Food Sensitivities

You all know that Henry has food sensitivities.  Those see to be multifaceted, depending how observationally off some of it may have been.

Milk is in a class of its own.  He appeared to get an immediate rash where milk touched his skin, and if he drinks milk - but it’s always in the form of coffee or strawberry milk his sisters have left where he can reach - he gets itchy and miserable to the point of needing Benadryl shortly after.

Bananas are in a class of their own, potentially related to latex allergies.

Everything else seems to relate to salicylates.  If you search for salicylate sensitivity, you can get an idea the foods involved, which can vary by person, variety, location where grown, and manner of processing.  Pears are about as safe as it gets, and he can demonstrably eat canned pear halves in heavy syrup without issue.  However, he just as demonstrably can’t drink pear juice, which is concentrated and isn’t carefully segregated from the peel in processing.  Pear was an expensive substitute for apple, which we’d been giving him as a safe food and juice nobody could ever be allergic to, and the absence of which for two days unintentionally made him heal as fully as he’s done since he started eating food.  Grape juice was a clear reaction.  Consume it, wait briefly, go crazed with rash and itching.

Foods he reacts to also seem not to digest well.

At this point, he can eat meat, rice, oatmeal, white sugar, water, butternut, potatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes, but those last two are relatively high and we may be setting him off if we give him too much at once.  Probably forgot something there.

He has no overt allergy, apparently, to peanut butter, eggs, corn, or wheat.  He did get especially itchy the other day after eating Play-Doh, but not sure it was that, and obviously that’s a big exception.

All of this is confused by the fact he scratches as if he’s itchy when he gets sleepy, and apparently when he’s in pain.  He also gets worst drool rash ever.

A lot of dried herbs/spices are a problem.  We noticed a possible correlation for the first time the other day when he got some of the outside of chicken that was heavy on black pepper, as well as having some other things on it.

So that’s him.  What was interesting is researching and realizing I may have the same sensitivity to some degree, and that it could be the answer to a range of symptoms over my life that include the mystery skin pigmentation and bladder urgency and, when I was little, bed wetting.  It’s made me curious about details of my diet when I was a kid in the bed wetting stage.

Which Valerie is in, and we might have chalked up to her age, except it’s gotten to be total loss of control at random.  In the last couple days, we seem to have proven a correlation between stuff that’s part of the same sensitivity, and Valerie’s issues.  She gets mysterious headaches, perhaps more of them than we realize, as well as having the bladder issues.  She also went from being the happiest baby to being rather somber, which made me wonder about the extent of the headaches or if there’s other pain.  It’s painful to hear here declare “I’m a happy girl” in a tone that sounds the opposite, like she’s trying to convince us and herself it’s not the end of the world.

This could also be completely unrelated, but I had her doing well for several hours the other day, with the change seemingly triggered by consumption of pear juice and Cran-Apple.  Ironically, in an effort to keep her more hydrated, to reduce the problems.

As far as we can tell, the closest Sadie has come to any of this is developing contact rashes from tomato-based products touching her face.  She seems to be able to eat or drink anything with impunity.

So.  We’re not necessarily going on a crash elimination diet for three of us, but we are going to start changing what Valerie in particular gets, monitoring specifically what happens.

Posted by on 05/07 at 10:46 AM
  1. That sucks guy - at least you know what to look for with the kids. I still would suggest an epi-pen junior to have on hand (God forbid) in case Henry’s milk allergies get worse.

    Posted by Kate  on  05/08  at  06:26 PM  from  NJ
  2. We were talking about food allergies at work and one of my coworkers said her son completely quit bed wetting when they removed all dairy from his diet. They had been told by their doc that it might take a week - after all milk was gone from his system, say a day or two, he stopped wetting the bed overnight instantly.

    Also, I wonder if they aren’t necessarily food allergies, but a case of very sensitive skin? Have you been tested for epidermal allergies at all?

    Posted by jen  on  05/08  at  06:36 PM  from  Northern Virginia
  3. Are you looking at every ingredient in everything you and the kids eat? Meaning additives, preservatives, food dyes, etc. All of these are known problems. Yellow #5, modified food starch, high fructose corn syrup, ascorbic acid, citric acid (which is often made from corn in the U.S.), malt, MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (anything hydrolyzed, actually), “natural flavors,” “spices.” Even a lot of dried spices have additives in them “to prevent caking and make free-flowing.”

    It might do good to keep a food diary for everyone (it’s annoying and sometimes really time-consuming) who is having any issues, yourself included. When you said that the milk that irritates Henry is usually coffee milk or strawberry milk, I immediately thought of food additives and known food allergens that are hidden in ingredient names. An example (and I only use this example because I’m ultra-familiar with gluten) is that natural flavors, modified food starch, and spices can include wheat. With wheat, I have to read every label (and thankfully, anything released to the market January 1, 2008, or after has to be labeled with the top eight food allergens, but unfortunately, the top eight don’t include things like barley, rye, corn, garlic, black pepper, and other things that are allergens or intolerant items for some people). If anything says natural flavors or spices, I either call Frank and ask him to google it (either the company will specifically say online, or someone will already have called the company and posted the answers to a forum, but I always try to get at least one corroboration for forums), or I don’t buy it.

    I hope you’re able to figure it all out.

    Posted by sarahk  on  05/10  at  06:46 PM  from  boise
  4. Play-doh contains wheat (I was really curious and just now looked it up).

    Posted by sarahk  on  05/10  at  11:42 PM  from  boise
  5. Valerie could very well have a problem with milk. I used to have a lot of migrains and just plain bad headaches (even fromt he time I was a very small child). In my 20’s, I read an article in Mother Earth News that claimed that food sensitivities could be a problem with migrains.

    I started paying attention to what I ate, and found thtt milk was a problem; I could handle a litlle, but the more I drank, the worse the headache got. Since I quit drinking milk (except a small amount in 1-2 cups of coffee), I have not had any migrains and my headaches have gone down to just 2-3 a month.

    I can still eat cheese and yogurt. It seems if milk was cooked or fermented, it doesn’t affect me as badly although too much of any of those will trigger a headache - not a migrain though.

    Food sensitivities or allergies can suck, and it seems that you really have your hands full with the 2 littlest ones!

    Posted by bogie  on  05/11  at  09:14 AM  from 
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