Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sam's Story

As of the date of this post (and the beginning of this blog), Sam is 6 1/2 years old. Her story is a long one, but it does end on a positive note with all that we've learned. She can, and will, lead a normal life as long as her food sensitivities are managed properly.

I discovered her sensitivity to hydrogenated soybean oil, and soy in general, when she was under one year old (2004). After eating any food with soy in them, she would get a bright red pimple-like rash around her mouth and bottom. She would also get gas, stomach distress and diarrhea. All forms of soy caused a reaction, however, hydrogenated soybean oil caused the most extreme symptoms. Nowadays, very limited amounts of whole soybean oil, soy lecithin, and whole soy products don’t cause a reaction anymore. Foods fried in hydrogenated soybean oil will still cause a rash on her face. She gets very limited exposure to soy when we eat out or are traveling, but never at home.

Sam has also been sensitive to milk protein her whole life, but I didn't make a conclusive determination about this until 2006. Sam was breastfed as a baby. When she was a newborn, I had to cut dairy from my diet for the first 4 months because she got very fussy and gassy when I had any. Her breathing also consistently sounded phlegmy in her chest. She seemed to tolerate dairy fine after 4 months when I reintroduced it into my diet. At 11 months old we introduced cow’s milk to her because she wasn’t nursing much (a very short-lived nursing strike), but she didn’t like it. I added chocolate to it so she would drink it occasionally. She ate cheese and yogurt quite often, and cheese pizza once a week. She used to get red, dry skin at the crease where her ears connect to her head, patches of eczema on her arms, and was constantly catching colds, and for whatever reason I didn’t make the connection with dairy (probably denial).

Sam weaned from breastfeeding at 2 1/2 years old (2006), a week or so before all of her stomach problems began. Sam had been waking up with a runny nose consistently for a couple of months before I realized her sensitivity (we thought she was reacting to dust in her room). She was also having bad behavioral problems interacting with her friends – hitting and loud outbursts – and interacting with us – lots of tantrums and mood swings. Because she wasn’t nursing anymore, I was giving her cow's milk to drink with meals. She was complaining of stomach cramps often throughout the day, usually shortly after eating. I was giving her warm milk to settle her stomach (it didn’t work, but she liked it). Tums seemed to help a bit. I also started giving her a daily American Health Acidophilus and Bifidum Chewable Wafers tablet to help with her digestion.

When I realized it was the milk causing her stomach cramps, we thought she was lactose intolerant and switched to lactose-free milk and cheese. Initially her stomach seemed better after it, but then within a week or so, she started getting crampy again, and she got the runny nose again. We tried giving her lactase enzyme with a donut, and later a lactase enzyme with a piece of cheese pizza, and it didn’t work. We tried goat milk products and she didn’t get as strong of a reaction with the butter and cheese, but did with the milk. I noticed dark circles under her eyes at this time. It was then I realized she had a protein intolerance.

For a couple of years (2006-2008) we avoided milk products and its derivatives at all times possible. Sam caught hardly any colds during the time we were dairy-free. She finally made the 50th percentile for weight at her 3 year check up (she was always in the 5th-10th all her life before that), and her behavior improved dramatically.

In 2008 we slowly and infrequently introduced dairy products and started her on a daily Digestive Advantage Children's Lactose chewable (they don't make this anymore), as well as a Solgar Lactase 3500 chewable lactase enzyme when she actually ate the dairy product. She would still have behavioral problems with the occasional butter and ice cream or too much cheese in a chicken quesadilla. I reintroduced lactose-free milk again to her in March 2010 and it still didn't work for her. She got gassy and had behavioral problems.

Now in spring 2010 Sam can eat small amounts of hard cheeses during the week without a problem. She cannot have cow's milk to drink at all. We avoid butter and she can have ice cream on special occasions when we are out with an extra lactase enzyme.

When Sam was two (2005) I introduced peanut butter and she experienced symptoms similar to soy of a bright red rash on her bottom, gas, and stomach distress. I tried reintroducing peanuts once a year following and eventually in 2009 she tolerated peanut butter without any symptoms. Today she eats peanut butter quite often, rotated with sunflower seed butter and cashew butter, without any problems.

In 2005 I also realized that Sam was reacting to Red Dye #40. She would get a bright red, painful rash in her private area and experience extreme hyperactivity. To this day she can have very limited exposure to Red Dye #40 when we are out without a reaction.

In 2006 I realized Sam was becoming sensitive to cocoa/chocolate. After eating it she would say her side hurt and she would get a rash on her bottom and private area. I started baking with carob for brownies and cakes back then and that still works great to this day. We avoided cocoa/chocolate for a while and in 2008 she seemed to be able to eat dark chocolate without a problem. Unfortunately, in 2009 Sam was eating dark chocolate quite frequently and ended up getting hives. Now in 2010, Sam can safely eat dark chocolate 2x/week and that is her limit without symptoms.

In 2006 I also realized Sam was reacting to egg whites. She would get stomach cramps, a red rash around her bottom, and a runny nose and itchy eyes after eating scrambled eggs. When I realized egg whites were causing her symptoms, I continued giving her just the egg yolks to the best of my ability. It seemed to alleviate her symptoms for a few weeks, then they started coming back. I realized then I wasn’t able to completely get the whites out of the yolks, so I stopped giving her eggs at that point.

In early Oct. 2006 at Sam’s 3 year well visit, she got her first MMR vax (egg based) and she got a big red pimple-looking spot on her face on her left cheek. When the spot faded, a red pin-prick spot was left on her cheek for a year or so. We held off giving her her second MMR shot until her 5 year well-visit in 2008. Luckily, she didn't react to it at 5 years old.

I tried to reintroduce egg whites in 2007 and she got hives when eating scrambled eggs. So now, in 2010 I'm just using egg yolks to make her scrambled eggs twice a week and that seems to be working out great. All of my baking is egg-free. I'm not going to try to reintroduce egg whites again for quite some time.

I discovered Sam's sensitivity to oats in 2006. She would get itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose and bumps in her mouth after eating Cheerios. The bumps in her mouth really bothered her. I tried reintroducing oats in 2007 and she had the same reaction. Now in 2010 we completely avoid oats at all times.

I also discovered her sensitivities to cinnamon (bad behavior, stomach distress), bananas (bad behavior, rash on bottom), citrus/citric acid (spots on face, bladder irritation), corn (spots on face, rash on bottom, hiccups and sniffles) and blueberries (rash on face, bad behavior) in 2006.

In 2007 I realized she was reacting to beef that wasn't well-done (rash on bottom, digestive issues, poor sleep), malt (rash on side of face), palm oil (runny nose, hiccups), and evaporated cane juice (runny nose, hyperactivity).

In Feb. 2007 Sam had allergy testing to see if she was allergic to eggs (because of the hives) and other things she was sensitive too. The allergy testing turned out negative on all things. The doctor said she just had bad food intolerances.

In 2008 Sam began reacting to yeast (spots on face, yeast rash on chest, hiccups), tomatoes (stomach distress, hives), wheat (sniffles, stomach cramps, diarrhea, bad behavior), macadamia nuts (stomach cramps, diarrhea), starches for baking like tapioca, potato, and corn (rash on face, stomach distress), and rice (sniffles, hiccups, diarrhea).

In 2009 Sam had a bad reaction to almonds. I had been giving Sam almond milk every morning in small amounts. She was also eating almonds a few times a week for snacks. After a couple of months Sam started hiccuping, sniffling, and sneezing after drinking the milk, along with a fever and eventually getting hives. Sam's doctor thought she could be allergic to tree nuts and gave us an Epi-pen prescription. Turns out Sam just has a sensitivity to too many almonds, or tree nuts in general. Today in 2010 Sam can eat almonds, cashew butter, and pistachios in very limited amounts without a problem.

I started giving Sam a Vitabase Children's Chewable Enzymes tablet (they don't make this anymore) with each meal in 2009 in hopes that the protease would help her to digest proteins easier. So far she has been able to eat wheat and rice in moderation without any problems since starting it.

In 2010, Sam developed a sensitivity to corn syrup (runny nose, sniffles), dates (hiccups, hives), coconut (hiccups, sniffles, diarrhea), and ham/pork (hiccups).

I've also realized that she cannot drink milk of any kind on a regular basis - not cow's, rice, almond, or coconut. We noticed cow’s milk reactions in 2006, rice milk reactions Nov. 2008, almond milk reactions Aug. 2009, and coconut milk reactions May 2010. We completely avoid drinking milk and baking with milk. She has an occasional cow’s milk ice cream on weekends (with a lactase enzyme) and an occasional soy milk steamer once a month without a problem. She gets the bulk of her calcium intake from foods we eat and taking Nature's Plus Animal Parade Calcium 250 mg and Windmill Chewable Calcium 500 Mg supplements. She also takes a daily Nature's Plus Love Bites Children's Chewable Multivitamin which has calcium in it.

WHERE WE ARE NOW (May 2010): I know that Sam will become sensitive to anything if she has it too often. I have to alternate all foods she eats so she doesn’t become sensitive. Her sensitivities usually lead to her getting a rash on her bottom or private area, stomach distress, hiccups, sniffles, sneezing, diarrhea, fever, and hives if not realized and cut out of her diet in time. Usually cutting the item out for 1 or 2 weeks and then reintroducing in a limited capacity is sufficient to bring it back. Egg whites and oats are the exceptions to this - they have never been able to be reintroduced without a problem.

I provide Sam's snacks at school. She can have the special treats with her classmates at school on birthday days and at parties. On weekends when we eat out she can have the occasional ice cream. When we travel, I bring her snacks and special food with us, and make sure I have access to a kitchen in our hotel room.

Regarding her diet overall at home, she still cannot eat egg whites by themselves, or oats, or drink milk.

We also completely avoid cinnamon (allspice works great as a replacement in recipes), palm oil, evaporated cane juice, and baking starches. Because she is currently reacting to corn syrup, dates, coconut, and ham she won’t have them again for a while, then it will be very limited amounts.

She can tolerate in very limited amounts citrus/citric acid, chocolate (2x per week max), tree nuts (esp. almonds), tomato, red dye #40, banana, butter, cow’s milk ice cream, and soy milk in steamers.

She can tolerate in limited amounts with lots of alternating so she doesn’t get too much in one week soy, cheese, corn, wheat, rice, yeast, well-done beef, peanut butter, sunbutter and cashew butter.

After all of this, I have had to become a good cook and baker for my family. Most of what we eat is homemade. I can't buy sorbet anymore because of the corn syrup, or evaporated cane juice, and citric acid, so I got an ice cream maker for my birthday and I make us wonderful sorbets like vanilla mango and cherry candied walnut (you can't find those in stores). I've created cookie recipes and a carob brownie recipe we love. I bake a great yellow cake for special occasions. We eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. I am constantly coming up with new ways to prepare chicken, beef, and fish for supper so we don't get tired of eating the same "safe" things every week.

Sam's diet is sensible and wholesome, balanced nicely with what I think is the right amount of treats. She's a happy and healthy 6 year old. Whether or not she will outgrow her food sensitivities doesn't matter to us anymore. We just take each day as it comes, and are thankful we have it as good as we do. Because of her food sensitivities, we are eating so much better than we used to and we are all better off because of it.

UPDATE 6/10/10:

Sam can currently eat ham and coconut in the "very limited amounts" category. I haven't tried reintroducing dates yet, but will soon in a "very limited amount" since she likes them so much.

I recently noticed that Sam can get hives immediately now with certain foods she's sensitive to, without her standard rashes, hiccups, stomach distress, runny nose, etc., beforehand. For example, hazelnuts gave her hives yesterday, so we're going to avoid tree nuts for a week. She hasn't shown any reactions to nuts recently, so the hives were a surprise.

She's also got hives last Sunday when she shared a "fried ice cream" with us at our favorite Mexican restaurant. I realized after that, that the syrup they drizzle over the ice cream is pure corn syrup, and the coating on the ice cream is crushed cornflakes which have high fructose corn syrup in them, plus she ate corn chips that night, so I have to be much more careful helping her avoid corn syrup going forward. We're also avoiding corn in general all this week to clear it out of her system.

UPDATE 6/12/10:

So we have verification today beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is egg yolks and chicken Sam is reacting to, not the hazelnuts earlier this week or the corn syrup and corn at the Mexican restaurant on Sunday. Both of those days she got hives, the fish was dipped in egg yolks before crusted with hazelnuts, and she ate chicken breast at the Mexican restaurant before the fried ice cream. Sometimes it takes a week or so before I can figure these things out for sure.

About 2 months ago I started giving her scrambled egg yolk with her breakfast regularly 2x/week. She would eat scrambled egg yolks more like once a month before that. She seemed to be doing fine with this plan, until recently. She's been getting hives pretty frequently after meals all this last week, and I narrowed it down to her reacting to either corn, wheat, cheese (dairy), eggs, or chicken.

Today I wrote up a list of all that she ate this last week and when she got hives, and it comes down to egg yolks and chicken being the common denominator. And tonight at the pizza place confirmed it when she could eat the pizza for dinner just fine without any hives (wheat and dairy), but not chicken breast at lunch today (she got hives after lunch), or a scrambled egg yolk with her breakfast this morning (she got hives after breakfast). She also ate popcorn just fine on Friday afternoon, so corn got ruled out.

Somehow, even though she hasn't had very much chicken over the last week, the chicken is triggering the hives because of the eggs. So we're off chicken and egg yolks for a week or so and I'll reintroduce chicken first, then when I reintroduce egg yolks, it won't be on a regular schedule 2x/week like I was doing, but more like once a month like before.

UPDATE 7/27/10:

Sam has been reacting to peanut butter, sunbutter, and cashew butter lately (runny nose after eating them). I needed to find another protein to give her in place of the butters with her breakfast, so I decided to try giving her cereal with hemp milk 3x/week (Mon, Wed, Fri). Her first day having hemp milk was yesterday, on Monday, 7/25 and she tolerated it fine, which gives me hope. I won't bake or cook with the hemp milk, and she doesn't eat hemp, and I won't buy hemp ice cream, so I have a feeling this might be the one and only kind of milk that might work with her. I think the problem with the other milks we've tried is that she eats the product, too (i.e. rice, coconut, cheese, almonds), plus I baked with it, and it probably built up too fast in her system, causing her reactions. Based on how limited I will be giving it to her, this shouldn't happen with the hemp milk. Only time will tell.

UPDATE 8/28/10:

It's been a month and Sam is doing fine with having hemp milk with her cereal 3x/week! I'm so thankful. On another note, she started reacting to corn again earlier this month (getting lots of annoying hiccups), so we're back to taking corn completely out of our food rotation. She's fine with the butters again since we've cut down how many times/week she eats them. She's also fine with dates again. Overall, things are going good.

UPDATE 9/27/10:

Happy 7th Birthday, Sam! The last month has been food sensitivity-free, thank goodness. A few weeks ago I created a "menu" listing the food Sam eats for breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack every day of the week, and have it posted on the fridge. It's working out great for making sure she doesn't get too much of any one thing. I still vary our suppers every week, making sure she always gets a meat protein and vegetable with dinner, and only having rice or wheat with dinner 1x each/week. So far so good.

UPDATE 11/15/10:

We made it through Halloween without a single hive from chocolate or corn syrup! I let Sam eat all of the candy she wanted on Halloween after trick-or-treating, then we put the candy away and she gets to eat 2 pieces of candy on Fridays and 2 pieces of candy on Sundays every week. She really looks forward to the weekend! It may take her until next Halloween to get through her candy this way, but that's OK.

UPDATE 11/18/10: Sam has had a few behavioral issues lately (nothing serious) that make me wonder if the 2x weekly Halloween candy on Fridays and Sundays isn't working out as well as I thought it was. I also found out from Sam's teacher today when I was volunteering for her class that Sam has been eating school-provided snacks a few times lately without my knowledge. I talked with Sam about it tonight and she said that she has had enough Halloween candy and is satisfied with what she's had, so we can put it away. I also talked with Sam's teacher about the school snack and asked that Sam eats only her own snacks that I provide going forward. So we'll soon see if getting Sam back on a normal diet helps with her behavior (fingers crossed).

UPDATE 12/1/10: Sam has gone 3 months without any hives! Sam mentioned this to me the other day and was so proud. Also, her behavior has definitely improved since removing the Halloween candy from her diet, so I'm glad I caught that one when I did.

UPDATE 1/19/11: I've noticed recently that Sam has been exhibiting aggressive/unreasonable behavior after eating something with corn in it. She's been eating corn products (like corn chips, Quaker Kettle Corn Cakes, and popcorn) about 3 times per week. It seems like on those days after she eats these things, if something doesn't go her way, she gets very emotional and moody and has a hard time keeping herself under control. I'm removing corn from her diet again. It seems like corn is something that just doesn't agree with her - if it's not physical symptoms, it's behavioral. We'll see if her behavior improves after some time away from corn, or maybe she's just going through a 7 year old phase. We'll soon find out.

UPDATE 2/2/11: Sam has been hiccuping lately after eating food with sugar in it. I'm going to replace granulated sugar in my baking so she doesn't get much (if any) sugar at home anymore. Regarding removing corn from her diet, it does seem to have helped with the behavioral issues, so that is good. We're back to just having popcorn once a weekend, and that one time per week is going OK.

UPDATE 2/8/11: I just figured out that it's brown sugar Sam is reacting to. She's also sensitive to molasses, which is another super-refined sugar. I've updated several of my recipes to use honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar instead of brown sugar and sugar. We haven't had any hiccups lately since making these changes.

UPDATE 3/4/11: I've been letting Sam eat kiwi fruit with her snack in the afternoon for a couple of months now, every other day or so. I know she's sensitive to strawberries, and kiwi and strawberry are related, but I wanted to see if her sensitivity carried over to the kiwi or not, since Sam can eat avocado and not banana (same idea). Anyway, she got hives today after eating kiwi. She's been having some behavioral issues lately, too, and loose stools, and I'm sure now that this is all related to the kiwi. I'm sure once her system clears the kiwi out of it, she'll be able to have it every now and then like strawberries without a problem, so for now, we're avoiding kiwi completely.

UPDATE 3/15/11: It appears that Sam is slightly sensitive to pure maple syrup. She's been hiccuping lately after eating pancakes and syrup, and Crunchy Rice Bars made with maple syrup. I'm going back to making the Crunchy Rice Bars with sugar, and I won't give her maple syrup with breakfast for a week or so, so she should be hiccup-free again as of today.

UPDATE 4/25/11: I just found out today that Vitabase isn't making Children's Chewable Enzymes anymore, so I did some research and found Harvest Moon Children's Chewable Enzymes to replace the Vitabase ones with. The ingredient lists are pretty much identical, so I'm ordering some for Sam. She's been off of the Digestive Advantage Children's Lactose Intolerance product for a few days now and is doing OK with digesting dairy just taking the enzyme with each meal. Fingers crossed this continues.

UPDATE 4/28/11: Sam has been taking the Harvest Moon Children's Chewable Enzymes for a couple of days now and has been reacting to them (loose stools, hiccups, rash on her face by her mouth). It turns out they have citric acid and strawberry in them, and I think that's what causing her reaction. She had kiwi and strawberries this week and it's just too much for her to also be taking a supplement with strawberry and citric acid in it 3x/day. Darn! I'm going to take her off of the enzymes and just give her a quarter of a Solgar Lactase 3500 chewable tablet with each meal to cover her getting the lactase enzyme so she can continue eating the occasional cheese and dairy at school and when we go out.

UPDATE 5/20/11: Sam ate a regular sized Peppermint Patty this afternoon, and by bedtime had 2 hives on her knee. Peppermint Patty's have eggwhites in them, and I usually don't let her eat them, but I thought we'd test it out and see what would happen if she had more than just a bite of one. Sure enough, she's still very sensitive to eggwhites. Darn!

UPDATE 6/9/11: Sam is also still very sensitive to chocolate if she eats it too often. I strayed a bit from her 'only Wed, Fri, Sun' chocolate days last week and she had a little bit of chocolate every day for 4 days in a row over the weekend, then had chocolate again on Wed., and sure enough, she got hives overnight. I had a feeling that might happen. So now she can't eat chocolate for a week to clear it out of her system, then we're back to following her schedule and not straying from it anymore.

UPDATE 7/25/11: Sam is still sensitive to barley. I made an incredible beef barley stew the other night, and she ate some of it, loved it, and then got a stomach ache and couldn't finish it. On the bright side, she's doing great with dairy lately. She's had lots of ice cream and cheese this summer, and as long as she has her lactase enzyme, she's fine.

UPDATE 8/9/11: Sam has hives on her elbow and ankles this morning. She also had a hive on her foot last night. A mosquito landed on her elbow yesterday afternoon and I thought we swatted it away before it bit her since no bump appeared after it left. I'm wondering if it did actually bite her. She's really sensitive to mosquito bites and will get hives from them. The other thing it could be, if it's not a mosquito bite, is she's reacting to too many cherries. My parents gave us a big bag of cherries last week, and I made sorbet and a wonderful pie with them, and between these two things, she's been eating way more cherries the last few days than she ever has before. So to be on the safe side I'm cutting out cherries from her diet for a while. I froze the pie. Hopefully her hives will go away soon, she's really itchy.

UPDATE 9/27/11: Sam's 8th birthday is today! Here's where we are at with her sensitivities: She's been OK eating the daily snack at school so far this year. They get crackers like Goldfish and Ritz, so she's doing better with processed foods and soybean oil. I just told the teacher no oats and no fresh bananas for Sam. It seems like Sam's milk protein sensitivity is getting better. She can eat ice cream on the weekends and cheese several times per week now without a problem as long as she takes her lactase enzyme with breakfast and supper. She still cannot eat eggs by themselves, but can eat them in baked goods outside of our home OK. She's drinking hemp milk 3x/week without a problem. Strawberries give her a bad rash in her privates, so we're avoiding those. I let her have a Snack Pack pudding before school started and she got hives from it, so she's sensitive to something in them. I made her a Pilsbury Funfetti cake for her birthday party this year and she didn't react to it at all. I think her sensitivities are definitely getting better as she gets older. Thank goodness!

UPDATE 10/19/11: The school snack lasted just a few weeks, and then it caught up with her (hiccups, behavioral). It's not the wheat, I'm convinced it's all of the chemicals and preservatives in the food that her body doesn't like. I'm providing Sam's school snacks now and she's doing much better all around. I gave her a kiwi yesterday with her after school snack, and her privates got really red, just like with strawberries, so we'll go back to avoiding them.

UPDATE 11/11/11: Sam is still sensitive to cow's milk protein. I let her eat more cheese, sour cream, ice cream, frozen yogurt, etc., than I've ever let her eat before because I thought she had outgrown her cow's milk protein sensitivity at 8 years old. Her Swiss cousins outgrew their sensitivities around that age. Unfortunately, it just built up in her system and she ended up being sick with colds for weeks on end, and getting an ear infection. She hasn't had an ear infection since she was really small. I really believe the dairy I've been letting her eat on a regular basis made her immune system weak and she caught bad cold after bad cold and eventually got the ear infection. So we're back to limiting the dairy, per Sam's direction. She doesn't want it and we're avoiding it for the most part. Hopefully she'll be healthy again soon.

UPDATE 1/4/12: Sam is reacting to peanuts/peanut butter. She was still eating Halloween candy like peanut butter cups and peanut M&M's a couple times per week, and eating peanut butter sandwiches a few times per week, and it just built up. She started getting a runny nose after eating anything with peanuts in it. So we've cut out peanuts for the time being and will reintroduce peanut butter once per week soon. Darn! We really love peanut butter!

UPDATE 1/27/12: Sam can eat peanut butter now once per week on Wed. for lunch again. I'm going to try adding it back on Sun. breakfast this week and that will be her 2x/week peanuts going forward. She hates Hemp milk now (I can't buy the sweetened one because they use evaporated cane juice, so it's pretty sour tasting), so I've decided to try Soy milk for the 3x/week she has milk. She really likes Soy Dream and is drinking it willingly. I like it better, too (it's sweeter - Soy Dream uses brown rice syrup to sweeten it). Hopefully it will work out OK (fingers crossed). She's been doing fine with citrus over the last month, so she gets oranges about 2 or 3x/week now without a problem. Sam also dipped toast in the egg yolks from over-medium eggs a couple times while we were on vacation at Disneyland earlier this month and she didn't get a cold afterward! Thank goodness for small miracles. :)

UPDATE: 4/30/12: Sam is eating peanut butter 3x/week now without a problem, and is also eating a fried egg every Saturday with breakfast! I reintroduced 1 egg/week a month or so ago, and it' s going great. I still won't/don't bake with eggs, but will let her have eggs with breakfast a couple of times per week. I honestly think she's outgrowing her egg white sensitivity at almost 9 years old, but I don't want to push my luck. She's also eating cheese regularly and lactose-free ice cream a couple times per week without any problems. The soy milk is also working out still. We're really excited with her progress. It seems that getting older is definitely helping her out.

UPDATE: 5/29/12: Sam has hives again for the first time in a very long time. I'm pretty sure it's the cinnamon she's been eating lately that caused them. I've been letting her have cinnamon toast once or twice a week, and desserts with cinnamon in them when we're out. She had a churro the other day and her nose ran like crazy after it. She had some peach cobbler the next day (we were on vacation) and got hives shortly after it. So we're cutting out cinnamon again for a while.

UPDATE: 8/23/12: Sam still gets hives from strawberries and also raspberries, so we have to really regulate how often she eats them. Also, she's been swallowing pills lately, so I've updated her supplements list below.

UPDATE: 1/8/13:  Sam is able to eat oats now once a week without any symptoms!  I'll bump it up to twice a week soon and see how it goes.  She can also eat cheese regularly, eggs twice a week, and soy a few times a week without any problems now.  9 years old is turning out to be a magic age for her.

UPDATE 3/13/13:  Sam can eat bananas now!  I gave one to her about a month ago to see if she would get super hyper/crazy from it like she used to.  She didn't.   She's been having bananas three times per week since then without any problems.

UPDATE 4/15/13:  So I spoke too soon on the bananas - I guess it built up in her system over the last month.  Sam doesn't get crazy anymore from them, however, last week she ate bananas on vacation a few days in a row and she got hiccups and a huge hive on her back.  I'm going to start over on the banana-thing and not give her any for a couple of weeks, then she can have a banana once a week going forward.  Darn.

UPDATE 6/12/13:  Sam has a hive on her arm and I've narrowed it down to corn causing it.  I've been lax in making sure to limit her corn intake lately, and she's been eating lots of things with corn and cornstarch in them.  It built up, and now I have to cut all corn out of her diet again for a while so she can get better.  I did a pantry raid and actually filled a grocery bag with items that have corn of some kind in them.  On a good note, she can eat one banana per week again without any problems, and is still doing fine on oats twice per week.  Thank goodness for small miracles...

UPDATE 9/24/13:  Sam has hives again.  She had them a little over a week ago due to too much chocolate.  When she gets hives from chocolate, she gets tons of hives all over her trunk all at once.  I knew as soon as I saw it what had caused it.  She didn't have any chocolate for a week (thank goodness for my carob brownies and orange creamsicle cake!) and the hives were gone by last Friday.  She had a little chocolate on Friday and Sunday.  She's also been eating a lot of peanuts and tree nuts lately.  I've been letting her have Peanut Butter Cookie and Blueberry Muffin Larabars lately since she couldn't eat chocolate.  They have lots of peanuts and cashews in them.  She got a hive on Sunday night.  She ate peanut butter that morning and had chocolate that afternoon.  Then Monday she had a cereal with almonds in it for breakfast and a Blueberry Muffin Larabar (cashews) in the afternoon, and today (Tues) she had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and pinto beans with her supper, and she's got a leg full of hives tonight.  I'm pretty sure it's peanut and nut related this time, along with maybe not quite being over chocolate yet.  Darn - her 10th birthday is on Friday, so this is really bad timing.

UPDATE 9/2/14:  It's been a while, hasn't it?  Sam is just about 11 years old now and is doing great sensitivity-wise.  She has outgrown so many of the sensitivities that plagued her early childhood.  She's currently eating eggs, peanut butter, oats, corn, and strawberries a couple of times per week; chocolate three days per week; and dairy (cheese mostly) just about daily; without any problems.  I still  make sure to not overdo wheat - she has a good balance of rice, potato, wheat, oats, and corn in her diet.  We've discovered in the last 6 months or so that palm oil makes her face break out with pimples, so palm oil is still on our avoid list, but mostly for vanity's sake.  All in all, as long as we don't overdo things, she's doing just fine.

UPDATE 9/10/14:  I knew I jinxed things by posting that Sam is doing great with her sensitivities lately.  As of very recently, she's been sneezing and getting a runny nose when she eats anything with sunflower oil in it (no hives, thank goodness!).  At first I thought it was chocolate she was reacting to, so we cut chocolate out for a couple of her chocolate days, then she was still getting all stuffy and sneezy when eating things without chocolate in them.  It was then that I figured it out to be sunflower oil.  I had to re-bake several baked goods in my freezer like cookies, brownies, and pancakes with canola oil, and buy chips and crackers without sunflower oil as well (sunflower oil is in most everything these days).  I even discovered that the chocolate chips I was baking with had sunflower lecithin in them and she was reacting to those, too.  Now that we've cut all of the sunflower products out of her diet, she's doing just fine.  I'm glad I caught this before it escalated to hives.

UPDATE 6/2/15:  Corn got to Sam again.  She's been good with her sensitivities lately, so I haven't been very diligent about watching how much corn she is consuming.  A couple of weeks ago she started getting a runny nose, sneezing, and then hives from too much corn, and we're still trying to get her system back on track.  It's so hard to avoid corn when eating out!  She's had birthday parties and weekend trips since then, so keeping her away from corn starch and corn syrup and maltodextrin in food has been difficult.  I've removed all corn products from my kitchen (thank goodness for my homemade hot chocolate recipe!) and she's slowly getting back on track.

UPDATE 6/22/15:  Sam is back to normal now, except for the head cold she has.  She is off corn and all of its derivatives pretty much entirely, and she plans to follow a corn-free diet as much as she can going forward.  During the last month of removing corn from her diet, I let her eat too many tree nuts and she reacted to those, too, with a runny nose and sneezing within 1 to 2 hours after eating them.  She would also sneeze after eating Hershey's chocolate or chocolate chips with milk fat and vanillin in them.  Now that she is corn-free and nut-free, and is eating good quality dark chocolate, her digestive tract is healthy and she's feeling much better.

UPDATE 6/29/15:  Sam is starting to hiccup after eating and I figured out pretty quickly she's been having too many raspberries lately.  We have a raspberry bush in our yard and she picks and eats them quite often.  Glad we figured it out before it led to hives.

UPDATE 1/13/16:  Sam is 12-1/2 now and has been relatively free of reactions to food since the "corn incident" last summer; up until around New Years, that is.  She's been having digestive issues lately, so we've been cutting things out to test it.  After ruling out corn, I thought of the white chocolate she had been eating on non-chocolate days, but wasn't sure if it was the sugar causing the reaction (since she's had digestive issues with sugar before) or something else in it.  Cutting out sugar hasn't done anything that I can tell, so cocoa butter came to mind.  She ate a lot of chocolate over Christmas (on non-chocolate days, too) but didn't get any hives so I let it slide.  She was also eating white chocolate on non-chocolate days, so I realized that she was eating cocoa butter nearly every day for a while, and it may not agree with her stomach, so we've cut that out.  I've also cut back on her wheat consumption and have added more rice products back into her diet. Lastly, just today I realized that she's had a bad stomach on days she's eaten prosciutto, bacon, or ham, so we're cutting those out for a week or so, too.  Once again, my fingers are crossed, but I'm almost 100% sure it's the pork causing the problems because she was on a very strict diet today (no corn, sugar, cocoa butter, and very limited wheat) and shortly after she ate prosciutto with her afternoon snack, her stomach got bad.  Bingo!

UPDATE 7/21/16:  Sam has three things were currently avoiding at the moment:  Citric acid, caffeine, and pork.  We've recently come to the conclusion that citric acid has been irritating her bladder for about 9 months now, and cutting out the citric acid and caffeine is really improving things. A really great site I found which shows the amount of citric acid in foods is We're still staying away from pork as whenever we try to reintroduce it she has digestive problems.

Current (Corn-Free) Daily Supplements Sam Takes with Breakfast:

1 Trader Joe's Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D
1 Futurebiotics MVTeen multivitamin gel-cap
1 Nutrition Now PB8 Probiotic Acidophilus for Life gel-cap
1 Nature's Way Lactase Formula Enzyme Active gel-cap

No comments:

Post a Comment