Now what do I do??? Please help!!!

Posted on: Wed, 03/14/2007 - 12:49pm
brown1442's picture
Joined: 06/20/2006 - 09:00

I am having a terrible time finding foods that my almost 22 month old can eat because of his allergies. Now that we've gotten back lists from most manufacturers for products that contain vanilla/vanillin I am having a terrible time finding foods that Matthew can actually eat. Someone had suggested trying organic since they don't use artificial flavors (which contain vanilla) so we went to Trader Joes and Whole Foods today in search of options. I found that almost everything in both stores that was vanilla free was processed on plants with peanuts or tree nuts. I couldn't find a single cereal, cracker, cookie, etc there that wasn't. Now what do I do?? Do I take a gamble with the peanut allergy???

He's such a picky little boy as it is his diet is down to cantaloupe and french fries right now since I've had to elminate most of his favorite foods. I am very worried about his nutritional status... especially iron (which is why I was looking for cereals since most are fortified).

How much of a gamble is it to let him eat stuff that "may contain" or is "processed in plants with nuts"???? His reaction was not severe (not that it was "good" either)... the ped called it borderline anaphalactic. He's never had a contact reaction or had problems with open bins of nuts in the grocery store or anything like that. He breaks out in hives with vanilla the same way he does with peanuts... so giving it to him really isn't an option.

I just feel lost now? I can't seem to find the best of both worlds here... something is going to have to give... but I don't want it to be his health!!!

Posted on: Wed, 03/14/2007 - 3:35pm
McCobbre's picture
Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

My response may not be the most helpful one, but I would encourage you not to offer him may contains, especially considering what you described as his reactions.
At least for a while I'd stick to nonprocessed food and try an iron supplement. But he's not allergic to any meat, right?
I think keeping it basic is probably best at the outset, and I do hope you can find someone here who also has to deal with vanilla who can be of help.

Posted on: Wed, 03/14/2007 - 11:32pm
Adele's picture
Joined: 01/31/2005 - 09:00

I suggest that you get into cooking and baking and make everything from scratch. If you make it, you know exactly what is it in. If you work outside the home, it might be rough to find the time but perhaps DH can pitch in and you can spend a day cooking for the next week.
[This message has been edited by Adele (edited March 15, 2007).]

Posted on: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 12:23am
Greenlady's picture
Joined: 06/30/2004 - 09:00

You must be feeling so overwhelmed! I would also not try and gamble on the peanut allergy if at all possible.
Maybe if you list your child's allergies, we might be able to help find some specific solutions. There are a lot of creative people here.
Don't worry, you will get through this!

Posted on: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 12:28am
BriandBrinasmom's picture
Joined: 10/20/2006 - 09:00

Brown, I think you have to do what strikes the best balance between risk and living [i]for your specific child.[/i] Talk with your doctor about threshold and whether he/she thinks "may contain" is a risk.
I will try to remember to post some of the name brands from home for crackers and cookies. I'm not sure if Stella Dora has vanilla - I know they're milk and peanut-free (or at least have not been a problem for us). You'll find your groove! The toddler years are the hardest with regard to feeding MFA kids.

Posted on: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 1:35am
NicoleinNH's picture
Joined: 06/21/2003 - 09:00

Brown, It must be so challenging having to avoid peanuts....and then add vanilla to the list of avoids. What about plain Cheerios or Chex? Do they contain vanilla?
My DD is allergic to eggs and peanut/tree nuts, as well as cantaloupe and honey dew melon. I make all baked goods from scratch---I make batches and freeze them. I do buy crackers (Goldfish, Townhouse), but nothing else is processed. Egg is very limiting and at first it was overwhelming; we now do this as a routine and don't find it to be a big deal.
I wouldn't feed my child "may contains" or "processed on"---there was a study that "may contains" actually did contain detectable amounts of peanut 20% of the time.

Posted on: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 1:48am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Brown1442-What is a complete list of your child's allergies? You sound completely frustrated as I can imagine. Hopefully with all this help here you can find safe things to feed your child.

Posted on: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 2:04am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

What about chicken nuggets, pizza, goldfish, ritz crackers, wheat thins, yogurt, cheese nips, gerber graduates mini fruits, cheese and the list goes on if your childs allergies are vanilla, peanut and treenut? My son is peanut but we treat as if treenut. All these foods do not have any vanilla, peanut or treenut.

Posted on: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 3:49am
brown1442's picture
Joined: 06/20/2006 - 09:00

His allergies are... peanut, tree nuts (pistachios and hazelnuts were his worst reactions but had minor reactions to every nut they tested him for... allergist said to avoid all), vanilla, and peppers.
I've learned that artificial fruit flavors contain vanilla so that makes processed foods out for the most part.
Every yogurt manufacturer I've contacted said their products contain vanilla. I haven't asked Trader Joes or Whole Foods about theirs yet though.
He can have Wheat Thins... that is one cracker that I have found. Plain Cheerios are okay but he doesn't like them of course... I plain on continuing to try in order to get the iron in him since he won't eat meat.
I haven't heard back from Pepperidge Farm about goldfish yet so we are avoiding until we get a green light from them.
I think you all are right that I need to make the leap into making stuff from scratch!! OY!! What a daunting task!! I work part time but my husband is VERY helpful so I am sure we can get it done. Does anyone have any good recipes they recommend?

Posted on: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 3:56am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I certainly understand the need to balance risks carefully when dealing with MFA. It forces you to make choices you'd rather not, that's for sure.
I just have a few bits of advice for you... first, a big hug!!
1. Nothing canned or boxed. This is harsh advice, I know, but you really can't know about the vanilla any other way-- as you've discovered.
2. Find out from your allergist whether you need to avoid "may contain" w/r to vanilla as well as pn. If your child has never experienced a reaction to eating a food that a test says "allergic" to, discuss doing a food challenge.
3. Begin calling manufacturers about "in a facility" and "shared lines" statements. Discuss cleaning protocols and batch testing to see if you're comfortable with it. If so, then you'll have to call and confirm every time, probably, but it will open a few options.
4. Peanut isn't one you want to take chances with. It is totally unpredictable, and there is no way to know what a "safe" exposure is on any given day. Personally, I'm a lot more conservative about that one than anything else. Regardless of severity of reaction-- at least with the others, they're fairly predictable. (Even if what I can predict is anaphylaxis... ) LOL!
Hang in there!! [img][/img]
And remember that most toddlers and preschoolers don't really care whether they eat a lot of variety or even "interesting" food-- so if he eats the same four safe things all the time, who cares? As long as he's getting adequate nutrition, it won't matter.

Posted on: Thu, 03/15/2007 - 4:10am
brown1442's picture
Joined: 06/20/2006 - 09:00

Adequete nutrition is really all I am looking for at this point and really struggling to find. He won't eat meat or veggies although I am working on finding ways to hide them in foods (like sauces etc) so hopefully that will help. I was really relying on fortified cereals to get his iron and other mins and now I don't know how to replace them.
He does eat fruit... thats about it actually... I guess thats better than other options as at least it has vits in it!!
I am seriously not exaggerating when I say he's eating cantaloupe and french fries and thats it [img][/img] Not the greatest nutrition there.


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