I posted a few days ago that my 1 year old son had his 1 year check up and the pediatrician claimed he was iron deficient. My wife was concerned but didn't necessarily blame the Paleo Diet and was actually very understanding in some of the ways I suggested to correct the issue. However, yesterday didn't help my cause. We have been giving my 1 year old egg yolks since he was 8 months old with no issue and yesterday decided to add the whites. Well he had a pretty bad reaction almost immediately after consumption. He broke out in Hives all over his body and we had to rush him to the doctor. Fortunately, it wasn't to the point of restricting his breathing but it really freaked out my wife as you can imagine. This, of course, only magnified the iron deficiency issue and she is now becoming more skeptical of how we are feeding our children. She understands that the whites are the problem, but it is still raising concerns.
Also, the pediatrician has instructed us to get an allergy test and avoid eggs (even the yolks). I have heard Chris Kresser and others state that these tests are not very accurate. Can anyone provide me with some additional info on these tests and what the best option is to handle this? Also, my wife is not going to accept that we can just re-introduce yolks in 30 days and set what happens. FYI...No one in our family has allergies to foods, except my intollerance to gluten.
hi there - I discovered my son's severe allergy to peanuts when he was about 1 year old - so I empathize with what you and your wife are going through. Anaphylaxis or any systemic allergic reaction (even when breathing is not impaired) is so frightening, especially to watch your child go through it. Anaphylaxis reactions rarely ever look the same twice in any one person, and can quickly escalate without any notice.
I would be very hesitant to try egg whites again without a RAST test, and an allergists' blessing, not to mention an Epi-Pen Jr. Likely, an allergist would suggest a skin test before another food challenge. I think the biggest tip I would offer is to be sure you are seeing an allergist who specializes in food allergies. Pediatricians aren't knowledgeable enough, and any board certified allergist who knows environmental allergies won't get it either.
You may want to reach out to a local food allergy support group, where you can connect with folks who have little ones with similar experiences. I have found it invaluable to be a part of my local food allergy support group. (http://www.foodallergy.org/section/support-groups --scroll down to bottom)
I agree with the suggestions above to just focus on eating meat, veggies and healthy starches. Food politics even among family can be so difficult. Get in touch with local parents, interview allergists and I hope you can minimize the conflict over food values.
One last thought about anemia - wheat would be one of the last foods you want to introduce as it's linked to unexplained anemia, which is thought to be an early indicator of celiac (for those who have eaten wheat for years - not babies who have never eaten it.) Just a thought on why it may be important to avoid introducing it. I just went through this myself. Meat, dark green leafy veggies, black strap molasses, vit C, beets are all on the right track.
So he's allergic to egg whites, how can your wife discredit an entire way of eating on that basis alone? Iron deficiency is actually the most commonly seen nutrient deficiency in children. Perhaps you'll have to give him mashed up meats for protein like ground beef, turkey and pork instead of eggs.
Egg whites, which are potent histamine liberators, also provoke a nonallergic response in some people. In this situation, proteins in egg white directly trigger the release of histamine from mast cells on contact. Because this mechanism is classified as a pharmacological reaction, or "pseudoallergy", the condition is considered a food intolerance instead of a true IgE-based allergic reaction. The response is usually localized, typically in the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, or any symptoms of histamine release. It can result in an anaphylactoid reaction, which is clinically indistinguishable from true anaphylaxis, if sufficiently strong. Some people with this condition tolerate small quantities of egg whites. They are more often able to tolerate well-cooked eggs, such as found in cake or dried egg-based pasta, than loosely cooked eggs, such as fried eggs or meringues, or uncooked eggs.
How is his vitamin C intake? Not getting enough of it can affect iron absorption.
Suggestions for what? Substitutes for eggs? How to convince your wife to let your son stay paleo? It sounds like you're on the right track- just avoid eggs for 30 days, then reintroduce yolks. I would try to mix grass-fed liver into as many of your son's meals as you can (easy to do with ground beef and spices). I can't imagine a better fix for the anemia than a diet rich in organ meat and grass-fed muscle meat and low in lectins, phytates, and dairy.
When a child is undergoing a growth spurt, which could be typical in a child the age of your son, iron levels can be temporarily low. I'd be cautious of throwing out an entire way of eating based on one lab test at one point in time. Does your child have other symptoms of anemia that would be worrisome, or was there just one unrepeated lab test upon which the pediatrician based his "diagnosis"? If it were my child and he was healthy overall, I'd continue doing what I was doing, and reevaluate at 18 months. But then I'm no fan of the medical establishment. :)
Meats and leafy green vegetables are better sources of iron than grains. Not only that, but the type of iron found in meats is heme iron, which is the type more readily absorbed by the body. The iron in grains is non-heme, which is harder to absorb, which is compounded by the phytates, which further inhibit absorption. This PDF is pretty helpful: http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/pdfs/dietary_sources_iron.pdf. Personally, I'd be more tempted to add baked potatoes to his diet for the iron than grains.
The larger issue to my mind though is that your wife is worried about harming your child through diet. Perhaps reading Sarah Fragoso's Everyday Paleo website or book, or some of the paleo parenting websites, would help her see that children can be perfectly healthy eating this way. You're not depriving your child because you don't feed him whole grains.
I'd leave off the egg whites indefinitely, and maybe wait several months before reintroducing egg yolks. (The lion's share of the nutrition is in the yolk anyway, with the white being almost completely protein.) If you're not feeding your child processed foods, you can easily avoid egg whites or other egg proteins, so why subject him to allergy testing, which can be painful? Just my $.02.
Edited to add: Is it Mark Sisson or Robb Wolf that did a comparison of the nutrition in a paleo/primal day's diet versus a day of the SAD? Maybe showing your wife that comparison would help ease her fears?
I say get off the paleo diet and go on a diet of meat and veggies instead. Egg yolks are not absolutely necessary. There is also no need to bring in wheat, since starchy tubers and rice should do just fine if there is no allergy.
Medical doctors have literally a few hours of nutritional training in four years of schooling. Unless your doctor has studied nutrition on his or her own, then food issues are outside of the scope of their expertise. Allergies begin with leaky gut, and always need to be addressed as a digestion issue. My advice would be to find someone who knows this that your wife trusts, and get digestive support for your child. Some naturopaths can give you this kind of help, as can nutritional therapists through the Nutritional Therapy Association. I would imagine that having a health care professional say similar things that you've been saying could be very reassuring to your wife.
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