Feed & See = Feed & Clean
Lets talk allergy testing! There are other tests available beyond the “Feed & See” approach…though this approach IS fun. If by you mean puke on carpet, on restaurant tables or on yourself. And really, we only suspected oranges as an allergen after three early morning breakfast runs to a local restaurant and having to leave each time, dripping in an orange juice/bacon cocktail. We know strawberries because of late night vomiting that stained the carpet upstairs. Dairy for the vomit in my truck … the list goes on. I seriously used to listen to other parents who were moaning that their baby spit up a lot and thought, well, aren’t they lucky that it isn’t projectile. And then, you know, I realized that parenting really wasn’t a competition. Baby spew, no matter how much or where it lands, is the worst. I feel the same about puke on clothes as puke on the ceiling. It’s all bad.
So, on to Allergy Testing!
When I was at the stage of, “WHAT IS GOING ON WITH MY BABY???” panic, I started writing down everything that Hank ate before he puked. That list got LOOONNNGGGG. Pancakes, sausage, strawberries, milk, noodles, rice (cross contamination issues right here), bread, cake … the list just kept going. There wasn’t a rhythm to this as far as I could see. Now, I can look back and pin point what certain items had in common. Eggs, wheat, soy, sesame, barley, etc. I can see it all now, but it was all blank for us then. I asked the hubs to call and take Hank into the doctor for allergy testing. I figured that we’d get back thea result that maybe he can’t have gluten. Easy peasy (I know, I know, it isn’t). The first test was a blood test. I still don’t know how they managed to do that with my wiggly, squirmy, runny 2-year-old. I could barely keep socks on him! Well, to be fair, I still can’t.
Since the list was long and his body was small, we could only test for so many things that day.
The call that we got after that test was the beginning to all the answers. When the nurse called, she told me that I needed to sit down so that I could write down all the allergens. Yes, oranges were on the list. At the end of the call, before this woman was able to let me go, she told me to call a make an appointment with an allergist, because, get this . BLOOD TESTING WAS INCONCLUSIVE. Mother of Pearl! There could be more that he was allergic to!
The testing that waited for us at the allergist’s office was the scratch test. This is administered to a child’s back, while they are laying on their tummy and, no, they cannot move for the duration. Allergens were applied to his back and a timer was set. For 15 minutes, the hubs and I took turns, enforcing that he couldn’t move. We streamed Dinosaur Train on our phones and played games and manhandled him back onto his tummy. Isn’t it funny that a child can hang out in one position for hours, but the second he hears that he needs to stay still, he suddenly sprouts wings and leopard legs?
The scratch test indicated that he was indeed allergic to nuts. Since the list was long and his body was small, we could only test for so many things that day. But guess what? The scratch testing was also NOT CONCLUSIVE. This is normally when, for EOE peeps, you would work with the allergist and the GI doc to try a food and scope. Eliminate a food and test. But his flair ups were so bad that we started to just stay away from the foods that he had been tested for.
He was amazed that to Hank, it was no big deal.
We got the third allergy test after I had begun to really try cooking the foods that we love, but changing recipes to Hank-Safe. We were worried about tapioca because I was using it to coat chicken nuggets. I had developed a recipe that the whole family loved (see below!) but the kid was covered in rashes and eczema. We had another blood test done. This was the first time when Dave got to really see the medical side of this disease. He was with us and watched as Hank sat like a boss with the nurse; watched him as Hank watched his blood being removed. He was amazed that to Hank, it was no big deal.
Luckily, we learned that tapioca wasn’t an allergen, but the soy that was in the oil being used to fry the beloved nuggets was the culprit. We also added, officially, wheat to the allergen list based on this test.
There are other tests that you can do; the Oral Food Challenge is given by the allergist and allows them to monitor any reactions they see in the office. We never did that as we were more into trying an elimination approach where we avoid the known and possible allergens as defined by the “Feed and See” and “Blood and Scratch” tests.
At this time, we have a new thought on a food that he may be allergic to. Pea Protein. Peas. Legumes. The same family as the peanut. We are currently awaiting another test and in the meantime, we’re avoiding all legumes, which makes all the boys in the house very happy that my days of adding beans to the chili are at an end.
Hank-Safe Chicken Nuggets
We have made variations on this recipe in the deep fryer (we use 100% canola oil), in the oven and pan fried. No matter which way we make them, he eats them!
- 1 LB of chicken, cut into nugget size
- 2 cups of flour, we use tapioca for crispness
- 4 TBS of smoked paprika
- 4 TBS of garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup of water
- Turn on deep fryer, set to 374F or preheat oven to 400F (Cook for 10 mins, flip and another 5) or start heating a large high sided pan on the stove top with 3 TBS of olive oil.
- Mix flour, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add water to another bowl.
- Dip chicken into flour mixture and then dunk into water bowl, dip chicken back into the flour mixture. Feel free to do this step a few times if you like a thicker coating.
- Add to the fryer basket and put basket into the oil. Pull chicken out after 6 minutes and check for doneness.
- Repeat for rest of the chicken.