Henry the Lab Rat

It’s official: Henry is allergic to dairy.

Not “sensitive,” as with the very clear salicylates thing, but break out in hives and stuff allergic at small exposure, depending which thing it is exactly.  He ate a lot of butter without it being obvious, but cheese that shouldn’t have histamines to speak of, and baby yogurt with whole milk and no flavoring, both in nothing quantities, made him rapidly and unambiguously react.  Especially the yogurt, after a day re-isolated from any dairy.

We’d given Sadie the yogurt, after she begged for it, and since we were already 99% sure of the allergy, so we would have not fed even a little of it to him as planned.  Then Valerie had to have some too.  He got into the residue of Valerie’s a while later, and voila.  I’m glad I didn’t let him taste even a smidge of baked sweet potato, so there could be no second guessing.  Plus the reaction to too much of that would be different.

The good thing is that it’s sufficiently mild that a trace in some random food is not a major concern, and it’s something that tends to fade.

The bad thing is how hard it will be to keep him from getting his hands on bits of it, as happened tonight, when he’s not supposed to have it.  If the girls were still drinking milk, we’d have to stop.

Poor kid.  He just adored butter on his rice and toast.

Guess we can move on to the next test, after he’s had a couple days to recover.  Not even sure what the next test will be.  I don’t remember if we’d planned past the dairy, or were itching to try something else.  Probably a good idea to rule in more of the obviously no problem stuff, like barley, just to expand the yes list.  The guidance out there on what’s high in salicylates has been reliable so far, but individuals vary.  I don’t want to try eggs or peanut butter/peanuts until a year old or more.  Ditto any other nuts.

I’m relieved all the grains except corn-as-grain have been fine so far.  Corn-as-vegetable seems okay in limited quantities (which is the story with a lot of things).  He can have crackers, bread, cookies, etc. that don’t have other offending ingredients.  He can have any of the primary, non-smoked or spiced meats (won’t even try ham, sausage or hot dogs for a long time) so far.  He can have iceberg lettuce, as implied by the salicylates guides and it not being a common allergen.

Actually, I tried to do a list last week that I then forgot to take to my grandmother’s with me.  Foods Henry has eaten successfully and can have, or can/should be able to have if limited in this first list:

Canned pears in heavy syrup

Peeled ripe pears

Golden delicious apple (peeled)

Lemon in Country Time lemonade

Pinto beans

Black beans


Iceberg lettuce


White potatoes (peeled)

Green beans





Sweet corn

White sugar


Soy oil

Cottonseed oil








Rice milk

Brown sugar

Corn syrup (seems OK as ingredient in foods)

Potato chips, unflavored

Oat O cereal

Standard pasta that doesn’t contain corn as “whole wheat” pasta does

Keebler Club crackers and presumably anything similarly limited to OK ingredients

Wal-Mart store brand vanilla wafer cookies

Rice cakes (unflavored)

Bread that doesn’t contain dairy, usually served as toast

Flour tortillas

Can’t have, or must be really limited, based on experience:

Bananas (apparent allergy, not salicylates)

Pear juice

Apple juice

Grape juice

Any flavor Kool-Aid brand drink mix

Most apples




Sweet potato (probably OK if limited)

Dairy, notably cheese, milk, yogurt even plain (allergy, not salicylates, apparently caused the infamous ambulance ride)

Corn meal or flour, including corn tortilla chips specifically

Popcorn (seemed OK to have a small bit but not in quantity) (unbuttered)

Herbs, spices and other remarks

There are a mess of herbs and spices considered high in salicylates, many of which he has had in limited quantity derived from flavoring foods, to no ill effect that was clear.  I got the impression sometime early in this that black pepper especially bothered him, and perhaps red, so I avoid black and limit or avoid red in anything he might eat.  He can eat garlic and onion and salt freely.  Sometimes I cook him something plain alongside our spiced, or remove some plain or lightly seasoned and then finish.  For instance, we might have chili, while he has a burger or some steak.  I might spice beans for chili or burritos, but pull some plain after they are cooked, which he can eat for a couple days, then spice the rest.  When I made garlic and rosemary (and salt) fries recently, he ate them with us and was fine.  Thought they were awesome.  If a piece of meat is heavily spiced on the outside, I might give him only inner parts.  I’ve been worrying some about spices, but not a lot due to quantities involved, just holding back some.

He seems to have issues with some flavors or preservatives or colors, as evident especially with the Kool-Aid.  He has had a couple tastes of Jell-O and seemed fine, but it was little, and I hesitate to declare him safe for that, or safe if it’s X flavor.  Lemonade is a good one because lemons and even more so limes should be safe for him.  Well, lemon is moderate, same as a red delicious apple, peeled, or mango (which I didn’t test on him when we had one, as he had other issues at the time), but most fruits are high or very high.

It’s probable he’s having some environmental sensitivities unrelated to food.  Nothing so unambiguous that you can put him near a feather pillow and he sickens, take it away and he clears, or touch him to screen printing on a shirt and he breaks out and itches, or whatever.  Since an allergy to banana, which is possible enough we’ll test with caution, but something else may have been happening when he seemed to react to banana, can be related to a latex allergy, and since he obviously has hay fever, not much would be surprising.

While we haven’t officially given him peanut butter, initially because he’s young for it and ultimately because he has too much trouble to risk it yet, he’s clearly gotten good tastes of it a couple times from his sister and had no overt reaction.  We’re hopeful.  We might have to disown him if he were fully allergic to that.

That’s a much bigger update than I’d intended.  There are some veggies he can try sooner rather than later, but most fruits will be off-limits, especially dried or in jams or as juices.  If there is a banana allergy, that sucks because it’s one of the safest fruits he could eat otherwise.  And he loves it enough after all this time to ask for it by name.  I want to have him try summer squash.  Cauliflower should be very safe.  Asparagus should be safe.  Beets should be safe.  Fresh, not pickled.  Nothing pickled.  Caution with things canned.  We never eat it, but cabbage should be one of his safest foods.  He should be able to have pure maple syrup, which we are out of long since.  I’d tend not to give him the stuff that’s flavored corn syrup.  Corn syrup is the only thing listed as “high” under baking supplies, and one of only a couple things that isn’t listed as “negligible.”

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