Our household is a direct reflection of US childhood allergy statistics: 1 in 3 kids in the US has food allergies. My youngest of our 3 kids put us on that chart. I have heard varying reasons as to why children develop allergies, and since no one really knows why, I won’t try and hypothesize about that here.
What I am concerned about though, is my child’s nutrition.
Now, I will fully admit that I am a terrible cook. Like embarrassingly terrible. So it is almost unfair to this poor child that he has allergies and lives with me. I was initially so afraid of feeding him the wrong thing that for his first birthday instead of cake, he got a bowl full of blue Jell-O. See, aren’t you embarrassed for me?
His allergies are to milk, eggs and soy and if you haven’t read your food labels lately, soy is in EVERYTHING and is also often a substitute ingredient for milk. So it has actually been a nice wake up call for me to try and get us to eat more REAL food. Which of course we all know is the right thing to do, but it is not always the easiest thing to do, especially when my kids have a thing for chicken nuggets, meatballs and fish sticks. I do not want to be making two separate meals, so I have been out researching how to better feed my family.
Once I started putting it out there that I needed help with food, I have been amazed at the world that I’ve uncovered of people making really good food, substituting standard fare with something just a little bit different.
Our pediatric allergist suggested following the Paleo diet, which my husband and I were already familiar with as we try to eat along those lines anyway, and it has been good for some ideas. If you are not familiar with it, it is essentially a gluten-free, dairy free way of eating, think protein and veggies (a very simplified take on it). This sounds difficult, and it would be if we were to be strict with it, but we’re not, we bought The Primal Blueprint Cookbook and that really helped us with dinners.
There are a lot of people in the same boat as me trying to feed their families with a variety of allergies who are writing blogs with some great recipes, so it’s a matter of finding some ideas that will work for us. Wendy Irene (who also blogs for ModernMom) has been a good resource for me as she has a lot of vegan recipes which tend to work well for our allergy situation.
I was also recently introduced to a line of baby and toddler nutrient boosters I’ll call it, probably not the right term, but it is a finely ground seed mixture that you can add to your kids’ meals giving them extra nutrients like protein, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber and iron, which all sound good to me. My older two kids drank a ton of whole milk early on, with my little one being on rice milk, which is about as fortified as water, I’ve been concerned about how the lack of nutrients are impacting his overall development. After talking to the mom who owns the company called Baby Brain Organics, she gave me some to try. My little guy doesn’t realize it is in his food and it makes me feel better, I throw it in my other kids’ pasta bowls because it is good for them too.
So while I may not be the best chef in town, I’m at least trying to get the right nutrients into my kids and I’m working at overcoming my fear of feeding my child with allergies. I have mastered the dairy-free, egg-free cake and am ready for his 2nd birthday in a couple of months.
If you have any advice for me, I’m still open to suggestions for healthy resources and would love some new ideas.
Disclaimer: I was given Yummy Tummy and Buddha Belly to try free of charge by the owner of Baby Brain Organics. It was not in exchange for anything but since I’ve been really happy with it I wanted to share it with you. I have also been really happy with our Primal Blueprint Cookbook, I purchased it myself and have bought a copy or two for friends. That is all. Oh and Wendy Irene did not compensate me for pointing out that she has really good recipes, but she does, so you should check them out.