Friday, November 30, 2012

Gaining Weight and Regaining Health

When the boys were first diagnosed with their food allergies they had fallen off the growth charts to below the zero percentiles. Also, due to their compromised immune systems and inability to absorb all the nutrients from their food their height had plateaued as well. My boys looked quite frail and terms like “failure to thrive” were mentioned and frankly, scared me.
I scoured books from the library, information from the Internet, and consulted with a nutritionist once. The general consensus seemed to be that healthy fats were the answer.
Here comes another disclaimer in case you have missed my other posts. I am not a doctor. I am simply a parent that does all I can for my children to have the healthiest lives possible. I share my information so that it may help you as well and hopefully, you will not need to spend hours upon hours and days upon days worrying and researching, and worrying again. But, please always include your children’s medical team in your decisions.
The following are some of the foods that I feel helped our children gain weight and health back.
Hemp Milk
I swear by Tempt Hemp milk and believe this is the main reason that boys health and weight returned as quickly as it did. It has a nice, creamy texture and a sweet, nutty flavor. I will admit it did take me a little time to get accustom to the taste for my husband and I, but the boys loved it immediately. I gave them Hemp milk 3 times a day after meals as it is very filling.
I would also suggest making Hemp smoothies for breakfasts. Add a banana and some Sunbutter if your child is not allergic to sunflower seeds (or any peanut or nut butters if allergies allow). 
Avocados are phenomenal. They have healthy monounsaturated fats, no cholesterol, and many wonderful nutrients. Avocados are high in beta carotene, fiber, folate, and potassium. Believe it or not they actually contain 60% more potassium than bananas. I have also read that nutrients are better absorbed when eaten with an avocado.
They boys would not eat avocados out of the shell. I tried and tried. So I found some wonderful recipes that allowed me to still get it in their systems. If your children are old enough and healthy enough to eat solid foods, then I would add avocado slices to sandwiches and wraps. My little one now likes sliced avocado, Boar’s Head sliced turkey, and bacon wrapped in gluten-free tortillas. If your little angel can have tomatoes and raw spinach I would suggest adding that too. Guacamole is another way to sneak it in.  But, the boys all time favorite things is the Chocolate Avocado Mousse recipe!
Chocolate Avocado Mousse
  • 1 ripe avocado
  •  ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp raw agave nectar
  • 2 to 3 tbsp honey 
  • ¼ cup of vanilla hemp milk
Peel and slice your avocado into a sixth. Put avocado slices, cocoa powder, agave nectar, honey, and vanilla hemp milk into with you magic bullet or ninja and blend until smooth. Serve cold.
Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have many health benefits too. They contain B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, iron, and magnesium. If your little one is old enough or healthy enough to eat solid foods we love sweet potato fries!  You can grill them or bake them.  We have tried sweet potato fries several ways: baking with cinnamon and sugar (the last few minutes of baking add), sugar and cayenne pepper, salt, salt and black pepper, or drizzle maple syrup on them 5 minutes before removing from the oven.We also will make a honey dipping sauce with honey and lime or honey and cayenne pepper. 
Here is one of the ways I made it often for the boys:
Healthy Smashed Sweet Potato
  • 1 sweet potato
  • ½ a banana
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • cinnamon, sugar, and salt to taste 
While on the subject of sweet potatoes, let me remind you that you can make your little one’s skin turn orange from too many orange foods. Ask your doctor how often to feed them “orange foods”.
Bananas are also are helpful foods that aid in digestion and nutritional absorption. They help diarrhea and constipation and restores electrolytes in the body.
Mashed Bananas
Simply mash up your bananas. If your child can have nuts or seeds add a little sunbutter to your banana and mix well. 
Mommy tip: For traveling, I still purchase organic baby food and let the children eat it instead of pudding for a snack out since they cannot have pudding (dairy). 
White Potatoes
I know white potatoes have a bad reputation these days. In my opinion they are very healing on a sensitive system (again, that’s a mommy, not a medical opinion).
Mashed Potatoes- the Allergy Friendly-Taste Filled way!
  • red skin potatoes (if your child does not have a texture or swallowing issue and you can leave the peels on that adds more nutrition)
  • gluten-free beef broth
  • original Tempt Hemp milk
  • Earth's Best dairy free butter (We use dairy free/soy free)
Boil  potatoes in beef broth.  Boiling the potatoes in beef broth allows you to add flavor where the creamy milk and sour cream have been eliminated. (I am confident that vegetable broth would be great too). After boiling the potatoes drain broth and set aside.  Add original  hemp milk and a dairy free butter and mix with a mixer to thin it out a little more add some of the reserved beef broth (this also adds back some of the nutrients lost in the boiling process I believe). 
Once their gut has healed more play with spices!  Add chives. Parsely... the skies the limit.
If their system is really sick and I am not able to keep much down, I would use only beef broth and potatoes for a few days.  You know your child's need the best.  Follow that mommy gut instinct.
 I would also search for a potato soup recipe and use that too.  If you have a favorite you want help with changing to make safe, just send me the recipe and I am happy to try and make it different.

Also please be sure to check out the Potato Soup recipe here:
Olive Oil
Olive oil is yet another healthy fat.  Once they had healed a little and were not quite as sick, I began to add olive oil to everything.  Yup, even their milk!  I would add up to (no more than!!!) 2 tablespoons daily in their diets.  I only needed to do this about 2 to 3 months.  Once they gained back some of their weight and health, I would choose days where they clearly did not eat enough calories that day and just add it to their milk cup.  I would add about 2 to 3 teaspoons per cup of milk.  Shake or stir well... they never know you did it.
I also would add olive oil to baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc,
I included this here on this post, as it was a major part of this journey for us.  Here are some things we learned:
  • elevating their bed helped.  We found a thick wedge to place under their mattress and over the box spring.
  • attempt to plan meals and snacks around their sleeping schedule.  Do not give food 2 hours before naps/ meals if possible.  No drinks for 45 minutes prior to sleeping.  I abide by this rule for breastfeeding too.
  • Know your children's triggers.  Chocolate is one many overlook.  I always gave the boys chocolate avocado mousse for breakfast after they woke up and way before napping.
Probiotics and Vitamins
I believe in probiotics and vitamins to support your babies walk towards health.  I would suggest finding a good probiotic.  Then as health has improved add a multi vitamin.  Be careful with your probiotics as many are created using dairy products or your children's allergens.  Call manufacturers.
Toothpastes, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, even your children's medications can contain food.  I have found egg whites in toothpaste, dairy in lotions, nuts in my shampoos, wheat in my conditioners.... I add this as when we first started this journey we had no idea that food was in almost everything! 
Call manufacturers for "and natural flavorings"- it is often a hidden source of your child's allergies.
Oh, and each time you purchase the product, read the labels again- they company can change ingredients at any time and do not have to let you know!

Take a deep breath.  Feel empowered to make a difference in their health.... but message me on those days it gets to be too much.  We allergy parents have all been there.  I will be here to hold your hand so to speak.
Please feel free to check back often because as I remember things we did, I will update this post!  Again, if you have questions or need anything, let me know.
- Sheri

No comments:

Post a Comment