Last week we got the results back from my 2 year old’s IgG. An IgG tests for food sensitivities, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Here is our story.
Even as a newborn, our son had bad skin. We were extremely careful with any products that he might come into contact with like laundry detergent, baby creams, etc. but still his poor little skin was covered in eczema from head to toe. Once he was old enough to scratch himself his skin would bleed from the constant scratching. People were always commenting on his skin and I tried to keep him covered to avoid more self-inflicted damage.
Our pediatrician told me to eliminate dairy to see if it helped but we didn’t notice any big changes. Her solution was to cover him in hydrocortisone twice a day. Once he got a little older (I think around 3 months) he was old enough for this whole body oil that is only to be used in the more severe cases of eczema and only for a short amount of time. That had me a little worried but it helped, some. Our doctor told me he would have to use the hydrocortisone forever.
We changed to a plant-based diet when he was 10 months old. He was mostly breastfed but ate fruit, veggies, and some grains. Some times his skin got better, other times it was a lot worse. Additionally, he would get horrible diaper rashes that took a long time to heal.
We don’t know of any family history of food allergies so the pediatrician gave the go ahead for nuts around 12 months. He loved peanut butter and ate it regularly for a while then I noticed he would begin to cry and his mouth and hands would turn red and he would also scratch at his neck when he ate peanut butter. I mentioned this to the pediatrician. She said I could try almonds and almond milk. He didn’t appear to have a reaction.
She never recommended allergy testing. She encouraged me to give him eggs and ”soft meat like hotdogs.” I kid you not! Our pediatrician recommended hotdogs, she knew we were eating plant-based. That is when I fired our pediatrician, there were other issues too, but the hotdog recommendation was just too much.
When he was 17 months old I got the idea to remove gluten/wheat from his diet. His skin began clearing up, not completely but the difference was undeniable. After a few weeks of this we went on a road trip. We didn’t have a lot of healthy food options and let him eat some bread or tortillas. Boom! His skin was inflamed from head to toe and wait for it… here comes that nasty diaper rash.
Wheat/gluten were definitely (at least part) of the problem. Once we removed gluten from his diet his skin was mostly clear with a few problem areas like behind the knees and the inside creases of the elbow.
We had no idea what was causing the other skin problems. We also noticed that his tummy was almost always sticking out and very hard. He was a pooping machine, 4-5 times just in the morning was normal. I knew there was a problem but I didn’t know what. It seemed like something was affecting his gut.
The Wakeup Call
In February I ran across this blog post by Jennifer at It’s an Itchy Little World. She recounts her son’s anaphylaxis experience. If you don’t do anything else today read this story. I knew I needed to get him tested. I researched different tests, different doctors and finally settled on a Naturopathic doctor that was close by. My husband took our son in to get the blood draw, I’m not good with anything involving blood and pass out from it regularly. I know, I’m cool like that.
This was the first time I realized my sons reaction to peanuts could get worse. I also considered all of the other symptoms and what they could be doing to his body.
I’m not sure if all test results are broken down like this; ours are classified into 0, 1,2 and 3s. The zeros mean he has no allergy/intolerance, the 1s are a slight allergy/intolerance, 2s are a moderate allergy/intolerance, and 3s are severe. Please note that this is not an “official” interpretation of the test just the best way I can relate. Our doctor told us to focus on removing the 2s and the 3s. She was concerned that he showed so many intolerances.
- Lima Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Cheddar Cheese
- Green Peas
- Cottage Cheese
- Egg Whites
- Egg Yolk
We sat in the office looking over the results. My husband would say the foods our son is allergic to, then shake his head. I think he wanted to cry. I was ok, confident even. After all, I’m the one my friends call when they have food or allergy questions. I cook for people with allergies ALL THE TIME. It hadn’t really sunk in yet.
I asked the doctor if there was anything we needed to consider since we eat plant-based and he would no longer be eating nuts. She wasn’t concerned, knowing we feed him well, but recommended EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) and to continue the probiotic we had already started. I asked her about cow’s milk, it came back as a 0 but cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt all showed a sensitivity. She thought it probably had something to do with the fact that he hasn’t really been exposed to cows milk. It as .001 from being in allergy range and I will continue to avoid it. She was shocked that wheat and gluten still registered as 2s since he hasn’t had it in a very long time. We talked about his reaction to peanuts and she prescribed an Epi Pen.
My husband got up early the next morning and read all the labels in the pantry. Later that morning I walked in the pantry and instead of being a happy place I felt like it was a potential minefield. It is full of wheat, peanut butter, lots of nuts, lots of grains, lots of beans, etc.
Later in the day we were all running errands. My husband stayed in our car with the boys while I ran in to get a few things, including some quick snacks our son could eat. It wasn’t our normal Sprout’s, it was packed and I suddenly felt the entire weight of all of these restrictions. Every box I picked up, every package contained an offending ingredient. Now I wanted to cry, if there had been a comfy place I would have curled up and had a good sob. Thankfully I found a few things that would work for a while and made my way over to the EFAs. I didn’t know what I was looking for. I got help from a super-duper employee that pointed me in the right direction and helped me find plant-based (vegan) EFAs.
I’m still wrapping my head around all of this. When it’s time to eat I can’t grab walnuts, a banana or a granola bar, even hummus (sesame) and carrots could be a problem. His typical and favorite breakfast was oatmeal with walnuts and almond milk; lunch was almond butter on gluten-free (but contained egg) bread, with banana, and dinner usually contains beans.
It’s been a week since we received this news. Since removing all of the 2 and 3 and mostly removing the 1s my sons tummy is noticeably smaller and softer. I never knew he had creases, it was always to bloated. Unfortunately he has been crankier. I attribute it to a little detox and to him being hungry. Most of his favorites are on the list above. He isn’t enjoying his new options. He is also scratching more. I’m hoping this resolves soon.
As I reflect on all of this I’m incredibly thankful that he as been as healthy as he has been. I’m thankful that he hasn’t had a severe anaphylactic reaction. I thank God for protecting him and leading us to get the testing done. I’m also thankful that I am, at least somewhat, equipped to handle this.
If you have read all of this thank you for sharing in our journey. This will still be a plant-based adventure for us, now just a little more allergy friendly.
If you have blogs, recipes or other resources that would be helpful please share them. I love the community I’ve found online and the way we journey together. Also, I’m new at this, if I say something ignorant or offensive please forgive me. Send me an email to let me know and I’ll try to correct myself. We also have a lot of other exciting things going on that I’ll share some other time. We appreciate your prayers!