Posts tagged ‘Peanut’

September 13, 2011

Evolution of a Nickname

I’ve noticed that the nicknames I give Jacob often find their way into other family members’ vocabulary.  I don’t know why this happens, but it does.  It’s a power I realize I need to use for good and not evil.

 

The thing is, most of the nicknames I give the little man kind of come out of nowhere.  So today I thought I’d attempt to trace my nicknames for Jacob over the last twelve months and see where I end up.  Take a trip down Memory Lane with me?

 

Peanut

Peanut Man

Little Man Made of Peanuts

Munchkin

Munchkin Face

Munchkin Pie

Munchkin Pie Face with Peanuts

Peanut Face

Peanut Pants

Pants-y

Pants Face (sorry, Jacob)

Little Man

Little Bear

Jacob Bear

Bear Face (I don’t know what’s wrong with me)

Bear

Silly Bear

Silly Goose

Goose

Goosie

Goose Face

Goosekins

Goose-goose

Couscous (ironically, something else Jacob can’t eat)

Mongoose (borne of saying, “Come on, Goose”)

 

Those last “goose”-related names are the product of the last week or so.  I know there was more before then, but I can’t recall them.  For Jacob’s sake, that’s probably for the best.

 

With the way people often talk to children, it’s a wonder anyone learns to speak English (mostly) properly. It’s even more amazing that kids come to learn their own names. In twenty-five names, there’s only one instance of Jacob.

 

At this point Jacob prefers clicking, tongue wiggling, and giggling to speaking. But at some point he may want to introduce himself on the playground.  Lest someone take “Goose” to mean John and I have an unnatural love for Top Gun, I guess I ought to straighten myself out.

 

Oh, little Goose Bear Face.  Even if you do introduce yourself as a slew of otherwise unrelated animals, I know you’ll be just fine.

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August 16, 2011

Lessons in Being Allergen-Free

So we’ve been at this dairy-free, nut-free, wheat-free, egg-free thing for a couple of weeks now, and I’ve learned some lessons I’d like to share—in part, because they may help someone else, in part because I kind of think some of this is hilarious.

First up:  SunButter.  What is SunButter, you ask?  It’s fake peanut butter, made from roasted sunflower seeds. Because it’s fake peanut butter, it’s shelved—you guessed it—with the peanut butter.  Not with the butter.  It only took me three trips to the grocery store to figure that out.

When I grabbed a jar from the shelf, I instinctively read the ingredients list (because that’s what I do now) and then proceeded to have a not-so-silent pity party for myself.  Could anything really function as a peanut butter replacement? Doesn’t it seem silly to even try?

Turns out, SunButter is surprisingly good.  I prepared myself for it to not taste like peanut butter; I only wanted it to taste good in its own right.  It’s good enough that I’m planning to make some SunButter cookies this week, and I may even keep a jar around once I’m off the nut-free diet.  It just doesn’t sit in my stomach the way peanut butter can.  Like when I eat too much of it.  Which I don’t intend to change.

The bummer about SunButter is that I don’t have real bread or crackers to eat it on.  Instead, I have what I’ve dubbed “birdseed crackers,” because they are essentially steam-rolled piles of birdseed.  Wheat-free, gluten-free crackers?  Isn’t that an oxymoron?  Indeed.  But with enough SunButter, who cares?

Though there are foods I sometimes miss, there are some that simply shouldn’t be tampered with.  Ice cream, for example.  Rice ice cream, my friends, is as horrendous as it sounds.  Who looked at rice and said, “Hey, I can make ice cream out of that”?  Sorry, friend, but you can’t, and you didn’t.

Rice is an obvious alternative to bread or couscous with dinner, but I realize in these three weeks, we’ve only had it in its natural form when we ordered in Asian food.  That’s probably because now we have rice milk and rice flour on hand.

Seriously.  Did you know they even made those things?  Again, I did not.

I’ve had dreams recently in which everything around our little allergen-free family is made of rice, and we are all tired and sad because we’re missing out on key nutrients.  It makes me cranky to wake up from this kind of thing in the morning.  It also makes me cranky to make “pancakes” when two of the main ingredients are byproducts of rice.  At least breakfast sausage and homemade berry sauce aren’t off limits!

Really, there is still a lot I can eat; I just need to be prepared. For me, that translates into copious amounts of baking.  I made some pretty good banana bread and some solid granola (that was supposed to be bars, but crumbled into cereal).  My oatmeal chocolate chip cookies were okay, but crumbly as well (thank you, rice flour!).  Plus, at the end of the day, vegetable shortening is simply not an adequate substitute for butter in cookies.  Nothing is, and that’s okay.

I’ve accepted there are just some things I can’t have.  Hopefully this is only a stage for us, and not our entire future.  I guess it’s good to know that the world doesn’t end if I don’t eat cheese for three weeks.  Who knew?

August 9, 2011

No Peanuts for the Peanut

It seems we’ve doubly failed in giving Jacob a nickname.

 

For one thing, the boy is not what you’d call tiny.  By his nine-month check up, he was just on the upper end of the mid-range height and weight percentiles, but before that he was almost off the charts.  When John and I see newborn babies now, with all those little, tiny fingers and toes, all we can think is, “We only saw Jacob that small on an ultrasound.”

 

For another thing, we’ve recently learned that, ironically, the little man is allergic to peanuts . . . and tree nuts . . . and dairy . . . and wheat . . . and egg whites.

 

Neither John nor I have any food allergies; there are few, if any, among our immediate families.  It is possible that Jacob will outgrow some or all of these sensitivities, but for now, we’re embarking on a whole new world of parenting.

 

The good news is that our pediatrician recommended a thus-far-excellent allergist, who was great with Jacob, very clear and easy with me, and whose office seems both gentle and thorough.  The testing didn’t bother Jacob, but part of that may be because he got to hang out in the waiting room, smiling at other patients in just his shoes and diaper for about ten minutes.  What a wild child.

 

The tough news is that since I’m nursing Jacob, I needed to make some pretty drastic changes in my diet, as well as his.  I consider it a blessing that the night before our visit to the allergist, John and I had a shrimp dish with a creamy barbecue sauce and buttermilk biscuits for dinner and ice cream for dessert.  That isn’t happening again any time soon!

 

For almost two weeks, I’ve gone without dairy or nuts, in an effort to manage Jacob’s eczema, which I didn’t realize could be caused by food allergies.  We had been using daily applications of either over-the-counter or prescription-strength cortisone, but I also didn’t realize that cortisone is a topical steroid—not something you want to rub onto your infant’s skin every night.

 

While it wasn’t that hard to keep dairy or nuts out of Jacob’s diet (thank goodness Cheerios are dairy-free!), it was challenging for me.  On the one hand, it turns out avocado is a delicious—and perhaps more nutritious?—alternative to cream cheese on a bagel.  But it also turns out that once you get beyond a bagel, milk or some element of milk seems to be in almost everything.

 

On the way home from the allergist that day, I grabbed some sesame chicken for lunch (it’s easy to avoid dairy and even nuts, if you’re careful, in Asian cuisine) and some soymilk to have in my cereal the next morning.  When I got home, I read the ingredient list on my current box of cereal, to be sure it was okay.

 

Did you know there is a milk product in Honey Bunches of Oats?  I did not.

 

I started to think about our kitchen, and realized that on a given day we have at least three kinds of cheese in the fridge and four kinds of nuts in either the pantry, the fridge, or the freezer.  If that weren’t enough, we keep two kinds of butter, plus margarine—one of the kinds made with dairy.

 

My initial thought at this juncture was, “Wow, I’m going to lose a few pounds this week.”

 

My second thought was, “Where is the chocolate going to come from?”

 

I went online to find myriad resources for dairy-free, nut-free, all-kinds-of-other-things-free cooking.  It’s great that there’s so much out there, but it can be overwhelming, too.  I knew I needed to take it cheese-less, butter-less meal at a time, but it was easy to get caught up.

 

Again, I found myself asking, “Where is the chocolate going to come from?”

 

So the first order of business was to make a chocolate beet cake.  Sure, there was chocolate in that cake (Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips are dairy-free), but it was by no means a chocolate cake.  I spent the next three days polishing off most of it.  John helped, but I did most of the damage.  And damage it was!  The day after it was gone, I told John I felt much better than I had the past few days.  He asked if I knew what the difference was.  I couldn’t guess.

 

“No beet cake,” he told me.  And he was right.

 

If anyone catches me trying to make a beet cake again, please do whatever you can to stop me.  Just inject chocolate directly into my mouth and hand me a glass of iced decaf coffee with a splash of soymilk.  Then show me a picture of Jacob to remind me what this is all about.

 

Two weeks in, I am still oscillating between thinking this isn’t that big a deal to thinking it’s almost impossible.  Earlier this week, I couldn’t see a difference in Jacob’s skin sans cortisone.  I called the doctor’s office, hoping they’d tell me to just forget it and go back to the cortisone.  It’s not ideal, but it was working, right?

 

Wrong.  The better (although more challenging) answer was that I should either cut to a very restricted diet—one meat, one vegetable, and rice—or cut out wheat and eggs, to see if that makes a difference. I’m taking the wheat and eggs route first, and that already has my mind spinning.

 

The worst part is that this means no Cheerios for Jacob.  There’s some wheat in there that I thought might be okay, but it’s got to go if we’re going to figure this thing out.  Bummer of the year.

 

I’ve done a great deal of cooking and baking since we got married, even more so since Jacob was born.  At first glance, it seems like God’s taking away the freedom I had to craft whatever I liked in the kitchen.  But I realize that what I need to see is that He’s prepared me for this stage of Jacob’s care with the knowledge of what ingredients are typically in the foods we eat regularly, and with the cooking confidence to go in there and make a healthy alternative for our family . . . that doesn’t involve beets.

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