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I made some frosting today roughly based on a Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen recipe. I mixed 1-2 TB canola oil, maple syrup and arrowroot powder. I love that they recommend adding crushed beet (squeezed through a garlic press) to add a pink color! How creative, since we are avoiding artificial colors. My daughter was very happy with the frosting which was good on the gingerbread cookies we made a few days ago (which are vanishing quickly, because I keep eating them). Also, I noticed a cake (on the same page as the frosting recipe, above) I could make on this diet, except for the cocoa powder and vanilla. I might try it, if there’s an occasion. Maybe 4th of July? We’ll see. We used to eat dessert almost every day, after lunch and after dinner. I’m kind of liking this excuse to eat considerably less goodies.

Also, I found out a likely cause for my daughters coughing, stomach aches and sore throat. We went to her pediatrician yesterday and they swabbed her nose and discovered she is allergic to some kind of pollen that’s in the air right now. Apparently, post nasal drip can be responsible for stomach aches. The doctor said it could just be spring pollen and clear up by the end of June, or she may also be allergic to summer pollen. The way she suggested we figure out which it is, and to verify that in fact this is what’s causing all of her symptoms is to put her on Claritin. However, when I checked with our Naturopath, she said we should hold off on using Claritin for as long as possible as it will interfere with the elimination diet. So, we’ll wait on that. It’s good to know that a pollen allergy is a possible cause of the worsening cough and mild stomach aches, although it would be great to verify this and give her some relief from it. At this point I’m hoping it will clear up on its own in the next few weeks.

We are waiting out this week in hopes that my daughter will be back to 100% by Saturday so we can start her testing phase. In addition to her flare-ups over the past few weeks, she has also had a bit of a cold, which her Naturopath said could interfere with the results of the testing. We’ve come this far, so I’d really like to be sure about whether or not she’s reacting to foods during the testing phase.

In anticipation of a party she has coming up this weekend, we baked some gingerbread cookies. One of the party activities is decorating sugar cookies, and I thought it would be nice if she could decorate (and eat) cookies too. I asked her if it was okay that she would be decorating a different kind of cookie, and she responded, “Yes, it’s ok, I mean the point is to decorate something. It will still be fun.” Sometimes I think I come up with things to worry about,  because clearly this child isn’t concerned about being different.

gingerbread

So, I followed a recipe from vegweb, substituting gluten free all-purpose flour, rice syrup for molasses, skipped all ginger (because we were out of powdered and I didn’t want to risk fresh ginger being too strong for my daughter). It made a good firm cookie for decorating, but doesn’t have much flavor. My daughter sampled one tonight and said, “they’re ok”, which I will happily accept. I’m going to make some frosting for her to bring so she can decorate them with raisins, and anything else I come up with between now and the party that seems like it could be glued to a gingerbread cookie.

We made our first sandwiches today. I toasted the bread, but it was pretty crumbly. My daughter requested sunflower seed spread and jam. We didn’t have any sugar-free jam, so I mashed up some strawberries and that worked just fine. There’s also a new chip we’re trying out: Trader Joe’s Veggie Chips. They aren’t organic, but I was feeling a little lax this week. For my daughter, the sandwich was a success.

kids sandwich

I made essentially avocado salad on bread, and I thought it was fine, but I think I prefer just a salad. The bread has the look and consistency of angel food cake, and doesn’t really have any flavor.

salad sandwich

We made some hummus since garbanzo beans are back on, even if just a few servings a week. I started out using this recipe a few months ago, and now I just mix ingredients without looking at the recipe. Invariably, my husband saves my hummus by adding more oil, salt, pepper and cumin. I always think I’ve added enough, but his hummus is always better.

hummus

For dinner, I wanted to eat some veggies but also wanted a new sauce. I thought it would be fun to try making Steph’s tofu sauce (without the tofu, of course) from PCC, since my daughter loves it. I think I have the recipe around here somewhere (they give out recipes at the deli counter if you ask) but the amounts are crazy large since they are creating enough for a store, so I just mixed up a little of each of the ingredients, based on the order from most to least: orange juice, sesame oil, ginger, brown rice vinegar, olive oil, garlic. The recipe also calls for tamari, but because we are avoiding soy, we couldn’t add that. I added some salt to try and make up for it. For sure, this sauce is tons better with tamari, but once all the veggies and pasta were mixed up, I thought it tasted pretty good. However, my daughter who liked one bite of it during the tasting portion, lost her love for it once I served it. I am going to try this again once I get some coconut aminos, which is supposed to be a great soy-free alternative for soy sauce. If that works out, it will be a great help.

Steph's stirfry

I found some new vitamins for my daughter that are not actually 100% elimination diet friendly, because they contain sugar (organic evaporated cane juice), but after searching and finding some form of sugar in all the vitamins I found, I decided these were the safest. They’re called Yummi Bears Organics Multi-Vitamin & Mineral and I found them at PCC (but the amazon price I just found is almost half the price!). Free of yeast, wheat, milk, eggs, soy, salt, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, allergens, gluten, casein, gelatin, artificial flavors, artificial colors and preservatives. My daughter LOVES them, so hooray for that.

I spent the day grocery shopping and baking (including another batch of blackberry/blueberry/strawberry Wondie bars). My new fruit for the week is grapes and my new veggie is bok choy. Surely, my daughter can’t be allergic to these.

I’ve been trying to find ways to mix protein powder into different foods so we don’t need to drink 2 smoothies a day. For breakfast, I tried sneaking a tablespoon of protein powder into each blueberry muffin before baking them. I’m not sure who I thought I was fooling, because my daughter took one bite into her muffin and said, “I know what’s in here: protein powder.” By the end of the muffin, we both agreed we were used to the taste and liked it. Hooray – and – yikes!

I also baked a loaf of Orgran’s bread. It came out bread-like, but it’s really plain. I’m hoping to make sandwiches on it for something different. As a side with my soup, I dipped some bread into olive oil with salt and pepper, and that was good.

bread

I had a realization today. When my daughter had a reaction to black beans, I assumed I should just take away all beans. My reasoning was that I didn’t want to risk feeding her other beans and having her go through more skin reactions, and I didn’t want to delay her schedule for testing foods, thereby making the ED even longer. The result was, I had even fewer meal options without actually knowing if she could eat other beans. Today, I found myself frustrated that I had put myself in this position.

So, I decided to add all beans except black back into her diet and see what happens (which is what her Dr. suggested we do in the first place). She had pinto beans with brown rice and avocado for lunch, and it was the quickest lunch I’ve prepared in weeks (hallelujah!). So far, no strong reactions from her. I’m so happy to have beans back as an option. And, so glad to have figured this one out sooner rather than later (with a little help from my husband – thanks!).

I realized last night that one new thing I’ve introduced into my daughter’s diet in about the last week is vitamins. She had been out for a while so she wasn’t taking them when we started the elimination diet. Because they are vegan vitamins, I never even thought to look on the label! As it turns out, they contain a long list of ingredients, including soy and pineapple. So, I’ve discontinued them. Hopefully I’ll find a good replacement vitamin for her soon.

My daughter was supposed to start testing cheese today, but we are holding off until she is feeling 100%. In addition to some recent skin flare-ups due to either vitamins, squash, pineapple or beans, she also has had a persistent stomach ache and sore throat for about a week. I’ve also had the sore throat, and her doctor told us to wait on testing her as a virus could interfere with the allergy testing.

We made some pizza tonight for dinner, which was pretty good. We used Orgran’s gluten free pizza and pastry multimix (the mix also makes scones). We made our favorite combinations, sauce with kalamata and black olives, mushrooms, as well as one of my favorites, pesto with sundried tomatoes. I think I ate too much. If we make this again, which I think we will, I will roll out the crust so it’s thinner. Also, I noticed baking on a regular baking sheet gave a crispier crust than using a pizza board (the dough made enough for 3 small pizzas), which I liked a little better. My daughter ate about half of her pizza, then stopped liking it.

pizza

Also, she made it through her second movie without crying or getting so scared that she had to leave: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. She was pretty antsy, moving around during quite a bit of it, but she made it all the way to the end. I know that seems like an ordinary thing for many parents, but this really is only the second time it’s ever happened for her. So, hooray for her! I guess there may be some connection between her food allergies and her emotions.

First, the freak-out
My daughter ended up having another reaction to food last night, and it made me wonder what new foods I had introduced in the past day or two. The answer: yellow squash and pumpkin. I had to search online to see if it’s even possible to be allergic to either of these foods. Surprise! Yes. That’s when I started having my first mini freak-out of this elimination diet. Soy allergy, I get. As a vegetarian, she has had a lot of soy since she was born and it’s possible her system has been overloaded. Maybe an allergy to dairy, ok. But then beans (possibly the whole bean family), pineapple, and now squash and pumpkin? It’s starting to feel as though she’s reacting to new foods as quickly as I can introduce them, which isn’t supposed to be happening, since we are still in our cleansing weeks.

I’ve removed all squash now too (butternut, zucchini, yellow and pumpkin are really the only ones we routinely eat). My husband reassured me that we’re moving in the right direction, and that we won’t know for sure which foods she is actually reacting to until we do her testing weeks. So, for now, I’m back on track. Whew.

Also, I realized that pineapple isn’t part of the citrus family, so I’m not adjusting anything there as I had been for a day or two. I’m just learning all kinds of things on this diet!

***
And now, banana muffins

banana muffins

Inspired by my baking neighbor, I looked up a recipe for banana bread. The recipe only has a few ingredients, and I traded out Canola oil for butter, brown rice syrup for brown sugar, egg replacer for eggs (it has some citric acid in it, so that’s my first known breaking of the rules for ingredients, but I’m ok with it). I used Orgran gluten free all purpose plain flour. The result was great! I made muffins instead of a loaf of bread because I didn’t have enough flour to make the full recipe.

salad with tahini

I usually mix up an avocado dressing for my salad, but tonight I was craving, strangely, tahini. So, I mixed some tahini with a little lemon juice, some olive oil, dried dill, water for thinning, and a clove of fresh garlic (I use a garlic press). I love fresh garlic (and its benefits!), and thought it would be nice to give my system a boost by eating some raw. The result was a really strong dressing. So much so that my mouth was burning towards the end. Not a dressing for everyone, but for me, it hit the spot.

For dessert, I made a protein shake separate from my daughters, so I could use up all of the remaining pineapple in the house. I’m not sure how it didn’t occur to make my all-time favorite cocktail before – a Pina Colada!

pina colada

Blend the following:
1 1/2 cups pineapple
1/2 cup rice milk
1 TB coconut milk
1 cup ice

When I was done, I kind of wished I hadn’t used all the pineapple. This makes a perfect end of day treat. Strawberries or orange juice would be a nice addition too.