Little background. Son was born and immediately developed eczema. I did an elimination diet when he was 5 months old. He cleared up and I was able to go back to eating all foods but he was found to be allergic and/or sensitive to just about everything. As he has gotten older we have been able to add things to his diet.
When he was 4 we did skin and blood tests for foods and environmental allergies. He tested positive for wheat, corn, milk, tree nuts and peanuts, lentils, eggs and sesame seeds. And I think soy. Also a ton of environmental, at least one from each season. 2 years ago we retested for eggs and they are no longer an allergen.
He only has immediate reactions to tree nuts and peanuts, lentils, seasame seeds, and milk so he NEVER eats those foods. However, wheat, corn and soy never cause outward reactions so I have let him eat those to avoid him being further excluded from a normal life of those around him. Now however, I am beginning to think that it might be a good idea to clean out his system completely. He seems to always suffer from stuffy and runny nose, and an asthma cough, not to mention that he complains of his skin itching all the time and being incredibly cranky which I have always chalked up to personality.
So how do I go about doing a safe elimination diet on him? Do I take out all possible allergens or only those he has shown positive to? Do I take him off his allergy medication also (he is on flounase, claritan, qvar and occasional proair or albuteral)? He is in school so would I just take him out for 2 weeks or just pick him up for lunch?
When I did the elimination diet I only ate chicken, rice, pinto beans, bananas and spinach with olive oil and salt and pepper for several weeks.
I appreciate all the advice and knowledge here.
First, I would stick to the ones that tested positive for now. Allergies can get better, as you've seen with eggs, and they can get worse. Also, once you've eliminated the worst and most immediate offenders you can start seeing symptoms that weren't so obvious before. I remember issues with crankiness with my daughter that were resolved with removing a (new) allergen. And I remember the itchy skin! I still have it somewhat, a touchy case of dermographism. But when I was eating oats, not knowing I had an allergy, it was really bad, and one scratched itch would lead to a back full of welts. Not all of the symptoms you described are exclusively food-related, a lot can be due to environmental allergies instead or in addition.
Make sure you've done all you can/ are willing to do with controlling environmental allergens. More work for you, but pretty painless for him. Then you can start eliminating. However you want to approach it is fine, but I might go the slower route of one offender at a time if you suspect there might be huge resistance with your son. I understand the desire to get your child to "normal" as quickly as possible, but as an adult with allergies and mother of a kid with allergies I realize that "normal" can be very, very difficult if not impossible to achieve. So, don't get attached to it is what I'm saying. Just get to "tolerable", "amiable", "robust", "strong", etc. "Normal enough" is pretty awesome, too, for some of us.
It is generally preferable to stop using the allergy meds, but for some individuals that is just not possible. Some drugs are better than others for not interfering with tests of these kinds, I just don't know which they are as we are able to avoid regular use of meds.
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Thanks for your help. I know with it being as bad as it is I am not expecting perfection but I would like to put him on the road to "not miserable" if possible. I had the doctor give me a full printout of all his past tests. Blood and skin. I know that the environmental are going to be near to impossible to avoid - grass and weed being the worst so I can't do much about that.
However, in looking at the past tests I can see that he is very high for corn and soy and slight for wheat (never tested for oats but they are a possible). All of which he eats on a regular basis. These need to go which unfortunately means a pretty limited diet for awhile.
My new questions are
1. How long does he need to avoid these foods to clean out his system?
2. I have heard that corn is in many things without being labeled, is this true? And what would they be?
1. You could find results with a very abbreviated test that works for non-life-threatening allergies. Avoid one allergen for 5 days, then blast them with it on the 6th. You're going to notice something.
2. You can google "corn allergy". I know there are lists out there. Sensitivity to byproducts varies. You might find he can tolerate them well enough to not worry about them too much. For a short elimination, don't sweat the bitty stuff like xanthum gum. Just eliminate all major sources of corn, then throw it back in.
The worst part of the elimination diet for older kids is the challenge. Suddenly they get to eat the food they've been denied for X amount of time, but *maybe* they won't be able to eat it again afterwards. That can be hard to take for a kid. Bummer!
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
Corn and soy are buggers because they're in most foods with a label or prepared out of the house. Even tuna packed in spring water was poached in soybean broth most of the time (the label notes soy for allergens but ingredients may only say "vegetable broth"). We have been dairy, soy and corn-free and nearly gluten free for several years. It can seem overwhelming at first, but it's not horrible. I've kept a blog (intermittently) for a few years about what my family eats. It's at http://hereswhatweeat.blogspot.com/ and not everything is categorized, but between the categories and the search--you should find stuff you can use.
Heather - Wife , Mommy & Health & Wellness Educator, Speaker & Consultant
Dairy, soy & corn free with limited gluten... yes, really. And journeying towards peace. Blogging about both.
Let me guide you to find the food and lifestyle choices...
SAHM to two boys & a girl. DS1 has eczema, asthma & is allergic to: dairy, eggs, peanuts, shellfish, seafood, sunflower, yeast & garlic.