“I don’t want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need….
All I want for Christmas is my family and I to be healthy, or at least not have to visit the ER on Christmas Day!
We have spent a lot of time at the ER and various doctors surgeries this year, I would estimate at least once a fortnight one of us has seen a doctor, but most of the time Leo, my toddler, was sick.
Food Allergy – Internal Inflammation – Sleep Depreavation – Infection – Antibiotics – Eczema & Repeat
2017 has been a tumultuous year health wise, where I often have felt like we were stuck in a vicious cycle.
Leo would eat something, or I would eat something that would go through my breastmilk, which triggered his body to become inflamed and sick. He would become very hot internally, suffer from stomach pains, break out in painful eczema, and would be generally miserable.
Because he had so much internal inflammation he would overheat, and wanted to breastfeed a lot during the night, so neither us would get much sleep. He wouldn’t nap during the day either, so his body wasn’t getting enough rest to heal, so he would just get sicker and sicker.
Snakes and Ladders
We saw a doctor who said that atopic kids are so difficult to dress, especially in the cooler months, but if he is really hot, just put him to bed in a singlet and a nappy, even if it was the middle of winter and I felt cold.
I tried what the doctor recommended and started putting Leo to bed in a singlet and a nappy, even when it was cold and it worked – he slept a bit longer! but then he would develop a runny nose and a cough.
During the day he was ok, but during the evening and night time when the air got colder, his runny nose and small cough would turn nasty very quickly. He would develop a rattle in his chest, and struggled to breathe, especially when laying down. I remember one Saturday we were lucky enough to get into to see a doctor, and she told us “your child is quite sick, he is struggling to breathe, you should have brought him to me a few days ago” but a few days prior he wasn’t showing any signs of having a cold.
I was told a few times “I am prescribing him antibiotics (or sometimes steroids) but if his condition worsens take him to the ER straight away.”
Between chest infections Leo also developed a few ear infections which he was again prescribed antibiotics for.
I have lost track the amount of antibiotics and steroids Leo has taken this year, how many times he has been to the doctor’s surgery or the ER. On our last visit Leo was so sick the doctor ordered him a chest X-Ray.
While I am grateful to have antibiotics and steroids, every time Leo took them it wreaked havoc on his gut and his immune system, which made his eczema worse. So, the cycle continued.
But Wait, There’s More!
Leo’s Molluscum rash was terrible too. Charlie and Max have Molluscum, but their lumps are small, and apart from last month when one of Maxwell’s got infected and turned into an abscess, they don’t really bother them too much.
Leo’s Molluscum lumps in comparison were huge, grotesque looking lesions that irritated him, and I suspect were one of the reasons he struggled to sleep. They would break, bleed and showed no signs of getting better. One lump would die, and two more would take its place.
Breastfeeding multiple times a night, looking after a sick child and living off 5 hours of broken sleep for over a year (while trying to heal from my own health issues) burned me out. My whole world became focused on getting Leo healthy, and I didn’t have the energy or the headspace for anything else.
The Right Doctor For Us
Then we started seeing a new GP in Bunbury that turned everything around.
He ordered Leo some blood tests to see what going on and while they were necessary, holding down an 18month old to draw blood out of their arm with a needle went about as good as expected.
While Leo did find it distressing, he wasn’t anywhere near as upset as when he had to get a chest X-Ray, so as much as I hated seeing him distressed I figured if this doctor could get him better, and stop him from spending nights in the ER, getting chest X-Rays and antibiotics, it would be worth the short term pain and discomfort for long term health.
Because Leo struggled so much they couldn’t get all the blood they needed to all the tests that our doctor ordered, but what we did learn really surprised me.
Leo is not lactose intolerant as I first thought, but has a cow’s milk protein allergy, which I found very interesting.
Is There A Link Between Type 1 Diabetes and Dairy Allergies?
I have read some articles that have said that dairy could be a trigger for Type 1 Diabetes, an auto-immune condition in which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin (different to Type 2 Diabetes).
My biological grandmother and mother suffer from Type 1 Diabetes.
Charlie, Maxwell and I are lactose intolerant, but because I believed the myth that you must consume dairy for bone health, we still consumed small amounts of dairy.
Dairy Allergy – Friend or Foe?
I used to believe that our food allergies were a curse, but now I see that perhaps that could be our bodies way of protecting us.
Instead of consuming lots of dairy and getting Type 1 Diabetes like my mother and grandmother, Charlie’s, Maxwell’s, and my body evolved to be intolerant to cows lactose in an effort to deter us from eating lots of dairy and developing Type 1 Diabetes.
When I continued to eat dairy during my pregnancy with Leo, it’s like evolution was like “Hey I thought I told you that dairy is a trigger for Type 1 Diabetes and to stay away from it by making you and your first two children lactose intolerant, but you didn’t listen, so now I am not going to make your third child allergic to the whole cows milk protein, so he can’t eat it at all and therefore, is less likely to get Type 1 Diabetes.”
I haven’t been able to find any studies that have tested my theory, but I don’t think that it is a coincidence that my grandmother and mother have Type 1 Diabetes, Charlie, Maxwell and are lactose intolerant and Leo has a full blown cow’s milk protein allergy.
Candida Overgrowth and Leaky Gut
Leo’s doctor diagnosed him with a Candida Overgrowth, and a Leaky Gut but prescribed him some drugs and a diet change. What is interesting is that when Leo took the drugs I didn’t notice any change, but when I took the drugs (I also have a Candida Overgrowth and Leaky Gut) Leo would sleep well and be happier. These drugs don’t go through the milk, so what was happening?
I believe these drugs changed my microbiome which Leo received through my breastmilk, which in turn changed his microbiome.
I was conflicted because when I took the drugs Leo would get better, but once I finished my course, he would get stomach issues and eczema flare ups again. It was impossible to work out what was causing these flare ups, because I couldn’t work out if he getting sick from something he was eating, or was he getting sick from something I was eating which was getting passed onto him through my milk?
When Leo was 18 months old I started to wean him off my breastmilk, and he went from waking up several times a night, to sleeping through (mostly) and his eczema also went away!
It then got a lot easier to pinpoint what foods were making him sick.
No! Not the Coconut!!!
To my delight and horror I worked out Leo was allergic to coconut & nuts.
Delight, because all I want is for my boys to be healthy, but horror because my other kids are not allergic to coconut (but they are allergic to wheat and sensitive to grains), and they go to a nut free school, so I use coconut for everything.
I used to buy coconut chips, cream, flour and oil in bulk, and use it in almost all of my recipes. Coconut was my answer for everything, and at the time didn’t know what I was going to do without it.
What Is Nourishing For One Person Can Be Toxic For Another
It was amazing what happened as soon as we took coconut out Leo’s diet, his gut got a lot better and his horrible Molluscum lumps started shrinking and healing. Our doctor prescribed Leo another round of drugs, and this time they started working because we had removed the allergen that was making his body inflamed.
Which taught me that the drugs will not work without the correct diet, and what is nourishing for some people, is toxic for others.
A New Chapter
I have had to put aside all my old recipes made with coconut, nuts and seeds, and relearn how to feed my family. My other son, Maxwell, is allergic to eggs (I haven’t been game enough to give Leo eggs yet), and grains make them bloated, so they are out too!
I am slowing getting there, working things out, & creating new recipes that are free from all the foods my kids are allergic to, like this little beauty.
AIP Dessert With No Sugar AND Hidden Veggies!
This Paleo Ice Cream is free from coconut, dairy, & nuts and contains spinach! You can’t taste it though because the fresh mint takes centre stage.
The creaminess and sweetness come from the frozen bananas – no added sugar or creamers required!
This dairy free ice cream recipe is AIP, Low FODMAP, Paleo, Raw and Vegan and is super easy to make in the Thermomix.
If you are following the low FODMAP diet, according to new studies, you might want to halve the serving size recommended in this recipe the first time you make it, and work your way up from there.
This healthy ice cream contains only 3 ingredients, and takes less than 5 minutes to whip up if I have the bananas already frozen in my freezer.
My boys like to have it topped with raw cacao nibs (sub with Carob if you are AIP) or raspberries for a bit of festive cheer.
Thermomix Dairy Free Mint Ice Cream
Refreshing and delicious Ice Cream made in the Thermomix, free from Coconut, Dairy and Nuts!
AIP, Paleo, Raw and Vegan friendly.
- 500 grams very ripe banana flesh sliced and frozen
- 50 grams baby spinach
- 8 peppermint or spearmint leaves
Add all ingredients into bowl & slowly take it up to 9/ 30 seconds.
Scrape down bowl.
Repeat once or twice until well combined and creamy.
You can store left overs in icy pole molds or in a container in the freezer.