often enough, they'll order it for me...........

Monday, July 11, 2011

Regression

Yesterday my hubby told me that reading my blog was making him depressed.  So sorry!  But I don't think that's going to change much in the upcoming posts.  I don't feel too upbeat.

The past few months I feel like we've made no progress.  No, I actually feel like we are regressing.  Bee has had more reactions than I can count on one hand just in the past month or two.  Her eczema is flaring constantly.  I'm back to my itchy, bleeding, cranky child.

Over and over throughout the day I beg her to stop itching.  I try different medicines.  We do cool water tub soaks.  I cover her in lotion.  I use wet wraps on her arms and legs.  I keep her in jammies around the clock.  I "Shout" out all of the bloodstains on her clothes.  I trim and trim her finger nails.  I've taken some time to just be at home to try to break the cycle we're in.  It's just heart breaking and exhausting.

To have felt like we were making slow but steady progress all winter and then to lose it all.  Oh, it's just so maddening.  The allergies are running our lives right now.

The one small positive spot was a talk with another allergy mommy.  Her son is several years older than Bee and she's the one who has gone before us and I don't know what we would have done if we had not connected with her and her sweet family.  We chat, she listens, she sympathizes, she understands, and she offers her wisdom because she has so been there.

Her advice this time?  To keep going.  She felt the exact same way when her son was 2 and 3.  She felt like they hit a major wall and then began to backtrack.  She felt they lost all of their progress and that their "do not eat" list was growing daily.  Then one day, their life took a turn and he's made somewhat steady progress ever since.  However, they've always had short periods of regression.

I guess it's to be expected.  We will have regressions and we will have to keep going forward.  There are improvements and there will be more.  I can have hope that even when all I see is regression, there is One who sees all and will be with me each day.

Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath.  God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to life, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  Hebrews 6:17-19a

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Rice Yogurt

There is one type of yogurt that Bee can apparently have.............rice yogurt.  I've only found one company that makes it.  What would make it even better is if our local store actually carried it..........
Bee has had this yogurt once and seemed to like it somewhat.  I'm not thrilled at the amount of sugar in each little container, but if it's your only option then what can I say?  But I wish they made a plain flavor; I want to use it when I'm baking.  I'm going to be emailing them about that...................

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pretzel chicken

This chicken makes great chicken fingers and would even be yummy served over pasta like Chicken Parmesan.

Pretzel Chicken
boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
crushed allergy-free pretzels (I used about 1/3 of a bag of Glutino pretzels)
2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp caynne pepper
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 T rice milk mixed with 6 T olive oil (blended very well)
1/2 cup rice flour

Preheat oven to 425.  Cut chicken breast into strips.  Crush pretzels (or use food processor) and combine the crumbs with the spices.  Pour rice flour into a shallow bowl and dredge each chicken strip in flour.  Then dip the strip into the milk/olive oil mixture.  Finally, dredge the chicken in the pretzel and spice mixture.  Place in a greased baking dish and bake at 425 for 20 minutes (turning chicken strips after 10 minutes) or until chicken juices run clear.  Cooking time will vary according to chicken strip size.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cats and Allergies

We have a new allergy to add to our list-CATS!

We recently had a playdate with some friends.  It was our first time to visit their house.  I didn't think to ask if they had pets before we went to their house-I didn't even know pets would be an issue.

During the playdate, Bee began to get very, very cranky.  I noticed a few small red spots on her face, but wasn't sure what was bothering her.  Then the itching began and Bee started to get frantic.  She was itching and falling to the floor in one small tantrum after another.  I decided to take her to another room to help her calm down.  In the other room, I unzipped her jammies (because we wear jammies whenever possible!) and noticed that she was covered in hives.

I had to rudely announce that we had to head home, pack up 4 children, and load the car.  Our playdate was cut short, my other kids were upset to have to leave, Bee was having a reaction, crying and itching, and I was stressed and frustrated.

As soon as we climbed into the van, I gave Bee some Bendryl and cleaned everyone's hands.  We drove home quickly and I had everyone rinse off in the shower.  Bee was lotioned and put in clean jammies.  Daddy even had to come home from work for a little while to help me re-dress everyone and calm Bee, who was still incredibly fussy.  Finally, the Bendryl kicked in and the rash began to fade.  Bee was able to rest and took a short nap.

All that evening, hubby and I talked over all the variables and decided that the reaction had to have been caused by the cats in the house of our friend.  Bee has never been around cats before and it seems like the most logical explanation.  It's just one more thing to add to our list and to discuss with our doctor in July.  More testing might be in order and our house will definitely stay pet free for a long time!

 
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