One of the challenges we face daily, is managing one of our littles health and dietary needs. I know that this is not unique to my family and I believe that somewhere out there another mom may benefit from our experience or maybe a mom will read this post and share something beneficial with me. Avery, our youngest has eczema (a blanket term for skin problems) which is exacerbated by coming into contact with allergens. In Avery’s case the things he needs to avoid are peanuts, almonds, eggs, dairy, bananas, food coloring, and additives, as well as fragrances, and certain fibers (like wool). We have tried to create an environment that helps him keep clear skin by eliminating his contact with the things he is allergic to, however with a toddler this is quite a challenge.
Our first method:
We have, for the most part adopted his diet as a family. This has helped us minimize contact with foods he is allergic to as well as helping me better manage our food budget (things were crazy for a while because I had two meal plans for each week). Avery is on a partially vegan diet, meaning he doesn’t ingest any dairy but he does eat meat on occasion. Because of Avery’s egg and milk allergy, I do not buy eggs or cow’s milk as part of my normal grocery shopping, instead I make my own milk at home and prepare egg free foods. I do purchase milk and eggs on special occasions, like birthdays when I bake a cake because I haven’t learned to bake vegan cakes yet, however Avery cannot enjoy these so I am going to tackle vegan cake baking (interpret that to mean post coming soon). I do buy and use cheese for the rest of the family, but it is not something I use often.
There is an extensive list of things that Avery cannot eat so I find that it is difficult to have the kind of variety that other diets afford, but I am up to the task and I try to use the foods he can eat in a variety of ways. We eat lots of fruit and vegetables, we are working on expanding the variety of veggies to enhance our diet. His dietary restrictions have lead to a new challenge in the form of weight gain. Avery is a perfectly healthy little boy who finds himself on the low end of the national average for weight at his age, he is otherwise on par with the growth chart. Because of his low weight, my goal is to ensure he is getting enough calories in his diet so that he maintains a healthy weight while also avoiding foods he is allergic to. The weight challenge has lead to some interesting recipes. While Avery’s allergies have presented us with a number of challenges, I can assure we are still having fun with our food.
Our second method:
We try to use a holistic approach to healing his skin meaning we combine his diet with natural remedies to manage his skin problems. We use a special bathing technique in combination with oils and ointments to keep him properly moisturized. We also keep his skin covered as much as possible to help hold in moisture. We have found that these things in addition to him being old enough to walk have improved his skins condition dramatically. Once he stopped crawling his skin stopped coming into contact with the dirt naturally found in carpet, and that has made a huge difference. We use free and clear detergent, fragrance free soap, and we don’t wear any fragrances.
Eczema is the symptom, the various allergies are the cause. If we eliminate the things he is allergic to, we can defeat the symptom.
Keep your eyes peeled for future posts if you are interested in more information on how we deal with the challenges of Avery’s eczema and food allergies, I will also share some remedies and remedy reviews.
Credit for food photos belongs to http://freefoodphotos.com.