Thursday, October 14, 2010

31/21: Living with food allergies

I thought I'd briefly talk about living with food allergies. When my little brother, Osiyyah, was a couple years old, we realized that he was allergic to cow milk/cow dairy. Until just about a year ago or so (I'm not super good with time-frames, so bare with me :)), we didn't realize that he was *VERY* allergic to cow dairy. He can have a tiny bite of rice with cow butter on it, or cheese, or sour cream, etc. (all made from cow's milk) and he will have bad reflux/choking. Thankfully, God has been very kind, and he has never had pneumonia from it.

After we removed cow dairy from his diet, he would still have the reflux, just not as bad. My sister and Mom researched and we decided to remove gluten from his diet. Gluten is in wheat, rye and barley. It is hidden in SO many things you would not believe. Some very odd things like some Twizzler candies have gluten in them! After removing the gluten from Osiyyah's diet, he has been reflux-free ever since. If he accidentally gets a little "cow" or "wheat" (according to him), he will have an allergic reaction - reflux, and it can be super bad.

So, after finding all that out, we learned that there is a genetic thing most of the time, especially with the gluten allergy. So slowly, a lot of my family went off gluten. The changes have been amazing in some. My 18 year old brother has had stomach issues, tiredness and aching legs for a lot of his life. Once going off of gluten, his symptoms have  gone away. He is really, really sensitive to it. He can eat something with a tiny amount of wheat in it, and within a few hours he's on the couch with his legs hurting saying, "what did you feed me?!?" It's really amazing and he's not the only one.

There are 3 different "stages", I guess, with the gluten thing. You can just have a gluten intolerance, a gluten allergy or you can have Celiac disease where when you eat anything with gluten, it eats away part of your intestine - no good!

Most people will say that is is "hard" to live gluten free. Convenience-food wise, yes, it could be. But, as a family of 13, it has not been hard at all hardly! We are used to making a lot of food from "scratch". Really the only thing that we removed from our diet was breads/pastas, as that was the main thing we would eat that had gluten in it. The goats have been a huge blessing, especially with Osiyyah's high allergy to cow dairy, as we can make goat butter, goat cheese, goat everything!

Anyway, I hope you found that interesting!