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Adventures in Food Allergies

Ever since we’ve moved to VA, Mickade’s allergies have been awful. Per testing last year in Florida, he has severe allergies to dust mites and mold, and some other milder allergies to various trees and grass, and also sesame. We had them fully under control with some dust mite bedding, weekly laundering in hot water of all his bedding (including the quilt), and a couple Austin Air purifiers. Here, however, despite flooring the downstairs and his bedroom, he has been miserable. It got to the point where even Zyrtec wasn’t making much of a dent in it for him. We finally saw our Dr here, and he said he wanted us to look into food allergies that could be affecting him and making his enviro allergies worse. We eliminated dairy, wheat and citrus, replacing the dairy with soy. What we got out of that week was NOT what I expected…it turns out Lucy is allergic to soy! She completely flipped out…tantrums, crying for literally hours, biting, unable to control herself in any fashion. It was awful. I finally realized after a few days what had changed, and what had happened. So, she is now completely soy-free. We also discovered Mickade is allergic to dairy, and gets a runny nose within minutes of a glass of milk, is stuffy all night, and also, gets gas (which explains why he has always been so gassy, even as a newborn!).

I finally had Mickade and Lucy’s IgG reactions tested. Most allergists do an IgE test. This type of reaction is what most of us know as an “allergic reaction” — hives, itchiness, anaphylactic shock, etc. IgG tests what are more commonly known as intolerances. The IgG test isn’t the most accurate, but it gives a good starting place for most and helps identify odd foods, like pineapple or green beans, that might not be discovered otherwise. Mickade reacted to corn, baker’s yeast, and brewer’s yeast. Lucy reacted to wheat, gluten, gliadin (both parts of wheat), orange, yogurt, and brewer’s yeast. We have eliminated corn now for Mickade, and Lucy and I are gluten-free since she is still nursing.

I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at your food labels, but the pervasiveness of cheap ingredients is frightening and frustrating if you have allergies. Soy is in everything…soy lecithin, soybean oil, msg, ‘natural flavors’, it goes on. Then corn….there is a whole website dedicated to corn allergies, since it’s not one of the “Top 8” designated by the FDA (soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy) so it’s not stated on labels. You should look here to see what ingredients can mean corn!
We’ve started a number of supplements to help, too. Mickade has gotten more relief from 3000mg of vitamin C and 2-3000mg of methyl B-12 than he got from Zyrtec, and there are no side effects! Some other interesting things are that his sleep has improved. As you all know, he has never slept very well. It turns out that the body uses methyls to fight off allergens. If you are fighting all day, you have little to none left at night, which is a problem because the body uses methyls to combine with serotonin to make….melatonin!!!! Ever since he has been taking methylB12 during the day, he has been falling asleep much, much easier, and been a little bit less restless in his sleep. We are also taking lots of probiotics in order to try to heal everyone’s guts, since the imbalance of gut bacteria is what lets the food proteins out of the intestines and into the bloodstream, causing the reactions.

Even with all this, Mickade’s eczema still hasn’t quite left him, and Lucy is still very volatile and poops only once a week without magnesium supplements (This week with supplements and epsom salt baths though, she has already gone 4 times since Monday….a miracle around here). We’ve turned now to salicylates, a naturally-occurring chemical in many foods that some people are sensitive too. In fact, it’s such a big sensitivity, that a program called the Feingold Diet is 30 years old. It turned out to be a huge factor in helping kids with ADHD, and many other issues. Feingold also removes artificial food colors, flavors, and preservatives. There’s a lot of data to back it up too, and the more I’ve read, the more I see my oldest and youngest. We are following a very strict version for this week, to see if it makes a difference, before adding in anything else. For an idea, you can look here and see what has negligible or low levels of salicylates to see what our food choices are this week (In case you’re too lazy to click, our fruits this week are bananas, pears, and limes, with some veggie choices like green beans, peas, brussels sprouts, potatoes. Tomatoes, berries, apples, ketchup, cinnamon, cumin, peppers, to name a few, are out.). So, here’s to hoping this one does the trick and kicks the crap to the curb. I’d like to have a sweet little girl more often. I’d also like to see Mickade’s eczema stop and his sleep improve. I’ve had Lucy on it for 2 days now, and I think I am seeing some minor improvement already. I would the THRILLED if this works, even it means we can’t enjoy a lot of the food we are used to. I’ll take my kids happy and healthy anyday!

This is the much shorter version of our lives these past two months, but I know people are wondering exactly what is going on over here…hope this helps some!