So, along comes lovely bouncing baby number four. Look at my maternal pride as I wrestle my four, yes, four, children out of the door. I am now set apart on the school run, spoken about in hushed tones. (Actually, would rather not know what they are saying, feel it may not all be complimentary.)
Imagine my surprise, when said fourth baby develops all sorts of horrible allergies, around about month three. This was not in the plan. This will not fit INTO the plan because I do not have enough time to cater to different dietary needs.
Alas, it was true, and after blood tests and skin prick tests, my lovely baby girl is allergic to cow’s milk, goat’s milk, soya, peanuts, eggs, cheese, yogurt... Yes I know that’s ‘all dairy products’ but sounds more impressive when listed in a doleful tone. She is also allergic to some kind of metal, as chewing a bunch of keys produced hives round her mouth.
Although all these allergies so early on were a bit of a blow, it was not entirely new territory. My eldest daughter has always suffered with eczema, asthma had started around age three, and by the time she was six, she could no longer breathe through her nose. The doctor diagnosed allergic rhinitis, where the lining of the nose swells as a response to allergens. Skin prick tests for my eldest revealed allergies to: limes, kiwi fruit, cats (yuk, feline freaks, hate them - I’m also allergic), sesame seeds, house dust mites.
She also feels sick around peanuts, although the lump that came up during the skin prick tests didn’t hang around long enough to warrant an allergy, apparently.
Looking at the profile of my eldest child, I was determined to spare baby four from the asthma/rhinitis future that I was sure would await her if I carried on feeding her allergens.
I realise this theory may not stand up to medical examination, but I was very sleep-deprived and possibly a little irrational. I decided that as I was still breast-feeding, I would remove ‘every single allergen from my diet’. You get the strident ‘don’t argue with me husband’ tone? Bless him, he didn’t argue with me.
So mother and baby embarked on a strict vegan diet (I am vegetarian, but the cheese had to go). I really craved dairy products, I wanted the grease all over my lips and hardening in my arteries. It was hard, but did I mention the weight-loss? What a fantastic by-product of a vegan diet.
I was determined to keep at the diet, but equally determined to have yummy food. This meant lots more cooking, but hey I am an Earth Mother of four, I was sure I could do it. As long as there was alcohol I was sure I could do it. I was determined to have food on which I could munch after I had stayed upright long enough to pay the babysitter. (‘She didn’t notice did she? I didn’t slur too much did I?’)
So began Pig in the Kitchen’s egg-free, dairy-free, soya-free, nut-free journey into the kitchen. Along the way I have made some gluten-free friends and they have joined the parade; the majority of the food featured on my blog is now gluten-free.
Please stop by for a visit at: www.piginthekitchen.blogspot.com
First published in 2007
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