Julia's Guardian Angel Fund

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Living with a Dairy Allergic Kid

This post is a response to a friend who asked about dairy allergies:

It's possible to live without dairy.  We did it for three years when my first two were 5 and 4.  The four year old was positive for a dairy allergy.  It made the 5 year old have an upset tummy and it caused some issues that I think were a 5 year olds way of saying, "Hey, I don't feel so great!"  So we got rid of it.  Actually, we also got rid of it because I believed (and still do) that the dairy was causing problems with their behavior.  There are articles that talk about it, but I believe that medical research still needs to be undertaken for that to be truly PROVEN.  I can tell you removing dairy made a huge difference in my children's behavior.

So, to cut dairy out means no:

  • Acidophilus milk
  • Casein
  • Caseinate
  • Cream
  • Curds
  • Galactose
  • Ghee
  • Ice Cream
  • Lactalbumin
  • Lactate
  • Lactic acid
  • Lactoglobulin
  • Lactose
  • Malted milk
  • Milk
  • Milk fat
  • Milk solids
  • Nougat
  • Potassium caseinate
  • Rennet
  • Skim milk
  • Sodium caseinate
  • Whole Milk
WE USE BUTTER HERE...we don't give that up because it doesn't seem to cause a reaction in my dairy allergic kid.  If your child is severely allergic, you can find dairy free margarines OR you can make GHEE, which is clarified butter where all the milk solids are removed from the butter.

Be aware that foods containing "artificial butter flavor," "caramel color", "non-dairy substitutes" (believe it or not, they often contain dairy!), or anything that doesn't describe what "flavorings" or "seasonings" means, may contain milk. Non-dairy whipped topping actually has dairy protein in it (the trigger for dairy allergies).  In addition, milk may be hiding out in canned fish (such as tuna), many processed meats and deli meats, nutritional supplements and medications.

READ THE LABELS.  When you go to a restaurant, you need to ASK. 

If you are breastfeeding a child with a dairy allergy, you MUST avoid dairy, too.  REALLY.  I know that sounds harsh, but if you are going to do it, do it for love and make the sacrifice.  I had to give up dairy while I breast fed my 5th child.  One day before his 1st birthday, he snitched some chocolate protein pudding (1 scoop of protein powder added to my chocolate pudding).  The protein powder was casein based (dairy based).  He broke out into welts, started making a gagging type of sound and started wheezing.  Off we went to the hospital in the ambulance.  We came home with an epi pen.  He nursed for nine months past that date.   I couldn't have dairy so he wouldn't have dairy. So, I know the sacrifice you are making here.

How do you cope and what do you do?
1) Find a milk substitute you like, they like and you can cook with.  Rice milk is my first choice if you aren't allergic to rice.  (I am.)  Vance's Dairy Free is a powdered hypo-allergenic milk replacement we use at our house.  These are all vitamin and mineral fortified to have the same calcium/vitamin D levels as cow's milk.   I don't recommend soy milk because I'm convinced the soy causes LOTS of problems with early onset puberty in girls and issues with estrogen induced reactions from boys.  I use coconut milk a lot.  It has lots of fat in it.  It used to be used in formula before the evil health cops came along and (wrongfully) said coconut fat is bad for you.  They were wrong.  Coconut fat is GOOD for you.  Oh, so good for you because it has Lauric Acid in it, found in few places besides breast milk, cow's milk and goat's milk.  I use coconut milk in my baking.  It also whips, with lots of work and chilled implements (bowl and mixer attachments put in freezer before whipping). 

2)Decide which camp you will belong to:  NO dairy for anyone or NO dairy for the allergic child.  If you decide to feed the allergic child differently than the rest of the family because you are afraid of a family revolt when the menu changes, just be sure all other sources of dairy are cleaned up after meals and snacks.  My scavenging dairy-allergic toddler has found his way to many a dropped cheese cube or leftover glass of chocolate milk.  We're used to dairy free cooking here, but many families can not live without dairy on the table.  It might be necessary to remove dairy only from the allergic child's plate. It might be necessary to remove it from the whole house for a short time so the allergic child isn't the only one "restricted" from the food.  Trust me, that's a hard thing for a small child to understand - they can't have something everyone else is having.  You have to decide.

3)Cook from scratch.  Canned soups, many processed foods and prepacked meals contain milk.  Cereal bars, meal replacement bars and many snack foods have dairy.  Read the labels.  Anything with cheese, ranch dressing, chocolate coatings, butter flavor or creamy texture may have dairy (i.e. Tootsie rolls, caramels, Zone bars, Ranch Doritos, some brands of microwave popcorn, dill pickle potato chips...you get the picture.)

4) Calcium can be found in many other sources.  When in doubt, supplement.  Drinkables Coral Calcium at Sam's Club is a great supplement recommended by my pediatric dentist for my dairy allergic son.  There are other ways to get calcium.  Calcium fortified OJ is a great way with having the added bonus of having Vitamin C.  Broccoli is great as are many other leafy green veggies.  Make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D and your body will grab the calcium out of any food that has it.

5) Know that this may only be temporary.  Most kids outgrow dairy allergies by 5-7 years of age.  Also, if you are just starting, it will take 8-10 days to see a difference.  Once it's eliminated completely, you will see when they have gotten into the dairy!

Good luck and hit the com box if you have more questions. 

Herman Munster, watch out!

I posted about my new shoes here.    A USA Today article looks at whether they work or not.  I have to believe it is just a case of "your mileage may vary."  I have seen tremendous results in my body with no other explanation than I wore the shoes.  They are SO comfortable I now own 3 pairs.  Not the expensive Sketcher brand, but TheraShoes distributed by K-mart.  I couldn't pass up the BOGO 50% sale a few weeks ago.  I now own an outdoor pair, an indoor pair and TheraSandals.

My husband called them my "Herman Munster Shoes."  He has a pair now, too.  He has bad feet, thanks to genetics.   He finds them quite comfortable and wishes they made a decent pair of TheraSandals for men.  Right now, it's only flip flop types which he despises.  So, now my normally 6'2" hubby lurches around at 6' 4 1/2 " thanks to these babies and if it helps his feet, all the better.

What I found more interesting was that my two older kids wanted a pair too.  They have them as their "indoor shoes."  My kids could do with a little core muscle work, so I figured there was no harm in having them wear them inside, not for active outdoor activities.  They are not allowed to carry the baby when they are wearing them, so I'll be watching for a pattern of running to put their TheraShoes on when I ask them to help with the baby ;-).

For me, I'm just looking for comfort with the possible side effect of a stronger core.  So far, I have lost 18" since I got my pair on May 6th (almost 2 months).  In that time I have lost 5 lbs (I'm working on that...I've plateaued the last 2 weeks), so some of that might be due to weight loss, but it certainly can't account for all of it.

Ed. Note: I forgot to give credit to my husband for passing on the article from USA Today.  Thanks, honey!

Living with food allergies

I would be kidding if I said it wasn't a big deal to live with food allergies. We have, between 6 of us in our house, 11 major food allergies. Thankfully wheat isn't one of those, nor is corn. When my step dad comes to visit, we add those on top of our allergy list. However, you learn to cope. You have to. We all have to eat so it just becomes an exercise of trying to make it work.

We don't do fancy food here at our house. Most dinners, sit down - all of us together, usually consist of 1 meat, 2 veggies, 1 starch, 1 fruit. The starch is usually an artisan bread. The meat is usually, not always, free of sauce. We grill a lot, Spring through Fall.  We stay away from processed meats except for the occasional hot dog (Kosher, usually) and Johnsonville Brat (what can I say, we're German/Irish).

One thing I've noticed lately is that I have been having nightmares about the peanut allergy in our house.  I keep dreaming we are on a boat (inaccessible to a hospital) and other people on the boat have peanut addictions.  We had chosen the boat ride because we were assured it would be "peanut free" and here are all these people, typically girls the same age as my peanut allergic daughter, sneaking around eating peanuts.  Can someone explain this to me?  I have to go around on this boat and throw the peanuts overboard, then go wash my hands. 

Food allergies are on my mind lately because they have been affecting more of my life than normal.  Usually I'm a stay-at-home kind of gal.  But the Summer has us doing things we don't normally do, like going to VBS and the pool.  It is just control issues for me, I'm sure.  The other thing in my mind is that our pediatrician is asking me to consider having our 5th child go wheat free for a while.  He's a tiny guy.  What's worse is he's fallen from the 15th percentile for height to the 2nd percentile.  If he hadn't moved up by August, we have to consider tests, one of which would be an endoscopy with a biopsy to determine if he has Celiac's Disease, which could affect his growth. 

Please say a pray that he grows.  My nightmares will change in nature if that happens.  You see, I am allergic to rice.  If he needs to go wheat free, things change, even more for the worse here.  I will have to make all his food separately from mine.  I've actually been thankful to have an egg-free buddy as we both have egg allergies.  But now, this would make life just a little more difficult. 

I've heard it said that having a child with food allergies is like having a really bad neighbor you can't trust.  You have to keep your eye on your children at all times and can't let them go outside alone.  Food allergies affect them, too.  They feel left out and get tired of making sacrifices.  We don't eat out much, but when we do, I worry.  A lot.  They also think that we don't get invited to peoples' homes because they are worried they will contaminate us.  I worry a little about that too, both that we don't get invited for that reason and that they will, indeed, contaminate us.  So what do we do?  We have to have faith.  We have to be diligent and we have to be strong.

While I don't like that my kids might be left out because of their food allergies, I know in the long run learning to make sacrifices is an important lesson. I also know that education is the most important aspect of food allergies.  Kids need to know what they can and cannot have.  Adults need to know how to read labels and know what the allergic child needs to avoid.  People need to know we have means to mitigate an allergic reaction and what to look for and when to administer meds.

If you are reading this and you wonder what you can do?  Have a bottle of liquid Bendadryl in your house at all times.  That is the best and easiest way to make sure you can help if there is ever a food allergy at your house.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In praise of Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook - AGAIN!

We are watching a close friends' two girls today. They are 12 and 11, just about the same ages of my oldest two kids. We've know these gals since birth as their mom and dad got married 8 months after we did and had our babies relatively close to each other.

So, we wanted to do something to celebrate having them over. We had Daisy Head Maisy burgers from the Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook. Except, we did not put the cookies on the burgers. They were delicious and egg free to book! I made them safe for Tinkerdoodle (the dairy allergic one) by using coconut milk instead of milk. They are delish...

We'll also be trying a few other recipes in the next week and report back. As I said before, the recipes are pretty decent nutritionally. For example, one recipe is a "mix between nut brittle and trail mix". We won't be doing that either...But I will report on the others!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Naan Sense

I confess that this is one of my favorite things. Naan is a flat bread that you use to sop up the delicious juices of your favorite food.

We have this with Indian food, mostly, but it goes well with anything.

Here's my recipe for a single batch, regular technique. I will follow up with the Artisan Bread version.

Naan, Easy traditional Method
Makes enough for my family (8 eaters)
Mix together:
1 c. warm water
2 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar

2 1/2 c. flour (can use whole wheat, if you like)
1 tsp. salt

Mix all together with the Kitchenaid, adding:
1/2 c. melted butter

Knead in Kitchenaid for 10 minutes. If dough is still sticky, add enough flour (a little at a time) until the dough no longer sticks to the sides. It is okay if it sticks to the bottom. Place in oiled bowl and allow to rise for 1 hour. Cut dough into 8 hunks. Heat a griddle over med-hi heat. Melt 1/2 stick of butter. Flatten and stretch each ball. Then, brush melted butter on one side. Place buttered side down and butter top. Cook until browned on bottom. Flip and repeat. Remove to a kitchen towel to keep soft.

Naan, Artisan Bread method
Cut off a hunks of dough, about tangerine size. Heat a griddle over med-hi heat. Melt 1/2 stick of butter. Flatten and stretch each ball. Then, brush melted butter on one side. Place buttered side down and butter top. Cook until browned on bottom. Flip and repeat. Remove to a kitchen towel to keep soft.


No Longer Obese...

The scale finally tipped to a number that indicates I am no longer obese!

I pray that I can have the will power to continue the down hill descent to a healthier weight.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Almost no longer obese...

In case anyone has noticed, the ticker on the right side keeps going down. I'm excited to say that when I stepped on the scale today my weight went down enough to cause my BMI to drop to 30. Below 30 is considered only "overweight" and I'm excited to say I know I will be there soon.

I'm 27 lbs away from normal. I can do that. I've dropped 35 pounds since October, which is an average of 1 lb a week. At this rate, I will be normal around Christmas. Wish me luck!

Strawberry Icebox Pie with Whole Wheat No-Roll Pie Crust

As promised, as healthy as you can get recipe for Strawberry Icebox Pie
Whole Wheat No-Roll Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil (preferablely no taste)
1/4 cup ice water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients in a bowl until combined.  Do not over mix.
Place in pie pan.  Use the bottom of a measuring cup to nicely smooth the dough into the edges and up the sides of the pan.  Place a very large piece foil over top (so that you can press it into the pan and still have some hanging over) and fill with pie weights (I used dry beans) to prevent the sides from falling down while you blind bake it.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes with the pie weights in.  Carefully remove the pie weights and bake for another 8-12 minutes, depending on how brown you like your crust.  Cool completely before filling.

Strawberry Icebox Pie

1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
2 cups frozen strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. lemonade mix or 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1 baked pie crust (see above)

Defrost the frozen strawberries (in the microwave or in a bowl) and mash them.  Place them in a small saucepan. Add the 1/2 cup sugar and the cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt, and stir to combine.

Soften 1 1/2 teaspoons of the gelatin in the cold water, and set it aside.

Place the saucepan over low heat and bring the berry mixture to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is transparent and of medium thickness, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the softened gelatin, and stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Arrange the fresh strawberries in the pie crust pointed end up.  If any strawberries are left over, dice them and mix them into the cooled strawberry mixture.  Pour mixture over the strawberries and gently work the mixture down to the bottom of the pie crust.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.  Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tandoori Chicken

My husband and I love Indian food.  Getting the kids to eat it is a whole other story.  They actually tried this dish and half of them loved it.  That's pretty good!

This dish is adapted from the American Test Kitchen's Recipe.
This recipe does contain dairy.  I had my dairy allergic eat some that did not have the dairy on it...
Fast Tandoori Chicken 
Serves 4

Homemade Garam Masala
In the blender or spice grinder put:
2 TBSP coriander seeds
1 TSP cardamom seeds 
1 ½ TSP black peppercorns

Blend or grind until relatively fine.
Tandoori Ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tsp. ground ginger
All of the garam masala made above
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 cup plain greek yogurt
4 tablespoons juice from 2 limes, plus 1 lime, cut into wedges
2 teaspoons table salt
4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut lengthwise in half to reduce the thickness
1. Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ginger, garam masala, cinnamon, cumin, and chili powder; continue to cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds longer. Transfer half of garlic-spice mixture to medium bowl; stir in yogurt and 2 tablespoons lime juice and set aside.
2. In large bowl, combine remaining garlic-spice mixture, remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice, and salt. Place chicken breast pieces in the bowl.  Using hands, gently massage salt-spice mixture into chicken until all pieces are evenly coated; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
3. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat oven to 325 degrees. Pour yogurt mixture over chicken and toss until chicken is evenly coated with thick layer. Arrange chicken breast pieces on wire rack set in foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Bake chicken until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 125 degrees for breasts and 130 for legs and thighs, 10 to 15 minutes. (Smaller pieces may cook faster than larger pieces. Transfer chicken pieces to plate as they reach correct temperature.)
4. After removing chicken from oven, turn oven to broil and heat 10 minutes. The oven needs to come up to temperature without the chicken in the oven or it will be over cooked and burnt.  Once broiler is heated, flip chicken pieces over and broil until chicken is lightly charred in spots.  Flip and cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 165 degrees, approximately 8 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate, tent loosely with foil, and rest 5 minutes. Serve with chutney or relish, passing lime wedges separately.

Last Day of School Dinner

Here was the menu for our last day of school celebration:
Tandoori Chicken
Strawberry Icebox Pie with Pat-in-the-pan crust

I'll include the recipes one by one for easier searching.

The new most requested breakfast...

Multigrain Blueberry Pancakes

My hubby is a sucker for fresh berries from Sam's Club.  I must admit we eat more berries than any other fruit.  I ain't complainin'...I love it.  We had Strawberry Icebox Pie with a whole wheat pat crust and no jello filling last night for dessert and to celebrate the end of the school year.  It was delicious and very low on the sugar scale.  The whole pie (8 pieces) had 1/2 cup of sugar added, but that is another post.

So, here are the pancakes my kids are begging for now and will be breakfast tomorrow:

Multigrain Blueberry Pancakes - Dairy Free and Egg Free

Combine the dry ingredients together:
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. oatmeal
1 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. malt powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Combine wet ingredients:
1 c. coconut milk
1/2 c. water
Egg replacer for 2 eggs (about 1/2 cup) (either flaxseed meal and water, Egg Replacer or mashed bananas)
For those of you who can have dairy and eggs, use the following:
1 c. milk
1/2 c. water
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Pour wet ingredients into dry.  Heat skillet and oil lightly. 

Gently fold in 1/2 - 1 c. blueberries

Cook as usual ;-).

The malt imparts a nice sweet taste and also makes the pancakes both crispy and nicely golden brown.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ratatouille - a la Julia Child

Anton Ego would have loved the birthday dinner here tonight.  In my quest to get people eating more veggies here, I made Julia Child's Ratatouille.  It was amazing.  Not nearly as pretty as Remy's presentation, but it was divine.

What I am more excited about is that my husband tried it, even after telling my children stories of the "eggplant incident" when he was growing up.  I won't give you the details.  I'm sure you probably can figure it out yourself.  But even better, the kids tried it.  The WEE ONE, who turned ONE today, by the way, had thirds.  She ignored everything else on her tray.  I usually don't have seconds, but I did tonight.  It was delicious!  The other kids didn't love it, but I was happy they at least tried it, given the stories they had heard from their dad.

So, thank you Disney, for making a movie about a rat named Remy that made ratatouille something kids might try.

Right now I have a lot of friends who are losing weight and family members, too, who get all hung up on the time I spend making food.  To each his own.  Please don't be too quick to chastise those of us who like to cook.  Cooking, is, for me, a chance to flex a creative muscle that often goes unexercised.   It is that love of cooking that allows people with lots of food allergies to come to my house and not have to bring their own food.  It is what keeps those of us with allergies that live in this house alive and out of the hospital.  More importantly, it's also a part of my personality.  I want people to FEEL like they are well taken care of at my home.  Perhaps I should focus more on decluttering and cleaning and less on the food ;-).  Nah!  I'll still do that, but I won't give up the cooking.