Food Allergy Experience

Pizza, Pizza (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

Do you remember the Little Cesar Pizza commercials….Pizza, pizza. I attached a link to YouTube in case you’re not familiar with the “pizza, pizza”. It really doesn’t have much of anything to do with this post, except that it explains my title. Although, I’m quite certain that there’s something wrong with me spending so long to explain such a simple thing such as my title. I’m certain there is some sort of rule on writing or list of things not to do when blogging which addresses this. IF there’s not there should be. And I’ve now completely digressed from my topic.

Pizza (pizza, pizza) is a household favorite in many homes. It is a favorite of many kids. As an adult, it is one of my favorite foods. I honestly could eat pizza several nights a week without complaining. One of the best things about pizza is it’s diversity. You can put almost  anything on a pizza. Pizza toppings can vary from the traditional pepperoni to the less common of hotdogs or potato and onions.

I will admit, pizza (pizza, pizza) was something I was certain my little guy would not be able to enjoy. Afterall, the main ingredients to any pizza is wheat, cheese and egg. He was allergic to all three of those. Since then I’ve experimented with different options. I used Energ-G English Muffins, tomato past with Italian seasoning, pepperoni, and Daiya cheese. And this works well and it’s easy to send to daycare because they can microwave it to melt the cheese. But it’s not perfect and if you’ve had a regular pizza, there’s something lacking.

I’ve tried a couple of times to make homemade pizza crusts. But have failed. Well, that was until most recently. I finally found a gluten-free pizza crust that tastes good and works without eggs. I can’t really take credit for it as I took it off the Bisquick gluten-free flour box.

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Vegan, Gluten-free Pizza Crust

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups Bisquick Gluten free mix

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning or dried basil

1/2 cup Water

1/3 cup Oil

Egg Replacer for 2 Eggs

Directions:

Heat oven to 425. Stir together ingredients until well combined. Spread onto the pan. I made individual pizzas so I divided the crust into four  parts. Bake 15 mins. Then apply pizza toppings.

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Our pizzas were like thin crust pizzas. Typically I’m not a huge fan of thin crust, but it really was pretty good. My kids both loved the pizza. This is a crust I will make again.

As for the flour itself, I’ve also tried the pancake recipe and we liked that. I plan to try the Strawberry shortcake and the biscuits. When I do I’ll let you know how they turn out.

 

The good and the bad

Yesterday was my Little Guy’s food challenge for milk. It had been a crazy week leading up to the challenge with dance recital prep and softball practice starting. That was kind-of a blessing because I didn’t have much time to think about or worry about his challenge. I usually get so pre-occupied with it as it approaches. This food challenge was potentially especially nerve-racking due he’s been anaphylactic to milk in the past.

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The night before the challenge I made 11 muffins with 1/2 cup of whole milk for the appointment. We got up quickly and rushed out the door, two muffins in hand. He was excited to eat the muffin and couldn’t wait to get to the allergist. He does love his food. The appointment start as all doctor’s appointments started with a weight and a review of his medications.

Then I was given the consent. The simple white piece of paper makes everything seem real. The risks are laid out there for me to see. It reminds me that this could be very dangerous. I’m reminded at the importance of my choices for him. This simple piece of paper reminds me that I am 100% making a risky choice for my darling boy. I nervously signed that line feeling relief that we are trying this new food in the security of the doctor’s office.

The actual challenge started off really slow. A small crumb on his lip, then a small crumb of a bite, a slightly larger bite, and so on. Each step was 15 mins after the one before it. With each step down, I relaxed a bit. I thought, maybe we’ll be ok. Maybe we’ll start eating dairy again. No reaction was noted all the way up to the last big bite. However, right before, we noticed a small red/puffy area on his upper lip. The doctor came in and looked over. His belly, back, and extremities looked good. So, she said lets wipe his face off and give him the last big bite. If he manages to have no further reaction after 60 minutes, we’d be cleared.

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We were amazed that even by the time the 6o minutes passed his spot had essentially disappeared. And that was without treatment! We all celebrated a victory and we received our instructions. One muffin once a day for a week and if he does well we’d increase the baked milk from 1/2 a cup.  We left with me on cloud 9. I was so excited I announced on Facebook that we passed the food challenge.

Well, the posting on Facebook should’ve been my warning. I shouldn’t have done it. My husband got home about an hour later and he and the Little Guy ate lunch. And sure enough, about the time he was going to daycare- 2 hours after we left the doctor’s office, he’d developed a red rash and became very hot. He had some hives on his abdomen and under his armpits.

After a couple of conversations with the on-call doctor (the allergist office closes at noon on Wednesday), we had a treatment plan in place and a decision to make. Do we risk feeding him a 1/4 of a muffin for a week with the hope of increasing his tolerance to the milk or hold-off until after a retest of his labs. Each one had benefits and negatives. The safest choice would be to hold off until his numbers drop lower.

Well, the decision was a hard one. I really felt like the fact he didn’t react right away and wasn’t anaphylactic he had a pretty good chance of eating the quarter of a muffin. And if he could eat it, then maybe building up a tolerance was possible. We’d only be giving him a 1/4 of a muffin or a 1/4 o of an 11th of a 1/2 of a cup of milk (did I lose you there?), he’d have such a small amount of the milk, that he’d be ok.

So, the question really became, did the risk outweigh the benefit? We decided that the risk was relatively low and his benefit was high. So, I called daycare and arranged to have him closely monitored. We are very lucky to have such a wonderful daycare teacher. She truly loves my Little Guy. I called several times today to check on him and he did fine. Tomorrow is day 2. We will try again and we are praying that this week goes by without incident. And we will see what next week brings.

The Results Are In!

I keep track of this running labs for myself mostly. I know several people who read this like to see how his numbers are doing, so I put them here. Also by posting it here, it helps me to see how they’ve come along.

 

Allergen       Original       Test 2       Test 3       Test 4            Test 5     Test 6       Class (1-6)

Cat                  10.9               22.4          70.7           67.4               17.9          45.2             4

Crab               ——               43              60              <0.35                                                        Neg

Dog                 17.4               44.6           55.9            52.1             24.1           20.1            4

Egg                 >100              20.3          34.8            24.0                13.9        10.9            3

Milk                41.2                70.8          82.1            48.4            17.8            9.87           3

Peanut          76.1                36.6           39.3            23.4             12.7            10.1           3

Soy                 14.2                 7.32           6.94           3.56                                  NA             NA

Wheat            33.9                  49.1          48.7           24.9            8.83          9.20            3

Mango           ——-              0. 67          0.91            0.35                                                       Neg

Nut Allergy Results

Allergen        Original        Test 2         Class 0-6

Almond         1.16                  0.78            2

Brazil Nut     0.51                 <0.35         0

Cashew                                     <0.35        0

Hazelnut       1.15                   0.67          1

Pecan             <0.35               <0.35       0

Pine Nuts     <0.35              <0.35        0

Pistachio     0.83                  0.52           1

Walnut          <0.35               <0.35        0

Chestnut       0.49                 0.38           1

Macadamia                             0.24          1

So, what do these numbers mean, you may be asking. In most cases, his numbers have improved. The largest drop is his Milk, dropping by almost 8 points. That’s great! This followed by dog which dropped by 4 points and egg which dropped by 3 points. Peanut also made a good drop. Although Hazelnut only dropped by around 0.5 which doesn’t seem like much, it actually dropped by 1/2. Several of the tree nuts have dropped too. Even the smallest drops are exciting for me as age 5 is quickly approaching. (Age 5 is a magic number as usually where they are at age 5 is where they’ll stay.)

We did have some increases. Wheat went up to 9.20 which is quite a bit lower than our original number of 33. Cat went up significantly and remains higher than the original. I marked Soy as NA because he safely eats it and it wasn’t tested.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are able to do a food challenge for both Milk and Egg. Since the Milk is the lowest, we have that scheduled for next month. I was pretty relieved that I didn’t have to wait 3 months like last time. I’m also pretty nervous. He has been anaphylactic to milk before. Now, granted that was when he’s numbers were much higher and it was uncooked glass of milk. But, still, it makes me nervous.

Some of you may remember that we did attempt an egg allergy in February. He failed it. He had developed a rash around his lips and (as he described it) salty taste in his mouth. We had to stop it and cancel the rest of the appointments. We cancel the appointments because his other results were higher than his egg and she didn’t want him to have a bad reaction and then he become scared of the tests. I felt very disappointed but the allergist said there was a lot of hope. He’s reaction was localized and wasn’t severe. She said that this was a good sign and felt he’d do better at the next challenge. So, we scheduled a lab recheck and here we are.

So we are hopeful. I honestly was hoping for much higher drops. Since they remain a 3 out of 6, there is a good chance he won’t pass. Usually they have to be a 2 or lower. We were quite successful with Soy which was a 3 at the time of the challenge. So, I do hope this will be the case this time.

It’s been a while….

Hey there! Sorry I’ve been a stranger recently. I think I’ve said this before, but if not, Kindergarten has taken us for quite the loop! My little guy with the allergies is not in kinder, but his big sister is. And anyone with more than one child knows, what impacts one child, impacts the other family members.

Since, I’ve been absolutely horrible at updating with the mundane stuff, I thought I’d better stop in for the more important update. This one is good news, mostly anyways.

Last week the Little Guy had his labs rechecked. We did do a failed food challenge earlier this winter for egg. Despite failing the challenge, he’d been ok- no anaphylaxis just slight rash around his lips. Overall all the allergist cancelled the other scheduled challenges but felt quite hopeful we’d have success in the future. Well, now the future is here, and we recheck his labs.

I don’t have the official numbers, they’ll be mailed to me and I’ll put them in here once I get them. But overall he had a lot of movement down. In fact, mostly movement down. There were a couple of upward moving numbers (boo!) but at least there weren’t many of those. But, since I don’t want to go off my memory, I’ll go more into that later.

The good news is, we will be doing a milk food challenge next month…wait, that’s right, next month! If that goes well, we’ll be adding an egg challenge. From my phone conversation, both the milk and egg remain at a 3 on the scale of 1-6. So, there’s still a decent chance he’ll fail the challenge. However, if he can pass, life will be safer for him and less worrisome for me. This is especially true as age 5 is quickly approaching.

 

Loving the Uneventful

I’m loving that the last couple of months have been uneventful. That’s the funny thing about food allergies, and I would guess any chronic illness, life is absolutely wonderful when nothing eventful has happened. I may be jinxing myself, and I truly hope I’m not, by putting it out here for the world to see.

Prior to food allergies, the uneventful was quite a different thought. It certainly didn’t fill me with joy. In fact, prior to food allergies, I thought the uneventful was boring, I equated it to staying home with no plans. It was a time when we we’re looking for something fun to do.

Now, the uneventful means safety, less stress, and relaxation. We’ve been soaking up all of our uneventfulness with family fun. We’ve traveled a few times back to visit family. We’ve had family board game nights and even played catch in the yard. Yup. This uneventful time has been filled with plenty of fun events!

How do you fill up your uneventful time? I do hope each of you have had a break from food allergies and all the dangers that lurk. I hope you’ve taken time to enjoy the breaks between testing, reactions, and worry. Please share any stories or thoughts. Thanks as always for reading!

Vietnamese Roast Chicken

I’m not certain this is very authentic but I couldn’t help to make this meal once I read the title and noticed it was safe for the Little Guy. In its defense it does have Soy Sauce and Fish Sauce in it which I think makes it at least 1/4 Vietnamese, right? I must confess I use the recipe from here. I really like this site because she has a lot of crockpot recipes that makes life so much easier for this busy mom.

Oh, and one more thing, please disregard the absolutely horrible picture. I’d forgotten to take a picture and well, you can see from it, there wasn’t much left. So I’d say this one was a win.

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Vietnamese Roast Chicken: Crockpot style

ingredients: 

4-6 Chicken Thighs

1 1/2 TBS Soy Sauce

1 1/2 TBS Fish Sauce

1 1/2 TSP Sugar

1/2 TSP Black Pepper

4 Cloves of Garlic

1 TBS Canola Oil

Directions: 

Place chicken in the crockpot. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl, pour over the chicken. Cook on low or about 6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

That’s it. Super easy. Super good. I highly recommend you eating. I personally served it over rice and had some fruit on the side.

Happy Cooking!

Basic Chocolate Cupcake- Vegan, allergy-friendly

I made some football cupcakes this weekend for the Super Bowl. I asked my son if he wanted chocolate or vanilla cupcakes and he requested Chocolate. I’ve made both the Red Velvet Cupcake (which it looks like I’ve not posted yet…weird) and Chocolate and Coffee cake. For the Superbowl, I really want just a basic chocolate cake.

I did use the recipe from here.

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(they’re not perfect…I had two kiddos peering over my should and constantly bumping trying to watch what I was doing.)

Basic Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

1 Cup Coconut Milk

1 TSP Apple Cider Vinegar

3/4 Cup Sugar

1/3 of Cup Canola Oil

1 1/2 TSP Vanilla

1 Cup Jules All-Purpose Flour

1/3 Cup Cocoa

3/4 Tsp Baking Soda

1/2 TSP Baking Powder

1/4 TSP Salt

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the milk and Vinegar and set aside to curdle. Add to the mixture: Sugar, oil, Vanilla. Beat until foamy. In a different bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients. Mix dry into the wet ingredients in two batches. Mix well until no more lumps. Fill cupcake holders and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I personally did not make frosting for these this time. I used store-bought frosting to make the cupcakes into footballs.

These were amazingly good. They had a great texture and good flavor. I do recommend you trying these, if you do, let me know what you think!

Happy Cooking!

Allergic Child’s Week of Suppers (24)

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted my menu. All those extra dance practices for the Nutcracker and then the holidays really left me short on time. This week we have a very exciting food challenge to look forward to. The little guy will get try one egg baked in something for the first time. We will go to the Dr’s office since he’s numbers are still a bit high. I’m praying all that goes well and that we may have an easier time baking very soon! 

Here’s the menu nothing overly exciting on it:

Monday: Italian dressing chicken, Rice, Green Beans

Tuesday: Porkchops, Veggies, Potatoes

Wednesday: Terriyaki Chicken, Rice, Carrots

Thursday: Pancakes, Sausage/bacon, fried potatoes

Friday: Italian Pasta Bake

Saturday:  Lunch: Hotdogs, Baked Beans      Supper: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Sunday:     Lunch: Leftovers       Supper: Whole Chicken,  Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Veggies

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you all! It’s been a busy holiday season in our house. The business of the season combined with a late Thanksgiving had me wanting for more time. Ultimately, we had a great holiday filled with frequent friends and family visits. We’ve managed to keep all safe despite the extra outings and parties. I do hope all of you have had a wonderful and, most importantly, safe holiday.

Our Christmas celebration started over the weekend when we traveled a couple of hours to visit my husband’s family. It was a wonderful visit, except me being sick. The kids loved being around extended family and playing with all their aunts and cousins. Our menu for the weekend was pretty basic Vietnamese Spring rolls and Pho.  Monday was our travel day back home. We stopped at our favorite and only safe resteraunt to eat supper. HuHot is in several cities and I highly recommend them for allergy friendly food and environment.

Our Christmas was simple. We spent it just the four of us. It was nice and simple. The kids opened their presents and then played. Lunch was Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Corn, Dinner Rolls, Yams and marshmallows, and cake. Tomorrow I’ll use our left over ham and make ham and bean soup.

This post has been a lot of rambling, mostly I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

Here’s a few pictures from our holiday:

20131220_194657Candy Wreaths

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Decorating Cookies

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Chocolate Elf from mold

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Chocolate Santa from mold

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My Chocolate Candy wrapped and ready

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Christmas Cake!

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Cake Face!

25 Days and Counting…

You’d think being 25 days away I’d either not be worrying yet or not at all given this is our second food we will be challenging. But I am. Luckily the holiday season has been a good distraction and I must admit I’m somewhat relieved we will going through the challenge AFTER the holidays. I feel this way for a few reasons: 1) food challenge takes a bit of work on my part, this time baking. 2) It’s busy enough with shopping, decorating, baking, and parties 3) By waiting we added a few more weeks for his numbers to trend downward.

As the challenge continues to approach, I’m starting to prepare myself mentally. It’s a weird and very scary thought to think we will be giving him food we know he is allergic too. And then we sit and wait. And check him. And feed him some more. And wait some more. And check him. And, I’m sure you’ve got the pattern. And then if he’s done well, we go to the waiting room for an hour. And we wait. But by this time, my hope has risen. He’s eaten a whole serving of the food and up until this hour wait, he’s not reacted. Then we finally get the all clear to leave. Yeah. I need mental preparation for that!

I also start praying. Each nightly prayer I say always includes a prayer for his allergies to improve. Now, I not only pray for his numbers to improve and daily safety, but I also pray for his safety during the food challenge. I pray that it will be successful, but more importantly I want him safe. If he reacts, I pray, we will notice it quickly and it won’t be full anaphylaxis. That is the risk, we could be setting him up for anaphylaxis which can lead to death.

So this is my worry on my mind these days. The food challenge that’s designed to make my life easier, is now making me want to be a crazy, hot mess. I want to hide him and keep him safe. I want to wrap my arms around him and remind him his mommy loves him. You know, just in case in 25 days, that challenge goes bad. I know I should be strong and stoic. And around my family, I always am. I should know that everything will be OK. I should have faith in the medical system and my allergist. And it’s not so much that I don’t. Because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t do the challenge. I’d find another allergist. But mostly, I worry about the what-ifs, and possible outcomes. And I want to make sure he has no doubt, in case that worst case scenario happens, in that rare possibility, that his Mommie loves him more than the world.

So, why I’m spilling my crazy emotional mess on this page? Simply, because sometimes I need to let out my worry, my fears. I need to, so that I can keep sending him into the world full of poison and doing food challenges on him without going into complete freak-out mode. I need to stay strong in front of him so his life can remain worry-free as every 3-year-old deserves.

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