Sunday, July 24, 2011

Label Readers UNITE!

Posted by She Said

Every now and again, you need to have a serious post from us, right? RIGHT!? So, I’m going to give in to your need for something snark-free today.

Greg and I have been worried about Emily for a while now. She has had tummy troubles since…well, forever. And what has really worried me over the last couple of years was her level of energy. I’m not even talking about comparing her to Braedyn, ‘cuz let’s face it, not many CAN keep up with that fireball. I’m talking about her choosing to not have a play date because she’s tired. Or lying down on a couch during a play date and simply not playing. Or during a play date, getting up, going to her room, shutting the door, and falling asleep on her bed. I had every reason to believe that her tonsillectomy last December would remedy this, but it didn’t. In fact, it slowly seemed to be getting worse.

And you know me, I worry. I try not to, believe you me! But this time, I couldn’t help it. I had taken her to the doctor several times for her tummy issues and separately several times for her lethargy. A couple of weeks ago, I took her in again. This time, I pulled her doctor out of the room so Emily couldn’t hear, and I laid it all out. All my worries. And he understood and took action. I took her immediately after the appointment for some blood work to test for celiacs, crohns, iron levels, infection, and lastly, food allergies. She was such a sweetheart as the lab tech prepped her for the blood draw. She didn’t struggle in my lap, and she didn’t cry; she just looked up at me and whispered, “Mommy, I’m scared.” And let me tell you, my brave little girl was spoiled rotten after that! I’m talking chocolate from the candy store, two new dresses, and a new bathing suit. Girlfriend, we shopped!

And then I waited. And just to let you know, waiting patiently is not one of my strong suits.

After a little over a week of waiting for results, I finally heard the news. Thankfully, Emily does NOT have celiacs or crohns, nor does she have any infections. I can honestly say I was relieved to hear that Emily “only” has some food allergies. She is allergic to wheat, cow’s milk, egg, and banana.

Then I let all of that sink in. Um, do you remember all of those food stories involving our children while we were in China? And do you remember how picky they are? Especially Emily? Yeah, it hit me that everything Emily eats she is now allergic to.

  • macaroni and cheese, Emily’s staple – contains wheat and milk
  • cheese – contains milk
  • goldfish crackers – contain wheat and milk
  • chocolate milk! – um, yeah
  • banana – one of the only fruits I could ever get Emily to eat

Thankfully, she’s not allergic to broccoli - the ONLY green thing she’ll eat.


I am lucky enough to have a dear friend that works at Whole Foods, so the day after learning of Emily’s allergies, we went shopping, and she shared with me all of her knowledge. I bought three different types of vegan cheeses, including one parmesan alternative. I bought goat cheddar cheese because her allergies don’t include goat milk. I bought coconut milk and almond milk. I actually found a “macaroni and cheese” that was wheat-free AND dairy-free. Yeah, it actually tasted good, but nothing, nuh-thing, like Kraft.

And I have to give it to Emily, she has been a trooper and has tried it all.

That’s right. My picky little eater has started a whole new culinary adventure at our house, and she’s the captain of the ship. She’s being honest about what she likes and doesn’t like. She’s never been one to complain about being sick (unlike her brother and her dad, ahem), so her willingness to venture into this new culinary world really makes me feel like she is excited about feeling better. I have a lot to learn and many questions to get answered still, but at least we know what we are dealing with.

We should see a difference in about three weeks, so stay tuned.


  1. Wow! Score one for persistence and insisting on a diagnosis. I really hope you find your solution, too. Way to go, Emily, for being brave for the tests and adventurous in your new food adventures!

  2. Poor kid! I hope this turns it around. I know I would have NOTHING to eat if I had those allergies...

  3. Glad you figured it out. I would've been very worried, too.

  4. Our 8-yr-old daughter had similar symptoms (and a once/month bout of vomiting) that we cured when treated her for Giardia.

  5. Glad you found a possible solution! I did the Clean diet recently, and found I feel so much better when I eliminated wheat and dairy from my diet. What a huge difference! Trader Joe's carries pasta made from brown rice and also brown rice tortillas. Almond cheese tends to melt better than some of the other ones. I also like their rice crackers...savory rice thins, I think they are called. Glad to hear Emily is being so adventurous in trying new things...hopefully once her tummy starts feeling better she'll have more energy and can give Braedyn a run for his money!