Allergies, Eating and Vacation!

IMG_1556[1]Hey! Long time, no see! ūüôā We’ve been very busy over here, as usual, especially now that the weather has been nice! The kids are really enjoying being outside more. The boys got a new basket ball hoop for Christmas and we finally got it set up! They are out there every day shooting hoops:)

IMG_1557[1]We are still trucking along with our food diet. We finished the actual 30 days of elimination and for the past 3 weeks or so, have been reintroducing foods one at a time. We intro a food, then go back to our Whole30 for 2 days and then try the next food, keeping all other reintro foods out of our diet. So far we introduced sugar, legumes, corn, non-gluten grains, gluten and tomorrow will be dairy.

Reintroduction has been way harder than the elimination! Seriously. We all felt SO good that last week of the diet and the foods we’ve brought back in have caused rashes, stomach pain, headaches, lethargy, behavioral issues, malaise (like that word??), etc. Yuck!

The good news is that we have found some trigger foods! And I’ve learned to make some cool things over the past month like homemade Coconut and Almond Milk (labels, courtesy of Zakkai:)

IMG_1560[1]And guess what I am making here?! (P.S. My Cuisinart Pro Classic food processor has been a lifesaver this past month and a half! I love it!)IMG_1564[1]It’s Almond butter!! Wow, it is SO good! It is incredibly fresh tasting. We are NOT going to be eating much peanut butter after that reintro failed miserably (we even had to push back our corn reintro because we all felt terrible! Except Z who hates peanut butter anyways:)

Zakkai has never eaten peanut butter ever. (aside from the occasional Reese’s) He loathes it so I consider it a HUGE accomplishment that he now eats almond butter! He was so gracious and tried a little smidge of peanut butter for me on legume day and had immediate tummy pains afterwards and felt yucky so I told him he didn’t have to eat it again.IMG_1558[1]Love my Z-man! (please ignore my flattened bangs!) His front tooth finally broke through after 4 months of being toothless and is coming in rapidly. I begged him for a picture before his tooth came in too far. I do love a toothless kid!IMG_1561[1]While E’s tummy pains improved a ton over the course of this eating, she has still struggled with rashes, hives and other things. She has this constant “rash” on her legs that gets better and worsens often.

IMG_1562[1]The day after eating oats and rice, she broke out into a rash all over her cheeks and ears. She was SO “off” the next day, including falling asleep in the morning in the car! Her rash continued to get worse over the next two days; very itchy and bright red. People kept commenting on her rosy cheeks.

IMG_1574[1]We finally got her referred for allergy testing to see if we could find some answers! Here she is in the waiting room on Friday. Her cheeks are still red but were starting to clear up a tiny bit. She was so nervous about her appt.IMG_1575[1]

Look at this trooper! This was about one minute after they pricked her all over her back. She started to cry but then was such a brave girl. I brought some things for us to do together to distract her while we were waiting. The boys were at a science field trip so that was helpful!

Unfortunately, we learned that she is allergic to CATS (ugh!), dogs and tree pollen. She has no identifiable food allergies, which I didn’t want her to have and yet at the same time, was a little disappointed about (weird, I know) just because I want some answers about all the tummy problems, sleeping problems, etc!

She is very sad about her cat allergy, especially, because Oliver can no longer snuggle on her bed, as he loves to do and she has to be careful to wash her hands, etc. This explains the random hives (especially when he has scratched her!) and the constant nasal congestion and cough. Sigh.

The allergist explained that she could still have food intolerances, which would explain the eczema (the rash on her legs and maybe the face rash) that she keeps getting and the tummy troubles, etc. She did not react well to oats, rice, peanuts somewhat and definitely not to gluten this weekend! Oh my goodness, gluten was awful for the kids! It was terrible tummy pain/upset for E and Z, awful behavioral issues and more. Ugh!

So what does life look like from here? We still have dairy to go but we have already decided that we will be living a mostly Paleo lifestyle with occasional treats and cheats built in on special occasions, etc. We will not adhere so strictly because we will probably have beans sometimes or hummus (which Paleo doesn’t allow) and will won’t be able to say no to a good pizza every so often! But we definitely have to change things because we feel SO much better without all the extra stuff and have such improved sleeping, behavior, etc. This will be an adjustment but we have learned to love a bazillion veggies and eat so much more than we did before! It’s fun to fill up that shopping cart and look down and it’s filled with only fresh, colorful whole foods!

Anyways, this has been fun (mostly) for us to do together and our story has even inspired another family and 3 more people to do the Whole30! It’s not easy but it is definitely worth it, I can assure you!

UP next, we’re taking a mini vacation to VA and Washington D.C. this weekend!!

 

Aftermath..

We made it!! We completed our very first Whole30 on Thursday. We aren’t quite finished yet though….

Friday our Reintroduction phase started. It is THE most important part of the whole process! We are adding things back in very slowly and monitoring our reactions carefully. I highly suspect we will have some adverse reactions to things.

We started with sugar. Sounds crazy, right?! Way to jump in! We chose it because there is sugar in so many things and we knew if it was added into some of the other things we reintroduce later, we would have no idea if sugar has caused anything.

So yesterday, a little sugar got sprinkled on grapefruit halves and a drizzle of maple syrup made our Pumpkin Custard breakfast a little sweeter. We had a homemade salad dressing with a teensy bit of sugar in it on our lunch salad, lots of fruit and for dessert…Cinnamon “Ice Cream.” (no dairy~made with coconut milk, almond milk, cinnamon and honey or maple syrup!)

We couldn’t¬†believe¬†how sweet everything tasted! I don’t even think we really did that much sugar; just enough to test the waters. By afternoon, both Ben and I had low-grade headaches, some aching in our limbs and just in general did not feel as well as we have been. The kids hit major energy slumps late morning and looked like zombies. Wow.

I didn’t even want to finish my little serving of “ice cream,” which had a great flavor but was just too sweet and I wasn’t feeling the best at that point but we knew we had to push through to really test the results.

I¬†still¬†have the headache and a general not well feeling today and it’s been 24 hours. Yuck! I’m hoping tomorrow I will feel good again.

And we have felt very good the past couple of weeks! Esp the last week. I usually suffer from headaches at least half the month and often for up to 9 day stretches in a row and I had maybe 5 headaches over all in 30 days. A few were early detox headaches and I needed no medicine (and I am usually popping 3 extra-strength tylenol or 3 ibuprofin at a time, multiple times to be able to kill my headaches). The only headache I took medicine for was a tension/stress-related headache over Easter weekend. This is HUGE for me!!

Ben lost at least 13 pounds!!! He is down to a weight he hasn’t been since Zakkai was a baby toddler and he had to go on a special diet for health reasons back then. He looks SO good. His face is brighter and he says his stomach feels great and noticed an improvement in his sinuses, which have been giving him serious grief this winter.

Eliana’s stomach pains and aches have improved around 90%! She is still being sent for allergy testing in a couple of weeks for some other symptoms but I just know she is sensitive to something we have been eating and my guess is dairy or gluten. She also has weaned off of melatonin for sleeping, which she has been on since December!

Zakkai’s concentration in school improved dramatically! He really amazed me several times with the amount of work he was able to accomplish in far less time and with FAR less meltdowns, etc. We noticed other improvements with him, too, which are so encouraging! I am suspecting he will be sensitive to gluten.

Samuel says he’s fine and nothing changed but he hasn’t slept well in a long time and he is sleeping much better! He also gets headaches a few times a month at least (takes after me!) and he has had NONE this past month. Woohoo! He also is my junior carb addict and he went from serious depression over being grain-less for a month to not missing it at all! He was not looking forward to the reintroduction phase:)

All in all, we have seen enough improvements in health issues, energy, sleeping, etc to convince us that this was well worth it! Next reintroduction is Legumes on Monday. Beans, beans, the magical fruit….

 

 

 

Howdy!

Hello, hello! Long-time, no-see! We have been busy over here with family in town and celebrating Easter and all the regular life-things:)

First up, we are¬†almost¬†done with our elimination diet! Only 6 1/2 more days….But then the real work begins of introducing everything back in. It will take us roughly 18 days to introduce food groups back in, should everything go smoothly. We are nervous¬†and¬†excited!

IMG_1481[1]For now, we continue to eat very fresh, colorful healthy meals, like egg salad (complete with homemade mayonnaise) in pepper bowls! We have tried new things and loved them and I will be adding lots of new recipes to my repertoire! I feel like I have learned¬†so¬†much in the past 3 weeks. It’s really amazing. I will have to put my thoughts down next week, at the end!

IMG_1488[1]

We were at the store recently waiting on Grandma-great:) Boys vs girls!

IMG_1494[1]

My sister and her family came into town and stayed with us and we got to do some Easter egg decorating at my mom’s!

IMG_1496[1]

We couldn’t pass up a photo op with the 3 youngest grandchildren! These girls LOVE to be together and it doesn’t happen often enough! There is a year and a half span between all of them:)

IMG_1497[1]

They all have such different personalities, which is fun to see!

IMG_1500[1]

Eliana got a new Easter hat from her Grandma! She wore it all day on Easter and looked darling:) (of course!)

IMG_1504[1]

A selfie with Grandma!!

IMG_1508[1]

We made Grandpa get in on the action, too! It was a really nice Easter, starting with a really good church service, followed by amazing weather and family!

IMG_1514[1]

We were able to spend the morning at COSI, our local kids’ science museum on Monday. The girls had the best time together! They were also SOOOO tired from the whole weekend so they were very emotional. We squeezed in some rest time in the afternoon! These girls were just meant to be best-buddies:) And the fun part is, we get to go visit them next month and will be taking a couple of days to tour DC, which we have never been to! We are very excited.

IMG_1522[1]

We found this guy keeping watch from our porch roof the other day. He just sat there, as still as a statue. So beautiful!!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!