Parenting Seminars

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Journey to Allergy Free Pancakes

This story could get really long. It could get pretty emotional. It could make me sound a bit crazy. But I have never felt more like a mother than now. Strange? I don't know how else to say it. There is something about my children's health or a potential obstacle to the full expression of themselves that stirs up an intensity in me that can not be stopped.

And so, I must act. I must advocate. I must research. I must challenge and demand.

I recently read through some journal entries from over a year ago. I had mentioned that I was concerned about some behavioral and emotional changes happening with my oldest daughter. I couldn't put my finger on it but something didn't seem right. Some of her personality quirks were seeming to get more intense and challenging and then there were changes in her body that didn't seem right. You know those little things that come up here and there in young children that you pass off as just kid illnesses or random flare ups.

When I started looking at the bigger picture, I became more thoughtful about a pattern. We had already taken the step to remove dairy from my youngest daughter's diet due to eczema, diarrhea, stomach cramping and recurrent ear infections. Except for a tendency to hold fluid in her ears during a cold, the other symptoms cleared up. And the ear thing seems to be treatable with some homeopathic drops. Simple.

I also did some food testing on myself using an elimination diet to discover an intolerance to gluten, a hunch confirmed. I have a clear head, a calmer disposition, no depression, no digestive issues, and have lost a bunch of weight.

So when my oldest daughter's health issues included high blood pressure, we felt the need to take some real action. The path of medical investigation at this point can take several directions. Navigating both western and naturopathic strategies has been a challenge but I am gaining a lot of confidence.

So after a 24 hour urine test recommended by a children's endocrinologist turned up negative, I wanted to do a food allergy test. Not a skin test, which are highly inaccurate anyway. I wanted a blood sample taken to look for specific antibodies. I have been doing a lot of reading about how western medicine looks at allergic reactions and how intolerances are often given no credibility because they manifest differently in each body, the symptoms can often be claimed to be connected to some other causes and there just isn't enough research. I got some great information from the book, Healthier Without Wheat. Two western medicine doctor's told me that the food allergy thing was really without merit and I should keep sending my daughter through a battery of other tests that may determine that she needs meds to keep her blood pressure down. Seriously?? She's 4!

So after having my daughter's finger pricked and waiting two weeks, we have discovered that she is producing an abundance of antibodies for gluten, eggs, soy, dairy and cranberries. The first four are on the top of the list of common food allergens. We are spending 2 weeks as a family eating foods without these ingredients in order to watch how her body responds. Already I have seen changes and its only been 2 days.

But how do you get a 4 year old whose diet diversity is minimal and consists mainly of dairy, eggs and wheat to eat free of these things? We are relying on some of her favorite staples and will eat a lot of those in the next two weeks and allowing more processed foods than normal. This way she can get some favorites and its not as hard on me. We are extremely blessed to live near a fantastic health food store called PCC that stocks up on allergy free foods. But I'm also trying to introduce some great, healthy alternatives as well.

I've been eating gluten free for a few months now and really love to bake. So I've been doing a lot of experimenting with various gluten free cookbooks and recipes. My favorites are The Gluten Free Girl and the Chef, Hannah's Harvest, Elana's Pantry and the cookbook, 1000 Gluten Free Recipes.

Today I made some fantastic pancakes using a basic recipe from the cookbook but utilizing some techniques and the whole grain flour mixture from Gluten Free Girl. Just use 70% grains with 30% starches. I combined brown rice flour, sorghum flour and amaranth flour with potato starch and corn starch. And there is no wacky xanthum gum like most gluten free foods. The texture is amazing. PLUS...the alternative to egg is to create a slurry of flax seed meal with water. So not only do I have a pancake with whole grains instead of processed white flour, but I have added fiber and omega-3's. Oh...and I used a low glycemic palm sugar instead of white sugar. It has added minerals as well.

I love these pancakes. And Lucy stopped eating after only 2 saying she was full instead of overeating 3 or 4 and having a crazy crash after. I like spreading some almond butter on mine instead of syrup to help with protein and minimize my sugar.

So here is the recipe if you'd like to try them too.

1 cup whole grain gluten free flour or 140 grams
2 T palm sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 salt
1/2 C or more of non-dairy milk (we use rice or almond milk)
2 T canola oil
Flax Seed slurry (1T flax seed meal plus 3 T hot water, whisk quickly)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. Gradually whisk in the milk, canola oil, flax slurry and vanilla until smooth. Don't worry about over-mixing. There is no gluten! Add more milk if necessary. Let stand for 5 minutes.
3. Cook as you would any other pancakes. I've noticed these will fall apart easier when flipping so smaller pancakes are better. I use a 1/4 c per pancake. We also add blueberries or bananas to ours.


1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Thank goodness for your persistence with Lucy's health issues. Hope all works well with the new diet and I'm looking forward to trying the pancake recipe :-)