I am not one to get behind many “food trends”. I don’t believe that it’s necessary to eliminate any major food groups unless there is an allergy or sensitivity to them. I’ve been a big believer in everything moderation when it comes to food. Ok, that’s a lie when it comes to chocolate. With that, it’s more is better! And cheese. Oh my, I adore cheese. Obviously, I’m a little hungry while writing this but my point is that I love pretty much all food groups. But….my family has gone (for the most part) crazy healthy; eating primarily fruits, veggies and meat. Did we go Paleo? Nope, my daughter was diagnosed with a yeast allergy.
If I’m being honest, she was diagnosed months before we made any major diet changes. We were always pretty healthy eaters. At least when it came to dinner. We occasionally had our junk food nights because, well, I’m a grown up now and I can do that if I want.
Let me back up a little bit to the events leading up to her diagnose. For months, I noticed she was suffering from allergies. I assumed that they were seasonal related and first gave her Benadryl and hoped for the best. It didn’t get better. She was also very crabby most of the time. Which, if you knew her, you’d realize how abnormal that was. She is typically a very happy little girl. We also noticed that she was waking up several times through the night, coughing badly I took her to her doctor, who gave the first clue that we might be dealing with something more than just seasonal allergies. My daughter was put on allergy medicine and referred for allergy testing. She was also being suspected of having asthma, but we weren’t sure at that point.
Looking back, I’m not sure how I didn’t put two and two together earlier. She suffered from really frequent (4+ a month!) ear infections before she had surgery to place tubes in her ears. After talking with the doctors, I learned how common it is for allergies, ear problems, eczema (which she’s had she was an infant) and asthma to coexist.
It just so happened that her Ear’s, Nose and Throat Specialist also does allergy testing, so I set up an appointment with the office. I wasn’t surprised by some of the allergies that popped up like mold and fungus. I knew she couldn’t handle being around mold (one of the main reasons we moved!). I was, however, shocked by the yeast allergy. We were given the advice to make what changes we could, give the medicine time to kick in and to start thinking about eliminating yeast from her diet.
We didn’t go straight for the elimination diet. Instead, we tried to cut back on the amount of junk she was consuming. I also began tracking her symptoms vs. what she ate. My attention towards her diet shifted a bit once she suffered her first true asthma attack. We also found noticed mold in and around where we were living. My focus at that point was getting her away from any mold. That was the priority. We found a new house and began the moving process.
I did notice a huge difference in her once we moved. Many of her symptoms decreased. But, several were still there. It became apparent that just cutting back yeast wasn’t going to help. So, we’re now in the middle of a total elimination diet. After a month, she’s able to try certain things (some cheeses for example) and wait a week to see if there’s any interaction. And repeat. Yes, it’s going to take several months before we have a good handle on what she can and cannot eat.
Before I did a lot of research, I figured yeast was only in breads and baked goods. It’s not. It’s in practically everything. Things that I wouldn’t expect it to be, has yeast in it. Like cheese. She also has to avoid sugar during this process. It’s a bit of a challenge figuring out what to feed her. I have to meal plan every single meal, snack and drink she consumes. Brandon and I are mostly following the same diet as she is. Not because we have to but because it’s easier to eat the same thing(s). I do have to admit to hiding a bag of Hershey Kisses in my nightstand because sometimes, I NEED chocolate. It’s dark chocolate though. So, it’s practically a carrot, right?
A few weeks into this, I must say that it is helping her a lot. Her digestive issues are pretty much gone, she’s sleeping great all night long, she’s happy, her “allergic shiners” diminished a ton, and her eczema is decreased a lot as well (which also has to do with switching laundry soap!). I’m hoping that not having her exposed to yeast helps her asthma too. So far, it’s been under control.
You will notice me sharing some things about our journey with this particular food allergy. I will occasionally share my menu plans because I want to help any people I can dealing with this. Most of the meal plans will be yeast-free, sugar-free, gluten-free (because it just comes naturally with this), and largely dairy-free (she is still able to have yogurt and such).
Have you ever had to deal with a yeast allergy before? Share your favorite recipes and tips! I need all the help I can get.