Archive for the ‘Others’ Stories’ Category

I’m Allergic to … What Can I Eat?

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Several months ago I received a question from one of my readers. She was undergoing skin allergy tests to find out what she was allergic to and had already come up with several things. I wrote her a rather lengthy response, and then asked if I could share it with my readers here. If you or someone in your family has been diagnosed with one or more food allergies, you may find this post helpful.

Question:

 I came acrossed your blog about being allergic to wheat and I was just skin tested she said i was allergic to wheat, oranges, tomatoes, pork, peanuts, and im not even done testing, i dont know what to eat can you give me some ideas, i am talking about food from the stores like regular food not food i have to buy online or anything. im kinda broke lol

Answer:

You asked me to help you with food allergies and what to eat. Before I do that, I want to share my “qualifications”. My brother had multiple food allergies as a child. Gluten, citrus, nightshade, and a few others I can’t remember. He outgrew them by puberty. I learned to read labels before age 10. My son has even more allergies and sensitivities, and until I weaned him at 12 months, I tried to eat his diet. I later learned that I was still eating things that he was highly reactive to, and that helped me deal with all the guilt I had over weaning him early (I nursed his sister for 20 months and only weaned her because it got painful in pregnancy).
So what can you do? First of all, you need to totally change your attitude toward food. You need to think differently about food. If you try to find a substitute for every item you are used to eating, you will either go crazy or have to triple your food budget.
Let’s take that apart. Suppose you like to eat a chili hot dog. With the wheat bun, the pork in the dog, the tomatoes in the chili, and the cheese on top, it’s going to be really hard to make a substitute for it. So just forget it. Find totally new foods that you can enjoy. It will probably mean taking your food with you when you eat out with friends. You never know what is in prepared foods unless you have a label to read.
Since you are not finished testing, it is going to be hard to give you a lot of advice. If you tested negative on soy, embrace tofu and other soy-based foods. If you haven’t been tested for it yet, then hold off, because that is one of the worst allergens.
Think of foods that you may eat once in a while that are not on the forbidden list. In fact, you would do well to make a list of all the individual foods you can eat. You will probably find that the list of can-eat will be bigger than the list of can’t-eat. The only problem is that several of the can’t-eats are in 90% of prepackaged foods. So you are going to have to embrace cooking from scratch.
Look at that can-eat list. If corn is on it, embrace corn tortillas and tortilla chips. Try blue chips for variety. Potatoes are related to tomatoes, so you should probably cut them out for a month or two until whatever symptoms you have been having subside and then try them to see if you can eat them. But sweet potatoes and yams are not related to potatoes, and you should be able to tolerate them well. Think sweet potato fries! Mmmmmmm! Look at the wealth of veggies available and just forget about tomatoes (and potatoes, peppers and eggplant–they are all nightshade). But broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, zucchini, carrots, and many other veggies are fair game. Embrace legumes–except soy, if it’s a problem. Try sprouting some of them and create nutritious dishes with them.
You can find websites that let you select ingredients and prohibit them from the recipe, and then do searches based on the parameters you specified. This will give you some ideas of things you can do. Even just googling ingredients with a minus sign next to things you want to avoid can provide recipes.
Basically, you will need to just embrace your options and let the rest go. It will be hard at first, but when you get the results of feeling better, it will be worth it.
And if you don’t get better, there could be some other issue causing the allergies. In my son’s case, he has pathogenic bacteria in his gut that is causing irritation that manifests itself on the skin as eczema. The more we do for his gut, the better he gets. His IgE score has come down from about 2875 to somewhere around 2500-2600. That doesn’t seem like much, but considering that 300 is considered the maximum of normal, that is wonderful!
So there you go. Let me know if you have anymore questions.
Whether you are dealing with just one allergen, like soy, or multiple food allergies, like this reader and my son, the principles are the same. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I will answer to the best of my ability. I should also mention that if you have multiple food allergies, it might be wise to seek the advice of a qualified nutritionist to be sure you are getting a good balance of nutrients with the remaining foods. It would also be advisable to take a good supplement.

Helping My Eczema Baby Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

My baby Was Born With Eczema

Like a lot of babies with eczema, my baby was born with it, and right from the outset his skin was dry and flaky. We bought almost every type of skin care product on the market, trying one after another unsuccessfully to control the scratching and discomfort it was causing him.

He was also a terrible bottle drinker throughout this time, literally throwing bottles across the room, arching and fighting every single one. What should have been a nice bonding experience was a battle of wills to just feed him even tiny amounts of milk. It wasn’t unusual for a bottle to last most of the day by the time we could get him to finish it.

 

Working Out the Cause of Eczema for My Baby

It wasn’t until he was around six months of age that a doctor referred us to a specialist eczema/allergy clinic, where we were finally given the official diagnosis of eczema, possible milk protein intolerance, and given some particularly useful suggestions about layering of creams from lighter ones to thicker ones to keep the moisture in. We were told to wrap him tightly for sleeps, to help encourage a better sleep pattern and stop the damage from night time scratching.
I can’t recommend highly enough getting a referral from your usual doctor to an allergy clinic or specialist. Most major hospitals have regular clinics where they can test for allergies or intolerances. Eczema associations and support groups can point you towards these clinics in your area. It helps to rule out possible triggers in the ongoing management of eczema or similar conditions.

 

Wrapping or Swaddling a Baby With Eczema

aka the ‘Wrestle Wrap’

Wrapping or swaddling our baby was fine while he was small, but once he started to grow and become more active, it caused him more and more discomfort. He began sleeping even less, spending the entire time attempting to work his way out of the swaddles!

We bought other baby wrap style sleeping bags. They worked for a short period of time, but were soon unsafe to continue using as he learnt to roll over, requiring free arm movement to be able to roll back. I was so desperate to keep him from scratching that I even resorted to a Safe-T Sleep system which wraps around a mattress and has velcro straps that are placed between a baby’s legs and around their tummy to hold them in place on their backs. Using this kept him in a wrap style sleeping bag for a little bit longer, but he eventually worked out how to roll over again even with this on, and so we had to transition to a normal sleeping bag. The only way this would work to stop the scratching was if I dressed my baby in an all-in-one suit with the foldover handcovers attached and then put the sleeping bag over the top of this. I was beside myself the day I realised that he no longer fit into the size 00-0 one suits and that ALL the manufacturers of these stop making them with handcovers after these sizes!

Safe, Scratch-free Sleeping With the Bamboo Bubby Bag

I shopped high and low and could not find anything I could use safely with my baby, and we all NEEDED sleep badly. He also needed protection from the scratching to allow his skin to heal!

And so the idea for the Bamboo Bubby Bag was born. I still can’t believe that there was nothing like this out there on the market! It is a one size fits 000-2+ sleeping bag (saving parent’s money - they are already spending so much on eczema treatments). It is made of 70% bamboo/30% organic cotton fabric that is soft, breathable and thermoregulating. This is perfect for babies with eczema, since their condition already makes them hotter than others and sweat further contributes to the itch.

The Bamboo Bubby Bag has a unique, completely enclosed adjustable sleeve design® which works similarly to the handcover concept on all-in-one suits meaning that it can guarantee a goodnight’s sleep for babies with eczema throughout their entire first 2+ years.

Since designing the Bamboo Bubby Bag, I have been overwhelmed by positive feedback about the idea, and have recently launched Bamboo Bubby into an online business, sending out Bamboo Bubby Bags far and wide, helping many other babies with eczema sleep better and break the itch-scratch cycle. As a parent, there is nothing worse than watching your child suffer from a distressing condition like eczema, and I am glad that Bamboo Bubby has not only made a huge change to our lives, but also now those of so many others.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kelly Northey is the mother of a baby with eczema and the designer of  the Bamboo Bubby Bag, a sleeping bag with unique, enclosed, adjustable  sleeves that will fit babies from sizes 000-2+, stopping them from  scratching during sleeptimes – perfect for babies with eczema or  dermatitis.
Bamboo Bubby Bags can be seen in action at: www.bamboobubby.com.au or www.facebook.com.au/bamboobubby. She is also happy to chat with other parents via email at: info [at] bamboobubby [dot] com.au