Category Archives: Natural Living

Blueberry picking 2011

Yesterday a moms group from our church met up at Underwood Farms in Somis for blueberry picking.

I was a little unsure about this activity by myself with both kids, but decided I would try anyway. We were the only ones out there because it was so drizzly so all our kids palled around getting muddy, hunting gophers, and eating more blueberries than they put in their buckets.

Sprout was actually really good at finding the bluest ones and eating them. He didn’t eat any green. He’d just wander down the row, find a bush and stand there picking and eating. Bean was much more interested in being a social butterfly, making new friends and following them everywhere. She did some picking for her bucket, but then would eat them all.

The drizzly day made it pretty nice. In the past it has been too hot and there were a lot of bees. It was nice and cool, no sunburns, not too wet and no bees.


A big salad featuring the fruits of our (my) labor seemed like a good idea last night…


…until somebody picked out and ate all “da boo-bries” (yes he uses some words now) and then didn’t want to have anything to do the rest.


Of course whole grain blueberry pancakes for breakfast this morning.


Yes, stacked three high for the pregnant lady.

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Episkey

10 points to the house that can correctly identify the reference of the title of this post.

If I’ve lost you, don’t worry, I am going to speak English and come back to this world pretty quickly.

Inspired by Davi’s post going over her adventures in homeopathy and by her urging, I decided I would delve into our journey into the same world.

It’s obviously no secret that I tend to do things a little differently, like having babies at home and making my own diaper rash spray. My journey into natural home remedies and homeopathy has been somewhat slow, but I am getting more and more confident lately with trying out different things for the various things that ail our family. As I said in the diaper rash spray post, the introduction to my new book on the subject really inspired me when it pointed out that up until fairly recently most ailments were treated at home with ingredients found in the garden or pantry and there was at least one person in every family with a fairly good knowledge of healing.

I guess the first toe dip into homeopathy for us was when I started using Hyland’s teething tabs as a first and majority of the time responder to teething difficulties with my kids (when is the recall going to be over, by the way? Waaah I miss those things!).

The next time was when our pediatrician at the time mentioned she had been doing a lot of research on the subject and started explaining some of the principles of it to me during our visit. She also gave us a handout that she made up for immune support before, during and after vaccinations. I was slightly skeptical, but I have seriously noticed such a difference in the way our kids respond to vaccines since implementing the stuff in the handout. There have been a few times when I forgot or didn’t realize the kids would be getting a vaccine at the appointment and noticed their reactions to be much more dramatic as well. So it isn’t just a matter of them getting older and handling things better.

So for vaccine immune support this is what we do (the handout sites Dr. Sears’ The Vaccine Book and Dr. Lauren Feder’s The Parents’ Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinations as the source):

-Being really diligent about the kids taking their vitamins the week before and after getting shots. Sometimes I forget on a day-to-day basis, but if I know they have an appointment coming up I will set the alarm in my phone to remind me if I have to. The two pointed out as being most important on the handout are Vitamin A and C. I have our kids on a cornucopia of gummy vitamins though which pretty much covers both those. Our kids take: Omega 3 Sea (fish oil), a multi-vitamin, a calcium (though now that the kids are back to eating dairy I will probably eliminate this one next time we run out), a D3, an immunity one (Vitamin C, Zinc and Echinacea), and probiotic chewable tabs. I know, I know, that probably seems like overkill.
-Ledum palustre 30C (for puncture wounds): 1 hour before the shot and then two more doses every 12 hours
-Arnica montana 30C (for local swelling, bruising and soreness): Twice a day for two days following the shot
-Thuja occidentalis 30C (for vaccine side effects): Twice a day for three days following the shot
-Chamomilla 30C (for fussiness following the shot): As needed

So this is really what started to inspire me to start looking into other “cures” and remedies. Another thing was that a lot of the “drugs” for infants’ and toddlers’ colds, coughs, etc. have pretty much been taken off the market. Which leaves not a whole lot of options when you have a sick toddler or infant except to run to the pediatrician that will likely just prescribe an antibiotic. I really, really think antibiotics are way over-prescribed so I try to avoid them as much as possible unless I feel like we absolutely need it. But when you have a miserable babe on your hands you need some help.

The advent of modern medicine, together with its many miracles, also led to a much greater dependency on our physicians and to an increasingly stretched healthcare system. The growth of the pharmaceutical industry has meant that there are indeed “cures” for most symptoms, and we have become accustomed to putting our health in the hands of someone else, and to purchasing products that make us feel good. Somewhere along the line we began to believe that technology was in some way superior to what was natural, and so we willingly gave up control of even minor health problems.

So these are some of the homeopathic remedies we’ve tried for various colds and coughs:
-Hyland’s Sniffles ‘n Sneezes
-Pulsatilla 30C (for colds with thick yellow nasal discharge)
-Allium cepa 30C (allergic or viral runny nose)
-Kali sulphuricum 30C (colds with yellow nasal discharge)
-garlic oil drops (for ear infections)
-apple cider vinegar (helps thin out mucus): 2tbsp in 8oz warm water twice a day
-Boiron’s Chestal homeopathic cough syrup
-Elderberry syrup
-Sambucus homeopathic cough syrup

Like Davi pointed out in her post, I have noticed that sometimes you have to be a little more patient with the homeopathic remedies though. I do still use some of the things I used to for pain and sickness, but I also feel the homeopathic remedies help things out and we can avoid using the heavier “drugs” a lot of the time.

When we have something going on, I either head to the natural foods store that has the homeopathic vials and look at the chart for what goes with what or I look online. Now that I have my book I also will tend to find something online and then go get more “reliable” information from my book as well as see if there is anything else we can be doing.

Something else we use that was mentioned above is arnica montana for bruises. Having two toddlers, and clumsy ones at that, there are a lot of bumped heads, scraped knees etc. I usually just use Hyland’s Bumps ‘n Bruises with arnica in it.

Another area that homeopathy has helped out is with pregnancy. Being pregnant, I don’t really feel comfortable taking a bunch of stuff unless I have to. So the homeopathic remedies have been great for colds and things. I will admit that I still take an Advil here and there, I am still taking Unisom at night for morning sickness prevention (every time I try to wean myself off I feel so lousy, I still have not felt as sick as with the other two, but it is enough that I just can’t do anything really), and I also take Tums or Famotadine for really bad heartburn. So I am not anti-medicine. I just try natural or homeopathic remedies first if I can, especially since they have no side effects and are generally much safer.

During my first trimester when I did have some morning sickness I also used some homeopathic remedies to combat the yucks. I found a chart on the old site I frequented when I had the really bad (hyperemesis gravidarum) morning sickness with Bean. It was really helpful in narrowing down which ones to try based on my symptoms. The ones that I used were:

-ginger capsules
-nux vomica 30C
-sepia 30C
-pulsatilla 30C

But like I said, the chart breaks down various “types” of morning sickness and morning sickness symptoms. Every woman is different and the morning sickness can even be different day-to-day or throughout a day. So you should really look to the chart and see what fits you best, not just go off what worked for me.

Recent ailments in our household have included teething with Sprout which has produced acidic, runny bowel movements (BMs) that give him terrible diaper rash. You already know about my diaper rash spray, but I also have been giving him chamomile tea orally and that has helped things in the BM department. The book said it helps reduce the acidity of the BMs and firms them up and I have found that to definitely be the case in the last few days that I have been giving it to him. I also noticed that he is a bit less fussy and grumpy. We usually “cut” the kids’ juice in their sippy cups anyway, so instead of water I’ve been doing half juice, half chamomile tea that I brew a large batch of ahead of time and keep in a pitcher in the refrigerator.

The other ailment has to do with me. I had a bit of a scary episode yesterday, but part of it has been “normal” pregnancy stuff I’ve been experiencing for several weeks now and that I also experienced with my other two. I did some searching online to make sure I’m not weird and was glad to find out I’m not. When I get Braxton Hicks contractions I usually feel like I can’t breathe or that my breathing is constricted. I have to really, really concentrate on just my breathing and it takes a lot of effort. I have been getting more and more of these suckers lately. It’s super annoying when you feel like you really can’t do anything except lay around and breathe. Like this morning I was trying to mix up some oats and nuts for granola and I kept having to stop every few seconds, hunch over the counter with my belly hanging down and just breathe. I felt so pathetic and annoyed. I know I’m pregnant and everything, but I have a life to live and kids and a family to care for. I’m not just going to lay around my house all day. I have things to do. Not even super strenuous things, just the stuff of every day life.

So anyway, back to yesterday, I planned a playdate with a couple of friends that morning. I had been having my usual annoying Braxton Hicks that make me stop and breathe. I was resting a lot. Drinking a lot of water. But then Sprout needing a diaper change could not be put off any longer and I needed to get us ready for our playdate. I got upstairs and the Braxton Hicks turned into super monster contractions. It hurt soooo bad. All I could do is lay on my bed. Finally I was able to get back up in between and grab the house phone. I called Stephen’s cell (the only number I have memorized and my cell with all the numbers was back downstairs) over and over and over again until he finally picked up (he was on another call with a client and not near his cell, but someone else in the office noticed that it kept ringing). I told him what was happening and he came right home.

I started timing things and they were 1:30 long and 3 minutes apart and oh-so-painful. I could feel tugging at my cervix too which was really making me nervous. I called one of my midwives and she had me try taking some calcium and magnesium, a warm bath and more water and relaxing. Nothing changed. So she had me call into the backup OB’s office here in town and they wanted me to come in to have things checked out. An ultrasound showed no changes to my cervix and the fetal fibronectin test which tests to see if labor is imminent came back negative. He also prescribed something to stop the contractions. Everything calmed down and I just ended out the day pretty sore and tired.

Anyway, this morning the Braxton Hicks and the shortness of breath were back. I knew to take it easy, but I decided to see if there were any homeopathic or natural remedies that could help things out. I also felt like what I was experiencing this morning didn’t really warrant taking another of the pills. It definitely wasn’t of the caliber of yesterday’s bout in the slightest.

So I looked up homeopathic remedies for Braxton Hicks online, read a bunch of stuff there and then confirmed and got more information from my book. I made a tea of red raspberry leaf, ginger, and chamomile and then put in drops of a tincture called cramp bark. All of these things help to tone, calm and relax muscles with the red raspberry leaf and cramp bark having specific implications in the uterine muscles. It’s also supposed to help with menstrual cramping. I’ve definitely noticed less activity in the few hours since I drank it so I am a fan. One thing I did read said not to take the cramp bark for more than three days consecutively because it could cause nausea after that point. So hopefully I can just take it here and there as needed and not get the nausea.

Sorry there are no fun pictures to accompany this post. Anyway, I hope this is informative and helpful and maybe inspires you to try out some natural remedies with your family next time some minor illness or injury comes up.

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Soap. It explains everything.

So after our initial post-use wash with the new diapers, I was a little disappointed when we dried them and they smelled better, but still not completely like fresh, clean laundry.

It was definitely better though and when they were dry they didn’t stink.

So anyway I was looking around again for answers and someone recommended this cloth diapering detergent called Rockin’ Green. She said she uses the Hard Rock as well as the Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer for combating ammonia in her diapers.

The website doesn’t really have an about section or a huge amount of information. It is mostly just a store front with some reviews, but there are a couple youTube videos that they put up about soap buildup in diapers and how they compare to other brands.

After watching the videos I decided to pay attention to the rinse and agitation part of our wash cycle and see if we had soap bubbles.

Well, I have been running back-to-back soap-free wash cycles since 7:30am. I have listened dutifully to the machine and checked in on every rinse/agitation portion of the cycle.

Sooo much soap!

This picture was taken two hours ago. And these are the new diapers, mind you.

It is now 1:30pm and I just checked in again and saw the same thing. Lots of soap bubbles on the surface of the water.

It completely explains everything. No wonder the old diapers stunk. They probably had so much soap in them after two and a half years of washing like I used to wash.

Then I got to thinking about our clothes and how much soap is probably on them too. No wonder Stephen and the kids battle with eczema even though we use a free and clear detergent!

I never really trusted the diaper sites before when they would say that most detergent manufacturers recommend that you use 2-3 times the amount of soap that you really need. I had tried to use less a couple times, but felt like things didn’t get as clean. So I have to figure out a balance now between too much and too little soap.

Edited to add: As of 4:30pm we are still seeing soap bubbles! Ahhh! When will this end?

Second edit and update: I stopped around 10:30pm that first night and picked up again sometime the next morning. I did more washes as I could, but had a lot going on that day with the crazy injured child and grocery shopping that needed to get done. I did my last wash around 5:30pm. I was still getting bubbles on the surface when I checked in, but they were dissipating pretty quickly so I decided to give it up and put them in the dryer. Good news is they did not stink in the dryer and the fabric felt super clean when I pulled it out. Think squeeky clean, but with fabric.

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Tutorial: Turning BumGenius 3.0 diaper cover to training pant (PullUp)

I feel like we have been potty training with Bean for forever. I know it hasn’t been that long though. It started with what was essentially a little EC (elimination communication) where she would make a certain face or tell us when she was going and we would take her to the potty to do her business.

At some point she started really wanting to use the potty rather than go in her diaper. Then at another point she hated using the potty. At another point she was too distracted to use the potty regularly. Then she was mostly accident free so long as I prompted her to go. Lately she has been telling me she has to go while running to the bathroom and she is mostly accident free.

However, that is only with me. Lately she only wants me to help her with potty stuff and throws a huge fit if I am busy and Stephen has to take her instead. She wants nothing to do with help from her preschool or Sunday school teachers. So I usually just have her try before and after and she wears a PullUp to class. We also use PullUps for trips, days where we are out of the house all day doing errands or activities and for naps and at night.

My original plan was to use a cloth version of PullUps. I searched out a few different options and eventually settled on the Happy Heiny trainers. The reviews said these were trim and I liked that you could order them with snaps on each side so that if there was a poop accident it would be much easier to clean up and deal with. Besides, the actual PullUps brand training pants also open at the sides, so that is what I expected and was used to. No one wants to drag a training pant full of poop down their toddler’s leg and then try to have them navigate their feet out of that training pant without making a mess.

When my order got here though I was so disappointed. They are so bulky. When we stuff them with even just one insert, it is like she has a balloon between her legs. People always made fun of me because of our kids’ giant cloth diaper bums, but believe me there is worse out there than the BumGenius. BumGenius and now our Flip diapers are actually really trim comparatively.

So anyway we’ve been going through a lot of PullUps lately, especially since Bean started preschool. And I hate buying them. I hate worrying about if we have enough to get us through this or that. I hate throwing them away and creating so much trash. I hate that Bean gets rashes from them all the time. I hate that they are plastered with Disney Princess crap (I know, slightly silly of me). I just hate them. Period.

I have asked around though and there really doesn’t seem to be a much better alternative in the cloth diapering world that matches up to an actual PullUp.

So, I have been getting crafty the last couple days. I have all the BumGenius covers that we are no longer using. I also have something like 300 snaps that I ordered for when my plan was to replace the velcro on them. I figured the worst that could happen is that I could wind up permanently ruining something that we are probably going to wind up throwing away anyway, right?

I did a search to see if there were any tutorials on how to go about converting a BumGenius cover to a PullUp or training pant. One blog had a picture, but her training pant did not open at the sides. She basically just removed the tabs and sewed them shut.

So I had to come up with my own plan.

The first thing I did was take an actual PullUp and lay it down open and flat against one of my diaper covers to figure out where I needed to make alterations.

Pretty much other than the fact that the BumGenius is more bikini cut than the PullUp (which actually we usually wind up folding the PullUps down a bit because Bean is her mother’s very sensitive daughter and if it touches her wrong she is uncomfortable and whines), the only difference is that the elastic and Velcro tabs extend beyond the PullUp.

So yesterday I made my first one. I used a seam ripper to remove the Velcro from the front, the elastic tabs and the laundry tabs.

Then I flipped the back part where the elastic tabs used to be inside out and made a seam there.

The result pretty much lines up with the PullUp.

Then I used my snap pliers to attach some snaps on the sides and I had a cloth PullUp. So I had Bean try it on and model it for me. She wasn’t super cooperative. First she didn’t want to put it on at all because, “No, I’m a big girl now! I don’t wear diapers anymore!” And then she didn’t want to hold still for the picture.

We used the prototype last night with a pre-fold and had no leaks or issues. However, though it fits, it is a little snug. There is no way she’d be able to get it on and off by herself.

So I made another today and instead of completely removing the elastic tab, I cut just before the velcro tabs and then repeated the process.

Bean is napping right now so I haven’t actually tried this one on her, but I think it should be a slightly better fit and easier to get on and off. Also, success at nap today, when presented with a disposable PullUp, “I don’t want to wear a sposable, Mama, I want to wear a cloth PullUp.” She was very disappointed I didn’t have more. I told her I had to make more.

Edited to add: The second attempt seems just a tad too big. It stays on, but starts to sag. I will have to adjust again. Overall I have it mostly figured out though.

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An update on my cloth diapering adventures

We made some recent changes in the cloth diapering department, so I decided an update post was in order since I’ve blogged so extensively about the subject and I know I have many followers that have been converted to cloth from reading my posts (Haha, funny moment this weekend at our cousin’s baby shower, one of her friends came up to me and said, “Hi Lisa. You don’t know me, but I read your blog. And I started cloth diapering because of you. It’s been so great for us.”).

Well, after 2.5 years, and 2 kids worth of use, the microfiber inserts that came with my BumGenius 3.0 diapers had had it. They were still intact, they were still absorbent, but they stunk. And they stunk bad. Much of the “hook and loop” (Velcro) closures were also pretty worn (you may remember I’d started converting my diapers to snaps, but I only got a handful of them done). Changing diapers was an olfactory experience that I could not really deal with anymore. Then washing and drying them, P. U. It would stink up our whole house!

I tried so many things. Soaking. Bleaching. More soaking. Anti bacterials. Oxi Clean. Baking soda and vinegar. I scoured the Internet for “microfiber stink solutions,” “stinky BumGenius solution,” you name it I probably Googled it and tried it on my diapers. Nothing worked.

I had pretty much resolved to get rid of the inserts and either make or buy my own cotton inserts. Until I could get around to it, I had started using Huggies Pure & Natural Diapers or Seventh Generation diapers for Sprout and Pull-Ups or the Seventh Generation brand training pants for Bean. Stephen and I both noticed quite a spike in our budget during this period. So he started trying to be more proactive about the diaper laundry and using cloth. It was nice, but I was still sick of our microfiber.

Then my aunt called out of the blue one day and said for a combined Mother’s Day, birthday and new baby present this year she wanted to get us a cloth diapering service. She had researched it out, found three companies that serve our area and was surprised it wasn’t as expensive as she’d thought.

So I called up the companies next to find out a little more. I had a nice chat with one of owners of a Santa Clarita based company about cloth diapering and my cloth diapering problems. She told me that microfiber can only be guaranteed a year or a certain number of washes which is why diapering services can’t use them. She was surprised I made it 2.5 years with mine. She said they use cotton pre-folds because they can get the stink out and they last longer. This is basically what I had read on the Internet too, but it made more sense hearing it from someone who’s entire business revolves around cloth diapering.

After looking into it a little more though, I was disappointed to find that the diapering service only takes care of washing the pre-fold inserts and not the covers. To me, this didn’t really seem all that helpful. I’d have to keep two separate pails for the covers and inserts (which cloth diapering stuff already takes up enough room in our place), and I’d still be doing some diapering laundry.

So I talked to my aunt a little more about it and she said she would replace our old diapers instead.

Overall I still felt that my BumGenius diapers were a good investment and a good quality product. But I knew I wanted to go with cotton and not microfiber this time. I also had fairly good experiences with the distributor/parent company (I think that’s what they are?), Cotton Babies, so I did not hesitate to go back to them.

BumGenius does make an organic cotton version of their diapers, but they are all one piece. Plus, the new ones come in your choice of snaps or hook and loop. I actually liked that we could stuff our other diapers because I could control how much we needed to add or subtract for absorbency. I still wanted the flexibility of a pocket diaper or just a cover. I knew I would also go with snaps over hook and loop this time.

Since I bought/was gifted my BG 3.0s over 2.5 years ago, Cotton Babies has come out with two other kinds of diapers, the Flip System and the EconoBum.

The Flip diapers are pretty similar to G Diapers in that they have cloth or disposable inserts depending on your need. You can reuse the covers until they get gross, so you just keep replacing the inserts otherwise. They also have two cloth options, microfiber and cotton. Another good difference between the Flip and G Diapers is that like the BumGenius diapers they are one size and you can get them in snaps or hook and loop closure. They also come in all the fun colors that the BumGenius diapers do. And from what I could tell of the pictures, they looked like they fit just like the BumGenius diapers do, which is one of the things I really liked about those diapers.

So after a little contemplation and calculating, I decided to go with Flip covers. However, the Flip cotton insert pretty much looked like a cotton pre-fold to me and since I knew from my conversation with the diapering service that pre-folds last the longest, I decided to go with unbleached cotton pre-folds instead of the official Flip insert. Besides, the pre-folds were much cheaper!

The hardest part for me was trying to figure out how many inserts and covers to get. With the BumGenius I had 40+ diapers that I just ordered all together and all their pieces got worn and tossed in the diaper pail together. With these I knew I wouldn’t need as many of the covers since I’d be using them for more than one diaper change. I was slightly concerned about the absorbability of the cotton versus microfiber and whether I’d be doing more changes or doubling up to get that same level of absorbency that I was used to. So in the end, I decided to go with 20 covers and 60 pre-folds.

I know it sounds like a lot, but now that we are using them (well, we have been since Sunday anyway), I think I made the right decision for two kids in diapers. It is a little much for mostly just Sprout though (I had to plan ahead, Bean is pretty much in undies except for naps she wears a cloth diaper, but for preschool and at night we put a disposable training pant on her because she needs the extra absorbency). So a person with one kid in diapers could probably get away with a lot less.

I am also pleased to report that the cotton pre-folds are really absorbent and stand up to what we were used to with the microfiber just fine. I haven’t really noticed any extra diaper changes and we haven’t had any leaks, even overnight. The diapers fit pretty much the same as our BumGenius diapers did. The snaps work great and are easy to use.

I know it may be a bit premature since we are only a few days in, but I am really happy with the change.


My new diapers arrived in the mail last week along with a new Ergo carrier. I was so excited!


A Flip cover and a pre-fold insert after I had pre-washed everything. My initial excitement over the diapers was kind of put on hold when I read that the new Cotton Babies recommendation for diaper prep was SEVEN washes and dries! With our BG 3.0s I distinctly remember that we only had to do three.


Open Flip cover with the pre-fold in place.


Closed up Flip diaper all ready to go.


Bean wearing a Flip diaper with cotton pre-fold for nap today. I love the snaps and the fact that I can put my kids down for a nap sans pants and not worry that they will get bored and take off their diaper. This will be great during the summer when their rooms get a little warm even with the air on because of where they are positioned, getting the afternoon sun and being upstairs where heat rises.

Anyway, that about sums things up. Special thanks to my auntie for the new diapers. I am so happy with them!

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Thinking about food allergies

I have been thinking a lot more about my kids, my family and food allergies lately.

My thoughts feel sort of jumbled and there is so much information to wade through.

I guess the beginning of this was a few months ago when I was just tired and dealing with morning sickness, not that bad mind you, but bad enough that I didn’t want to do anything.

And that despite how careful we are with our kids and their diets, they still have eczema and runny #2 diapers and poor growth on the growth charts sometimes. So not a giant difference in their supposed allergy “symptoms”.

And I have talked to other moms and read them too (Emery and Olive Oil come specifically to mind) about how they tried to make the same changes that we had, didn’t notice much in the way of symptom changes, did notice it was a lot of work and did notice that it was really hard to get their kids to eat that way.

I’ll admit that part of me got a little high and mighty. Part of me said, “Well, I am doing it and there is SOME difference and HOW can you just DO that to your child knowing what you know?” And part of me felt their pain and burden and frustration. Part of me understood the high rate of false positives in these allergy tests. Part of me saw the conflicting advice out there. Part of me heard about continual exposure eventually helping people to overcome their allergies instead of complete avoidance.

So anyway, back on track with the story. A couple months ago when I was tired and not feeling like it, I let my kids have regular old oatmeal at a bagelry. And a few other times I let them have blueberry muffins because Bean saw the muffins in the display case and really wanted one.

And nothing happened. The oatmeal was probably mostly fine. Oats can become contaminated by wheat fields and mills so that is why you have to buy the special gluten-free kind. But they are probably mostly fine, most of the time. The muffins were likely a triple threat cocktail for Bean. I am sure they had butter (dairy), wheat and eggs.

And like I said, nothing happened. I noticed no difference in skin or output. There was no throwing up, no diarrhea no rash. Just nothing.

But then I felt terrible.

Plus, Sprout’s last few appointments the doctor has been increasingly alarmist with regards to his status on the growth charts. Did those muffins and oatmeal lazy moments cause it? Was I really a terrible mother?

So then I read more stuff about allergy testing and how some fringe doctors believe the most standard blood test that Bean had is not enough and how there are other bodily reactors we can test against that can show a wider spectrum of food sensitivity and intolerance. But then how other doctors think these tests aren’t accurate either and have way too many false positives.

Then there are others who say that the best way to figure out food sensitivities is thru elimination diets or by introducing them back one at a time. Still others say this too is inaccurate because a lot of times food sensitivities and allergies don’t have super noticeable side effects like rashes, skin disorders, or gastrointestinal function problems and yet there are still insidious things going on in the body because of these foods.

And basically the medical community, as usual, can’t get their act together and agree on anything and just make things a little easier for us parents.

Fast forward to last week and I fed my kids and I a plate of vegetarian nachos from Baja Fresh because I just didn’t feel like having a bunch of leftovers from all of us to cart around and I also can’t bring myself to throw away that much food. Plus, I knew that Bean was coming up on the magic age when children for some reason outgrow their food allergies and that as an introduction to dairy, cheese was probably one of the safe bets because it is easier to digest than whole milk.

And again, nothing happened.

And again I felt huge amounts of guilt and questioning of myself.

Because really is this just me being selfish? I don’t have to tell those of you that have to deal with even one food allergy how much easier my life would be if I didn’t have to deal with food allergies. Even just eliminating one of Bean’s would be so incredibly helpful to me and a bit easier for me.

And for those of you that don’t know this life, imagine all of the typical toddler foods being eliminated. Imagine every time you eat out as a family being a big worry fest as to whether your kids will be inadvertently exposed to a poison. Imagine dinners and potlucks with friends often being incredibly awkward because you can’t find anything your child can eat. Or imagine telling that child that no, they really can’t enjoy all the other yummy foods that their friends are enjoying. Other kids’ birthday parties with no cake or treats for your kids. Having to make everything on your own from scratch all the time because usually even if you can find something that doesn’t have one of their allergens, it has one or two of the others. Having to pay so much money for alternative foods and supplements. The list could go on and on.

And then I start reading this book on the 4-A epidemic in children: autism, ADHD, asthma, and allergies. And once again I am freaking out and thinking that maybe there is more that my kids are up against. And I need thousands of dollars in testing to be sure. And how maybe that explains how small my kids are or any other host of little things I can pick up on in my kids.

So then the kids have a check up today and I talk to my doctor about some of it. The good news is that Sprout is growing again and Bean is doing pretty good too. We’ve avoided a trip to UCLA with “ten thousand dollars worth of testing all day long” (as he put it), for now.

He says he doesn’t put much faith in the allergy tests. Too many false positives and negatives. He did say that Bean’s original tests back when she was a year old showed only a mild allergy to wheat and dairy and a moderate allergy to egg. He said that low on the spectrum he usually sees kids grow out of and that she may have grown out of them by now. Plus, he said over half the things she was tested for were a complete waste since she hadn’t even been introduced to them and they would have had a false negative. Since he doesn’t really put much into the allergy testing he thinks we should just start trying to reintroduce stuff.

So I don’t know. I still feel confused. Like what if I reintroduce this stuff and maybe there isn’t noticeable eczema or yucky poops. Does that really mean everything is OK? Am I just being paranoid? A hypochondriac? But oh gosh would life be easier and less expensive if we could eliminate some of these things!

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The October Daily, 10/25

Look how tall our tomato plants are!

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