Friday, June 8, 2012

Cows, Beans, and Nuts

Well, it's been a while since I have provided an update on George. Last time we talked about George on here, he was frequently up in the middle of the night for feedings, which I figured was an attempt to make up for the loss in his growth rate. He had dropped from the 49th weight percentile at two months down to the 29th percentile at three months. Happily, he had gained back to the 38th percentile at his four month appointment two weeks ago.

At this point I am plugging along in the dairy-free diet. Emotionally I am doing quite well with this until I imagine a piece of pizza or see one of those Doritos locos taco commercials from Taco Bell. (Sadly, I really want to try that taco, despite the fact that I haven't been a Taco Bell customer in years.) The pediatrician suggested that I limit my soy intake because George might be sensitive to that as well, but it was difficult for me to really detect that in him. To add insult to injury, I began breaking out terribly about six weeks ago and it apparent that I myself was having an allergic reaction too. Two rounds of steroids have temporarily cleared the breakouts, but they just keep coming back. Because the breakouts began shortly after I changed my diet, I thought it was a safe bet that I was allergic to either soy or almond; both my soy and almond intakes rose substantially as I replaced cow milk with soy and almond substitutes. I eventually was given a standard allergy test and was found negative for the most common allergens, including soy (but they didn't check for almond). I eliminated almond from my diet and still am breaking out all over the palms of my hands, so I called today and have an appointment with an official allergist at the end of June. Meanwhile, because I was made certain that soy was not an allergy of mine, I decided to put it back in my diet to see if George would react to it. He did. So, out goes the soy. At this point then, dairy, soy, and almonds are out until I hear otherwise.

BJ and I end up eating at home most nights because it is so much easier to control for this allergy this way; I know exactly what goes into my mouth because I have prepared it myself. I get pretty uncomfortable at restaurants when servers use words like "probably not" when telling me the likelihood of dairy being in a dish. I know that I can't trust the average person's knowledge about this because I, too, used to believe that a milk allergy meant I only needed to avoid milk, and I wasn't aware of milk protein ingredients like casein, sodium caseinate, lactoglobulins, whey, ghee, custard, etc. Some restaurants I have eaten at actually do have allergen menus that I can request, and others have quite helpful websites. It would be extremely convenient if every restaurant made their ingredient lists available, but I guess that is just asking too much. In one barbeque restaurant in rural Oklahoma, our server actually brought me back into the restaurant kitchen with her to look at ingredient labels! =) "Safe" places for our family to eat include Qdoba, Pei Wei, Subway, Chipotle, and the fresco menu at Taco Bell; the process of expanding this list is ongoing. We have to be careful of cross-contamination at each of these places though; I kindly ask Subway sandwich-makers to get new gloves for my sandwich since I know they have touched cheese, for instance. Even worse, the other night at Qdoba I realized that the corn salsa I wanted for my vegetarian taco salad had shredded cheese strewn all about throughout it. When I pointed out to the gentlemen that I had an allergy and that I wished someone hadn't dumped cheese into the salsa I wanted, he simply looked at me and said, "That's rough." Okay, whatever. We settled with a different kind of salsa that night!

George's skin is gorgeous. Utterly gorgeous! He is gaining in his growth chart, is happy as ever, and these little sacrifices seem totally worth it. And as if George's improvements weren't enough to make it worth it, I can say that I have officially lost 51 pounds since the morning I checked into the hospital to deliver George. I'm only one pound above my goal weight at this point, and I see no reason why I won't achieve it. Thanks, George!


  1. Hi, Jenny! This probably won't apply to you, but I remember my neighbors trying lots of diet variations for their baby many years ago and finally finding goat milk to be really good for the baby. It came to mind because I think they, too, hit lots of dead ends before they discovered it. … That's so great that you and George are both doing well!