On a random Tuesday evening in May, my 5 year old child became my patient! My little bebe woke an hour or so after going to sleep complaining that he was itchy. In the dim lights of his room I could tell the poor guy had large raised hives all over his body.
This had happened once before and we had written it off as a probable environmental allergen (his doctor thought maybe new detergent or rolling in the grass). Looking back, our little guy was having a lot of stomach aches at school and sometimes at night, but it had never been severe. Since this seemed similar to the last grass reaction, I snuggled him back up and went off to bed. A few minutes later he returned complaining that “he didn’t like his mouth like this.” Still relatively calm, I switched on the lights to see his mouth swollen up like a botched botox job! I knew enough as a medical practitioner to panic – and went into crisis mode.
I ran him to the local ER, worried he may be going into anaphylactic shock (gotta love a midnight ER run). Luckily, he was not having trouble breathing and he did not need an epi pen. It was obvious, however, that he was allergic to something- and it was definitely an acute (or quick) reaction. After a dose of steroids and benadryl, they sent us home with the suggestion to have him food allergy tested.
This ordeal led to several types of food allergy testing, elimination diets, and some MAJOR research by this momma. The different food allergy tests eventually showed zero “food allergies” but sensitivities to gluten and dairy. However, I knew enough to know this is not what caused the swollen lip incident. Truly, food allergies are difficult and unless you know the exact food, can be hard to define. Long story short I diagnosed our little guy with a condition known as OAS (oral allergy syndrome blog post). And yes, you read that right, neither our pediatrician (wonderful D.O. who practices western medicine) nor our ENT (wonderful M.D. who is practices holistic medicine) suggested OAS. This meant we spent time removing dairy, gluten and other foods. Luckily, our culprit ended up being OAS reaction with pollen count (summertime) and melon foods (for us it was watermelon)! And, had he not had this severe episode, we would never had tested for other foods and sensitivities and realized gluten dairy was playing havoc on his gut.
The good news! This has led to a whole new world of recipes for you and an entire section of this website related recipes to food allergies or sensitivities. We have been able to incorporate more and more dairy into our diet, and gluten intermittently. Since he does not have a true “allergy” to either food, the worst that happens is a bad stomach ache (which is so sad after ice cream!). But, he feels the best when we restrict both. So, I try and write each recipe with the option of dairy free, lactose free and gluten free. As for watermelon, it’s a major no in the summer, as well as pineapple, cantaloupe and honeydew. But in the winter, he can enjoy! It’s the strangest thing. My hope is that you find some recipes that help nourish you and your family who are dealing with any of these food issues.
He’s the ornery one below!