Sunday, January 10, 2010

Welcome New Allergy Cook: Melody!

I am a married mother of a 2-year-old girl who has allergies to milk, egg, peanut and other tree nuts. I hope to share my recipes that will help other families who have these challenges with allergies. I grew up with allergies to grass, mold, flowers, etc. Plus I am allergic to raw fruits and vegetables (although I could eat them all when I was pregnant!). So, I have great sympathy for those who have allergies. It's not always easy, in fact it's very frustrating. But you just have to channel your energy to see the positive.

I exclusively nursed my daughter for about 5 1/2 months. After her checkup, the doctor advised I start giving her cereal. I decided to give her cereal with a little bit of milk-based formula. She had less than a teaspoon of the cereal before she started rubbing her chin and crying. Her face nearly tripled in size. I didn't know what it was at first, so I was on the phone with a doctor who wasn't very helpful (one of many not so-helpful doctors). I was so concerned that she might stop breathing, and we lived twenty minutes from the hospital. I eventually recognized the rash as hives (from my own allergic reactions when I was a kid) and was able calm down some. I never imagined her first bites of "food" to be such a big deal.

From that moment I concluded that it was a milk allergy (one doctor said it might be the rice cereal, I disagreed). I didn't even know a baby could be allergic to formula or that formula was milk-based. Once she turned 1, I started her on soy milk and started making food without dairy. We did a blood test and concluded that she might have an egg allergy, too. At a year we did some testing at home, and we determined she is able to tolerate milk and egg in baked goods. Although I still limit that intake because there are no guarantees. At her 2-year-old checkup we tested for other allergens and found out she is allergic to peanuts and cashews, too. Some other tree nuts are questionable, so I avoid all nuts because most nut products are processed together.

We live in the dairy-state, so all I have ever known for cooking is dairy. I had to re-educate myself on how to cook without milk, cheese and a million other products. At first it was very challenging. We were living in an area that didn't have a Whole Foods nearby or any other grocery stores that supported alternative diets. Since January 2008 we have lived in a much larger city, and if I read about a product I would like to try I can usually find it. However, I don't always want to go out and buy what ends up to be expensive ingredients that may only be used once or twice. I really like recipes that are simple and contain ingredients I have in my pantry or refrigerator So I hope you find that my recipes are practical and tasty.

Here's a link to my blog, Life with a Dairy-Free Toddler.

1 comment:

Shobana Jayaraman (Srikumar) said...

Hi and welcome to Melody! Looking forward to reading you and your recipes!
Cheers!