Tag Archives | allergies

Our Allergen-Free Diet, Week Two

We recently found out that Matt is allergic to corn, tomato, egg, dairy, potatoes, wheat, baker’s yeast, rice and soy. In order to address these food allergies, we are removing them entirely from our diet for three week, then we will reintroduce each allergen one at a time to see what kind of symptoms it is associated with, and to see if he can handle each potential allergen if eaten in moderation or in isolation from the other eight. In addition, I know that I am addicted to sugar, so we decided to add cane sugar to the list of things we wouldn’t eat during this period. I blog more about it here.

The first week, I kept track of everything I/we ate and blogged an update to let you guys know how it was going. But I don’t want to do that long-term. With a busy toddler and a busy life, getting into the nitty gritty like that just isn’t a priority. I do, however, want to let you know how our journey is progressing.

First of all, Matt and I talked about our decision to have the whole family give up his allergy food. I have been craving all of the things we can’t have: cheese, chips, bread, eggs and part of my way of coping with the cravings is to complain about them, and complain with Matt about all the things we are longing for. This is my way of joining him in the journey. Well…after one such complaint, Matt turned to me and said, “I really appreciate it that you’re doing this with me, but you don’t have to be strict about it. I don’t care if you eat something that you’re craving.” I really appreciated his attitude and sincerity. So…when I went to hang out with my friend, Amberly, and she made nachos, I let myself enjoy her delicious hospitality. It was fun and it helped appease the cravings I had been salivating over. And that was 1 “cheat” after a week of going strong. I’m gonna call it a win. I still won’t buy any of the foods we can’t have and bring them into the house, but 1 cheat a week, with healthy versions of the allergen foods, that doesn’t seem so bad to me.

Another thing I have to mention: I have been feeling downright awful since we started the diet. I almost fainted one day, and have been lightheaded or with wacky blood sugar levels the other days. I assumed it was because of coming off the foods that Matt is allergic to, but I failed to recognize that another big dietary change happened recently, as well. A few days before our diet hiatus, I ran out of Glumetza (a medication I take to keep my insulin resistance in check). I have been on it for 3 years, so I decided to give it a little break and see if I still needed it. And. Oh. My. Gosh. I do. The awful symptoms I have been dealing with are most likely all related to my blood sugar levels. So, I picked up a new prescription yesterday and started taking it again. I’m not fond of the idea of needing a medication so persistently, but I sure am glad that it is available.

HOW IS MATT FEELING?

Mostly, Matt has just felt tired and hungry. The headaches have abated, or disappear once he eats some food. He doesn’t feel better yet, but there are a lot of other changes going on, so it’s hard to pinpoint what he should attribute to diet, and what is due to all of the other things.

WHAT WE ARE EATING?

Aside from eating lots and lots of ice cream, we are having fun exploring meals that free of our host of allergen-no-nos. Here are a few of the highlights:

Braising Mix Breakfast with mushrooms, onions and bacon, sprinkled with pine nuts:

Braising Mix Breakfast with Mushrooms, Onions and Bacon, Sprinkled with Pine Nuts

Homemade granola (honey & cinnamon toasted oats). With optional toppings: almond milk, nut/dried fruit mixture & freeze-dried strawberries:

Homemade granola (honey & cinnamon toasted oats). With optional toppings: almond milk, nut/dried fruit mixture & freeze-dried strawberries

Stir Fry: beef stew meat, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, and braising mix greens:

Stir Fry: beef stew meat, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, and braising mix greens

Spring rolls made with tapioca paper, filled with cucumbers, roasted red peppers, chicken leftovers & spring greens…and dipped in a homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing:

Spring rolls made with tapioca paper, filled with cucumbers, roasted red peppers, chicken leftovers & spring greens

 

By ekwetzel
2012-05-03

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Coconut Milk Ice Cream (Dairy & Sugar Free) – Strawberry, Peanut Butter & Mocha Recipes

Since I have a big sweet tooth, giving up most desserts is one of the hardest parts of our allergen-free diet. No wheat; no dairy; no eggs…so store bought goodies are pretty much out of the question. Thank goodness we have an ice cream maker! I’ve been experimenting with different coconut milk ice cream recipes. This is what I think of them:

STRAWBERRY COCONUT MILK ICE CREAM

This is the first one I made. Right after the ice cream maker stopped churning, I taste tested it and the ice cream tasted of both strawberry & coconut. After letting it percolate in the freezer for two hours, all hint of coconut was gone, and this ice cream had a smooth, strawberry creaminess. Fantastic!


RECIPE:

Combine the following in your blender till smooth, then pour into ice cream maker, according to manufacturers instructions:
1 lb bag Frozen Strawberries
2 cans coconut milk
1/3 cup agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

HONEY PEANUT BUTTER ICE CREAM

Honestly, this one didn’t turn out too well. I used an entire jar of peanut butter and the ice cream was just too rich. And I guess I must’ve not been impressed, since I didn’t take a picture!

THE BAD RECIPE:
Blend then pour the following:
1 jar peanut butter
2 cans coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup honey

I WANT TO TRY THIS NEXT TIME:
1/2 jar peanut butter
2 cups almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup honey

MOCHA ICE CREAM

From the moment the ice cream maker finished churning, I could not stop sneaking spoonfuls of this tasty treat. I’d open the freezer & spoon some right out of the center of the bowl, while Matt chuckled at me. Oh my gosh. It was sooooo good.

THE RECIPE
Blend then pour:
2 cans coconut milk
1 cup coffee*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup agave syrup
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

*If your coffee is hot, you’ll want to chill this mixture in the fridge for two hours before churning it in your ice cream maker. Also: I used coffee made from espresso beans, leftover in our French press. 🙂 I think the stronger coffee flavor added an excellent POW to the ice cream.

INGREDIENTS

I bought all of my ingredients from Trader Joe’s, except for the honey, which I bought at my local CSA, Terry’s Berries. Unfortunately, Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry full fat coconut milk; if I used that I think my ice creams would be even creamier. I’ll have to check out other local grocery stores to find some.

I used the Bourbon vanilla from Trader Joes, instead of regular vanilla (which has a little sugar in it).

And, for peanut butter, I chose the creamy kind that had “just peanuts” in it.

– Posted by ekwetzel using BlogPress from my iPhone, 5/1/2012

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Adjusting to Our Allergen-Free Diet: Days 2-4

We recently found out that Matt is allergic to nine different foods. NINE! So we are going on a plan to eliminate the foods from our diet, and hopefully reintroduce them later, in moderation, in order to avoid getting sick from breakfast, lunch and dinner. I blogged more about our food allergies here. The allergen list includes: corn, tomatoes, egg, milk, potatoes, wheat, baker’s yeast, rice, and soy. Here’s how it’s going…

DAY 2

I’m so hungry.

I feel like I’ve been eating all day. Since I have a toddler, I’ve probably just been “half eating” all day. I admit this while sipping on the second half of my breakfast smoothie at 5 pm; I had to throw it in the fridge for a Phoebemergency this morning.

Regardless. I’m hungry. I’m sure it’ll take some time for my body to adjust to not eating ALL of the things on Matt’s allergy list…all things I love.

Today I had my first real craving, too. For eggs. Sunny side up with golden, farm-fresh yolks. Sigh. Someday. But not today.

What I Ate:
Breakfast smoothie (peanut butter, banana, frozen cherries, coconut milk)
Fruit leather
Banana
Turkey sausage
Avocado
Strawberries (but not organic ones…which is sad)
Smoked salmon
Roasted greens with walnuts

DAY 3

Dizzy from over-exertion & diet change. Possibly lack of sugar? Coming off of addictions is hard. I have felt weak, blurred vision & lightheaded for half the day.

Steamed Kale Raab (with garlic & drizzled bacon fat), Bacon & Sliced Strawberries

Steamed Kale Raab (with garlic & drizzled bacon fat), Bacon & Sliced Strawberries

What I ate:

Kale raab steamed w/garlic
Bacon
Strawberries
Apple w/Peanut butter
Grilled chicken
Grilled mushrooms
1 Slice prosciutto
A couple slices of turkey sausage
Avocado w/olive oil & salt (weird salt craving)
I made asparagus, but couldn’t stomach it.
Oatmeal made with almond milk, honey, cinnamon & strawberries
Fruit leather

What I’m craving:
Over easy eggs. Chocolate. Feta. Yogurt. Granola.

DAY 4

Feeling MUCH better today. Not dizzy at all. No light-headedness. It probably helped that I didn’t over-exert myself. And I took a nap. Everything is better when you nap.

The bad news is that I’m spending more on food than I’d like. But, to be honest, the blood sugar, dizziness and light-headedness worried me; so I’m opting on spending a little more on food while we figure out how to manage without our “allergy foods.” Which means more proteins and meats in the house. I miss eggs, cheese, yogurt, butter and milk. A lot. And adjusting to not having them as protein sources is awkward; however, today was a much more stable day, nutritionally, than yesterday. So there’s that.

Moorish-Style Chickpea & Spinach Stew

Moorish-Style Chickpea & Spinach Stew

What I ate:

Oatmeal with almond milk, cinnamon & fresh, sliced strawberries
Fruit leather
Smoothie: strawberries, banana, almond milk, coconut milk
1/2 cup Mixed nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts)
A few freeze-dried blueberries
Grilled chicken leftovers…plus one mushroom and 4 asparagus
Shrimp
Artichoke hearts
Orange
Coffee w/Almond Milk and Maple syrup
Moorish-style chickpea & spinach stew (I substituted oat bran for the bread that the recipe calls for. Also, I used canned beans and chicken stock.)
1 slice bacon
Strawberry Coconut-Milk ice cream

Strawberry Coconut-Milk Ice Cream (sugar free & dairy free)

Strawberry Coconut-Milk Ice Cream (sugar free & dairy free)

WHAT ABOUT MATT?!?!

I know, I know…I’m talking all about me, and HE is the one that we’re making the diet changes for!

Matt has been feeling very tired these past four days, plus he’s been struggling with a constant headache. In addition, his joints have been very “crackly” when he gets up or sits down. The hardest part, though, is adjusting mentally and emotionally to all of the things he can’t eat…when friends offer donuts or he passes by the free Starbucks coffee and soda fountain at work. Self restraint is difficult, especially when adjusting to a new diet. We are still figuring out easy snack foods for around the house, so that’s another hurtle Matt is struggling with, in particular, right now. There are only “meal foods,” it seems…no “snacky” snack foods. No chips, crackers, popcorn, cheese or ranch.

Thank you for joining us on our journey! Feel free to ask any questions.  We are definitely learning as we go…always trying to pick up new tricks. Are you going through a similar food change? Tell us about it in the comments below; we’d love to hear about your journey and share in your experience!

By ekwetzel
2012-04-25

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Food Allergies and Our Diet Changes

This year alone, Matt has been sick three times. When he caught a cold, he would be out of commission for an entire week. Which is not normal. This clued us into the possibility that there might be something going on, health-wise, of which we were unawares. So, on the recommendation of a friend, Matt went to see a specialist who tested him for food allergies. As it turns out, he is allergic to A LOT.

food allergies post it

His allergies are as follows:

  • Mild allergic reactions to corn & tomatoes
  • Moderate allergic reactions to egg, milk, potatoes, wheat & baker’s yeast
  • Strong allergic reactions to rice & soy

We were given a program to help treat the allergies. Basically, we need to eliminate all these food from our diet for three weeks, so that the symptoms they are causing have time to disappear and we can get a grasp on what it feels to be like, normally, while not eating them. Then we will slowly test out each food to see if it causes allergies on its own, starting with the lowest allergens and testing one food at a time, every four days. So, for instance, after three weeks, Matt will eat a large portion of fresh corn to see if there is a reaction. A reaction could be any number of symptoms: headache, joint ache, acid reflux, gagging, gas, upset stomach, etc. We wait four days until testing the next food because sometimes symptoms can wait that long to show up.

The goal is to not only figure out which foods are the culprits, but also to “detox” from the foods long enough so that he can handle them again, in moderation, without adverse symptoms. In the long run, we hope to be able to eat all of these foods again, but they will have to be consumed in moderation and only after a long hiatus.

We still have a lot to learn about Matt’s food allergies, but this is just a post to let you know what’s going on in our lives and to share with you how we’re dealing with it.

I did not get allergy tested, but chances are that I share some (or many) of the same food allergies. So, I am going on the diet with Matt, as is Phoebe. And because I can tell I have a sugar addiction, we are getting rid of processed sugar in our diet, as well (honey and pure maple syrup is ok).

Today is the day we started our three week “detox.” And it was a little overwhelming. We are oatmeal cooked with almond milk for breakfast. But we didn’t realize that the snap pea crisp we brought for Phoebe to snack on at church has rice as an ingredient! So we’ll have to find something else. We snacked on a banana and some prosciutto instead (we went grocery shopping on the way home). Then we grilled asparagus, chicken and mushrooms for lunch. I got hungry AND started craving chocolate, so made an almond-milk-and-honey-hot-cocoa, then (an hour later) mashed up a banana with honey, shredded coconut and cocoa powder; however, the heaviness of the carbs caused my blood sugar to spike fiercely, so I polished off the rest of the prosciutto to help level it off (I struggle with insulin resistance and have to be careful about balancing carbohydrates with proteins). We also snacked on an avocado. Then, for dinner, ate lentils cooked in chicken stock and a salad with a homemade mustard dressing. And for dessert? I’m trying a crisp recipe that I threw together out of raspberries, pears, oatmeal, coconut oil, honey and maple syrup. It’s runny, but sweet. And the oats kind of help to soak up the juices!

raspberry crisp

Our next obstacle? The MOUNTAIN of dirty dishes. Oy vey!

dirty dishes mountain oh my!

There isn’t much in our cupboards or fridge right now, but I hope to pick up more foods this week: fruits, nut butters, meats and veggie snacks. Without spending money on dairy and grains, we have a lot leftover to indulge in more meats and fruits. I plan on making hummus in the next few days, and perhaps trying my hand at homemade almond milk!

By ekwetzel
2012-04-22

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