I must admit, I thought we had the food/allergy thing figured out with the removal of grains and dairy from his diet. But now, I feel as though we are back to square one, eliminating more food from his already limited diet. Through the process of elimination, we have discovered that eggs are causing his eczema and nuts, coconut and most forms of sugar (other than honey) cause his behavior to change drastically. I've been feeling sorry for myself because it means no more pancakes, cookies or muffins with nut flours. It means being more creative at meal time. It means being far more organized than I have been. And, it means bucking up and adjusting to this new reality with a positive attitude.
After having a good cry over the situation, I've decided that I need to rise to the challenge. I started by making a list of the positives:
- There are still a lot of different foods left to eat. Meat, animal fat, vegetables, fruit, possibly some seeds like hemp, sunflower and pumpkin (that we've not yet tested his tolerance for),
- I'm being forced to feed my family a truer Paleo diet (no eggs, limited seeds, no sugar), which is healthier for us,
- The large quantities of nuts and eggs we were consuming wasn't natural from a traditional diet sense: if we had to pick and shell nuts ourselves, we'd eat much less of them, and they would be available seasonally only,
- Nuts are very expensive, so this should cut down on our grocery bill - a lot,
- I no longer have to worry about the pesticides and chemicals nuts contain from the monoculture growing and extraction methods,
- We are now eating a more seasonal, local diet because let's face it, most nuts, with the exception of hazelnuts do not grow in Saskatchewan, and
- Most importantly, it will keep my son happy, healthy and eczema-free.
First, I started by cleaning out my kitchen pantry and removing all of the foods we can no longer eat. I also removed all of the old cookbooks that aren't of any use to us.
Second, we purchased a food dehydrator so that I can make healthy snacks, like fruit leathers, vegetables chips and jerky. It's important for me to be prepared to have a variety of food on hand that we can eat in pinch or if we plan to be away from the house for awhile.
Third, we'll be incorporating traditionally fermented foods and nourishing bone broths into our diet. I believe that part of William's food sensitivities and behavioral issues stem from the fact that he has a severely leaking gut and abnormal gut flora, just like me. Broths are incredibly nourishing and healing and fermented foods will help repopulate his gut with a better balance of friendly bacteria. I'm hoping that by healing his leaky gut, we will be able to reintroduce some of the foods that are affecting his behavior in time.
Lastly, I'm researching meals that we can eat and making meal plans. I plan to do away with trying to eat a traditional breakfast and instead, we'll be eating super leftovers in the morning or a smoothie. Lunch will remain largely the same (burger patties, vegetable 'fries' and more vegetables or soup) and supper will be a new meal cooked from scratch. I will make up certain food in bulk - things I can freeze, like soups with homemade bone broths, burger patties, meatballs and meatloaves.
With all new things there is an adjustment period that makes everything seem so very hard, but I know that eventually I will find a rhythm again with meals, meal planning and eating. That is how I will cope. That and trying to maintain a sense of humor about it all - my two year old definitely helps with that. This morning, after a tense and complete flop of a breakfast, my son asked me for more of Mommy's 'banana pancake mess'. What a wonderful reminder that while I considered the meal a failure, my son still considered it a yummy breakfast. And, there is nothing like the frankness of a child to put the laughter and ease back into a stressful situation.
Linked to Monday Mania.