My Story

The Healthy Allergy Nut

The Healthy Allergy Nut

 

Hey, I’m Jennifer! I am a stay at home mom to my beautiful son -Blake- and a military wife in the great state of Louisiana!  I am also a dedicated health nut! I haven’t always been a health geek. I used to live off of fast food and well…beer!  The healthy stuff started after I was told that Blake was allergic to dairy, and as a breastfeeding mother I would have to cut it out of my diet as well. Wait… no more cream for my coffee? That doesn’t even sound appealing!! 

I spent a lot of time doing my own research, starting with food allergies. As a first time mother who was breastfeeding and trying to do all that I could for my baby, I was incredibly overwhelmed {Ok…that may be an understatement}. –If you have had the pleasure of dealing with food allergies OR breastfeeding I am sure you know what feeling I am referring to. I had to master both!–  But, as a loving mother who always wants the best for her baby I was also very determined that I would do whatever I had to in order to keep my sunshine safe and healthy. So I researched passed all the tears and worries until I couldn’t possibly pack any more information into my way-too-tired brain!

The Incident:
Lets back track real quick– Blake had just begun being introduced to solids. He was still a full-time nurser. His “incident” happened when we decided that we wanted to start a small intro. to finger foods. So, off we went to the store {we were so excited} to get some little munchies for our little munchkin from the baby food section.  Our pick: Yo-bites. Our thoughts: Small. Melts Fast. Perfect! 
We put Blake in his high chair and pulled him up to the couch. Put a few Yo-bites on his tray and grabbed a jar of pureed pears. As I spoon fed him pears he gummed on the bites. After a few minutes, on my baby covered in pears, I noticed the skin around his mouth turning red and I thought, ‘How cute! The little berry bites are giving him a little berry-stache!’…Not! I swiped his face with the wipe, as I usually did, trying to keep his feeding a little clean and noticed that it was not pears or berry-stache fun! It was welts! My heart sank as I looked at John {my hubby} and said we should call the doctor. John called the pediatrician and I packed our bag  {I knew this was leading to a trip to the hospital!}. –I am still foggy on what exactly happened from here because I think my mind was consumed with fear and  most likely in the beginning stages “fight or flight” mode. I want to say we gave him Benadryl before heading to see his pediatrician but I honestly don’t remember.–
Luckily, he was not experienced enough to consume a whole bunch of the bites, and by the time we got to the hospital the welts had gone down enough not to need serious attention . We were incredibly lucky that he didn’t have an anaphylactic reaction, but  this age  any reaction was something to fear. We were so confused and scared.
After the doctor came in and calmed us down she let us know what we were dealing with. She told us about his “likely” allergy to dairy and told me to stay clear of it while breastfeeding. Then, we were to get Blake checked when he was one with an allergist before introducing any dairy…

After the research on allergies I had to put the “plan” into action. I removed any and all dairy from my diet. This proved to be  more difficult than I realized. I was used to eating certain foods and preparing certain meals. What I grew up eating and learned to make as an adult…well, it was my “norm”. I will have no shame in confessing… when my “norm” gets shaken even the slightest bit, it isn’t pretty. On top of trying to be a great mother and wife in a way that was all still so new to me, changing my diet was something that seemed -at the time- to be a huge struggle. To me, it was added to the list of trying to keep a clean home, trying to get into shape and get my pre-pregnancy body back, trying to make friends in a new area, trying to cope with being away from family, Oh yea- and how do I control these hormones?!?…the list goes on.  After a while {a long while} I stared getting used to it and was confident in my meal planing abilities to start feeding Blake more solid foods and wean from breastfeeding.

As hard as it is for me to confess that I struggled a great deal with the urge to get my pre-pregnancy body back, and that it led to some serious depression and anxiety, I will. I thought {at the time} that I was incredibly selfish to be worried about something concerning myself. Breastfeeding was surely helping and would help more over time, but I needed something better. I wanted to feel better both inside and out! Not just for me but for my family too because in order to take care of my family I needed to take care of myself {I’m not just talking about pedicures!}. This is when I was introduced to eating clean! I did just as much research on this topic as I had with the allergies. The truth about clean eating and the possible positive life changing affirmations it held pulled me in  quickly. I was hooked! Who wouldn’t want all that goodness in their life? Besides, we were already being introduced to change, why not go for the gold?  So we did…

That was a struggle all on its own but it has brought me to where I am today. To a nearly Paleo-diet lifestyle I say a nearly Paleo lifestyle because different food effects everyone differently and we do eat some grains, potatoes and occasionally some legumes. We don’t eat dairy, nuts, and eggs .– When Blake was one and we took him in for allergy testing it was confirmed he was also allergic to nuts and eggs. So, even though they are part a clean eating lifestyle we will continue to avoid them until he has {hopefully} outgrown the allergies. We have also gone gluten free! I will leave you to your own research on that topic but I highly suggest checking it out.– Everything is still trial and error and figuring out what works best with our bodies. 

The body never lies. ~ Martha Graham

When you have been blessed {yes, I said blessed} to be the parent of a child allergic to foods {or just want to make an overall healthy choice in life} eating clean is the way to go! It takes away most of the confusion and fear about what Blake may have an allergic reaction to when the food he eats is simple. We stick to home cooked meals for all meals and when we {well, mainly my husband and I} have a sweet tooth I have a few homemade dessert recipes too! {Enjoy Life products are good in a pinch!} 

So, this is my story! I could go on for days talking about the struggles and challenges I have personally had to face and overcome in the process of my lifestyle change , but I will save that for a later date… maybe even a book!! I will say  that it has all proven to be worth it and I am now a very passionate person in the ways of keeping my family healthy. Starting with the food on their plates. I enjoy planning and making meals for my family that are both healthy and allergy free. The amount of energy I have now is always a surprise, even with an energetic toddler! The gym is no longer a stranger and is something I am actually good at {even on a bad day}!  I can honestly say that being a mother of a food allergy child is a HUGE blessing for me because it made me face challenges and make decisions that led me and my family to a healthier life! Thanks for listening to me babble!! 

 

Jennifer-

Who wouldn't gladly change their entire way of eating for a face like that?

Who wouldn’t gladly change their entire way of eating for a face like that?

4 thoughts on “My Story

  1. I’m so excited to find this blog! I was recently diagnosed with anaphylactic allergies to nuts, soy, and shellfish, (extremely rare for an adult but I already had many other types of allergies), so eating clean became a necessity for me too.
    Lots of people have a hard time understanding that it’s a matter life-or-death with these allergies. But making the choice to eat clean helps me feel more in control, and I’m so much healthier than ever before! (And I’m a much more creative chef!)
    Life with food allergies can be a challenge, but I love finding other people who are dealing with food issues and making their own recipes for clean, allergy-free living! Keep up the healthy work!

    • Thanks so much for commenting! I know it is very easy to feel like your one in a million people trying to do it right so I appreciate your feedback:)
      I’m sorry to hear about your allergies but I have I agree… It does make for creativity in the kitchen! And the benefits from clean eating (regardless of how we came about it) are totally worth it! I hope you are able to find a recipe or two that you enjoy! -jenn

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