Thursday, 14 May 2015

An update on Cohen's wheat-free, nut-free, egg-free, dairy-free diet

We have been dealing with eczema and allergies for a while now, but things are starting to look up! We haven't had any Benadryl situations for a while, and those sweet cheeks are looking much better these days. 

(3 months old-perfect skin!) 

(5 months old- red cheeks) 

(6 months old-super red cheeks) 

(18 months old- not too bad)

(currently, 22 months old-just a teeny bit red)

Just a little reminder of how we ended up with such a restricted diet for our little guy:

5 months old: Cohen started to have really red cheeks. We figured it was because the weather was getting cold, we had the heaters on, the house was dry, etc. The doctor said it was baby eczema, no biggie. She gave us tons of Aveeno and steroid cream. Nothing really worked. We tried every possible cream. They all did nothing. 
6 months old: We started on solid foods. We gave Cohen everything, including eggs, honey, peanuts. We noticed that his cheeks would get super red sometimes, and started slightly avoiding certain things like tomato sauce and citrus fruit. 
12 months old: On his first birthday he had his first anaphylactic reaction- to sesame seed paste I had put in a salad dressing. He had eaten it so many times before, but for whatever reason, this time, he had a reaction. We got on a wait list to get allergy tested. 
16 months old: His second anaphylactic reaction was to peanut butter. He had been eating peanuts in pad thai and peanut butter on toast since 6 months old, but, again, for whatever reason, this time he reacted. 
17 months old: His first allergy test. We found out he is allergic to peanuts, wheat, eggs, some fish, tree nuts. 
18 months old: His second allergy test. We found out he is allergic to feathers, and verified all the previous allergies from the first test. 
20 months old: A patient of mine took one look at Cohen, and told me we should eliminate lactose. So we did. And it helped. 

So, these days, we eat a lot of meat, veggies, and fruit. Cohen loves chicken and sardines and baked beans. We buy lactose-free yogurt and gluten-free bread. We do oatmeal in the mornings and tuna at lunch. We eat tofu and pickled beets and seaweed. We don't eat out as much as we used to, but when we do, we always just order Cohen a hamburger and remove the bun. He can eat fries and chips and lots of junky food, which is convenient sometimes. Jon and I pretty much eat the exact same as Cohen (though we both eat eggs sometimes) because it's easier and Cohen always wants to eat what we are eating. 

We have about ten different flours in the cupboard. For bread and cookies I make my own gluten-free flour mix (from here). For cupcakes, there is really only one recipe I have found that is any good (here). It's super hard to bake under these strict parameters. Flax eggs can only get you so far. For chocolate frosting, this raw recipe  is the best I have found. I make these sweet potato muffins all the time. I have made them with squash too. Super forgiving. We also sometimes buy those gluten-free mixes for biscuits or sandwich bread, with some success. 

It's been at least a month now (at 22 months old) that Cohen has not had a flare-up of his red cheeks. We will never really know why the eczema is starting to resolve. Some people say that babies just grow out of allergies and eczema around 2 years old. Maybe it's because we have eliminated all the bad stuff. 

For the future, we are hopeful that we will have pizza again. Cohen is getting allergy tested in 6 months again to see if any allergies are gone. Jon and I are slowly letting Cohen have a bit of egg or some cheese here and there. We are planning to test almond butter in a few months. We will see how he does with spelt flour eventually. 
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