Happy New Year everyone! Hope you have all had a peaceful break and some wonderful family time. I’ve had a lot more time to play with my kids, and I’ve really enjoyed it. Less time to make up new recipes and write blogs, but that’s ok, it’s a good time of year just to be.
In light of my new, more relaxed attitude, I’ve kind of just winged the food challenges for Sofia, letting natural occurrences (like a sandwich at Grandma’s) become the challenge. Here’s what I’ve discovered.
Yes, she definitely reacts to soy. And no, she can’t eat oats. Both times, the smallest amount set off a bad flare up of eczema that took a week to 10 days to settle down again. Red, itchy and sore patches (in her usual spots of wrists and backs of knees and thighs) morphed into super dry, flaking skin that peeled off leaving fresh, pink and healthy skin underneath.
Being intolerant to these two foods together is not going to be easy! Soy is in many products, but especially, gluten free bread. And if she can’t tolerate oats then she can’t tolerate gluten, so all our bread will need to be homemade! Lucky I was doing that most of the time anyway (making two loaves at one time and slicing and freezing one, to save time). Check out the recipe I use, which is full of goodness, compared with the highly processed ones you get in the supermarket. Health food shops and markets will often have wholefood gluten free loaves for sale made with rice or buckwheat (like Naturis brand), so shop around if you’re in the same boat.
As for other challenges, she devoured some grilled fish and chips at a restaurant the other day, and I let her dip it generously in tomato sauce. She got a rash around her mouth almost straight away, but it settled down quickly and no other symptoms have appeared. Her eczema didn’t seem to be affected at all.
Tomato is not a great challenge food though. It has the trifecta – amines, salicylates and glutamates – so it’s impossible to tell which of the three has caused the reaction. To do a food challenge properly, you need to follow some basic rules.
How to do a food challenge:
- Wait until your child has no symptoms (so Sofia’s eczema will be as clear as possible before I test another food)
- Test amines, salicylates and glutamates separately by eating the foods in that group until you get a reaction – three times a day for up to three days, observing any changes in behaviour, bowel habits, skin conditions, breathing, sleep, concentration etc. Write everything down so you know at what point a reaction came on (immediately, or after two days? This tells you how much can be tolerated)
- Keep a gap of at least 3 days before trying a new food group, to be sure of no delayed reactions from the previous challenge
- Once you’ve tested all the foods you suspect, including gluten, dairy, eggs and soy, then start to reintroduce as many foods as possible that can be tolerated. It’s crucial to build up tolerance again and keep the diet as varied as possible.
Next, we’re testing salicylates – nectarines, peaches, watermelon, berries, honey, herbs and spices. This one will be fun!