Monday, December 14, 2009

My, how things have changed

When I started this blog, I promised myself I'd be dedicated to it & write every day (or at least every other day) but then I blink and it's been five weeks! Yeah yeah I've been busy... Ella had pink eye... we hosted Thanksgiving... I had a nasty cold...getting ready for Christmas blah blah blah excuses, excuses. I have been keeping a mental list of things I want to write about & my camera is full of photos of different foods we've been trying so I thought I'd take advantage of this quiet time while the little one is napping and try to catch up a little.

I'm enjoying a nice bowl of goats milk yogurt with a bit honey & cinnamon, some blueberries, pecans & a Tbsp of ground milk thistle seeds and thinking about how drastically life has changed for us in the past four months. Four months ago:
- I was 19 lbs heavier
- I thought nothing of going to the cupboard & eating a spoonful of peanut butter then kissing my baby
- I had never even seen an EpiPen much less been trained to use one
- I had a closet full of clothes that fit me properly
- I had a whole drawer full of skin care products that I'd spent a fortune on, yet really seemed to do absolutely nothing towards making me feel less like a fifteen year old boy
- I had never experienced gut wrenching fear like that of watching your baby have an anaphylactic reaction to something she'd eaten
- I didn't know how to spell anaphylactic
- I didn't break into a sweat & start shaking at playdates when I saw kids eating cheesy snacks and touching the same toys my child was touching
- I didn't worry about our dog-owning loved ones sending gifts that could potentially carry dog dander and trigger a reaction
- I had never even heard of quinoa or know that there was such a thing as quinoa flour
- I bought a whole lot more processed foods
- The extent of my label reading consisted of checking the caloric content only
- I had no idea there were so many ways to substitute an egg
- I was totally unaware of how prevalent corn is in the foods we eat and the products we use
- We could go to a fair or a party and know that there would be food there that I could eat
- I would have handed out peanut butter cups, butterfingers and snickers on Halloween, not even considering the fact that one (or more) of our little trick-or-treaters could have a peanut allergy & we could be seriously endangering their life
- I had no idea how expensive specialty foods are & had never gotten frustrated by the fact that coupons for those products are few and far between

- I'm a more confident, creative cook. I'm constantly searching for new recipes and experimenting with new ingredients
- I've used ALL of the kitchen gadgets & gizmos that we received for our wedding that I just *had* to register for even though I had never had a need for them in the past and I've even put together a list of new gadgets that would be really helpful to have
- I am more aware of the every day life challenges faced by those with food allergies/ sensitivities. This experience has really opened my eyes to the reality that there are a lot of situations that could be potentially really dangerous for someone with food allergies that "normal" (non-allergic) people don't even stop to think about
- I've had to become more organized -- planning out menus & shopping lists. Now that grocery shopping takes place in three seperate stores, one being 30 minutes away, I've got to plan my week around grocery shopping
- I have successfully hosted an allergen free Thanksgiving & received nothing but compliments from all in attendance. If I hadn't told them, they'd have never even knew that the mashed potatoes were made with goats milk or that the stuffing was gluten free
- For the first time in my life, my face is acne free, I am thinking clearly and my stomach is flat (well... mostly flat. Guess I could stand to do a few sit ups to tighten up the post-baby pooch a bit. But the point is I'M NOT BLOATED!)
- My husband has eaten things that I don't think I could've paid him to eat four months ago.
- Ella is a happy, healthy toddler and has put on quite a bit of weight since we eliminated all the allergens from her diet and mine.

As challenging as the last four months have been, it's really all just been a huge learning process. I'm really proud of how far we've come and how well I've been able to stick to the elimination diet. It's not been easy, by any means. Sure, I'd give anything to just order a pizza for dinner right now but I know that in the long run, I know this will only make us healthier and allow us to live quasi-"normal" lives again some day. And if there's one thing I've learned in my short 14 months as a mother, it's that I'd do anything to make sure my girl is as healthy and happy as humanly possible. The fact that she is thriving gives me the strength and willpower I need to continue.

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